Author Topic: favouritekitchenthings  (Read 20621 times)

ian

  • why would any decent person have such thoughts?
favouritekitchenthings
« on: 08 June, 2021, 10:02:42 pm »
Apropos of sous-vide, which I think is basically a foot spa you are using to cook food (and I don't have either, but if someone gives me an excuse), I asked myself what are the best things in my kitchen:

  • new stainless steel pans - non-stick had made me lazy, these are awesome.
  • salad spinner – combines dry salad leaves and, as a bonus, terrifies Bad Cat (you don't even need to put her in it).
  • pizza stones – I'd almost given up trying to cook decent pizza in a normal oven, and while they don't capture the Pele-approved volcanism of a proper oven, they thrilled my Saturday nights so much that I now need a new cooker element installed.
  • Magimix – I don't eat cakes and stuff so don't need a monster food processor, but this little Gallic chopper looked underwhelming for the price (I only bought it because it's red, and for reasons everything in my kitchen has to be either red or stainless steel, but it's very good for everything from guacamole and hummus to awesome burgers and Thai fishcakes that – trust me – you would sacrifice your children for).
  • A proper adjustable mandolin – perfectly wafer-thin sliced fennel. I eat a lot of fennel.
  • Slow cooker. I think it cost about £12 twenty years ago and makes splendid casseroles and improperly good tagines.
  • Cuisinart coffee robot. I don't do fancy coffee, this makes filter coffee from beans and does it well. The first bonus I ever got in a real job, I bought one of these. It died after about fifteen years and so I replaced it. It makes mornings bearable. My big fear for the apocalypse is that it will be followed by a coffee drought.

There's probably some other stuff, but really I could probably bin most of the stuff in my kitchen and get away with these and the oven/hob.
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Pingu

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Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #1 on: 08 June, 2021, 10:33:27 pm »
...Magimix...

OT: that word always makes me think of Ivan Dobsky the Meat Safe Murderer (Only I Never Done It).

As you were...

Mrs Pingu

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Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #2 on: 08 June, 2021, 10:36:27 pm »
Ok I'll bite.
  • pizza steel - like the pizza stone but unbreakable (I think it cooks better too)
  • Brod & Taylor bread proofer. Makes many cinnamon buns
  • The (new) blender attached to our 27 year old food processor. Pingu makes piña colada in it :thumbsup:
  • The bottle opener. Does beer as well as wine
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

hellymedic

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Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #3 on: 08 June, 2021, 10:55:56 pm »
My Baby Boa Constrictor strap wrench.

Means EVERY and jar is openable, without damaging the top/lid.

Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #4 on: 08 June, 2021, 11:09:21 pm »
I bought a salad spinner,  I think I've used it twice.  I'm just not that fond of leaves. 


The Bamix stick blender that I got 2nd hand on Ebay is used fairly regularly for pesto, hummus & sauces.  The Slicesy attachment that turns it into a mini food processor less frequently. (burgers & meatballs last week)


Rice cooker & slow cooker went to the recycling centre.  The 3L Instant Pot pressure cooker however is used several times a week.  Rice & veg mainly, stews & stuff when I'm feeling ambitious. 


Swan stainless steel kettle.  Over 30 years old & still helping to wake me up in the morning. 


Opinel kitchen knives.  The little carbon steel paring knives are very useful, the big chefs knife does the job & the bread knife is excellent.



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Basil

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Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #5 on: 08 June, 2021, 11:12:18 pm »
The one knife that I keep stupidly sharp.
Admission.  I'm actually not that fussed about cake.

Mr Larrington

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Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #6 on: 08 June, 2021, 11:27:56 pm »
Apropos of sous-vide, which I think is basically a foot spa you are using to cook food (and I don't have either, but if someone gives me an excuse), I asked myself what are the best things in my kitchen:

  • […] mandolin

OT: whereas this word always makes me think of Vivian Stanshall on Tubular Bells.  As does “pangolin”.  I'd pay good money to watch Mike Oldfield trying to play a pangolin.
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Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #7 on: 08 June, 2021, 11:29:15 pm »
Istheresomehiddenreasonwhyallthewordsinthethreadtitlearerammedtogetherordidian'skeyboardsufferabriefspacebarglitch?
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Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #8 on: 08 June, 2021, 11:33:19 pm »
As Basil says, the Very Sharp Knife. And my lame, with Inspirational Motto, that my Young Lady gave to me:
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #9 on: 09 June, 2021, 12:12:59 am »
The one knife that I keep stupidly sharp.

On a similar note, the one cheap generic serrated knife with which I can cut cheese consistently.  I've never found another that works quite as well.

While we're on the subject of cheese, the crackers-shaped Tupperware box I filched from my parents when I first went to university.  It does one thing, and has been doing it well for decades.

Current kettle's not bad, now I've modified it to not have stupid 50Hz flickering BLUE LEDs.  Ergonomics are decent.  It won't last, though, it's too modern.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #10 on: 09 June, 2021, 08:29:21 am »
Apropos of sous-vide, which I think is basically a foot spa you are using to cook food (and I don't have either, but if someone gives me an excuse), I asked myself what are the best things in my kitchen:

  • […] mandolin

OT: whereas this word always makes me think of Vivian Stanshall on Tubular Bells.  As does “pangolin”.  I'd pay good money to watch Mike Oldfield trying to play a pangolin.

I think ian means a mandoline. One of those words where the subtle addition of a single letter makes a big difference to the meaning*. But I’m not ruling out the possibility that he slices his fennel with a musical instrument accompanied by Viv Stanshall commentary - it’s an appealing mental image.

Aside from “the one knife”, which should be the star of any kitchen, I will also nominate my Thermapen as being worthy of mention here - so useful for any temperature-critical culinary operation.

What’s salad spinner? Does lettuce taste better if you make it dizzy first?

*see also silicon/silicone
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #11 on: 09 June, 2021, 08:42:45 am »
Damascus steel knives x 2.
The carbon steel one can be honed to stupidly sharp. The stainless one less so.
Stainless pans (Non Teflon) mostly over 30 years old, a mix of John Lewis own brand and some Danish designer from Divertimenti - all of them as good in use as they were when I first bought them.
Cuisipro chemically/photo-etched box grater. Think box made out of Microplane.
Peugeot pepper mill.

Oh! Nearly forgot. Global kitchen shears. They have a lever for broaching the vacuum on sealed glass jars, a round grippy thing for gripping round things which won't turn, and one of the blades is lightly serrated - so that is doesn't slip when you are cutting slippy chicken.

Oh, And my gralefruit knife.
Gralefruit = typo in the lunchtime menu of one of the episodes of Fawlty Towers.

Tim Hall

  • Victoria is my queen
Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #12 on: 09 June, 2021, 08:58:00 am »
Opinel kitchen knives.  The little carbon steel paring knives are very useful, the big chefs knife does the job & the bread knife is excellent.

Opinel kitchen knives you say? Ooh, there's interesting. I shall have a gander.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #13 on: 09 June, 2021, 09:11:13 am »
The most useful thing I have is a Breville hot water dispenser
https://www.breville.co.uk/breakfast/hot-water-dispensers/hotcup-with-variable-dispense-gloss-black/VKJ318-01.html#start=3

Mrs Scum has weak hands and could not lift a kettle of boiling water. It is easy to put a cup below the spout of this thing and get a cuppa by just pressing a button.
Also comes in super useful when you need hot water for making soups or pasta - just use a jug to transfer the hot water to your pot.

ian

  • why would any decent person have such thoughts?
Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #14 on: 09 June, 2021, 09:43:44 am »
Apropos of sous-vide, which I think is basically a foot spa you are using to cook food (and I don't have either, but if someone gives me an excuse), I asked myself what are the best things in my kitchen:

  • […] mandolin

OT: whereas this word always makes me think of Vivian Stanshall on Tubular Bells.  As does “pangolin”.  I'd pay good money to watch Mike Oldfield trying to play a pangolin.

I think ian means a mandoline. One of those words where the subtle addition of a single letter makes a big difference to the meaning*. But I’m not ruling out the possibility that he slices his fennel with a musical instrument accompanied by Viv Stanshall commentary - it’s an appealing mental image.

Aside from “the one knife”, which should be the star of any kitchen, I will also nominate my Thermapen as being worthy of mention here - so useful for any temperature-critical culinary operation.

What’s salad spinner? Does lettuce taste better if you make it dizzy first?

*see also silicon/silicone

According to my very big OED subscription, mandolin is an accepted spelling (the original British spelling, -e came from the US), though I know someone would seize on the confusion and imagine me attacking fennel with a string instrument. I know I did. You could probably slice an egg with one.

I have a boring modestly cheap knife, that I swipe with a boring knife sharpener before each use, and it cuts as well as I need any knife to.

The salad spinner is like a colander in a bowl with the plunger. You put your soggy salad in the colander and plung plung plung till the colander spins at a high rate of knots, flinging the water off the leaves. Bad Cat scarpers the moment it comes out of the cupboard (not sure why, it's not noisy, unlike her other kitchen nemesis, Mademoiselle Magimix). I know the other solution to soggy greens is not to eat them, but I like my greens. Not sure how else to dry them without a faff.
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #15 on: 09 June, 2021, 10:13:45 am »
According to my very big OED subscription, mandolin is an accepted spelling (the original British spelling, -e came from the US)

Mandoline is from the French, surely? It being a French invention. Or so I've always assumed... A quick bit of googling throws up much folklore but few hard facts, so that may be nonsense.

Quote
I know someone would seize on the confusion

This is yacf. It's what we do.

Quote
I have a boring modestly cheap knife, that I swipe with a boring knife sharpener before each use, and it cuts as well as I need any knife to.

Tbh, I think a good chef's knife is as much about the size, shape and weight as the sharpness of the blade. It needs to feel balanced in your hand. The one I use certainly fits this description. It's a Richardson of Sheffield*, which my wife has had since before I knew her. Must be over 30 years old. Not absolute top of the range stuff - wouldn't have been cheap, but not outrageously expensive either. Just a dependable, well-made knife. Other knives have come and gone over the years, but this one endures. (It's part of a set - the carving knife also still sees regular use for Sunday joints, and the filleting knife is also excellent, though used less often.)

Quote
The salad spinner is like a colander in a bowl with the plunger. You put your soggy salad in the colander and plung plung plung till the colander spins at a high rate of knots, flinging the water off the leaves. Bad Cat scarpers the moment it comes out of the cupboard (not sure why, it's not noisy, unlike her other kitchen nemesis, Mademoiselle Magimix). I know the other solution to soggy greens is not to eat them, but I like my greens. Not sure how else to dry them without a faff.

Using a salad spinner sounds like a lot of faff to me. I usually just leave the lettuce to drain in a colander after washing. Maybe shake it a little to help get rid of any excess, but certainly doesn't need a special gadget for the job.


*the internet tells me the name now exists only as a brand owned by another company.  ::-)
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #16 on: 09 June, 2021, 10:24:25 am »
As a small boy I loved the opportunity to spin the salad at my grandmother's.

We used to drain the salad in a colander, until I spotted a spinner in the supermarket and bought it much to Mrs Nutty's confusion.  Then the light dawned and she realised the benefit of a properly washed but dry salad.  Washed, then dried, then on the plate within seconds.

The mini-Nuttys now love to spin the salad as I did way back when I was their size.

T42

  • Patron saint of the dry joint
Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #17 on: 09 June, 2021, 10:27:14 am »
My Baby Boa Constrictor strap wrench.

Means EVERY and jar is openable, without damaging the top/lid.

I've often thought of buying a second one, to hold the jar itself.
I've dusted off all those old bottles and set them up straight

T42

  • Patron saint of the dry joint
Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #18 on: 09 June, 2021, 10:39:08 am »
Using a salad spinner sounds like a lot of faff to me. I usually just leave the lettuce to drain in a colander after washing. Maybe shake it a little to help get rid of any excess, but certainly doesn't need a special gadget for the job.

My dad used to put the salad in a clean tea-towel and whirl it round his head in the garden.  My mum did not approve: "be your age!"

---o0o---

One of my favourite kitchen things is a plain straight wooden spatula with the business end cut on the slant.  My standard tools for sautée-ing anything are that in one hand and a sharp dessert fork in the other.

Another is a portable gas burner - we haven't got town gas here - that I use for the wok.  I don't like our wok, though: it has a broad flat bottom and is no good for proper stir-frying. I want a 2-handled round-bottom one with a ring.
I've dusted off all those old bottles and set them up straight

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #19 on: 09 June, 2021, 10:40:04 am »
a properly washed but dry salad

Lettuce is over 90% water. A few more drops on the surface of the leaves surely doesn't make much difference?
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • why would any decent person have such thoughts?
Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #20 on: 09 June, 2021, 10:57:13 am »
According to my very big OED subscription, mandolin is an accepted spelling (the original British spelling, -e came from the US)

Mandoline is from the French, surely? It being a French invention. Or so I've always assumed... A quick bit of googling throws up much folklore but few hard facts, so that may be nonsense.

It probably is French, which traversed the Atlantic to the US (it's the OED, so English definitions). Actually, I couldn't remember how to spell it, so I asked the computer, and it suggested both, so I picked the one that I knew one of you would confuse. I would be suitably terrified of a woman with a silicon breast implant, of course.

Trust me on the dry salad, it's revelatory, you can't properly dress wet leaves. I eat a couple of salads a week, so it sees literally heavy rotation. It's also good for chef's bane (aka coriander, which when wet and chopped, sticks to every bloody thing, hence the name). I've never found leaving lettuce and leaves to drain to be successful. My other approach is to stick them through the cat flap and shake, but that just distributes bits of salad across the patio. A splendid Nicoise was served last night, pan-seared tuna, jersey new potatoes, steamed green beans, semi-hard boiled eggs on a bed of washed and dried and dressed spinach and some other chopped salad veg. Crisped up some capers in the pan, added tarragon, a little dijon mustard, and oil. Let that cool, add creme fraiche, and then dress the salad with it. The only thing that would have improved it was eating it outside a cafe in the south of France rather than our living room.

The all-round chef's knife I use is from Sheffield too, it's been around for a while as I bought it when I lived in Sheffield.
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Kim

  • Timelord
Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #21 on: 09 June, 2021, 11:01:47 am »
The most useful thing I have is a Breville hot water dispenser
https://www.breville.co.uk/breakfast/hot-water-dispensers/hotcup-with-variable-dispense-gloss-black/VKJ318-01.html#start=3

Mrs Scum has weak hands and could not lift a kettle of boiling water. It is easy to put a cup below the spout of this thing and get a cuppa by just pressing a button.

What's the temperature like?  Barakta may be in the market for such a thing, for broadly similar reasons.

ravenbait

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Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #22 on: 09 June, 2021, 12:33:54 pm »
a properly washed but dry salad

Lettuce is over 90% water. A few more drops on the surface of the leaves surely doesn't make much difference?

It stops dressing adhering properly.

Anyway. My kitchen is full of things, including a salad spinner. My favourites, in no particular order:

  • Japanese fuzzy logic rice cooker. Makes perfect rice every time. Can also make cakes.
  • 30 year old Dutch oven, for which I finally have a bread recipe that produces a perfectly sprung, beautifully crumbed, moist loaf every time.
  • My knives. All of them. A collection of Global and a couple of damascus. Plus the 4 grades of whet stone and leather strop to keep them sharp (with the diamond steel for a quick buff in between times).
  • Kitchen Aid. Didn't think we'd use it as much as we do, but now I've got arthritis in my hands and wrists, I can't knead for as long as I used to.
  • Also love my La Cloche for bread making. Wish I had one of the long thin ones for making sandwich loafs.
  • Cheap Tesco's drip filter coffee maker, without which I doubt I'd make it through the day.

The mandoline I had was terrible and I freecycled it. Never got around to replacing it, but I keep meaning to. I will carry on slicing potatoes by hand for my dauphinoise until I do.

Sam
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"Created something? Hah! But that would be irresponsible! And unethical! I would never, ever make... more than one."

ian

  • why would any decent person have such thoughts?
Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #23 on: 09 June, 2021, 01:00:15 pm »
I could slice my fennel with a knife and probably get the same effect, but there's something curiously satisfying about doing it on the mandolin(e). I blame those rhythmic hand motions. Mademoiselle Magimix will do it for me (slicing, not rhythmic hand motions, she's might be French but she's not that kind of girl, not unless you want to end up in A&E), but it's too much faff having to wash the bowl and attachment.

It's ideal for veg in salad or on top of a pizza, especially as you can vary the thickness, fennels can be relatively thin, but courgette and watery veg need to the thicker or they turn to sludge.
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ravenbait

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Re: favouritekitchenthings
« Reply #24 on: 09 June, 2021, 01:08:08 pm »
I do intend to get one eventually, although I find doing it by hand very satisfying.

I forgot to add my Atlas pasta machine to my list. I love fresh pasta. My favourite is ravioli stuffed with haggis and egg yolk in a brown butter, sage and walnut sauce.

Sam
https://ravenbait.com
"Created something? Hah! But that would be irresponsible! And unethical! I would never, ever make... more than one."