Thursday, 5 December 2013

Kitchen essentials on a budget!

Since I'm constantly going on about the importance of being organised when it comes to your food, I guess I should probably tell you about the things that make my life a little easier in the kitchen...

I'm pretty lucky, I've got a big kitchen with lots of storage space both in cupboards and the fridge... I do wish I had a bigger freezer though! Yeah I'm never happy!

If you're only starting out after years of depending on your toaster and microwave (to heat up the beans you've been living on), well then this list will be a blessing. It's really easy to go shopping for kitchen utensils and end up with lots of very expensive stuff that you really never use! Speaking from experience here... Let loose in Kitchen Compliments or Stock and who knows what I'll leave with!

Here's a list of the things that are absolute necessities for me...

  1. Food processor
  2. Pyrex baking dishes
  3. Non Stick baking trays
  4. Wok & frying pan
  5. Steamer
  6. George Foreman
  7. Lots & lots of microwave/dishwasher safe containers (BPA free preferably) 
That's it... it's not a long list, and best of all... depending on what you're planning to cook/your taste preferences, you won't need them all. 

  1. Food Processor
Lots of people ask me about my food processor... it's amazing!! I'm lucky enough to have a Kenwood Chef Titanium Food Mixer & Blender & Food Processor with more attachments than I'll ever need. It does everything from grating to whisking to slicing to blending...

Would I recommend it? Hell yes! BUT... they're super expensive... we're talking about €800+ for this one. I was so lucky to win mine as part of a baking competition, and I couldn't live without it. 

So... you'll be pleased to know that you don't need to pay quite so much! You can get this great Kenwood compact food processor for €50 in Argos.

    2/3/4. Baking dishes / tins / wok / frying pan

You need these! Unlike the food processor/George Foreman, you really won't be able to cook very much without having these basics. 

As with anything, you get what you pay for so I'd recommend paying a little more for these.... you'll have them for ages if you look after them. 

Pyrex for roasting dishes ideally... but these are really good value for €12. You'll be needing them for when you make my deadly Bacon Lasagne.
These roasting dishes are pretty useful... you won't necessarily need non stick baking tins, but if you're going to make my Gooey Raspberry Brownies, this will come in handy for just €5. 

    5. Wok/Frying Pan

You're going to have a frying pan/wok for ages if you look after it, so it's worth investing if you can... if anyone wants to buy me an early Christmas present.... Le Creuset Woks are amazing! 

And back to reality...Argos always have special offers, so you should be able to pick up decent quality pans for about €20 each. Make sure you spend a little more so they have a non stick coating... unless you want your dinner to taste like charcoal... 

    6. Steamer

Please stop boiling your vegetables to death.... you are literally killing off the nutrients they contain. Steamed vegetables taste so much better than limp, overcooked boiled vegetables. 

I recommend getting a steamer for use on the hob rather than an electric one. They double up as a saucepan so you're saving space! 

You can pick this up for €18 in Argos... 

    6. George Foreman... 

I only bought one recently, and they're brilliant! It's so handy if you're in a rush... they're fool proof, healthy and easy to clean. I'm not working for Argos here... but... they're on special offer at the moment for €29. 

     7. Plastic containers

You need lots of these! They're great for bringing lunch/snacks to work, storing leftovers or just portion control... you can only fill them so much before the lid won't fit! 

These bento lunch boxes are deadly... I want one (cos I'm a nerd). But... you can get great multi packs of containers in Ikea for €3.... there's not really much excuse for not having them.. 

You can really pick and choose from this list depending on how much you cook, or how varied you want your food to be. 

Hopefully this helps if you're wondering what you need to buy.... You don't need a lot, and it doesn't have to be incredibly expensive either...skip one night out and invest in some of the above, they'll be invaluable when it comes to cooking healthy home cooked meals... 

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