Kitchen Tools & Hacks
These are really kitchen tools rather than hacks that I couldn’t live without in the kitchen.
Tools that can be used for multiple tasks and make my life easier. Some cut down on washing up some just make like easier. There wouldn’t be enough time in the day to talk about all my favourite kitchen gadgets and tools but the few below are my most used and favourites.
We will start with a microplane a usually long strip of grater that grates very finely. I do prefer, the type that have a fine grater and course grater part as this combines two tools in one for me. I’m always thinking about the washing up. It has a multitude of uses in my kitchen from zesting citrus fruits, grating cheese, mincing ginger and the thing I do most with it is mince garlic directly into pans and sauces. I push down on the garlic to crack it, makes removing the paper skin easy then mince it directly over a pan a wallop on the side of the pan releases all the pungent mush from the underside. This is much easier to clean than a garlic press and much more convenient than using salt, chopping board and blade of a knife to make a paste or getting the pestle and mortar out.
I used to buy kitchen shears, essentially these were just scissor that cost a bit more. I have wised up when I realised just how often these went missing. You know how most people complain that they can never keep the house stocked with teaspoons this is how I am with scissors. Don’t ask me where they go. These make life much easier and again save on washing up. If you are concerned that they might not be as strong as kitchen shears let me reassure you that I have been using them for years for cutting the spine out of chickens when I spatchcock them, right through bones they chop with ease and I have never had a pair break. I find these particularly useful when cooking for myself rather than getting knives and chopping boards out I will snip bacon, chicken, herbs or whatever else needs it directly into the pan. One note on washing if using a dishwasher open the scissors wide so that the blades can be disinfected and place in the cutlery baskets.
I store all my everyday oils in bottles by the hob. I know people would be irate by this as the temperature fluctuates a lot right by the hob. I have never had a problem with any of my oils losing flavour or going rancid and I have been doing this for many years. I have garlic oil, olive oil, rapeseed oil, vegetable oil and extra virgin olive oil. Now handy as it is to have these oils by the hob the hack here is using bottle pourers the kind that bartenders have. This way you aren’t wrestling with screw caps when you need oil, which when you have hands covered in raw chicken or meat is a huge advantage. Besides, just like scissors do caps not seem to disappear the second they are left down?
These Half-moon shaped choppers are intimidating to look at but that is only to look at. You can feel reassured that it would be very difficult to cut yourself with one of these as both hands need to be engaged on the handles to operate it. These are fantastic for anyone that lacks confidence with their knife skills, it makes chopping items very easy. This is probably one of the hardest to find items on my list. However, thanks to Nigella Lawson’s influence these can be found in a lot of shops that sell kitchenware. Be careful when buying these as there is many cheap gimmicky one that are useless the two brands that I highly recommended are Victorinox which do one that is very sharp and a good size the only downside is the wooden handles. Although, I have had mine for years and the handles are still in pristine condition and the other I would recommend is Nigella Lawson’s Living Kitchen Mezzaluna it is a very heavy steel one handles and all. They are no longer made so you will have to pick one up second hand or through eBay/Amazon they are available frequently at reasonable prices on these sites. It is also worth noting that if buying the Nigella version that there is also a cutting board counter part which is excellent for using with this knife it is a simple oval shaped board with a hollow in the centre that contains the food being chopped. This knife and board are always what I pull out when chopping nuts or large quantities of herbs.