Whether you run a top restaurant in the middle of town or simply fancy yourself the master of your own kitchen, these five things should help overcome even the smallest problems you could face…
Spiral cutter – This magical tool works a little bit like a pencil sharpener for vegetables. It allows you to create long, julienne strips of vegetables like courgettes and carrots. You can use it to add texture and interest to salads, decorate and garnish a dinner party favourite, or it’s great for creating a pasta substitute – particularly handy if you are on a low carbohydrate diet. Spiral cut courgette makes a healthy, tasty alternative to linguine or spaghetti with a bolognese sauce. Some spiral cutters don’t even need to be taken apart to wash. You simply put it straight in the dishwasher.
Garlic twisting tool – If you’ve ever used a garlic press you’ll know how frustrating it is when you squeeze the handles together and the mashed garlic either stays inside blocking the holes it is supposed to appear through or pulps out over the sides. You then have to use a knife to scrape out the mangled mess. Not very successful. And chopping garlic is tricky. Unless you are very skilled with a knife, it’s hard to get it fine enough. A garlic twisting tool however is infinitely quicker and easier. Simply cut off the ends of the clove to peel then put it in the twisting device and twist away. Perfectly minced garlic every time with no residue and best of all - most twisting tools are dishwasher safe!
Glass measuring bowl – So much better than a jug because you can measure and mix in it. Many come with a silicone lid so when making pizzas, loaves or rolls you can prove dough in it. Look for one with a moulded pouring spout to minimise drips. They are usually microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe. To ensure the glass stays shiny and the measures easy to read use Finish Shine and Protect, which will help prevent the glass becoming cloudy.
Measuring spoons – You might think ‘I have a tablespoon and teaspoon in the drawer, why do I need a special set?’ But how do you guess a quarter of a teaspoon? Spoon sizes are rarely standard. As you may have discovered to your detriment, too much or too little of anything – especially when it comes to baking – can be the difference between success and failure. Instead invest in a set of five measuring spoons stored together on a lockable ring. They’ll come in measures of 1/8 teaspoon to a tablespoon. Opt for ones with a narrow head that will easily fit into slim spice jars and a long handle, making them easier to use.
Flexible chopping boards – These tough, durable chopping mats are less than half a millimeter thick allowing you to bend them to funnel whatever you prepare on them into a bowl, saucepan or the waste bin. They usually come in packs of five and are colour-coded for fish, meat, poultry, bread and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination. And you can help keep them in hygienically pristine condition by putting them in the dishwasher. Always use Finish Rinse Aid: Shine and Protect which will help to deal with any spots and watermarks on plastic surfaces, including in hard water areas, as well as speeding up the drying process, so they’re ready for you the next time you need them.