Kitchen Gadgets: The luxe edition

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.


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31 thoughts on “Kitchen Gadgets: The luxe edition

  1. I can second the le creuset casserole dish, I love.mine , so easy to brown off meat on the hob and then stick it in the oven.

  2. Completely agree with the Kitchen Aid / Kenwood Chef! My mum was given a kenwood chef as a wedding present 34 and a half years ago and it is still going strong!

  3. Oh no, my lust for a red Kitchen Aid is back with a bang! It was particularly bad before Christmas when it appeared on all cookery shows and in the John Lewis advert but since then I had managed to suppress it…until now! If only they weren’t quite so expensive…

  4. I too am a big fan of Le Creuset – I have a casserole dish and 3 saucepans and they really will last a lifetime. My casserole is a 20″ one though, and I have been lusting after the really large size for AGES! It will be mine.

    One thing I do have to say though is that the saucepans are ridiculously heavy when they’re full, particularly the large size. This is less of a problem with the casserole dishes as they have two handles. I don’t mind though, if I don’t feel like making the effort to lift it/taking the risk of dinner ending up on the floor, I just get my husband to lend a hand!

    The Kitchenaid mixer is also a primary object of gadget-lust for me. I got a Kitchenaid blender from my mother-in-law as a wedding present and I love it, it does everything! It chops, purees, liquidises, and crushes ice with no effort whatsoever (this may not sound impressive but I can’t tell you the number of blenders I have burnt out the motor on in the past), and it has a large capacity. You can turn it on and leave it, instead of having to hold the lid on, and, best of all, it comes completely apart for cleaning purposes so cleaning the blade and seal is really easy. One day, the mixer will be mine too and I will be a fully equipped Nigella-esque domestic goddess, only without the same level of cooking skill! Only thing is, I REALLY REALLY want the copper coloured mixer, and for some cruel and bizarre reason it’s only available in the US. If they ever lauch it over here it’ll be a dealbreaker for me and I will immediately throw caution to the wind and go into serious debt to own one!

    Sorry for the long post but Esme is like a kitchen fairy goddess who has bewitched me into fantasising about my dream gadgets. This will last for hours on end. Now off to check out Kitchenaid accessories online and decide which ones I will buy when I own the mixer!!

    • Glad I got it right Tracy! I completely agree about the Le Creuset saucepans – I have to get my husband to drain the pasta when I’m using the biggest one! Our saucepans do have two handles tho, which is good.

  5. No no no! Both these items are my kitchen kryptonite! I have been mooning after a kitchen aid for years and am still trying to work out how and when I could afford one. Martin’s Nana had a Kenwood chef which she’s owned for a bazillion years, which is now in our possession. It will still be ok to use…right?!
    And le Creuset is just awesome, brilliant quality stuff. I’ve started to buy one item at a time. The first being a spoon holder pot thingy. Maybe I should graduate to actual pans and things!!


  6. We got that red Kitchen Aid for a wedding present! And I looooove it. Four words, ladies – ice cream maker attachment. Seriously, we’ve barely made anything except ice creams and sorbets ever since we unwrapped it, and they’ve been absolutely incredible.

    We’ve been so obsessed with the ice cream that I haven’t even used the beautiful machine to make a cake yet! Is it good for pastry? Better than a food processor? Oh and it does fantastic mashed potatoes too – just chuck them in and turn it on, easy peasy.

    Lovely post, thanks Rebecca and Esme!

  7. I just bought the Sainsbury’s version of the Le Creuset dish, it is pretty much the same for a small fraction of the price (was 30% when I bought it) – definitely worth a look if you can’t part with quite that much money!

  8. I love my Kitchen Aid (I have the onyx one). It was a wedding present from my parents. We’ve only had it 2 months, but it’s already worth it’s considerable weight ( you really can’t lift it!) in gold. We make bread all the time and I can second how easy peasy it makes cake baking. It also looks HOT, instantly making my kitchen a far more stylish place to be. You also become the envy of all your friends!
    I also have a full set of Le Creuset pans and the deep casserole dish. I would never buy anything else now as they are AMAZING!! They are easy to clean, look good and will last years. My mum and mother-in-law still have theirs from 30yrs ago and they are still going strong! So on a cost per use basis I think that they are a bargain (good justification huh?!). Try looking in an outlet shop for them at a more budget friendly price. We got our saucepans from one and honestly I can’t see a fault. They still look and function exactly the same.
    I was lusting after the Kitchen Aid blender anyway but now it’s ten times worse, thanks Tracy. 🙂

    • LOL glad to be of service Alex! If it’s any consolation I am very jealous of your mixer. 🙂

      And you’re right to warn people that Kitchenaid stuff weighs a ton – I actually dropped my blender when I first took it out of the box! It was fine though, thankfully.

  9. I have Le Creuset shallow dish, and I have to agree. It is so useful. We use ours all the time too.

    I love baking, but I just couldn’t bring myself to shell out the sort of money for a KitchenAid. I also enjoy the mixing part, so I only needed a processor for when I don’t have much time. I have a Kenwood Prospero, which I use to mix cakes and pastry, and it does the job really well. It also makes a brilliant coleslaw, and fruit/vegetable juices too etc. It’s not as pretty as the Kitchen Aid, and a tad smaller, but it only costs £160. If anyone can’t afford the Kitchen Aid, I can recommend the Prospero as a cheaper alternative.

  10. Morning ladies! I feel the need to apologise for the lust this post has inspired. I have a Kitchen Aid too… in cream, and it is my favourite thing in the whole world (exaggerating much? no.) Well, at least in the kitchen. Its for exactly the same reason Esme gives – you just chuck the ingredients in, whack it on and let it do its thing, making you look like some kind of kitchen goddess, when you are in fact a time poor stressed working woman!

    I’ve been put off Le Creuset in the past because of the weight but I love things that go the distance so you never know, I might be inspired one day…

    Thanks Esme!

  11. I want a Kitchen Aid more than can possibly be normal. I spend hours stroking them in shops until sales assistants chase me away. Luckily my sister used to work in a specialist baking shop and would let me spend my lunchtimes wandering about, lost in kitchen lust. Ahem. Anyway, I have put a Kitchen Aid on our wedding list. It’s genuinely 3-times as expensive as anything else on there and I sort of doubt we’ll get it. I remain hopeful though.

    I do have a food processor at home though, and I adore it. I can’t imagine how much more I would adore a Kitchen Aid.

    My Mum has a Le Creuset casserole dish from when she got married 31 years ago. It’s still going strong. And she still glares if you approach it with a metal spoon. I inherited a Le Creuset frying pan from my Grandpa though and that thing is a bugger to lift. Handy if I ever need to KO an intruder though, I imagine.

    K x

    • Katielase, we got our Kitchen Aid from vouchers as wedding gifts. We put it on our wedding list but knew no-one would buy it. Instead lots of people bought vouchers and said that they wanted us to buy it. My advice is start hinting now…

      You will probably be surprised at how generous people will be with wedding presents, actually. Tom’s cousin bought us a whole box of cutlery – we couldn’t believe it!


      • We did exactly the same Esme, put it on the list so people could see what we were going to buy and then used vouchers. Ditto on the cutlery front too – a family friend bought all £250 of ours – it remains one of my favourite wedding items. nothing beats good cutlery. 🙂


  12. I have to say I am also lusting after a Kitchen aid, but on the Le Creusette front, I had read on numerous websites that sainsburys own version of the cast iron pots were the ‘Daddy’ minus the ££, so I bought one with 30% off to boot, and I adore it! My SIL has the Le Creusettes ones which i have also cooked with and you literally cannot tell the difference, infact my Sainsburys one washes better, and where the handle is screwd into the lid on my SIL is loose, whereas mine is tight as a tight thing! Might be worth a butchers for the budget conscious?

  13. I soooo want a kitchen aid!! My mum also had a kenwood chef for years and then recently my uncle gifted her their kitchen aid (which they never used?!) I have been trying to steal it but my mum isnt having any of it!! One day!

    BTW everyone – they always have lots of Le creuset in TK Maxx – its a bargain in there!! xx

  14. Pingback: Kitchen Gadgets – Part 1 – The Domestic Princess

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  16. the kitchenaid is coming and going off my wish list for like ever! in LOVE! but Im snot sure I would use it enough to justify the price.
    As for Le Creuset, Ima big fan, we also have 2 pots, a round one and this shallow one which is my BF’s fave too (he is the cook!)

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