Five Kitchen Tools I Can't Do Without

Honestly? I wouldn't want to be without any of my kitchen kit. I'm not a hoarder, I don't hang on to things for sentimental reasons, if I'm not using it out it goes. This means that everything in my kitchen gets used, except maybe my piping nozzles, but you never know, I might take up this sort of thing. Unlikely though.

There are, however, five items I wouldn't want to be without. Five, by the way, is a completely arbitrary number. I could easily add another five. But, for the sake of not boring the pants off you we'll stick at five.


1.) A good sharp knife. Obvs.



This is my new cook's knife. It's a 20cm/8 inch knife and I love it. Its predecessor was a 14cm/5½ inch knife of the same make. That was good too but I'm loving the bigger one so much more. It's length makes it great for chopping lots of small things at once like nuts, chocolate, or handfuls of herbs. It's brilliant for jointing a chicken, it can slice a tomato like butter and chopping an onion is a joy, in fact I've stopped relying on my vegetable hash just so that I use my knife whenever I can. A knife is no good unless you keep it sharp. I bought a new steel when I bought my knife and I sharpen it after every use before wrapping it in a cloth and putting it away.



2). A wooden chopping board.



When I was a student I was taught how to make pakoras by Sukhwant who chopped onions in her hands with an 8 inch knife. I was in awe. The pakoras were fabulous and we ate them scooped straight from huge pan of boiling oil.

I am not as brave as Sukhwant and prefer to do all my chopping on a board. My preference is for wood which I realise is not the most hygienic choice but it is the most aesthetically pleasing. I bought this wooden chopping block about 25 years ago from Habitat. I use it every day not just for chopping but for slicing bread, as a serving board, as somewhere to rest hot pans and dishes and also as a handy background for photography purposes although I think it's quite photogenic on its own.



3). Metal baking trays.



I picked my baking trays up for a song at a clearance sale years ago and they have become one of the best pieces of kitchen equipment I have ever owned. They are bigger than standard baking trays (about 11 by 16 inches) and very sturdy. They also have quite a deep rim which makes them useful for so much more than baking biscuits. As well as biscuits I use them for baking scones, loaves, rolls, roasting potatoes, oven-baking chips, roasting vegetables, baking fish, chops and many other things I'm sure I will think of later.

4). Non-Stick Liners




I use my baking sheets in tandem with non-stick liners. They are absolutely fantastic. Nothing ever sticks to them, no need for cutting paper or greasing, they wipe clean, prevent the tray from getting dirty and last practically forever. Mine are pretty battered as you can see and I do replace them every few years. I have pieces cut to fit my baking trays, my tray bake tins and I also have a set of round pieces which you can buy ready cut to fit cake tins.


5). Kitchen timer



I can't function without this 4-way timer. Just now it is set to time my coffee to brew for four minutes, my macaroons to bake for 16 minutes, my bread to rise for 2 hours and my yogurt to yog for 6 hours. I won't know whether I'm coming or going without it, mind you sometimes it bleeps and I can't remember what I'm timing. It's held together with sellotape and kitchen grease but Salter don't make this model anymore and the replacement is not up to scratch -buttons too stiff and bleep not loud enough. When this finally reaches the end of its time (ha ha) I will have to resort to my phone's timer.

So, those are my five essential kitchen tools. What about you? What can't you manage without in the kitchen?




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Comments

  1. Great post, Sue. Those macaroons look delicious.
    I am reminded of Nigella Lawson's Kit and Caboodle section in Kitchen in which she discusses all the embarrassingly useless and expensive appliances she has bought over the years. My kitchen is nothing like that of course - I only have strictly useful appliances (yeah right). What I absolutely cannot do without though are my scales which I use every day.

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  2. I was thinking about this just the other day. I have a large Kitchen Aid food processor thingy, and every time I catch sight of it at the back of the cupboard I curse it. It really is a waste of space. I don't use it for anything at all - too heavy to get out, too annoying to wash up. My sharp knife and chopping board are just as good and I never use it to make cakes or bread (seems to blast the life out of both). So for me, a mixing bowl and wooden spoon would both be in my top five, along with the knife and chopping board, and I guess perhaps a sieve or maybe a muslin (marmalade, elderflower,) too.

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  3. Much like you, really; two knives - one large, flexible, a bit gnarled on the blade side, but no one would own up to causing that! and the other my mother's little wooden handled paring knife. A chopping board or three (veg, meat, bread), and my old brown Le Creuset casserole pan, used almost every day. I know, that makes six.... There's more, but I think that if I had to, I could just about make do with those and a couple of wooden spoons.

    The kitchen is stuffed to the gills with things, and I fear getting rid of them, in case one day I do need many chopsticks, fondue forks, garlic press, thing for difficult jar lids, giant fork things for lifting the turkey out of the roasting tray.... oh dear, I can feel a decluttering project coming on!

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    1. Actually I have two giant fork thingies and do use them regularly -for the Christmas bird but also any roast lump of meat. I have decluttered all the other things you mention though.

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  4. the most important tool for me would be my timer I use the timer that's on my oven without it I would burn the house down.

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  5. I definitely couldn't manage without my Avery scales. They're from the shop my parents had, and in which we lived, when I was growing up and were used for weighing sweets and biscuits. There was another set which was for weighing butter, bacon and cooked meats but they were left behind. I'm a die-hard Imperial measures girl and these weigh up to a pound. They also have enormous sentimental value.

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  6. Love this.....favourite knife and heavy wooden board for me too, plus a smaller one for citrusy bits.
    I do use my processor quite a bit, whizzing up smoothies regularly, in an endeavour to feel healthy, blitzing spinach leaves and apple to drink which would take a while with a knife; and of course will be using it for the salsa verde very soon.
    Is a cafetiere a tool? wouldn't want to be without one.
    Oh, and definitely a timer now. The times I've been knitting and thought, one more row, then leapt up when a charring aroma suddenly hits me. . .

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    1. Cafétière - make that six things. I love my food processor too but it isn't essential.

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  7. Sue, my tiny kitchen helps me to limit/edit my equipment. I do agree with your own fabulous five, and would add two wooden spoons, a wire basket for draining pasta and washing fruit and veg, my 8 inch cast iron frying pan, my 1 quart and 2 quart stainless steel sauce pans. Most of this stuff gets daily use. Anything to do with baking is for cooler seasons, so not included here.

    Oh, one more vintage, much loved favorite, a little tin Mouli grater.

    xo

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  8. My knives are probably my most important. I love my chef's knife too, as well as my small Victorinox paring knives and a slightly larger Tramontina that I use for almost everything (except meat and tomatoes). I use my Pyrex baking dishes and my stainless-steel half-sheet baking pans all the time.

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  9. A huge non stick saute pan with lid, wooden spoons, a measuring cup thing by Tala(?), non stick liner which I have cut to every tin and tray size I have and a sharp knife. I don't do timers really. I either forget to put it on or SmallerBean helpfully turns it off and doesn't tell me...
    And a wooden chopping board (but not as once as yours) and the kettle.
    This is a great post. Thank you Ax

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  10. Kitchen scissors, sharp knife, scales, large le creuset frypan with lid, pyrex jug, kettle, and finally HUSBAND who is much more skilled in kitchen than I and can turn the humblest ingredients into a gourmet feast

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  11. just a quickie - I'm sure I read somewhere that a wooden chopping board, provided its scrubbed rather than wiped (and perhaps with a salty solution?) is more hygienic than a basic plastic one, as wood has natural antibacterial properties? Perhaps that varies depending on type of wood, and I expect glass is more hygienic than anything but wood is certainly kinder on the blades! Might google it now….

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    1. I have worked in big commercial kitchens. You are quite correct about wooden kitchen tools. Wooden spoons, chopping boards, chopsticks, honey dippers, etc are not sites where bacteria breed. Scientifically tested and proven. Wash well and dry well. Remember to cut meat on the other side of your wooden chopping board from the vegetables though - unless you wash and dry it in between. And keep that kitchen bench hygienically clean!

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  12. I have also read that wooden chopping boards are more hygienic, if they're kept clean. Anyway, like you, I prefer them for their looks. And no one in my family has died yet. One thing that has become essential for me, although it's superfluous for many, is my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. My wrists are so weak now that I can't mix stiff batters without it. But my biggest kitchen essential, like Angela above, is my husband. He likes cooking far more than I do. In fact I'm always telling him, "Look at this yummy thing that Sue's made. Why don't you make that?"

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    1. Gosh, what does he say?

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    2. He's pretty good natured. He'll try anything once. But he's the kind of person who won't stick to a recipe. So anything he makes ends up bearing only a vague resemblance to what you (or whoever) have made.

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  13. I love all the same things but I find myself appreciating my stick blender as I can keep everything in the pot and not mess up a food processor. I also have a large Green Pan wok that sits permanently on my stove. Couldn't be without it.

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  14. I couldn't do without my Kenwood Chef - I use it all the time, baking, butter icing, making butter, bread the list is endless.

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  15. My Mum's spoon. It's just an ordinary tablespoon, but I learned to bake with it and I like the way it reminds me that I was lucky enough to have a Mum who patiently taught me how to measure 1oz sugar, 1oz flour..it's the thing I'd rescue if the house went on fire. Silly I know...

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  16. Great post Sue, I'm investing in some of those liners that's for sure. For me it would be my enamel frying pan I picked up at a flea market. Nothing softens onions like it. To be honest it is a touch on the small side but I cook everything in it. Brilliant piece of kit that's been in use for years and many more to come hopefully!

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  17. My Kenwood Mixer and my very much missed Ma-in-Law's rolling pin.

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  18. Great post and great photos...I've had a think and mine would be ....kitchen aid, cafetierre, loaf tins, bendy spatula and whisk....and then the several dozen things I use a lot...being a cake decorator my work list would be endless!! xx

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  19. I totally agree with all of your list and have the same timer which I love because of the multi timers. I have a food processor that I rarely use so that would not be on my list, but last year I inherited a Kenwood Chef which lives out on the bench and I love that and use it lots so that would also be on my list and a sieve! Useful for rinsing things in, draining things, sifting, all kinds of uses. I think that the simple, good quality things are generally the best, I am not one for gadgets - cherry stoner anyone! xx

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  20. Good knives and electronic scales! But I also like my lemon squeezer too!

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  21. Your list is my list, except maybe the timer, which I consistently forget to set. I love my Danish dough whisk (now made in Poland). It is ideal for muffins. I also like my rasp for zesting lemons and grating ginger. My knife of choice is the peasant knife. It's not stainless, but it stays sharp for ages and has a nice heft to it. I also love my rubber-bottomed Margarethe bowls that stay where I put them, even when I'm using my dough whisk!

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  22. Anonymous3:20 am BST

    Intriguing list. Agree with others, bacteria doesn't last on wood. Found this treatise on the subject:
    http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/docliver/Research/cuttingboard.htm
    In any case, I use my wooden one for bread only. DS gave me a nifty plastic one for Christmas so I use it for veggies and, occasionally, meat. Love the shape (edges and slight bowl shape to hold juices), and the offset handle on the side so I hand hold in left hand and scrape food into pan with right hand.
    Had to laugh at the timer timing yogurt. I have yogurt yogging in the oven now (old one with perpetual pilot light). You reminded me. I'm rather bad at remembering to take it out. Wish I had your timer.

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  23. Great post! Must treat myself to a wooden chopping board (a moving in present?)
    My essentials would be my Magimix food processor, painful though washing it up can be; kitchen scales; a cheap little vegetable knife (origins unknown but I use it all the time and panic if it isn't to hand); many, many of those glass jars with rubber seals; and a balloon whisk (handy for whisking flour instead of seiving it).
    Like you, the list could go on. And on...
    Sarah.

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  24. I like a wooden chopping board too, I've heard that wood has natural antibacterial properties, and it's so much nicer than anything else. I'm not sure I would trust myself with such a glorious and sharp knife, I'm quite clumsy. I do quite a bit by hand (no fancy mixer), so I'd probably include my big mixing bowl (every so often I drop it and have to buy another one) and a nice little wooden spoon with a thin handle, so I can cream that butter and sugar together easily. And I love my little flat scale that you can put your mixing bowl on to weigh - no extra scales bowl to wash. It's such a clever idea, it makes me happy all the time. And it fits so neatly into the drawer, not like the huge awkward ones. While I'm passing, I wanted to mention that there's a Laurie Lee programme on Radio 4 next week, thought you might be interested. I think it's a dramatisation of "As I Walked Out One Summer's Day" - about his time in Spain. Beautifully written, I hope the dramatisation does the writing justice. CJ xx

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  25. I couldn't agree more Sue and all of those are a must for me too, though I haven't used a non stick sheet for lining - I buy baking paper, but it does look very handy...especially when you run out of the paper.

    Nina x

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  26. I have had the same chef's knife for over 20 years. It's Japanese and I think I would be rendered totally unable to cook if anything ever happened to it. I'm very loyal to my kitchen equipment. Might have to blog about it someday, because this was a great post.

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  27. Sharp knife, wooden chopping board, zester, wooden spoons & box grater!

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  28. Pati from London8:38 pm BST

    I would have to say.... wooden spoons, kettle, cheese grater, Duromatic pressure cooker and a good non stick frying pan or wok

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  29. CJ is right about the natural antibacterial properties of wood. A few years ago, studies by scientist showed that wood inhibited the growth of bacteria, and therefore it is more sanitary than plastic.

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