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Can one have too many gadgets in the kitchen? Our food columnist Lavanya picks her 5 kitchen essentials.
Can one have too many gadgets in the kitchen? Not if you go by this foodie, who picks her 5 kitchen essentials.
By Lavanya Donthamshetty
You know when you hear me admit that The Gadget Show was one of my favourite shows in England, that I am a massive gadget freak. If anything can do any type of technical wizardry, then it can have my total attention. Put that with my love for cooking/food, and you’ve got a massive kitchen gadget addict. Looking at stuff that will make it easier for me to come up with delectable goodies, ranks among my favourite things.
As it is the start of a brand new 2012 (happy new year, dear reader!), I thought it is great timing to put together a list of what I feel are some great kitchen tools that can make your life easier. These are personal choices and are ranked according to how much I have come to rely on them.
1. My absolute favourite piece of kit, one I use every time I turn my stove on, is my hand-held blender. In a few seconds, it can beat into pulp whatever I want it to. It is easy as pie to get it going and doesn’t involve any fancy gadgetry. Pureeing was never simpler! And the best bit? No extra-washing up as all you need to wash up is the blender itself. On lazy days, I blend it straight in the wok, something I am sure the manufacturer warns against!
2. If you are a coffee lover like yours truly, then a good percolator is definitely a must for your kitchen. With the new-fangled ones that can switch on by themselves at the crack of dawn or whenever it is you want them, waking up to the unbeatable aroma of fresh coffee is comparable to pure heaven! I have a French-style cafetiere just for desert island type emergencies (you know, if I were ever in marooned on an island and had nothing else, I’d still need my coffee!)
3. My third favourite gadget is my old reliable food processor. I bought it five years ago on a whim at a New Year’s sale and it has made my life so much easier. The first time it grated this huge chunk of cabbage into thin strands, I knew I was onto a winner! It is such a marvellous thing that can grate, dice and chop vegetables, beat eggs, mix chapati dough, powder coffee beans…. other than making the darned dish itself, it can do everything else! As most processors, like mine, come with a small chutney grinder as well, it truly is an all-in-one kitchen gadget.
4. When I moved to Chennai last summer, my mother-in-law donated her old steamer to me as she thought I might put it to good use and boy, have I! It is magical how this can breathe life into your tired vegetables. Never have we eaten yummier tasting veggies. Steaming vegetables in a steamer and just adding the tadka to it lends a whole dimension to your side-dish and makes even your children fall in love with eating them.. You know when your daughter looks at her plate and names all the colours from the dishes she is tucking into that you are on to a good thing, right?
5. After having a massive oven as a part of my cooker range for the past decade, I was a bit worried how I was going to get on with my baking in a smaller kitchen. Avid baker Monika Manchanda came to my rescue when she suggested I get myself a Morphy Richards OTG and my family have been sending up silent prayers of thanks ever since! Compact, the size of a microwave, this fits neatly into your worktop space and is perfect for the amateur baker. Marry it with an electric beater and you can churn out perfectly baked goodies in a jiffy!
So, what are your favourite gadgets, readers? What is the one thing your kitchen cannot do without? Is there one that makes your culinary heart go pitty-pat? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
To get the new year off to a sweet start, here is a sweet dish of mine, made easy with the help of a few gadgets.
A Recipe for Dry Fruits Peda
Dry fruits and a dash of honey – well it is almost health food, innit?
To make it, you’d need:
Almonds – 100 gms
Cashew – 100 gms
Pistachios – 100 gms
Walnuts – 100 gms
Dates – 150 gms
Dried figs – 150 gms
Honey – 1 tbsp (optional)
Soak the figs in warm water for 10 minutes. Pulverize the assorted nuts using a food processor till they are coarsely chopped. You want to be able to chew them so make sure you don’t powder them into nothingness. Empty the contents into a dry bowl.
Tear and drop in the soaked figs and juicy dates into the processor. Blitz them well. Now drop in the pulverized nuts and let them all whizz together for a minute.
Take the mixture out. Drizzle some honey if you wish to loosen it up and knead it nicely. Spread it thickly onto a greased plate. Mark them into shapes.
Once the contents have firmed up, separate the pedas. Enjoy!
Pic credit: Cinnachick
Mother, writer, foodie, margarita lover, Lavanya is the exception to the rule that women are multi-taskers. She loves travelling and the top spot on her 'must-visit' list goes to the Irish West Countries. read more...
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