Variety of Kitchen Equipment

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Kitchen-equipment_cThe well-equipped kitchen does not necessarily have a host of gadgets, but it must have certain utensils and tools for the jobs that crop up every day. There is a wide range of kitchen equipment available today so it is advisable not to buy any new equipment unless you are certain you will use it regularly. The following lists give the basic essentials for most kitchens plus major items such as mixers and blenders which are optional extras.

Pots and Pans

Choose the best that can be afforded as it will be cheaper in the end, giving much longer and more efficient wear. Top quality pans are usually made of heavier gauge metal which helps to prevent food from sticking. Look for a smooth interior (slightly rounded where it meets the base of the pan, to make cleaning easier) a well fitting, easily cleaned lid with a knob that won't get hot, and a firmly fixed handle.

Pans are made from many different metals including aluminium, enamelled steel, stainless steel and cast iron. Copper is very expensive, but will last a lifetime. Aluminium pans are more economical and reasonably hardwearing.

A basic selection:-

3 saucepans - 3 sizes
1 milk saucepan
1 colander
1 frying pan
Pot stands
Casserole dishes
Pie dish
Flan dish

Knives

Well made, sharp-edged kitchen knives are an excellent investment to speed UP food preparation. Look for a durable, firmly fixed handle and choose a steel or carbon blade. They are expensive, but extremely durable and can be sharpened regularly.

A basic selection:-

Set of kitchen knives
Knife sharpener
Kitchen cutlery e.g. soup ladle, slotted spoon
Skewers
Peeler
Kitchen scissors
Can opener
Bottle opener, corkscrew
Grater
Lemon squeezer
Potato masher
Fish slice

Baking Equipment

Good strong bakeware does not rust, warp or mark and lasts a long time. Non-stick bakeware makes greasing and lining some tins unnecessary.

A basic selection:-

Kitchen scales
Roasting tin
Baking tray
Sandwich tins
Cake tins
Bun tray
Cooling rack
Mixing bowls
Measuring jug
Measuring spoons
Wooden spoons
Hand whisk
Sieve
Spatula
Rolling pin
Pastry cutters
Pastry brush
Chopping board

Kitchen Appliances

There are now available many different kinds of electrical appliances which can greatly increase your scope as a cook and save a lot of work.

Pressure Cookers

A pressure cooker is useful for a number of specific jobs like cooking tougher cuts of meat, making soups and stocks, cooking dried pulses and steaming puddings. The time saving is considerable, some foods cook in 1/3 of the time. Pressure cookers should never be filled more than two-thirds full. Always choose a make that has more than one pressure setting so you can cook different types of food more accurately. The highest setting will cook the quickest and should have a pressure expressed as 15 lb per square inch.

Food Processors

This type of appliance can be put to many varied uses e.g. chopping, mincing, mixing, beating, kneading, slicing, liquidising and grating. A food processor is able to do most of the jobs done by a mixer and blender, although most cannot whisk foods such as cream or egg whites.

Mixers

There are two types of mixers available - hand held and table models. Hand held mixers can only be used for whisking or mixing small quantities. Table mixers can cope with large quantities. Most have a wide range of attachments available such as blender, mincer, juice extractor and grater.

Blender

These are obtainable either as an independent unit or as an attachment to a food mixer. Blenders are used mainly for soups and purees, but can be used to make batters, breadcrumbs, salad dressings and mayonnaise etc. Small blenders are lower powered, with small capacity goblets which cannot cope with large quantities at a time. The more expensive blenders usually have a greater capacity and greater power and will therefore do the job more efficiently.

Microwave Ovens

The microwave oven is one of the most important cooking revolutions to date. It can defrost frozen foods, cook fresh foods or reheat prepared dishes with remarkable speed. It is a fairly small appliance which can be positioned on a work surface and can be plugged into a 13 or 15 amp socket. Running costs are low and it is a very safe appliance. The cooking method, especially in vegetables, retains more nutrients and so contributes to healthier eating.

It is important to remember the basic differences between the conventional oven and the microwave oven. They work in different ways and will therefore produce different end results. The "Microbaking" book from Stork gives good advice about specific microbaking techniques together with the correct bakeware to use and a varied selection of recipes.

All recipes have been developed and tested in 650 watt microwave ovens. For 700 watt ovens cut the cooking time by 10-15 seconds per minute. For 600 watt ovens add 5-10 seconds per minute.

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