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.
A gift that anyone wanting to get into baking will appreciate, a flat surface 5kilo kitchen scale, an instant read thermometer and a timer. Best of all they all match so even the kitchen that has them in will look smart before cooking starts.
Salter are the name in small scales this 5kilo offering allows you to place a dish or bowl on the scale and reset it to zero so that adding a certain amount of a substance does not require any maths, you can then add the next ingredient or should you wish zero again and carry on until you have all the ingredients. The scale is 22x19.
The Salter Kitchen Gift Set contains the digital tools -- scales, timer and thermometer -- needed to assist a cook to obtain consistent results
The three items, all of which have a matt black finish, have LCD displays. They are packed in a neat cardboard box which also contains the necessary batteries and separate instruction leaflet for each item. The scales are roughly 220 x 195mm in size and about 10mm tall. No scale pan is provided so items to be weighed are either placed directly on top surface of the scales or in any suitable bowl with a base of up to 16cm or so in diameter.
Here I am looking at two different brands of microwave cookware and both can be purchased from Lakeland. First from their own brand a casserole dish and second an egg poacher –OVO- from the Lekue range of microwave cookware.
I saw this at the Lakeland Xmas In July presentation that took place at Somerset House in London. It was a busy day and I had already seen a similar silicone product from Lekue at a different event which I shall tell you about below. This is a silicone oval casserole that works in a microwave, it is 27cm from end to end, 18cm from side to side and 5cm from ridged base to the top of the handle, it weights 405grams.
The Wilko milk pan will be appreciated by those who like hot milk on their breakfast cereal or a hot milky drink at bedtime.
As anyone who has to heat milk knows, it is a tricky task. One moment it is sitting peacefully in the pan and then, just a moment later, it has boiled over. Hence the need for a deep pan designed especially for the task. This Wilko pan is roughly 11cm deep so that, even with 2 pints of milk in the pan, there is still over 6cm of headroom. Hence, as soon as one sees the milk starting to boil, it can be quickly removed safely from the heat before it has the chance to boil over.
Five a day is the mantra for ‘fruit and veg’ but then all the things you like do not count so not your potatoes even when they are steamed. However if you make your items up into a smoothie or drink they do count and this makes it easy.
The container is 23cm tall with spill prove lid attached and the unit is circular at 7.5cm it is made of clear strong plastic that should even stand a dishwasher. It is stated to hold 600ml of liquid and is marked at 200ml, 400ml and 600ml the last measure 4cm below the top. The lid unscrews and the top has a solid clip that should not unclip in your bag so you can make at home and drink while out on a run or just at the office.
Steaming food means that the goodness -often boiled away- is retained. So is it possible to have healthy and good tasting food. This item from Morphy Richards gives you a good chance and best of all it is not a whole lot of fuss to produce it.
While food can taste great things with different flavours still taste better when kept apart in preparation so this has two compartments and even a special container for rice. It is 29x21x29cm the last figure is the height so the footprint is small onto whatever you place it on. The front of the unit has a 7.5x3.2cm display with six control buttons in an ‘L’ shape down the left and along the bottom of it. Towards the right edge is a water gauge.
With the Salter Electric Soup Maker one can make a hot nourishing soup in about half an hour. Now that the days are getting colder it will make a useful addition to the kitchen for both the experienced or beginner cook.
Nobody wants their Sunday joint burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. The Heston Blumenthal 5-in-1 digital thermometer from Salter is a useful tool in preventing that and similar problems in the kitchen. But that is not all it can do
As well as for roasting it can also be used for checking the temperature in a deep fat fryer, act as a jam thermometer etc. or, when in the manual mode, provide an audible alert when a predetermined temperature has been reached. Normal oven thermometers measure either the temperature in the oven or that within the item being cooked -- but not both.
With the perfusion of cookery programs on TV the things that comes through is accuracy, both in weight and timing/temperature so these two items can help with those things. First an accurate kitchen scale and second an oven temperature gauge.
This scale can weigh up to 5kilos. They are rectangular at 25x18x2cm as a maximum as they are slightly less at the back. They run on two ‘AAA’ provided. There are just two buttons one each side of the 5.5x2.2cm oval display, this display is black on grey. The right touch button zeros the display when whatever you are using to measure your items in is placed on the scale, if you continue to press this button it turns the scale off.
The Heston Blumenthal Dual Platform precision kitchen scales from Salter greatly improve the accuracy in weighing of ingredients and so will find favour with anyone who takes their cooking seriously.
They cover a wider weight range than the majority of scales and also enable one to weigh out small quantities accurately -- something that is beyond the ability of the majority of kitchen scales. The scales, which come supplied in a storage case, are solidly built with the metal body matt black and roughly 260 x 165mm in size overall while the two stainless steel platforms, each of which has a red styling line around its edge, are respectively 165 x 145 and 80 x 70mm in size.
The Heston Blumenthal precision analogue oven thermometer model 543 HBSSCR by Salter will be a useful addition to the armoury of any person who takes cooking seriously. It can be seen as a useful aid to achieving consistent results.
Constructed with a stainless steel body and a clear glass lens it has a mounting arrangement that enables it to be hung from an oven shelf or, alternatively, to be stood on a shelf or floor of the oven in such a position that that it can be viewed through the oven door’s glass window. Overall the body is 62mm in diameter with its window being 48mm.
A recent visit to a trade show introduced me to a company developing products for the kitchen that were controlled by remote.
It was time to sit back and enjoy a cuppa with probably a biscuit or two. Now where did I put my smartphone? At this point in time I should stop indulging in flights of fancy and explain that I am not going to call up some home delivery service with an order for refreshments but show further evidence that the Internet of Things is taking over different aspects of modern day living. Let me tell you about the iKettle which is a kettle with its own built in Wi-Fi functionality.
A quality microwave that is available from AO.COM at an amazing price. This is not the latest and greatest that seems to be able to everything but the washing up. However it is a very competent offering at a price only normally found with the entry level models.
In a previous life I was a chef so I know my way round a kitchen and to be honest my own microwave is at least 35years old and normally gets used for defrosting and reheating, it does not even have a revolving turntable. So for three weeks I decided to forsake my over and hob and live using the microwave.