Food and Wine

Epicurean essentials: what every foodie should have in their kitchen

January 12, 2018

Foodies, your time is spent indulging new culinary delights, whether cooked by your own hands or ordered in the hottest eatery. You know what good food is, but do you know which essential items should be in your kitchen to transform your meals from “wow” to “WOAH”?

These items will not only make cooking easier and more efficient, they will allow you to focus more on creating unique flavours rather than spending time chopping onions.

Cast iron cookware

Cast iron pots and pans are vital for any serious foodie or home chef. They will last for years to come and can be used on both gas and electric stoves (unfortunately not on induction cookers or hobs).

With the right care, your cast iron cookware will allow you to create outstanding meals for years. They do require some seasoning before cooking, which can be achieved by oiling the pan and with vegetable oil and heating it on low until the oil has melted. Allow the pan to cool and then use.

A selection of knives

Any foodie worth their Himalayan salt knows the value of a sharp knife, but it is important to have more than one. Cleavers are useful for cutting large pieces of meat, whereas a serrated knife is primarily used for bread but can be used for cutting fruits and vegetables, and a chef’s knife is suitable for all purposes.

Having a varied selection of knives is ideal, because using the incorrect knife for the incorrect purpose can cause a blunt knife and badly cut food. Look for a beginners set if you are new to cooking, and a more advanced and nuanced set if you are truly at home in the kitchen.

Measuring cups

Measuring cups are vital for the most delicious of all sciences: baking. If your measurements for a cake or soufflé are incorrect, the end results will be too. Look for measuring cup sets for both wet and dry measurements, because some foods possess differing volume measurements.

Your measuring cups should have clear and easy-to-read markings so you do not have to squint at tiny number while measuring important ingredients. Choose durable materials that are dishwasher safe. Measuring cups can be used not only in baking but also for measuring stock amounts for soups and dried ingredient amounts for stews.

Mortar and pestle

A mortar and pestle is vital for those who enjoy making their own spice or salt rubs. Grinding up whole spices makes them more flavourful and aromatic, which is why having a mortar and pestle is vital for any home chef or budding curry aficionado.

Look for a mortar and pestle that is made from either porcelain or marble, both of which do not absorb odours. A wooden mortar and pestle is fine for grinding salt and pepper for sprinkling over food, but for spices, you need a non-porous material so the flavour will not be absorbed and become muddied. These kitchen implements can be found in many home goods stores, due to the rise in popularity of the foodie culture.

Lemon and garlic presses

A lemon press and a garlic press are essential for saving time and effort in a quick paced kitchen. Crushing garlic releases more flavour and oils from the clove, but doing so by hand can often be a difficult process, which is why a garlic press is handy to have.

Squeezing or juicing lemons for lemon juice can take time. But, with a lemon press it becomes quicker and more efficient to extract this sour but flavour-enhancing liquid. Look for stainless steel presses which are longer lasting and do not rust over time. Be sure to clean your press regularly to avoid clogging the holes.

An egg separator

Many baking recipes call for only egg whites or egg yolks, and separating these can be difficult and rather fiddly. This is when an egg separator comes in handy. It is a handy tool to have if you frequently created meringues and custards but do not have the time to spend separating eggs by hand.

An egg separator can be found in baking stores and general homeware stores. Be sure to find one that is long lasting and dishwasher safe, and be sure to always wash it after use. Using this nifty little device will cut baking preparation time down and allow you to enjoy creating baked goods rather than worrying about fishing egg yolk out of an egg white mixture.

Final tidbits

Having these essential items in your kitchen will help to excite and inspire you to create new and adventurous dishes. Look for good quality items that have guarantees, especially pots and pans, and remember to make sure they are dishwasher safe. Remember to have fun on your next kitchen appliance shopping expedition, and bring home essentials to make cooking a breeze.

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