Becoming confident in the kitchen is about practice and perseverance. But, creating delicious recipes can be more easily achieved if you have the right tools in place. Of course, a good work(wo)man never blames his/her tools, but they certainly do help you become more efficient and effective in the kitchen.
So, I’ve listed below my favourite EVER essential kitchen tools, which are worth the one-off investment because they have lasted me for years to come, so I’m sure you’ll love them just as much.
It’s time to stop destroying your countertops or using the same old battered chopping board. Go get yourself a brand spanking new set of hygienic and uber strong chopping boards that can withstand any kind of food. If you’re handling raw fish, chicken, and meat, then I would strongly suggest using a separate board for each animal product, so there is no cross-contamination with your fruit, veg, and other ingredients.
The Hygiplas LD Chopping Board Set (image above) contains 6 boards, a chopping board rack and a wall chart, which is handy so that everyone is on the same page about which food item should go on which board. Just remember the following colour code:
- Brown = Vegetables
- Blue = Raw Fish
- Red = Raw Meat
- Yellow = Cooked Meat
- Greens = Salads & Fruit
- White = Bakery & Dairy
Cast Iron Skillet
You can buy a pan set every few years, or you can purchase a Cast Iron Skillet that will last you for ages. The difference is that they are built to last using traditional cast iron construction and some are even pre-seasoned with natural oils, so you never have to add additional oil to your pan again. If you grab a set like this VonShef Black Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 3 Piece Skillet Set (image above), then you can use your skillets for pretty much anything, including searing, baking, frying, sautéing and roasting.
Large, Medium and Small Pots
Where a Cast Iron Skillet won’t work because of its lack of depth, a pot can be used instead. You only need three; a large pot for large dishes and families, a medium-sized pot, which I generally use for making soups and rice, and a small pot for brewing tea and milk or making one-person meals. However, some brands offer 5-piece cookware sets, which include a frying pan and, generally, a large, large-medium, medium-small and a small pot. But, that’s it. Don’t crowd your cupboard with anything else. Invest in pots that offer that depth and protection that a Skillet doesn’t have. Non-stick is best as you won’t need to add any extra oil and, also, go for stainless steel, which lasts a lot longer, like this Prestige Everyday Stainless Steel Cookware Set, 5-Piece in Silver (Image above)
Recipes, Freebies and Tips every Sunday!
Awesome, thanks! I look forward to a lovely long relationship with you. As promised I’ll start sending you some awesome new recipes, as well as tips on how to be a superstar chef in the kitchen too. I hope you like them 🙂 Oh, and if you have any questions, comments, and/or criticisms – or if you just want to say hello – hit me up with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to get to know you 🙂 I’ll see you on the other side! Leyla x
Ok, so you can chop up everything by hand, but it is SOOO much easier to use a food processor. I have used my trusty Kenwood Multipro Home Food Processor (Image above) for years and it has done me proud, especially as it is cheap and it does so much more than just chop food up. It comes with a knife blade, mini bowl, blender, citrus press and 2 reversible chopping discs. Oh, and it also comes with a spice mill, a whisk tool, and a dough tool. Bargain!
You can always grab your colander and place it above a pot of hot water to steam your veg, but considering how cheap steamers are these days, wouldn’t you just prefer to grab a tool whose sole purpose is to steam veg to perfection? I have a Russell Hobbs 3 Tier Food Steamer (image above) at home and it is not only ridiculously cheap (I bought mine for under £30), but it also steams rice, legumes, vegetables, fish, and meat. Plus, it requires no oil, so cleaning up is a breeze. It is also the healthiest way to cook your food without losing their nutrients, so, now I only ever steam my veg, beans, and rice.
If you don’t buy a fancy food processor or a separate steamer, the Nutribaby Babymoov+ is awesome! Ok, so it’s primarily marketed for parents with babies, but if you are a small family or you have small children, then this steamer and pretty robust processor component are perfect for whipping up homemade soups in no time. I have made quite a few soup recipes, which I’ll link up to here once I’ve published them, but I have been so impressed with the Babymoov+’s smart interface and super simple usability. Plus, it comes with a sterilising component to sterilise bottles. Thoroughly recommend!
Microwaves are now considered necessities rather than luxuries and where you used to just bung food in and heat it up, microwaves do all sorts of things now. My Panasonic microwave is a pretty strong machine, with extra features like one-touch programming that allows me to defrost, and reheat, as well as cook food on low, medium and high. Some microwaves even come with an Aqua Clean Programme (like the microwave in the image above) that gets rid of unpleasant smells from your microwave. You just place a cup of water with lemon juice in the microwave and then the setting will take care of the rest without you needing to use any extra cleaning products. Advanced!
When you’re not using your food processor to take the work out of chopping your food, it’s a good idea to practice your culinary knife skills in case your food processor breaks down. But, I wouldn’t just get any old knife set. Find a set that is built to last and that, over the years, the paint won’t chip away into your food. Go for a stainless steel, titanium coated knife set, which improves performance and longevity like the VINERS Titan Kitchen Knife Block Set, in Stainless Steel and Copper (image above).
A colander may be known for washing and rinsing fruit and veg, but you may not know of its other uses, especially if you buy a stainless-steel version like the TeamFar Stainless Steel Colander above. You can also use a colander like a steamer for your vegetables, as well as drain canned foods, keep fruit and veg fresh in the fridge without them breaking, keep bugs away in the summer and strain oats when you make oat milk. All this for less than a tenner!
I don’t know if you’ve tried to peel potatoes with a knife before, but when I did I often found that the size of the vegetables would reduce massively in size because I ended up peeling half the flesh too! So wasteful… So, I decided to invest a few quid in a Y-Peeler (named after the shape of the peeler like the OXO Good Grips Y Peeler (image above) which is under £10 and a really sturdy and durable peeler. I would recommend Y Peelers generally over normal swivel/straight peelers as they’re easier to handle, and much stronger and more durable than their straight counterparts. Plus, Y-Peelers work well with large fruits and veg. I thoroughly recommend this OXO Good Grips Peeler though – I’ve had it for years!
I must admit that Kitchen Scales is a moot point when it comes to essential tools in the kitchen because you can easily measure your ingredients in cups if you wanted to – you would just have to convert the measurements every time. However, when it comes to intricate baking where you absolutely must get the ingredient quantity right, then you can’t go wrong with a digital kitchen scale like my trusty Digital Scales by Pyrus (image above), which can convert measurements at the drop of a hat.
You may be thinking, “Why are kitchen tongs essential tools in the kitchen?” Well, my friend, have you tried to pick up hot food with your hands? I hope not, but when you do need an extra pair of hands, which can’t be helped by a spatula or a wooden spoon, then kitchen tongs are the next best thing. You can toss salads and pasta, as well as turn hot food items. It actually looks pretty cool to serve food on a plate with kitchen tongs too! I would recommend silicone based kitchen tongs as they are very heat resistant and silicone won’t emanate any nasties when in contact with high temperature. I like these Stainless Steel Silicone Tips Red Kitchen Tongs (image above), which go great with my other red appliances. Plus, they’re very durable and have lasted me for ages.
Again, you’re probably thinking, “Why is a wooden spoon essential?” They’re essential because you cook, bake and boil your food with these wooden spoons. They’re easy to handle, comfortable to use, they’re nonconductive, so your hands won’t burn when you leave them in boiling sauce. Plus, they won’t scratch appliances and devices and they won’t react to ingredients like metal can. Wooden spoons are super inexpensive, so why don’t you go for a set, so you always have one handy? I really love these Fred MIX STIX Drumstick Spoons(image above) because they’re different and I’m a music lover (and musician back in the day) so the little musical note hole that creates a slotted spoon works perfectly in my kitchen.
When you’re a busy parent like me and have zero time to cook in the kitchen then your slow cooker will become your best friend. Just bung all the recipe ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning and have the meal ready for you by dinner time. No prep needed or standing by the stove, which means you can go about your day and come back to a readymade dinner – it’s the busy person’s dream tool!
I use a 5.6l Crock Pot, like the image above and it comes with loads of different settings for roasting, sautéing, baking and, of course, cooking on low or high. Every person needs a Slow Cooker in their kitchen.
And here is what I created with my slow cooker
You may argue that a Food Stand Mixer is not essential, but I beg to differ. Do you know how much time (and elbow grease) I’ve saved by adding all my ingredients to a mixer and letting it do the work for me, especially a mixer that has a Dough Hook, Whisk and Beater? Loads! I make so many cakes and I would probably make far less if I knew I’d have to be the one churning those ingredients in a bowl with my bare hands and making loads of mess because I’m not a neat whisker or beater. I don’t possess the gene that stirs ingredients with elegance and ease and I end up creating a tornado of mess in the kitchen. So, yes, a food mixer is essential. Plus, it also ensures that everything is mixed well before you bake, so you’re not left with any lumps. I use the Savisto Retro Food Stand Mixer with 5.5l Bowl in Red, which is brilliant. Plus, it goes with the other red appliances in my kitchen which is also a bonus.
There you have it, my favourite and most essential tools which have done me proud in the kitchen and will stay with me until they kick the bucket. If you think of other essential tools, please share in the comments below, as I may have missed something important.
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