By Jane Gibb
Do you have kitchen implements you can’t live without? As a cook and a food lover I spend much of my time in the kitchen. My kitchen implements can be my best friend. Quite frankly I’m a little attached.
The best utensils and equipment make cooking a joy. Personally, I love an artisan’s touch. So I search out implements that are the best in quality and design or handmade, where possible, locally produced and made with a ‘green consciousness’ in mind.
Here are my five favourites:
Wooden salad servers
My handmade wooden salad servers are made by John Langford, a regular Griffins Hill visitor, retired professor and wood-working hobbyist. They are lightweight (only 92 grams per pair) and are a joy to hold. Carved from the off-cuts of a Celery Top Pine – a Tasmanian Timber – and finished with a food-friendly oil, these salad servers are a reminder of how traditional craftsmanship can be applied to create a simple and practical kitchen implement. The fact that it is fully biodegradable is just a bonus – it means no plastic in the ocean.
Wooden pot stirrer
Excellent for stirring anything in a pot or pan, including roasting seeds, or scraping chopped vegetables from the blender, or even serving frittata and omelettes – I use this wooden spoon daily. Discovered at a Hamilton-based craft market and made of Jarrah wood, it weighs 36 grams and is only a few millimetres thick. The edges are curved and worn from use, and once it almost caught fire but the scarred edge only adds to the character of the tool. There’s no throw away plastic. I’ve had this for three years now, and I am sure it will last for many more.
Cuisipro serrated peeler
Fast, and nice to hold, this peeler is strong and very hard to break. No need to worry about throwing away a plastic peeler every few months. The blade is replaceable too. I have owned this peeler for about seven years and replaced the blade only once.
If you haven’t used a micro-plane before, get onto it. It grates ginger, orange rind, cheese, nutmeg and more, with ease. Perhaps not as eco-friendly as my other handcrafted utensils, I’ve been using this implement for about six months and it’s been very useful.
This is my must-have! Although it seemed absurdly expensive at the time, my Kenwood Chef has repaid the investment again and again. With an induction cook plate and temperature controls, the Kenwood automatically heats and stirs food. An inbuilt timer means you can set your temperature and let it do the cooking. It will cook a three litre soup. After 40 minutes, it will turn off by itself, so I can go out and garden and know the soup will not burn. My favourite fad at the moment is making damson plumb ice-cream using the ice-cream churner function. We use the Jesse family’s summer plumbs for ingredients. The Kenwood has a grinding attachment I use to grind all the spices so they are fresh and ready to add to any dish. Frank uses the Kenwood to knead his marvellous sour-dough breads. He attaches the dough hook for no-fuss bread mixing. The Kenwood makes custard and sauces, and so much more. There’s not much it can’t make. I’ve owned this for three years now, and I expect this to last at least another 20 years!
It’s funny how attached we come to the objects we use every day simply because they do their job, and do it well. In return, I look after them carefully so that when I come into the kitchen, my utensils are at the ready and we can enjoy another harmonious, creative day together.
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