This post is about my five favourite kitchen gadgets right now. The five are inexpensive and readily available, I use them all the time and they make food preparation and cooking super simple and quick. While, I use all the regular kitchen utensils like wooden spoons, spatulas, whisks, etc. all the time, I wanted to focus this post on kitchen gadgets that are a little less commonplace and ones that not everyone might have or realise how useful they are. For me, these five gadgets are are invaluable in the kitchen and I pretty much use them everyday.
My microplane is my newest gadget. In the past I have used a course microplane for grating parmesan and carrots etc. However I always used a garlic press to crush garlic. That was until my friend Dee (of www.deeliteful.ie) who is a culinary genius, recommended using a fine microplane for garlic instead of a garlic press. A fine microplane works so much better than a garlic press or crusher as you get no wastage and also because garlic presses are so difficult to clean and old bits of garlic tends to get stuck in the them making them pretty unhygenic. I use my microplane for other things besides garlic such as grating nutmeg and ginger. It's crazy the difference in price between different brands of microplanes. One shop I looked in had ones prices at €28 so needless to say I left empty handed. For a finish, I got one by the Dexam brand for €9.99. Much better value and it works great. Money well spent.
2. Hand held juicer
Hand held juicers are so handy for adding a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange juice to your dishes. So just to clarify, I juice my daily glass of green vegetable juice in a proper full on masticating electrical juicer. What I use this little handheld juicer for is when I am cooking and recipes call for a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange juice. For instance my hummus recipe requires the juice of a lemon and my guacamole recipe calls for the juice of a lime. I use lemon and lime juice all the time for dressing salads or for adding a little kick to a thai curry. So I use this gadget when I just want a squeeze of juice, rather than using my big juicer or squeezing the fruit directly onto the dish (which isn't ideal as usually some pips escape into the dish along with the juice). This gadget is super as it gets all the juice out but holds on to the pips. I was so tired of finding pips in my hummus that this purchase was well overdue. I also use it in the morning when I am having my hot water and lemon juice. This gadget is really easy to use and clean. My one cost €14.99 so it's relatively inexpensive as far as kitchen gadgets go.
3. Measuring spoons
A set of measuring spoons is so useful for food prep and cooking. Most sets have three or four measuring spoons for a 1/4 teaspoon, a 1/2 teaspoon, a teaspoon and a tablespoon. They are really handy to have as it allows you to be more exact with measurements and it saves you using all of your regular spoons for measuring. Before I got my measuring spoons, when I was done cooking, I had a sink full of dirty spoons and none left in my cutlery drawer. So annoying. A set of measuring spoons are so cheap, my set was less than €5 so they are well worth the very inexpensive investment. While you are at it, it's worth getting a set of measuring cups too so you don't have to use your drinking cups, meaning you save on washing up and have lots of cups in your cupboard for cups of lovely herbal tea.
A mandoline is one of my favourite kitchen utensils. A mandoline is a tool used to slice fruit and vegetables quite thinly. The great thing about a mandoline is that you can slice vegetables really quickly and of a consistent size. When you eat alot of salads, these gadgets are so useful to have in the kitchen. I usually use mine to slice onion, cucumber, radishes and fennell but they can be used for pretty much every fruit and vegetable. Mine is by the Chef'n brand and cost €25 - a little expensive for a kitchen gadget but worth the money all the same. Be warned, as far as kitchen gadgets go mandolines are one of the most dangerous and should be used with extreme care. You know when you are watching Masterchef or My Kitchen Rules and just as the clock is counting down a contestant cuts themselves really badly. More often than not, that is thanks to the good old mandoline slicer. So be warned, take your time, be careful and use a hand guard.
5. Colinder and sieve
Plant based and whole foods cooking requires alot of rinsing. I am forever rinsing and draining beans, quinoa, lentils, berries, etc. I usually use dried beans and lentils as opposed to pre soaked and cooked ones and therefore there is alot of overnight soaking, rinsing, cooking and draining. Similarly, using quinoa and brown rice requires lots and lots of rinsing. Therefore a colinder and sieve are essential kitchen gadgets. I use a colinder most of the time except when I am preparing quinoa when I use a sieve. The holes in most colinders are usually too big for quinoa and the quinoa grains drain away along with the water. Therefore, its important to have a fine sieve for your quinoa prep. Colinders and sieves are really inexpensive and you should be able to get each for under €5.
So that's the lowdown on my current 'must have' kitchen utensils. I am sure I will add more to the list very soon, so maybe it will be worth doing another post when I do. But for now, I would highly recommend investing in these gadgets to make life simpler in the kitchen. Happy kitchen gadget shopping - my fav type of shopping x