As an ex chef and keen home cook for over fifty years I know that food poisoning is a rather nasty - and for some – potentially dangerous condition. So basic hygiene is key and knowing when various items are hot enough to kill bugs is vital so a quite simple tool like a meat probe is not just useful but vital especially when dealing with larger items.
While a lot of what keen foodies will enjoy at Heston’s outlets are considered by many to be strange combinations they still receive careful preparation. This comes with two ‘AAA’ batteries which need to be inserted into the head of the unit. This is covered by a silicon rubber sleeve that is a tight fit but needs to be partially removed to allow the battery door to be slid off to fit the batteries.
This product consists of ten bags of one size and five bags of a larger size, three air exaction valves and a pump to remove the air so whatever you want to ‘keep fresh’ without air making it go off, you are able to store items in a fresh state for far longer by being in a vacuum.
Vacuum packing is not new but home vacuum packing is, Chefs use vacuum packing in preparing a lot of items. The bags provided are high quality reusable nylon bags and so the curse of single use plastic is slightly lessened. The pump is polypropylene and the valves are silicon and nylon. All are cold resistant to -20 degrees Celsius and heat resistant to 100 degrees Celsius for up to 15 minutes. The two bag sizes are 26x28cm and 20x22cm.
Filtered water is often the best option simply because unfiltered water can have a taste and as this could even be kept in the fridge it is also chilled. So it is opportune for those who drink bottled could switch to something like Zero Water. One large supermarket chain has recently increased a two litre bottle of own brand water by 25% that is when they have stock.
You get a large jug you pour the water from your tap into the top of the unit it then passes through the patented filter unit and emerges into the jug ready to be drunk. You can then pour water into a glass or using a button on the bass to allow water to flow into a glass placed under the edge of the unit. The Jug is 28cm from the top back of the handle to the front of the spout, 28cm tall and 14.5cm at its widest.
As well as being used for meat, as its name indicates, the Heston Blumenthal Precision Indoor/Outdoor Meat Thermometer from Salter can also be used for other applications such as jam and cake making. It will enable a cook to take much of the guesswork out of their work and ensure that meat is properly cooked all the way through.
The thermometer consists of a stainless steel probe and the head unit with the On/Off switch and the LCD to display the temperature. The probe is inserted for a just a few seconds to allow it to reach and measure the internal temperature of the meat -- or jam or cake. The probe is 180mm long and has marks etched along its length at 1cm intervals. These enable the user to judge when the probe has been inserted just far enough to reach the centre of the meat.
These Salter digital kitchen scales have a rated capacity of 10kg and can weigh small amounts to an accuracy of 0.1g and so will prove a boon to any serious home cook as well as giving confidence to those on a learning curve.
The base of the unit is polished black in colour and is roughly 30 x 20cm in size with a smoothly curved profile. It is topped by the two different sized weighing platforms as well as a large and very clear backlit LCD display. The four digits which display the weight are about 28mm high while the “unit” indicators are much smaller.
The Sinkstation from New Soda is described as a sink preparation colander. It is a fresh and versatile approach to the standard boards used in the kitchen for food preparation.
Available in a range of colours the body is moulded from a matt surfaced hard but not absolutely rigid plastic. Perforated with a large number of holes to allow water to drain through, it is 34 x 27cm in size and slightly bowl shaped with a pouring lip in one corner. This is a size that will drop comfortably into most sinks with space to spare although, as the note on the packing points out “not suitable for round sinks”.
For those who already have a coffee machine of choice this unit can give you the froth you sometimes want to get the perfect Latte or Cappuccino or even should you want it - cold frothed milk - it is quick and easy to use and works even with semi-skimmed milk.
It is a round jug with a push fitting clear Perspex lid, the whole unit fits into same size base which means that the jug – minus the base – is able to be fully washed in whatever way you normally do. It is 10cm across and 17cm tall. The inside is impressed with Min and Max fill markers. There is a handle connected to the top so you can pour and or spoon the contents once creamed into the cup or cups.
This is a multi-functional pressure cooker as not only can it work as a conventional pressure cooker but also has the ability to be a slow cooker – there’s an oxymoron – cook from frozen ‘to sear’ and according to the book even prepare desserts.
The Morphy Richards MyPot measures 30cm tall and round at 29cm across weighting 3.675 kilos it is stated to handle up to four litres at a time. I remember my grandmother’s pressure cooker it was a good way to redecorate the kitchen as more than once it had a mind of its own and dinner ended up everywhere. My mum had one a generation later and this was more reliable providing you followed the rules and were very careful when the pressure was removed.
Watching an expect demonstrator can persuade a lot of people to buy things. I saw one sharpening with this product all kinds of knifes with edges - even serrated examples – then for effect - I am sure - an old axe was produced and this too was sharpened and then a soft tomato was sliced up thinly with it, everyone was suitable hooked.
What I have yet to do is carry out some of the other things he demonstrated on other garden tools perhaps the most strange a builders cement trowel that he also then proceeded to cut a ripe tomato into wafer thin slices. Why a ripe tomato well try it yourself I suggest you do not wear anything like a decent shirt or dress as tomato stains are not easy to remove.
This is much smaller than the original version I reviewed some years ago. The basic shape is the same but the heating element inside is humped which should mean the heat is better distributed amongst whatever is being cooked.
Philips Viva Collection Airfryer TurboStar measures 27x24x24cm not including the handle and the part that can contain items - the basket - is 18x18x8cm, this area lifts out. While most will use it to cook chips – which it does very nicely – however it can do much more.
While the most popular buy is a fridge/freezer combo, a lot of people still prefer a stand along freezer especially if this is going to live somewhere other than in the kitchen. This offering from Fridgemaster seems to be an excellent buy.
Before I tell you about the freezer let me mention a very important point the service offered by AO.com. You are invoiced by email as soon as the sale is made, the delivery date agreed, and then a four hour time slot is agreed. On the day an automated phone call early in the morning and then an email reminder of the delivery. AO have an iOS and Android App to let you track the driver’s progress and show the number of deliveries before yours.
The Air Chef is the second of my three choices from the Birmingham based company that I came across by accident during a visit to the Exclusively Housewares show in London early in the summer, the first was the Home Baker already reviewed.
The Air Chef is 32cm tall, 32cm from side to side and 38cm from front to back. As you will probably have guessed this is cooking tool like the previously reviewed Home Baker but totally unlike the third item still to come. Once you have unboxed the Air Chef anyone into cooking will love the choices around the 3.3x2.2cm display ‘Rapid, Roast, Fries, Bake, Pizza, Grill, Skewer and Rotor’.
This is a food scale which when use with an App might help you to lose weight, that is you have the willpower to keep it up and above all NO SNACKING BETWEEN MEALS the last directive is perhaps the most important thing of all.
The scale is 26x15.5x1.5cm and weighs 606 grams with the required – not supplied – 3x‘AAA’ inserted. The batteries are inserted in the back of the scale and each corner is raised slightly by a tiny foot to insure accurate measurement. The deck of the scale has a 5.
Walking around a recent show in London found several interesting stands, one of the most interesting was one from a firm based in Birmingham that had a range of interesting electrical items, here is the first of three that I selected from their wide range.
A lot of modern homes do not have a conventional oven, so this small unit could enable things to be made that otherwise would only be childhood memories. It can also be used instead of a conventional oven when cooking for one at a far lesser cost. For those of us old enough the remember the Breville Sandwich Toaster this is a slightly larger unit and you just plug it in and cook. The maximum dimensions are 29x27x17cm and it weighs 2.64 kilos.
I get the occasional chance to test items from LIDL and as in the case here they sometimes arrive in time to tell you about them before they go on sale in their stores. Here a hand blender that not only is the basic thing but comes with extra attachments for other tasks.
This hand blender measures 29cm long, the green top 17.5cm detaches from the stainless steel bottom 11.5cm, it is circular at a maximum of 5cm at the top and the base and 14cm just above the base is only 1cm across. The total weight is 600 grams with the hard wired 1.5metree lead attached. The top 17.5cm part should only be wiped clean with a damp cloth the bottom 11.5cm bit can be washed normally.
It is rare for me to start with the price; £20 for a food mixer on a stand is I think unique, so I asked to review one. You could probably get a basic hand held offering for this price but certainly not one with a set of beaters a set of dough hooks as well as a large stainless steel bowl and stand.
Assembly is just a matter of unpacking, remove the stand from the box along with the beaters and dough hooks, then unpack the actual mixer unit, the longest job was removing the plastic tie from the 1.2 metres long hard wired power lead, now clip the mixer into the stand and plug in the lead and you are ready to go, maybe two or three minutes in total.
While some other companies may have a wider choice of models from more companies AO have a big plus in that they offer next day delivery by their own vans, you are rung on the day and yes they deliver when they say they will. Another plus their prices are very keen.
This toaster is called ‘Bit More’ as it allows you to just add a little more colour to your toast without starting the whole process again. Heston Blumenthal is a chef whose restaurant is always full; his name is linked to a lot of unusual dishes cooked in strange ways.
The Ambiano Premium Stand Mixer, ref. 68007, will go on sale in Aldi stores nationwide and online as one of the company’s “specials” on 20th October. It is a solidly build traditional food mixer which comes with extra accessories to increase its versatility.
Employing a 1000W direct drive motor for reliability the machine offers eight different speed settings from slow for gentle mixing or kneading up to a high whisking speed. The rotary switch also offers a pulse setting. It certainly appears to be robust enough for all domestic food preparation tasks and it had no problem in kneading dough even though, in the instruction book, there is a warning against overheating. The mixer, which is available in red, cream or champagne, is provided with a 4.
A simple thing that I am sure we all have at least one of, this however is something different as it is a lot taller than most, it is very solidly constructed and I see that it comes with a ten year guarantee and it still costs only £10.
Milk pans are often flimsy things and normally quite low the one I have had for years is 14cm across and 7cm tall, it weights 325grams. This offering from Wilko is still 14cm across but 12cm tall and weighs 675grams. The inside is coated in a non-stick material, the outside is stainless steel.
The Salter Precision Bowl scales model 1083 BKSSDR provide a most useful tool to enable a cook to measure ingredients both easily and accurately.
Having a maximum capacity of 3kg (7lb) with a resolution of 1g (0.1 oz.) the scales have an enhanced resolution of 0.1g when weighing amounts of up to 999g. The scales, which are supplied with a 1 litre capacity clear plastic dishwasher proof bowl, are actually quite small with a 12cm stainless steel weighing platform that occupies all the rear of the unit. The two push-buttons and the LCD display are at the front.