Monday, June 7, 2010

Equipment essentials (electrical)

I think the first piece of electrical kitchen equipment everyone buys is a kettle. There are so many designs and colours available these days, we are spoiled for choice, but they vary so much in price. Some years ago I went on a bit of a spending spree and bought a beautiful brushed stainless steel kettle – I only noticed the price when I got home, it cost me nearly R1,000! Did it last any longer than its predecessor? I don’t think so, or not sufficiently to justify the price. The replacement I bought cost less than a third!

The second purchase is probably a pop-up toaster. Again they vary in price enormously. They also vary in size (2 slice or 4), finish (stainless steel, lacquer) and functionality (toast, warm, thaw, loose crumb tray). This is something else I replaced recently, though for aesthetic reasons only. My new one is a 4 by extra thick slice, with all the functions mentioned above. It makes toast, and that’s all I’m interested in – though the thicker slice does allow me to toast English muffins and crumpets without having to dig them out with a knife when they’re done. I do like the loose crumb tray, it’s a neat feature.

Microwave ovens have gained in popularity. I like the microwave/convection variety. I use the convection function for baking, grilling and browning – it’s a far smaller area to heat up than a conventional oven, so more cost effective. And, of course, the microwave function is fantastic for re-heating and steaming vegetables, or thawing something in a hurry. I wish they would invent a ‘reverse-microwave’ for rapid cooling!

The last essential on my list is a ‘blitz stick’. I use mine to part-puree soups and baby food and to make smoothies, but the box says it can make breadcrumbs, chop nuts and crush ice too.

I have a large cupboard in my kitchen, known by the family as the ‘electrical grave yard’; I can barely close the door. It contains all the stuff I have enthusiastically bought over the years, used once or twice and shelved for various reasons – they don’t do what they are supposed to do, or they are a pain to clean or I have found a quicker, cheaper, easier way to perform the task.

What is your favourite, couldn’t-live-without electrical gadget?


Helen said...

My favourite gadget is definately my 'blizter' (which I probably use everyday) and then next my electronic scales which I use religiously at almost every meal time!

I recently found some bags that you pop into the toaster to make toasted sandwiches, they can be used up to 100 times (so says the blurb) and you never have the horrid sandwich maker to clean (my toasted sandwich maker also lives in my gadget graveyard.)

My gadget graveyeard has also been home to a twice-used bread maker, but that found a new and loving home at the charity shop.

I would love an ice-cream churn and a yoghurt maker too - but perhaps they would land up in the same place ...

Sphinx said...

I have an ice-cream maker (used twice!) and a yoghurt maker (which I did use a lot, but don't anymore). I have two juicers,a smoothie maker, a coffee maker, a milkshake maker, an orange squeezer, a sandwich toaster and an electric can opener! I had a bread maker, but I passed that on to my daughter-in-law.
Those bags sound interesting - how easy are they to clean between the 100 (!) uses?
Thanks for the visit and for taking the time to leave a comment - much appreciated!

Helen said...

Very easy to clean - they turn inside out and can be washed up in soapy water or popped over the plate rack in the dishwasher!

Sphinx said...

That's useful to know, but I doubt they will make an appearance in this country anytime soon. And don't the tomato slices fall out of the sandwich?

Pixie said...

Definitely my hand blender... I love that thing! And use it for everything from soup to smoothies

Sphinx said...

Mine, too, Pixie!