Tools for the job

  • By
    Carol Wilson - Food writer

A good set of tools can really improve your cooking skills. What kitchen aid couldn't you live without?

Tools

Whenever I give a cookery demonstration, one of the questions I'm most frequently asked is - which kitchen utensils are essential and the most useful? Well, every cook has their own particular favourites, but there are some essential kitchen tools that I think everyone should have, which will not only improve their kitchen skills, but will also make preparation easier and make cooking more pleasurable generally.

I think it's well worth investing in good quality tools. Yes they can be expensive, but really good equipment will last for years, is satisfying to use and will give consistently good results - while on the other hand, cheap thin saucepans and baking tins for instance, will buckle easily and are likely to result in food sticking and burning.

There are some tools and Garlicpieces of equipment that I instinctively choose whenever I'm cooking; some of my favourites include non-stick silicone bakeware, which is brilliant as it doesn't need any greasing or paper lining and is perfect for baking, as cakes just pop out effortlessly. Silicone bakeware is also very versatile as it can be used in the fridge, freezer, oven and microwave and can tolerate temperatures from -40C to 240C. It's great for moulding jellies, rice and frozen desserts too.

My essential utensils include a whisk (essential for smooth sauces and batters), spaghetti server (also ideal for serving other pasta and noodles), slotted turner (perfect for draining and lifting foods), potato masher, (for mashing all sorts of foods smoothly) and a garlic press.

My favourite knives - chef's knife, paring knife and carving knife - are made from martensitic stainless steel. I find they stay sharper for longer.

Other tools which make life easier include a pestle and mortar for grinding and crushing whole spices and fresh herbs; an electric whisk to make short work of whisking egg whites, cream and cake mixtures; a deep frying thermometer to indicate when the fat is hot enough and that the temperature is maintained; a meat/poultry thermometer to check that the meat is cooked through; and, as I enjoy making sweets and preserves, a sugar/preserving thermometer which takes away the guesswork and ensures accurate temperatures.