From the go-to pan to the whisk that’s worth its weight in gold, there are some cooking essentials we wouldn’t be without. But what do the experts use to make their life a breeze in the kitchen, and why?
Here, three great cooks dish their secret...
Love your basics
Gregor McMaster, Good Living’s Food Editor, is a former chef and creates all our delicious recipes.
He says: "Never underestimate the importance of good ‘tools’ in the kitchen: a decent spatula and vegetable peeler are essential and make all the difference to preparing and cooking food quickly and efficiently.
"I also wouldn’t be without my pestle and mortar – it’s so satisfying to crush herbs and grind spices, and it’s a handy way to pulp garlic into a paste without it getting on your fingers! It’s also perfect for throwing together some fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan and olive oil and making a fragrant homemade pesto."
- Steel Potato Peeler - Your first step towards delicious roasties.
- Granite Pestle and Mortar - Let off steam and grind your own fresh spices.
Gregor added: "Keep essential's close to hand in a utensil jar or suspended from a rail by the oven and keep knives on a metallic rack. There's nothing more frustrating than rooting about in a drawer looking for things when you're cooking!"
Celebrate with spices
Chetna Makan was a semi-finalist in The Great British Bake Off and has just published her second cookbook Chai, Chaat & Chutney – A Street Food Journey through India.
Chetna says: "I have a masala box which I bought in India many years ago sitting on my hob. Inside are seven spice containers for the basics like salt and chili powder, and I reach for it all the time to add flavour to even the simplest dishes – from omelettes to pasta. I wouldn’t be without my simple wok which comes out every single day and is ideal for so many dishes from curries to dhals. I also have a tawa – a heavy, flat-iron pan like a griddle – traditionally used for flatbreads, chapatis and rotis. I keep it in a drawer under my hob and it’s always in use in my kitchen! I think it’s so brilliant that this type of equipment is so easy to buy in this country now."
- Every flavour at your fingertips - George Home Revolving Spice Rack
- Quick and easy for the perfect stir-fry - George Home Nonstick Spun Steel Wok
‘Don’t put pans, knives and wooden spoons in the dishwasher, convenient though it might be. Cookware and utensils will last much longer if you wash them by hand.’
Connect to food
Chef Miguel Barclay shot to fame with his inspirational book One Pound Meals.
Miguel says: "I wouldn’t be without my tongs in the kitchen – they are my number one go-to utensil. Like an extension of my hand, they always make me feel a closer connection to the food I’m cooking, whether that’s cooking a steak to perfection or ensuring a salad is evenly tossed. Even when making pasta, I use them to pull spaghetti out of boiling water, launching it straight into the sauce – instead of draining it in a colander which tends to dry it out with the steam. That’s the secret to making pasta like the Italians do."
- So easy to use, so many uses - George Home Soft Grip Tongs
- Simple, spill-free storage - George Home Glass Clip Lid Jar
‘However much you try to avoid spillages in the cupboard with flour, basmati rice and couscous, it’s unavoidable – I pop these ingredients into my trusty Kilner jars!’