Picture a normal mid sized ice cube tray and place another upside down on top of it and you arrive quite close to what you have with IceBreaker Pop. There is more to it including the ability to keep other items frozen for longer.
The IceBreaker Pop measures 20x11.5x3.5cm at one end and 5cm at the top end. However a normal ice cube tray is open here it is closed – sealed - so does not need to be laid flat while freezing and no chance of taking in tastes from other items. The instructions as received by me were on a brown cardboard sleeve in the now popular illustration format. Being old I did not find them that easy to follow and a couple of attempts were required to get the desired results.
Over the years I have reviewed a couple of earlier – and smaller – versions of this item. When I saw this at the recent Philips demonstration day ‘Xmas In July’ the claim was made that it could cook a whole chicken in a small amount of time so never one to turn down a challenge I accepted.
As stated this is somewhat larger than previous versions but is still small enough to sit on the average kitchen worktop it is 43cm from back to front, 30cm from side to side and 29cm tall. Unlike other Air Fryers the whole fryer can be extracted on runners so if you wish you can baste the item being cooked without having to hold the cooking basket in on hand or perhaps harder finding somewhere to put it down that can withstand heat.
Making things from raw vegetables does not really appeal to me, fruit yes, vegetables no I tend to prefer my vegetables cooked. But things like carrot cake can appeal even to children so be a man and give it a go, the pulp that is not juiced goes into a vacuum environment and can be kept – even frozen - to be added to stocks to give extra bulk.
While this can be a conventional blender it also has the ability to become a vacuum blender which means the parts of the fruit or vegetables not liquefied can be kept and added to soups and stocks and as once you pressed the vacuum button the residue keeps far longer and can even be frozen for use at a later date.
Another of the items I saw at the Homewares show in June. This time a set of five – three of one size and two of a smaller size – that are sold as a value pack and since they arrived have been put into service both in my fridge and my microwave.
The larger size is 23x14x6cm and stated to hold 900 ml. The smaller size is 14.5x10.5x6cm and stated to hold 375 ml. They are described as microsafe and have also spent a lot of the time in my fridge. The label holding the pack together states they are free of BPA, PVC, lead and phthalates so they are completely safe for storing food.
The Salter Loud Electronic Timer model 355BKKR will suit those who work in noisy kitchens or are hard of hearing and so have difficulty in hearing other timers.
The old style mechanical kitchen timers, of which there are still plenty around, make a loud noise but are not very accurate. They have generally given way to electronic timers which are very accurate but, in many cases, are not very loud. The Salter Loud Timer, which will count up or down digitally to 19 hours, 59 minutes & 59 seconds, is both electronic and loud – but with a slide switch to enable one to select lower volume options.
This is one supplier who kept their promise to send samples of their items for me to review from my visit to the annual Housewares show in London. So here a microwave rice steamer and a larger than normal storage box with or without inset basket.
It is 14cm tall and almost square at 20cm wide it weighs 315 grams. The attached cardboard wrapper describes this as a 2.7 litre rice and grain cooker suitable for up to four people. The receipt book inside the container goes into detail about fish and chicken dishes as well but they seem to be for other items in the same range. Looking closely at the impressed characters on the base of the container has it suitable to use up to 140 degrees Celsius and as low as -18 degrees Celsius.
A visit to annual Exclusively Housewares show had me given four assorted silicon kitchen tools to scrape and whisk with - at least that’s what I assume I was given them for – they come in a range of colours and one thing they all had in common is their ability not to melt at temperatures up to 300 degrees Celsius and for those like me of the older generation that close to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
I would describe this as large whisk as 15cm of the total length is made up of the six pairs of (12 in all) of coated wires that put volume into whatever you are whisking. This is an easy to clean whisk that can be placed in the dishwasher. It is guaranteed to be odourless and tasteless on whatever you whisk. Unlike a lot of older whisks that can damage sensitive items this is guaranteed not to damage sensitive surfaces.
Tea used to be a very expensive substance, and a couple of centuries ago was always kept under lock and key and mixed at the table by the lady of the house, normally a mixture of green and black teas. Then half way through the last century the tea bag was invented. Even today there are still a minority who prefer leaf tea and here a device that allows leaf tea mixed in the cup with the convenience of a tea bag.
Imagine a take away coffee cup with lid and then shrink it down. The lid is rubber helping it to float and the sides and base are metal with thousands of tiny holes – like pine holes – and you have the Magisso Lippa floating tea infuser. It is 6cm tall, circular 3cm across at the base and 4.5cm across at the top. Unlike a tea bag this will stay upright with the silicon rubber top remaining on the top.
While I have a Nespresso machine I like the taste of Cappuccinos and Dolce Gusto machines do one as good as a decent Barista can make but of course there are two great advantages, you make them at Home and they are a quarter of coffee shop price.
It is 37cm tall, 26cm from back to front and 12cm wide. A rather modernistic design it can hold up to two pints of water. Unlike other machines this come fully assembled and once you have removed the plastic covering the shiny finish you just need to run some water through in case there are impurities from the production line.
Not something to stick onto your table to roll out the pasta to very thin slices or ribbons but a tool that allows you to put the ingredients into and, out of the unit comes the pasta – and noodles – ready to be cooked and eaten.
If you make pasta you need space and time and also muscles and probably a machine that clips onto the side of a table to pass the dough through several times. Is it worth the time and effort? However if there was a machine that you fed with the ingredients for making pasta and out the other end comes pasta ready to cook then I suspect the answer to my question might well be in the affirmative. It is 35x13.
Having recently told you about a kitchen scale that is treble the normal maximum of 5kilos, another arrives shortly afterwards. This one is from Terraillon and is called The Chef Kitchen Scale and it has an amazing 15 year guarantee.
It is 25.5cm wide, 21cm deep and 2.5cm thick. One reason for the extra thickness is that it uses ‘AA’ batteries rather than ‘AAA’. The actual weighing surface is 22.5x14cm with the central part of the area in the front of this taken by the 9x3cm display. Touch the area to the left side of the display to change the weighing units or to pause the function of the scale.
In a way a throwback to the past a mechanical timer which works solely by counting down from a set figure to zero and then ringing a bell to warn you, a simple process that should still enable you to extract things from the over without them burning.
It is circular at 9.5cm and slopes up from the front where it is 2cm up to 5.5cm at the back. It is made of stainless steel with the twist arm plastic so both are wipe clean. The clock is marked in five minute increments up to an hour with the areas between the numerals clearly shown by dashes so you could set seven minutes or forty eight minutes just as easily as five minutes or twenty five minutes.
While for some a kitchen scale able to measure up to 15 kilos may seem overkill for others especially those using large copper pans will say at last. As the dimensions are bigger so to the great relief of those with less than perfect sight is the display.
The Salter Max digital kitchen scales measure 34x26x2.5cm and the weighs 1.365kilos. The scale can weigh from a single gram up to 15 kilos or 33 lbs. Most kitchen scales will measure amounts up to 3kilos or more recently 5kilos they are small in size and that - when not in use - is a plus but when larger bowls or pans are placed on the scale there are two main problems firstly things can weigh too much and it is also hard to read the display especially if a bowl or pan covers the display itself.
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.