Kitchen Kit

Good kitchen equipment can really make or break your efforts in the kitchen. Here is what I love to use in my kitchen.

My Kitchen Aid

I’ve had my Kitchen Aid for coming up to two years now. I have to say, I thought it was newer than it was, but have checked my receipt. I don’t think I am alone in saying that I had wanted one for a very long time, and it was finally a bonus when I was working that was the catalyst to own one at last.

I liked the idea of the dough hook, as I tend to find kneading dough rather tedious being the impatient person that I am. I don’t mind it, but loose interest very quickly. I find that the results from the dough hook can be variable though, so I wouldn’t say it’s the best feature of the Kitchen Aid.

What works so well about the Kitchen Aid in my opinion, is the fact that it offers a “hands free” way of working which I love so much. I am a rather disorganized, impatient person, so when I cook, particularly when I bake, I am very bad at mise en place. It is generally a result of trying to attempt 101 things in lightening speed (such is life chez moi!), so I love the fact that you can just chuck in your ingredients and set it to mix. This works particularly well for making dairy free cakes, which can require a fair bit of mixing. I do enjoy being able to set the Kitchen Aid to mix and let it get on with it whilst I dig the next lot of ingredients required for a recipe out of the larder. Perhaps this says more about the state of my organization rather than the machine?

Another great feature along this line is the large bowl, which you can just pull out and re-attach. Again, being so scatty in the kitchen, I do like this, as I can just plonk the mixing bowl on my electric scales, set them to zero and add the next ingredient which the recipe requires. Fantastic!

When attempting a recipe in another kitchen (which happens quite a lot when up in the Cotswolds etc.), I find I really do miss my Kitchen Aid and use it a lot more than I think I do. I often just use it for making meringues or whipping cream. Although it probably generates more washing up this way, I do like not being tied to the kitchen counter as I used to be using my faithful Kenwood electric whisk. The downsides are that the machine has already become a bit clunky, which is a disappointment, given the age, and the cost. It is a very expensive piece of kit. Were it not for my bonus, I’m not sure I would own one at all…

My Magimix

I am the proud owner of a Magimix 5200, which does seem to be a piece of kitchen kit which can tackle any task you could ever throw at it. My machine has all manner of blades, which make it suitable for all types of processing and mixing imaginable. A particular plus for me is that you can actually grate root vegetables.

My Kenwood food processor (admittedly a fairly basic model) promised this, but I was only able to get it to thinly slice using the grater blade. But perhaps that was my error. The Magimix however, is very easy to use. It comes with an awful lot of blades and attachments which do take up a fair amount of storage space (fine by me, but worth considering if you have a small kitchen) but that is also the beauty of the machine, you have a gadget to do everything. I am being careful not to put any of the bowls or attachments in the dishwasher, with the intention of prolonging the life of the appliance as long as possible – I have heard that they can last 20 years plus. I’m sure the motor lasts this long, but I hope the attachments do, too.

Cuisinart blender

This Cuisinart blender is the most powerful blender I’ve ever had. It is a really excellent machine, so well made. It is incredibly solid and I particularly like the glass bowl. I make an awful lot of soups and smoothies, and my old blender regularly struggled with tasks that the Cuisinart makes look easy. An example of this are my strawberry and banana breakfast smoothies which I am rather partial to. I always buy frozen berries as they are infinitely more practical than buying fresh, and I also like how cold they make the smoothie. However frozen strawberries can be quite large and I would struggle to get them to blend. This blender also makes excellent purees and crushes ice, too, meaning it is a really powerful, durable piece of kit. For God’s sake though, please do not overfill when making soup. I made this mistake recently (again, my impatient streak coming to light) but the blender is so powerful, it literally blew the lid off and I scalded my face (losing a layer of skin) from the hot soup hitting me in the face. You have been warned!

This is my old faithful. My mother had hers for over twenty years and only replaced it as it looked frightfully retro, complete with its orange and brown box. This newer version was the first thing I bought myself after University. They are inexpensive, reliable and a fantastic first gadget in the kitchen.  I have always thought that it works fantastically well – very versatile for making all manner of cakes, bakes and for whipping cream and making meringues. I would say it’s the one thing to have if you do not have a lot of money to play with. I started my business, Go Free Foods with this a couple of years ago in my top floor flat in Balham, so I do have a rather soft spot for the good old Kenwood…