Kitchen Gadgets: The budget edition

Before we get started today, just another reminder for the Florence Finds Afternoon tea in London and Manchester – full details can be found here and I really need your invite requests and payments before the weekend so I can confirm numbers – there is still space so get in touch!

This morning we have a guest post from Esme (who recommended Mr Underhills House a while back) that grabbed my attention pretty quickly when I received it. My kitchen is bursting with kitchen paraphernalia, from an obscenely large collection of occasional dishes to coffee grinders and blenders. I’m always on the look out for something to make life easier but this post got me thinking, what would you recommend in your kitchen? Here are Esme’s top tips…

It’s fair to say that in my family, the kitchen is the most important room of the house. It’s where we spend most of our time, where our friends congregate, where problems are discussed and jokes shared over dinner, drinks, nibbles and tea and cake (not at the same time, you understand). It’s also where an embarrassingly large proportion of our money goes. You see, our kitchen cupboards are FULL of equipment, gadgets, serving bowls, things for measuring and stuff for cooking. When we were planning our wedding, we always knew that we would have an old-fashioned wedding list of things for our home (mainly the kitchen…) because that was what we wanted and we honestly do use it all, frequently (ok, my husband does have a drawer full of random cooking-related paraphernalia that he swears he cannot do without but I bet he has never used).

All of this, I think, makes me more than qualified to recommend just a few kitchen items that I think are incredibly useful, worth the cost and will look lovely in your kitchen.

Alessi Storage Jar (12.50)
You would think it would be easy enough to find a storage jar for coffee that will go in the fridge. Well let me tell you that it is actually not that easy, as I had been looking for one for years! It had to be big enough to store sufficient ground coffee – we buy Fair Trade beans and grind it ourselves every few weeks – have a good seal to keep it fresh, not contain any metal and look nice. The Alessi jar fulfils all of my criteria, as well as being able to go in the dishwasher, is not easily breakable as it’s acrylic rather than glass and comes in lots of different colours to match other items in your kitchen. I love it and don’t think I will ever find a better jar for the job.

Microplane Grater (£23)
When our old Ikea grater finally gave up the ghost (you know the one, with the plastic tub and the two different lids?) and wasn’t so much grating cheese as just denting it and we realised that our rusty metal stand-up grater wasn’t exactly hygienic, I finally gave in to my husband’s requests to buy a seemingly ridiculously expensive Microplane grater. ‘It will change our lives’, he declared as I baulked at the £23 price tag, in comparison to £1.50 for a replacement for our Ikea one. So whilst our new grater doesn’t pay the gas bill and hasn’t fixed the condensation problem with our bedroom window, I have to admit that it’s really, really good. It’s super sharp (and will remain so for many years) making grating cheese, zesting lemons and making chocolate sprinkles effortless. All it needs is a quick rinse after using (watch your fingers!) and it’s not at all bulky. Trust me, you won’t believe how good this is until you try it.

Microwaveable Rice Cooker (£8)
We’ve used one of these for years and won’t make rice using anything else. Why would you when it takes much less effort and time than making it in a saucepan and always gives perfect results? We are such fans of this steamer (you can also use it for vegetables and fish) that several of our friends have received them as house-warming presents. Don’t say we’re not thoughtful…

Now it’s your turn. I’m dying to hear what you can think of in your kitchen that is under £25 and you wouldn’t be without… I’m looking forward to picking up some more tips!


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25 thoughts on “Kitchen Gadgets: The budget edition

  1. Mine would be a slow cooker. Ours is a table large version but you can pick then up for less than £25. It’s brilliant, especially in winter. I stick cheap cuts of meat, cheap plonk and veg in it at 6am and it’s a delicious melt in your mouth stew when you get home at 11pm all cold and teary. Cheap cuts work better because the fat keeps them moist.

  2. I second the microplane grater. Life changing1 we have the blue one and a red one for larger gratings (is that a word?).

    I love my measuring spoons. £3.50 from M&S – they’re brightly coloured and have proved themselves to be a bit of a life saver.

  3. Oooh I have a few little gadgets I wouldn’t be without, mainly purchased from a couple of Pampered Chef parties….

    These adjustable measuring spoons are a godsend, and save space in my already cluttered cutlery drawer!

    This potato masher is the mother of all potato mashers, I never thought it would work…but it does

    This mixing bowl with a handle balances nicely on my hip whilst stirring and makes me feel like a fifties housewife when i’m baking cakes! 😉

    Also couldn’t live without my silicone egg pods or my pyrex measuring shot glass! 🙂 xx

      • I’m so glad someone else pretends to be a 50’s housewife in the kitchen! I draw the line at putting rollers in my hair whilst cooking though!x

  4. My Salter digital scales. The chemist in me could never stomach those measuring scales that are so wildly inaccurate you might as well not bother. I love them. And they use them on Masterchef and Great British Bake Off. If that isn’t a seal of approval then I don’t know what is 😉

  5. Nearly everything in our kitchen, is under £25.

    I like my baking trays, mixing bowls, scales, frying pan, roasting dish, knifes. Um. I’m no good at this. I only buy budget.

    I don’t have a microwave, but have never known any different, so don’t miss it.

    My favourite kitchen item, which is slightly unusual is our paella pan.

  6. I couldn’t be without my handblender. They’re cheap, quick and easy to use. Great for soups, sauces and just recently my little girls puree’s. Mine also comes with a mini food processor attachment with is great for finely chopping garlic, chillies, ginger etc.

  7. I already own those Alessi storage jars and a Microplane grater (which I can confirm is the king of all graters!). I also have those tub graters from Ikea, which I still use for grating cheddar to put on the table for sprinkling purposes. However I wouldn’t be without my Microplane for lemon zesting and the grating of chocolate, ginger, garlic…the list goes on!

    Other kitchen essentials under £25: I second the calls for digital scales and measuring spoons above. Also, I love my Joseph Joseph lemon reamer – a much better option than sticking a fork in the middle of half a lemon and squeezing, which is what I was doing before I had one! A good vegetable/potato peeler is a must – I must have bought about 20 before I found one I like – think it’s Zyliss but not sure. Finally, I wouldn’t be without my mandolin for slicing and shredding, it’s great for salads, coleslaws, dauphinoise potatoes, etc.

    Now off to buy one of those microwave rice cookers! Thanks Esme! 🙂

  8. I also love my M&S measuring spoons and digital scales. But my newest kitchen toy is a fancy pants stainless steel garlic crusher from John Lewis. It was £20 but so many people recommended it to me when i said i needed one (we love garlic in our house!). Even better, if when washing it, you rub it over your hands, it takes the smell of garlic away. Magic!


  9. Oooh loving this post and the responses!

    Mahj – I always wondered if those things worked – ie if they really take the smell away – does it really? Really?

    There’s a lot of love for the microplane grater – sounds like I may have to invest. I also have a hand blender (which I think just about sneaks in at around 25 quid) and love my digital scales – I tend to pink them up in TKMaxx!

    Gemma – I didnt like those egg poaching silicone things – I find the eggs get stuck to them and they’re hard to clean and that has put me off the silicone bakeware – any tips or suggestions guys?

    Rachel – I have one of those tiny measuring cups, bought from Baileys no less after several hummingbird recipes called for 20mls of this or that. Not used it yet tho!

    I think my favourite kitchen items are my pans! I buy Ikea stainless steel 365 ones with teflon inside or Sainsburys do a great range of anodised aluminium ones with teflon coating. I bung them all in the dishwasher.

    Not really a gadget though…

    • I didn’t cover pans as I thought it would be more interesting to talk about slightly different items, but they are so important.

      I think Ikea’s are really good, but I have to say I love the posh ones we got as a wedding present – they’re so well designed.

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

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

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