Engraved handle on a kitchen knife...
"look at me - I'm a chef". Strangely, chef was not the word that sprung to mind when I read that.
Reg Hardware Gizmo Week logo small Most of us actually have more gadgets in the kitchen than anywhere else in the house. And looking at the list here, it’s easy to see why. There are gizmos for every conceivable task, from opening a tin of beans to knocking up a homemade Scotch broth. Most of the gizmos here are genuinely …
I have some of the knives for sushi making.
(No, I didn't get them engraved)
They are absolutely amazing. Did the apple test the day I got them - dropping an apple from 12 inches onto an outstretched blade. It went straight through. Needless to say, it was my best toy since I got rid of my lego.
knifes do not 'stay sharp'. that is the common misconception that leads people to buy expensive knifes - usually japanese as they keep their edge a bit longer (see below).
the best thing you will every buy for the kitchen is a steel bar. Use it after EVERY TIME you use the knife.
yup - not once a year. or once every now and then. EVERY TIME. EVERY DAY.
I have a nice 10" from ikea. cost a tenner. cuts through anything like butter. had it for 2 years and use it everyday (with the steel bar).
the japanese tend to use sharpening stones for knifes rather than a steel bar, which leaves a sharper blade for longer, but then needs the stones again, plus it wears the knife out more than a bar.
It's horses for courses, but it is one of the reasons folk get lured into buying expensive japanese knifes.
How many folk have one of these 100 quid knifes in their kitchen and no sharpening device at all ? my bet is the majority....
You are correct that knives do not stay sharp and need to be sharpened. But Japanese knives really are different! They are sharpened differently to 'European' knives, due to the way they are made they can handle a much steeper angle. A butchers steel won't do them any favours.
I have never done the apple test with a kitchen knife, I was taught to run it over my arm and see if you could shave all the hairs off with it. This really doesn't last long at all so you need some sort of regular sharpening.
There is a downside though, if you do happen to cut yourself with one of these, it can be extremely bad, while cleaner and less painful, it will probably be a lot deeper and bleed a lot more!
While the engraved handle is a pit pretentious, don't underestimate the importance of good kitchen knives. They can be sharpened to a better edge and hold it for longer.
A decent kitchen knife is easier to use, less likely to slip and cut you, and if you do they hurt a lot less :)
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Tassimo? Nespresso? Almost as deplorable as instant coffee.
Buy your coffee as beans and keep it in the freezer. Grind it as you use it, and make your coffee in a straightforward espresso machine (I've been very happy with a basic DeLonghi, cost about £90). Use a thermometer when you steam the milk.
"instant coffee is disgusting, stick to tea ... saying that, tassimo is not that good, where is Nespresso ??? far superior coffee, and no plastic (the Nespresso tubs recycle far better)"
Pfftt! I spit on them all.... you can't beat a bean to cup coffee machine and medium/dark roast LaVazza coffee beans.
I'm afraid you are both wrong. There are much better roasters here in the UK that wipe the floor with the supermarket bought varieties (Has Bean, Monmouth, Square Mile etc). A Gaggia Classic is a much better machine although it takes a while to learn, and can be tweaked. If you want to just press a button that is fair enough, but it won't give you the best coffee. The Gaggia can use those tubs but its a waste of aluminium. Then there is the Aeropress for £20 ish which you'll have to spend a lot more to beat it.
Only green beans can be kept sealed in the freezer by the way. Roasted beans should just be kept in the sealed container and have a lifespan of 3 months. Grinding your own (or bean to cup) makes a huge difference.
Beware of domestic Gaggias, they're trading on the reputation of their commercial cousins - Lovely to look at, and great while they're working, but the pumps and seals don't hold up well. Strangely, the machines branded as Saeco (who own Gaggia) are more robust, if less trendy looking.
In any case, I think that once you've got an acceptable level of quailty in the machine, a good grinder, that can produce consistently-sized grounds probably makes more difference for espresso than spending on a more expensive machine.
Agree with you on the Aeropress, but I've always found it a bit fiddly.
And finally, two more names for your roasters list: Matthew Algie & Co., and Badger & Dodo. The former does great rich, dark roasts, but I'm not sure if they sell direct; the latter has some really interesting single-origin light roasts, and they definitely do sell direct.
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>Most of us actually have more gadgets in the kitchen than anywhere else in the house
Did you really mean, most of our "Wives/Girlfriends/Mothers" actually have more gadgets in the kitchen?
I would presume that the male members of El Reg have more gadgets of the "IT Kind" or "tools/gadgets" in their garages. I am surmising that the percentage of "male" El Reg readers is probably around the 90% mark.
And I suppose that it is your wife that repairs the cars, does the heavy gardening, does the tiling in the bathroom, the electrical work etc.....
In general I do the heavy stuff and she does the light stuff, my wife is not a Gorrilla. There is nothing misogynist or sexist it is simply a matter of physics.
I am not great at cooking, it simply doesn't interest me. By concertrating on the techy side of life , it keeps me in a job, keeps the car repair/gardening/maintenance bills down and thereby allows us more expenditure for good food, which the wife happily prepares ( She likes cooking , I don't ).
I imagine it is much the same scenario for most people.
>It might also impress your girlfriend, if you ever get one.
That says more about you that it does about me by the way.
"In general I do the heavy stuff and she does the light stuff, my wife is not a Gorrilla. There is nothing misogynist or sexist it is simply a matter of physics"
My wife trains horses. From my perspective, you are misogynistic.
"I am not great at cooking, it simply doesn't interest me. By concertrating on the techy side of life"
Chemicals, heat & time aren't techy? What color is the sky on your planet?
"I imagine it is much the same scenario for most people."
Probably. I feel sorry for most people.
"That says more about you that it does about me by the way."
::wry smile:: maybe. If you say so.
I know many women who are hands-on with engines and gadgets, and many who aren't. Settling down with someone who has complimentary skills and aptitudes to yourself isn't in itself misogynistic. However, I agree that that both parties should be capable of preparing food for each other! : D
I do know more female equestrians than I do male horsey types, though, and the opposite is true of mountain-bikers, even though http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missy_Giove was one of our teenage heroes.
A long as one remembers that everyone is an individual, and not a representative of their gender, it's all good!
Anecdotal, I know.
Apperently there is a larger ratio of Gordon Ramseys than Bill Gates types on this site than I imagined.
So are all you Gordon Ramsey types actually buying these kitchen items and really do have a serious interest in kitchen gadgetry........
I work in a large corporate envirnment with a large IT staff, about 98% male and I do not believe that I have ever heard any of them talking "Kitchen Talk". Obvioulsy my company is by no means representative of the El Reg readership....
I bow down to my Kitchen Bod overlords.....
Yes , I agree any fool can follow a recipe and this is exactly why any self respecting engineer would not be interested. There is very little need, other than minor organisational skills, for the usage of the "la matiere grise".
Good food creation, in my opinion requires a completely different skill set and I would find it difficult to relate a rational/logical approach within that particular environment.
I would relate kitchen/culinary skills as belonging to a more artistic, less Cartesian world, hence my surprise to see so much interest from an engineering crowd, unless of course the Marketing dept read El Reg too.
"I would relate kitchen/culinary skills as belonging to a more artistic, less Cartesian world, hence my surprise to see so much interest from an engineering crowd,"
Prep and actual cooking is chemical engineering. It doesn't have to be pretty to be a really, really good meal. It just has to taste nice & go down well. Remember that last "drippy" burger & chips you enjoyed? Smoked salmon? Cheese? Bread? Wine? Beer? All built by engineers ... even if most people call 'em "cooks" or "bakers" or brewers" or "winemakers", etc.
The artistic set has issues with grease on the elbows ... their world is all about presentation, and nothing about the actual diner's dinner. Think The French Laundry. Or iFads.
"unless of course the Marketing dept read El Reg too."
From my perspective, the entire world of Marketing has absolutely zero clue about the world that most ElReg readers live in ... Me, I feed people.
No.. There are a lager percentage of men who cook than you imagined.. And what exactly makes you think Bill Gates can't cook?
These days, men cook, and women do DIY. The whole gender specific thing is a bit old fashioned.
I think yours might be the one with the Bernard Manning DVD in the pocket.
hmmm, this article is surely just a way of boosting The Reg party funds via Amazon associate payments than a useful article about kitchen gadgets.... most of these are over priced tat - especially that see-through toaster....
one good point though, at least someone was able to spell "Bellissimo" ;-)
Clearly you've never investigated the options.
You chose a machine from a variety of manufacturers (much like a car), and those manufacturers offer different cartridge options (fuel type, petrol, diesel, electric). You then buy your coffee (fuel) from various outlets and your chosen cartrdidge format is produced by various coffee purveyors in various strengths.
Unless you've gone Nespresso, in which case you are right.
Paying for convenience.
At 30p a shot they're not cheap, but still much cheaper than a cup from a high street shop. There's a lot less faffing about than with loose coffee and basically no cleaning or wastage. By the way, if you're in France you can buy generic capsules from the supermarket, though they're not much cheaper.
The worst thing about Nespresso is the incredibly wanky ads.
One compromise option, which I had for a while, was an Espresso machine that had an adaptor for ESE pods, which are sort of standard, and quite widely available from a number of people. So I could have those for when I was in a hurry, and grind my own the rest of the time.
When it died, though, I went for a big beast of a Siemens bean to cup machine, which makes a very nice coffee, and lets me use whatever beans I fancy. Nespresso is ok to have an an hotel room, but I wouldn't want one in my home.
Some folk probably think me a terrible snob, but if someone offers me "tea or coffee?" my response is usually "is it instant coffee?" and if the answer's yes, then I'll have tea.
I roll my own, ciggies and coffee. However, when staying with friends, I do appreciate the speed of their cartridge system... a wake-up espresso in 30 seconds with no bodily co-ordination required! : D
Now, here's the coffee machine for me:
Thank you, Gary Larson.
I'd love to see you roll a coffee :)
I have had a Tassimo for more years than Nespresso has been on the market, and the design by Bosch was a MASSIVE improvement over the "I'll boil the kettle twice" approach that Braun had. The nice things about Tassimo is the flexibility. Each capsule has a barcode which tells the machine about how much water it takes, how long it needs to stay in the capsule before "pouring" and even if it needs to use steam instead. It's actually a *very* clever piece of kit compared to the Nespresso gear (but their marketing is better - it's no longer coffee, it's a cult).
However, in office use such a one-cup-at-a-time is a massive time waster if you need to get a job done, so when I came across another approach in the Netherlands I bought it: it's a machine that grinds beans, but does so to make your average 1 liter pot-of-coffee. Massive time saver, as long as you then use the coffee instead of letting it boil for hours..
Well, when you use a rotating-drum style roaster, it does roll. The only problem is that it takes about 30 minutes to go from green beans to fresh-pulled espresso. and my poor little Bhemor can only do a 1/2 pound at a time.
So I drink crap coffee during the week, and enjoy my lovely fresh coffee over the weekend.
My kids love to crank the handle, so no need for a motorized version. Makes great ravioli too.
I have one Japanese knife as well (not the one shown). It is a three layer sandwich of softer but tougher stainless steel on the outside, with harder, but more brittle carbon steel in the centre forming the cutting edge. My brother brought it from Japan. It stays sharp in part due to the fact that the missus does not dare use it.
I would also put the Porkert No 8 meat grinder (tin plated cast iron affair, mine is made in Czechoslovakia, it is that old) on the list. Brilliant piece of kit to make your own pate and terrine. Again, the kids crank the handle, so I can relax.
I used to love my Tasimo.. when I first brought it, the pods were about £2.30 for 16. but once they reached the £3.50+ mark it was obvious they were just ripping me off.. Especially when you buy a pack of decent fresh coffee for less which makes double the amount. So I sold the Tasimo on eBay (£55, thank you eBay!).
Along with whatever veggie trimmings that you don't turn into stock, coffee grounds (and the paper filter, if you use one) make for good compost. Egg shells and fish carcasses are good, too. Personally, I don't add kitchen waste directly to the soil, I compost it all together first ... except I generally plant dead fish in the roots of the Wife's rose garden :-)
Caveat: Before adding anything to your soil, test it. Soil nutrition test kits are available at most decent garden stores & DIY shops for next to nothing. Said DIY centers usually have someone who can tell you what soil amendments work well for whatever you are growing in your area.
My wife bought one of these (for less than £204 I should add) and I admit I thought it was just another health food fad. After trying it, I am a convert though, the food that comes out on the whole tastes like it's been deep fried provided it's not overloaded. Fantastic for those late night nuggets :-)
It is missing something with plain chips though, they come out crisp but a bit bland, they're not picking up any taste as they usually would from the oil.
So I have no idea what's different between this and a fan oven but there is something!
The Tefal Actifry is better for that sort of thing. It uses a tablespoon of oil, which gives a lot better results for food that needs to be fried while still keeping the fat content down.
The Actifry's downside is that it uses a paddle to move things around and fry all sides of them. It can remove the coating on some things like fried chicken.
1) Too small for decent heat, either fast and hot or low & slow. Useless. Not a kitchen gadget, either.
2) Friends don't let friends make "packet" food. This is doubly true for coffee & tea. Quintuply true for anything chocolate.
3) I use a stick blender (under US$30) and a pot.
4) Acme 180. Can be motorized, but it's hardly necessary. US$90-ish. The extra 30cm actually makes sense occasionally. Lasagna comes to mind.
5) Useless bit of kit ... unless you are trying to say "look at me! I'm a pretentious twat who knows nothing about wine!"
6) I usually make toast under the broiler ... or under the salamander if I'm in a hurry and trying to feed a bunch of people. When it's just the wife & I, I use a US$17 Hamilton Beach four-slot toaster.
7) Mu. I have proper fryers. Nothing else need apply, IMO.
8) My refrigeration is handled by True, Delfield & Traulsen ... but on the rare occasion that I want to cool a beer down in a hurry, I spin it in a bath of ice-water. Only takes a couple minutes.
9) Victorignox "Fibrox" 8-inch chef's knife ... We use 'em for damn near everything. Under US$40.
10) See "stick blender", above.
"At around £4 for 16, the price per cup is a good deal cheaper than Nespresso"
Hmmm... That's 25p a disc.
Nespresso capsules are mostly 29p (some are 30p or 33p for the specialist ones). And there's a choice of 16 different ones, plus flavoured ones around Christmas and a couple of special editions through the year. And you have the option of buying refillable capsules, or of course third party ones like from the Ethical Coffee company.
Yes, you can make tea in the Tassimo, but, it's tea brewed in under 30 seconds, with a vague plasticky overtaste. Not good, and definitely not proper tea. And of course the barcode system on the Tassimo units is patented, so you can't get third party capsules.
Seems to me that a Nespresso machine might have been a better choice for the article at least. I own both, the Tassimo doesn't even get plugged in any more.
I have a couple of home espress mahines, a LaPavoni and a Dualit and to be honest I'm beginning o think that it's not worth it until you go towards 4 figures and get cut-down commercial machine like http://www.myespresso.co.uk/product.php/26/isomac-millennium-two-semi-automatic-espresso-machine
If it were a genuinely serious matter then you'd brew the coffee gently rather than blasting it through with high pressure steam. Espresso is just convenience coffee ... it allows bars to knock out three times as many cups of half-decent coffee than if they had to twiddle their thumbs and brew it properly.
I don't know where or how it came to be regarded as connoisseur coffee. I suspect part of it is simply an Emperor's New Clothes effect caused by the shininess of the commercial machines and all the clanging and hissing involved in the process. The result is inevitably never more than a few shades above mediocre.
(I completely undermine my argument here by admitting that my kitchen and my office both contain shiny espresso machines ... I like to pretend that I'm busy and terribly important)
Splendid. 100% pedantry and 0% relevant clarification. An almost perfect internet messageboard post. Give yourself a gold star.
Until the invention of mocha/espresso devices, coffee was typically brewed slowly at around 80C. At that temperature, the caffeine and bitter solid compounds dissolve almost instantly and the oils that give coffee its pleasant taste dissolve in a few minutes. Bingo. Yummy yummy coffee. We did it like that for five hundred years.
Pumped espresso machines operate between 90C and 100C and around 9 bars. The original steam-driven machines used steam at around 110C (shall I say steam again? Steam.) The difference is negligible - the caffeine and bitter compounds dissolve so easily around that temperature that the pressure is irrelevant. But the oils have barely even started to dissolve. Your 30 second blast of water/steam gives you the buzz and the bitterness and the pretty foam that baristas get moist about but it leaves most of the oils and taste in the grounds you chuck down the sink.
Actually, if you want the most gentle way of making coffee:
1) Grind your own beans fresh.
2) Place ground beans in container of cold water.
3) Place container in fridge.
4) Let steep for at least 24 hours.
5) Decant coffee liqueur through strainer and filter.
6) Save liqueur.
7) When you want coffee, add hot water to liqueur.
If you're going to spend the best part of three figures for a kitchen knife it really should be ceramic.
May I suggest you look at Kyocera FK series knives
And for those that want to know where the IT angle is, Kyocera also make damn fine printers
Personally I like my Russell Hobbs "Brew and Grind". Chuck in the beans, hit a button and it gets on with the whole damn job for me... I just have to drink the coffee. No plastic crapsules, no nasty taste (unless of course you go for crap coffee) and in the event I run out of beans then it can work as a normal filter coffee machine.
Tea comes from a teapot, not a machine. Except at work, and then it's naff tea.
This is relevant to my interests.
However, I have had a Imperia pasta maker for over a decade and have used it a sum total of... once. Most of the other items would get more everyday use from me, as they reduce the amount of work, not increase it. (Comparing homemade pasta to dried, at least - I was disappointed by my sole experiment and went back to quality dried pasta)
The only job I do in the kitchen is the washing up and I don't see any gadgets for that.
My better half (who is an excellent cook) would possibly be interested in the Coffee machine and the Fridge but we have a perfectly adequate fridge and coffee maker.
Now if the fridge had a tablet built into the door that warned you what foods were approaching their use-by-date,... or the coffee machine had AI and told you that you were a coffee snob and most likely couldn't tell the difference between Arabica and Deer droppings (abusive Talkie Toaster anyone? <LOL>) , then I'd be interested.
Finally I'd like to see a dishwasher that loads itself, cleans the dishes, drys the dishes, puts the dishes away, and then cleans itself. If it gives BJs and wears stockings, so much the better. ;-)
[quote]Finally I'd like to see a dishwasher that loads itself, cleans the dishes, drys the dishes, puts the dishes away, and then cleans itself. If it gives BJs and wears stockings, so much the better. ;-)[/quote]
I've got one of these, its called the Missus and i can tell you it was the most expensive item of kitchenware i've ever purchased!
AC for obvious reasons!!!
"But I love the Bosch Tassimo, not just because it makes great coffee, but because it’s versatile too. Whether you want an early morning espresso, an afternoon cup of tea, or a late night hot chocolate, the T65 will deliver it with aplomb. "
And I can't wait to have its babies.
Could we have at least the pretence that the article hasn't just been copied verbatim out of a series of press releases?
I think this list is missing an ice cream maker - mine gets regular use. Unlike most of the items here (soup maker etc) its functions cannot be replicated with other kitchen implements.
Homemade ice cream is a revelation - a million times better than supermarket crap and a lot cheaper to make than premium brands.
The Cuisinart ICE30 a pretty good one. No need for the fancy ones with built in chillers, unless you're a chef - two litres of ice cream a day (with a good 12 hours to freeze the bowl again) is going to be enough for any home kitchen.
I've heard good things about the Ben & Jerry's ice cream recipe book, too.
All this talk of coffee and toast and no mention of bread makers?
Get yourselves a Panasonic SD-2501 and never buy a loaf of 'bread' in a plastic bag again.
It's dead easy to use and the bread is awesome. I slapped the doings for a garlic and rosemary focaccia loaf in at lunch and the most beautiful aroma is now filling the house.
I think I might pop to the shops for some butter. Not the namby-pamby, lightweight, spreadable oil and water emulsion; one of those rock hard slabs of creamy lovelyness! :-)
You're not going to get proper focaccia out of the pan of a bread machine. That shape of loaf is not focaccia, nor will a proper focaccia recipe bake properly in a bread machine. It's a hydration & bakers percentage thingie. If you're using the machine to mix and proof the loaf, and then do the final form by hand & bake in a proper oven (preferably on a stone!), I apologize.
On the other hand, you can get a KitchenAid 600 Professional for under US$300, if you know where to look (factory refurb). I find that making dough with the mixer makes for less commotion in the home kitchen than a bread machine. The cleanup is easier, too, IMO, although this might be subjective.
I make pasta, dumpling and biscuit (scone) dough in an aging Cuisinart ... Gift from my MIL. Only things I use the silly contraption for ;-)
Knives and the Fridge for me.
Living in a shared house with a crap fridge for 4 years. As soon as I've got my own place decent Fridge is first thing that's coming my way!
As for Coffee I'm going to put it out there. I love instant Coffee. Definitely the more expensive ones not the cheap ones.. Not that much of a fan of poncey filter coffee. To be fair though that may just be because no where and no one actually makes it well in the UK. If I have to drink it I have a Latte which is often luke warm with burnt milk, rather than just luke warm with burnt coffee...
Absolutely vital wedding prezzie is a slow-cooker. It's a MUST-HAVE! (I love mine, use it weekly. Not microprocessor-controlled hence lack of IT icon)
After a few years, you'll also need a small child to assist.
(It's excellent food, by the way - one of my hobbies)