Monday, July 13, 2009

Go-Go-Gourmet Gadgets

When it comes to kitchen gadgets/machines, I believe that most of the time "less is more". I'm always wary of cramming my storage space with gadgets that may only be used once or twice a year, or that are designed to do only one thing. How many people have bulky popcorn machines, pancake,bread or fairy floss makers etc taking up cupboard space? A couple of years ago I did a ruthless cull of any kitchen equipment/cookware that was past it's prime or that I never really used, giving some away to friends and donating the rest to a charity shop. Not only did it free up my cupboard space but it also made me realise how little you actually need, even if you cook as much as I do. It make me think about generations of cooks before us who produced wonderful dishes with the most humble of kitchen tools. I'm not advocating that we all throw out our food processors or the tools that really make our cooking lives simpler, just that for me, having a hard look at what I owned and didn't actually use or need led me being more conscious and to consuming/purchasing less. Now, instead of being seduced by every cookware store I see I am a lot more pragmatic - Do I really need this? How much will I actually use it? Does it require lots of space/cleaning? Do I already have the tools to do the same job?

Don't rule out recycled cooking gear if you need to add to your tools - I have bought some great quality equipment over the last few years - vintage mixing bowls, serving platters, glassware, chopping boards, tablecloths and other goodies, all from secondhand stores or charity shops. Give everything an extra thorough clean and away you go. As well as saving you lots of money, you are also recycling and being more enviromentally responsible, which can only be a good thing.

Of course I do have my own favourite kitchen must-haves - good knives, my heavy mortar and pestle big and deep enough to hold a large batch of spice paste and to crush nuts/spices without half of them ending up on the floor or on the bench, my trusty hand blender, a microplane (one of my best purchases ever), stainless steel mixing bowls (that do double duty as a double boiler when placed over a pot of boiling water), decent sized chopping boards, my favourite pan which was a birthday gift from Michael last year(I use it almost every day) Obviously your must haves are going to depend on what you tend to cook - I don't have a lot of cake tins/baking stuff, because I rarely bake, but if you are always cooking cakes and biscuits, then that equipment is going to be a priority for you.

I do occasionally add to my cooking tools - I recently bought a grill pan (found at a discount cooking store reduced from $130 to $35!) I have already used it quite a lot, so it was a good purchase. I was also interested in trying the silicone poaching "pods" that I have seen popping up in cookware stores lately. My egg poaching skills have always been a bit hit and miss (invariably they fail when I have guests, don't you hate that??) so I bought myself a pair of poaching pods and I was really happy with the results......

Product: Silicone Poaching Pods
Price: Mine were $19.95 (a pair)
Where do I get them?: Specialist cookware stores

How they work: You simply oil the pods lightly (makes the eggs slip out very easily) and then break an egg into each of them. You place them in a pan of boiling water and put a lid on the pan. The eggs float on the water and poach perfectly. You slide the eggs out of the pods and voila! No more dodgy/broken/sodden poached eggs!
You'll love them if: Your track record with poaching eggs is as bad as mine!
Gourmet Goddess gadget rating: 9/10 - simple to use, easy to clean and very effective.



  1. Ooh - I bought these as a gift for someone at Christmas. Maybe I'll get some for myself - always wanted to have poached eggs at home (I'll get Jan-Jan to cook them and bring them to me in bed...)

  2. They are really worth it Al - perfect result every time. I even had poached eggs for dinner the other night with some smoked salmon, so it's not just for brekky :)