January is long, and with so many of us cooking on a budget, we thought it was about time we addressed the budget kitchen kit. Cooking on a budget extends to the kit you buy for your kitchen. Most of us can’t afford to splash out on the latest mixer or blender or chopper, especially when we’re trying hard to make ends meet. With that in mind, we’ve whittled down our kitchen kit to the brass tacks – this is the stuff that will make your culinary journey infinitely easier; and make spreading those ingredients further a doddle.
The pressure cooker
No longer the terrifying pot that lived at the back of your mother’s press, only taken out to boil the dreaded corned beef, pressure cookers are fantastic for tenderising meat in half the time. Use yours for the hardworking joints that require more attention in return for a lower price.
Large Frying Pan. Treat your frying pan well and it will be your best friend in the kitchen. Buy one with high sides and a heavy base, and you could even use yours instead of a wok.
Large Saucepan. One heavy bottomed saucepan will do you for most things. Look for a deep one – essential for cooking pasta and stews, and one with a tight fitting lid with an oven-friendly lid so that it can be used as a stew and casserole pot in the oven.
One Good Knife. Find one that feels good in your hand, and can be used for anything in the kitchen. Most chefs use the same knife for every job – apply this to your kitchen rules.
Chopping Board. Buy two – one for veg and one for meat and fish. Look for plastic ones too, it’s cheaper and easier to clean.
Hand Blender. Cheap and so helpful, use a hand blender for soups, smoothies and even vegetable purées.
One loaf tin. With a loaf tin, you can whip up sponge cakes, a loaf of bread and even a meatloaf. It is a fabulous start to your baking collection.
A spatula. Silicon, please, and watch it become your most used piece of kitchen kit.
An enameled or cast iron casserole dish with a lid. This will work in place of a slow cooker, and last a lifetime. Think soups, stews and casseroles, all benefiting from the maximum flavour this pot provides.
A large casserole dish. Since they are designed for serving as well as cooking, this should be good looking as well as functional.
Tongs. A good set of tongs are like a heat-proof extension of your own fingers. Like the spatula, once you start using these, you will never look back.
A large mixing bowl. For baking, for salad making, for collecting peelings – this is essential to your kit.