Earlier this week, both Julie (from My Apologies for the Novel) and Rosie (Rosie’s Vegan Kitchen) nominated me for a Liebster award. The idea of the award is that you answer 10 questions and think of 10 new questions for the people you nominate yourself. I tend to be terrible at these kinds of question tags (too indecisive?), but I do like the questions they came up with. One of Julie’s questions was about your favourite kitchen tool/utensil, and I thought I’d dedicate an entire post to that. These are some of my favourites that I use almost every day:
1. Knife and cutting board: These are often mentioned as the two essential items for every kitchen and I feel the same way. I have a medium-sized knife from Ikea and I think it’s just right. I use a hand-held sharpener regularly so the knife is always sharp when I need it. My Mum gave me the bamboo cutting board and I really love it – it’s a good size and it’s easy to clean.
2. Stick blender: I think I overwork my stick blenders a bit because I’ve already gone through several since living on my own, but they’re so convenient! I use mine for soups and sauces but also for thicker things like pesto and smoothies and spreads – in that case, I do try to make sure that the ingredients are small enough and that there’s enough liquid.
3. Sturdy wooden spoon: Should I call this a spatula or a spoon? In any case, I use it for stirring. When I make bread, I always try to stir the dough for as long as possible before I start kneading. This seems to help to make the dough reasonably firm so it doesn’t stick to your hands as much. This method does require a very strong spoon. This beautiful olive-wood spatula was given to me by a friend when she returned from a holiday on Samos and I use it a few times a week.
4. Thin spatula: I like to use plastic spatulas because all my frying pans have surfaces that would get damaged by metal (non-stick coatings and enamelled cast iron). This one (also from Ikea) is thin and flexible, so it’s perfect for flipping pancakes and burgers (which otherwise have a tendency to fall apart on me). If I could only have one spatula, it would be this one.
5. Empty applesauce jars: My kitchen is full of these glass jars that I rinse and reuse again and again. Why applesauce jars? Well, a thick layer of applesauce used to be the only thing that would get my boyfriend to eat his vegetables. Nowadays we don’t eat it as often, but we’ve still gone through quite a few jars over the years. I also like that they’re easy to clean and they’re a good size for things like dried pasta, legumes, grains – anything, really. I have larger jars with hinged lids to store certain specific ingredients (like big bags of rice), but I like reusing applesauce jars as a cheap alternative.
6. Wooden countertop: This is actually a separate wooden board that I lay down or remove depending on how much space I need. My parents gave it to me after using the same wood for their own kitchen and I use it almost every day. I usually put it on top of the washing machine so it functions as an extra working surface. My other counters are metal and hard to clean properly, so I prefer this board for things like kneading and rolling out dough (and for taking pictures!).