'A fine tool is a treasure. It curves to the hand, is balanced, ready for action. With the right tool, egg whites are whisked... and stones pop from olives. Zest curls crisply from the rind of an orange, with a titillating puff of citrus to the nose. ... Robust, timeless tools simplify the cook's life... [and] perform tasks almost instinctively under their master's guidance.' -- Anne Willan in the foreword to Tools for Cooks by Christine McFadden
Sage words from cookery writer and culinary teacher, Anne Willan, in the quotation above from one of my favourite reference books, Tools for Cooks. While I do have some treasured battle scarred vintage pieces in my kitchen, I concur that sturdy tools are essential for modern cooks. In this month's In My Kitchen post for Celia's IMK roundup, I thought I'd share a few postcards from my kitchen, showcasing some of my favourite stainless steel gadgets and tools.
First up and pictured at the top is my Cuisipro stainless steel potato masher. It's a brilliant gadget, ergonomically designed and virtually indestructible. I find it great for ricing potatoes, as well as simply mashing potatoes and other vegetables. The rounded edges allow you to work your way around the bottom of a saucepan. And it's dishwasher safe.
Pictured above are my Cuisipro stainless steel measuring spoons. These are particularly useful for cooks in my part of the world, as the tablespoon is the standard Australian 20ml measure. In the nested set of five are 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and one teaspoon, as well as one tablespoon.
Another Cuisipro favourite is this stainless steel Accutec grater, with extendable handles that allow it to sit over a bowl. The blades are ultra sharp and allow for fine zesting or coarser grating.
Yes, Cuisipro again, these heavy-based stainless steel measuring cups can be used on the stove top to melt small quantities of butter, warm milk and so on. There is a 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and one cup measure in the set.
This stylish bottle stopper comes in handy for everything from extra virgin olive oil to the occasional bottle of wine.
Another favourite is this Cuisipro Tempo stainless steel mesh skimmer. It's another stylish and beautiful piece which can be used to skim froth or oil from soups and stocks, and it's resistant to high temperatures.
This little spiral whisk is handy for beating small amounts of sauce or eggs and can easily fit into small jars.
This stainless steel pastry blender is brilliant for cutting butter into flour when making scones and pastry. I finish off by hand, the warmth of my fingers better melts the butter in the dry flour, allowing for a crumb-like texture.
Last but not least, is one of my most loved items, a Baccarat stainless steel oval roaster with lid. I mentioned it in my recent post about cookware. It's a mammoth sized pot (in terms of length and depth) and both the base and the lid have thick bases, so you can cook in the lid as well as the base! Furthermore, the lid is a stylish piece which doubles as a serving platter. I use this roaster for stove top as well as oven cooking. It's brilliant for making large quantities of osso bucco or lamb shanks. If you see one for sale in your travels, I'd suggest you buy it!
Note: This is by no means a sponsored post. These cook's tools were purchased by me for use in my kitchen over the last decades. Many were acquired when I co-owned the cookware store from 1997-2006 and were among some of my favourite items to sell to my customers.
Tell me dear readers, what are some of your favourite cook's tools? What makes them so good?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.