This morning, we’re welcoming Esme back, with part 2 of her must-have kitchen items round up, this time tackling the opposite end of the budget. I knew Esme had a perfect take on the subject matter when I saw her first suggestion below… ‘be still my beating heart!’ No pun intended
In part 1 I introduced three non-expensive items from my kitchen. These next two are more ‘investment items’ that are, in my opinion, worth every penny.
Kichen Aid Artisan mixer. (£377-449)
I’m guessing that most people know someone who can go on and on about how much they love their stand mixer, be it a Kitchen Aid, Kenwood Chef or other. I am another one of those people. It is not a cheap piece of kit and, to be honest, it actually doesn’t do that much, but I wouldn’t give mine up for a lifetime’s supply of Ferrero Rocher. Picture this: it’s 8:30 pm and you suddenly realise that you’d promised to bring a cake into work for the charity bake sale, but Desperate Housewives is on in half an hour and you still haven’t paid the credit card bill or washed your sports bra for Zumba. Kitchen Aid to the rescue! Chuck the butter and sugar into the bowl and, whilst you find the card reader for the online banking and put your delicates in the kitchen sink to soak, it’s paler and fluffier than you would have been able to achieve after twenty arm-aching minutes. In go the eggs as you text your sister to remind her about your Dad’s birthday, flour and flavourings are added and slowly mixed in as you line the baking tray and take the ice-cream out of the freezer ready for scoffing in front of the TV. By the time the cake’s come out of the oven, the no-effort-from-you-lump-free icing will have been made and you’ve repainted your toenails.
It also makes pastry and dough without you even having to think about it – well, you have to put the ingredients in and switch it on, but that’s it. Plus, the colours it comes in are gorgeous and I promise you it will still be going strong, and be looking impressive on your counter top, in twenty years.
Le Creuset shallow casserole. (£145)
We actually have two Le Creuset casserole dishes – the absolutely frigging massive one for when we need to make soup for fifty (or bolognese for ten hungry boys) and this shallow one that I honestly use, on average, three times a week. I make everyday meals like risotto and pasta sauces in it on the hob and slightly more complex dinners such as chicken stew, using it to first brown the meat and then moving it straight into the oven. It’s more than big enough for four portions, keeps its heat really well and is nice enough to go on the table for serving. It’s my go-to pan for fry-ups and one-pot wonders, re-heating and anything that involves simmering to improve the flavour. And if I see you going near it with a metal spoon, you will not be getting seconds.
I first wanted one of these when I noticed that Nigella Lawson always seemed to be using hers in her cooking shows and now I know why. It’s only going to get better with age as it becomes more non-stick and loved and I bet I’m still using this same dish to serve up family favourites when my (not yet in existence) children come home to visit from university. Now that’s good value.
I’m looking forward to hearing about your suggestions in this category – do drop us both a comment and share your thoughts.