There are certain products which I regularly cook with and will use throughout my recipes.
I have tried to include links in this section for where to purchase these. Some of the links are quite Sainsbury’s online heavy but this isn’t to say they aren’t available from other supermarkets, this is just to literally give you a picture of what I’m talking about.
Homewares and Kitchen Accessories
Istad sandwich bags – Ikea – available in a variety of sizes with a decent double seal.
Egg timer – Poundland – goes in the water with the eggs and tells you what stage they are. More expensive ones are available but this works perfectly so I can’t see the benefit of spending more.
Kitchen Appliances (in order of necessity in my opinion)
Hand whisk – Sadly I have no stand mixer in my life apart from a vintage Kenwood in my Grimsby house which I rarely get to use. For most things I use an electric hand whisk. I’ve tried a few over the years and the best seem to be the super cheap supermarket ones like this from Tesco Basics Range.
Stick blender – Now cheap is not the answer here. I have something similar to this Braun Stick Blender with Mini Chopper and Whisk. I’ve had a few of these over the years and although the plastic ones lull you into a false sense of security that you can use them on non stick pans, don’t be fooled. They’re insubstantial and the blade will inevitably catch your pan anyway. A metal base will last much longer and do the job better. The linked version comes with a whisk attachment and jug which I use to make mayo, dressings and whipped egg whites – minimal splashing you see. The little chopper is ideal for breadcrumbs and guacamole etc. This part of mine eventually gave up the ghost so I now have the below mini chopper too.
Mini food processor – Only needed if your stick blender doesn’t have a chopper attachment or like mine, that broke. I use this from Kenwood – for day to day guacamole, breadcrumbs, etc in smaller quantities – even my Garlic Pea Puree in a couple of batches.
Food processor and blender – I like to keep a compact food processor around, one that will do as many things as possible whilst taking up as little space as possible. I have a version of this Kenwood Multipro Food Processor which include a blender, grating attachments and even a egg white whisky thing which I’ve never tried!
Stand mixer – A girl can but dream 😦 Update! I now have a vintage Kenwood Chef which I used once and then stopped working. After some diagnostics it seems that the motor is simply worn out – it was manufactured sometime between 1956 and 1972 so thats understandable. The hunt for a new motor and someone to install it continues….
Champagne – The Champagne Concept in Harrogate was opened in late 2015 by my great friends; Gemma and Laurence Page-Connolly, the result of years of champagne appreciation, research and ridiculously good business acumen. They have an Online Shop and a 5* rating on Trip Advisor. They can be found on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve now published a full review, check it out here.
Meat – William Rose Butchers – In my opinion the best butchers in South East London. For things like chicken portions, pork chops, sausages, duck breasts, etc, I think the quality is far superior over what is found in supermarkets and cheaper than the mid range options to boot.
Posh Groceries and Produce – The General Store on Bellenden Road, Peckham and Franklins Farm Shop on Lordship Lane, East Dulwich which both stock ‘Cheese in a Jar’ from Blackwoods Cheese Company. The sort of shops I use for the odd treat but don’t use for my weekly shop.
Dried Spices – Another trip to the world food aisle is recommended here – you can literally get twice as much for half as much. For example; This tiny 38g jar of ground ginger is £1.00 at the time of writing and this 100g bag of ground ginger is 85p (actually on offer at 50p at the time of writing). Its a no-brainer.
Salt – It’s only ever Maldon Sea Salt for me (unless for pasta or veg water, in which case i use the cheap runny stuff).
Spelt Flour – One of my best friends is unable to eat wheat – we refer to her as ‘Wheatarded’ and I’ve used this phrase around the blog – its supposed to be comical, not offensive and anyway, it wasn’t me that came up with it! The good news is that its a wheat allergy, not a gluten allergy so adapting recipes is fairly easy with the use of Spelt Flour and I don’t have to banish gluten from my kitchen and sterilise the place every time I cook for her. Over the last few years of using spelt I’ve learnt a few things; 1) its kinda expensive 2) it can be difficult to get hold of and 3) not all spelt is created equally white – the biggest variation comes from Waitrose Spelt Flour also available via Ocado which can sometime be bordering on wholemeal. My preference to use is Dove’s White Spelt Flour which is also available from Ocado and from Sainsburys. Remember to use additional Baking Powder when replacing Self Raising Flour in a recipe.