WHEN you’re cooking up a culinary masterpiece in the kitchen, you’ll need the tools of the trade.
Whether you’re rolling, stirring, whisking, flipping or tossing, there is a specific implement for your every need.
As well as being practical, many utensils these days are also stylish and modern so they look the part too.
The HNG Tried and Tested team donned their aprons and sampled a few implements to see which ones are worth forking out for.
Stellar Beech Slotted Turner and Stellar Beech Scraper Spoon.
Both £3.60, available from Farm and Household Stores, Inverness, Highland Industrial Supplies, Inverness, and Macdonalds Hardware, Dingwall.
THESE stylish utensils are perfect for turning fish on the frying pan, or equally meat. They are non-stick, and sauce (even tomato) doesn’t stain these handy tools.
The turner is big and wide, not fiddly, making it perfect for cooking.
The only fault is that these tools aren’t suitable for the dishwasher so they have to be hand-washed. Not a huge problem, just a hassle.
The spoon was fab for stirring my husband’s home-made pasta sauce, which involves plenty of tinned tomatoes. It didn’t stain the lovely wooden colour of spoon, so that was an added bonus. I really liked the finish of this spoon, which felt polished and smooth.
Overall, these are handy utensils which I’m sure will last forever.
Flexicone kitchen utensils (slotted turner, balloon whisk, spaghetti server) from Stellar.
RRP £8.40 each
THESE Flexicone kitchen tools have black non-stick silicone ends and look stylish with handles made from brushed stainless steel. They are sturdy and comfortable to hold, making them easy to use – and very importantly these days are dishwasher safe.
They are heavier than many of my other kitchen tools but I think excellent quality and should last a lifetime.
I tried the slotted turner when frying an egg it was a bit thick, making flipping a bit awkward, but it is certainly non-stick as the egg just slid off. It was great to lift a portion of lasagne out of the casserole and fish from a baking tray and it is much sturdier than the one I have which is also pretty good quality.
If like me you don’t like to fill up the dishwasher with big items, it was really easy to wash as nothing stuck to it.
I also tried the balloon whisk and the spaghetti server and was just as impressed. Both were as easy to use and clean as the fish slice.
I probably have a tool for every job, and I would be delighted to add these to the collection.
At £8.40 each they are a bit more expensive than other kitchen tools, but as they have a lifetime guarantee they are well worth the extra expense.
They would also make a great housewarming or wedding present.
Judge black satin cooking spoon, slotted turner and potato masher
£3.25 each, available at www.amazon.co.uk
THESE kitchen tools are puzzling, because they do not come as a set. Instead, each of them costs £3.25, which comes to a bill of over £10 for the three, which is a bit steep given what they are.
Easy to grip and clearly durable, with the manufacturer’s 25-year guarantee, they would be great for students starting out in their own kitchen for the first time, or as a starter set.
But so would any number of cheaper sets of tools. If I was going to buy something for my kitchen to use for 25 years, I think I’d go elsewhere.
The Judge equipment seems to be suffering from an identity crisis. It doesn’t know if it wants to last forever or be chucked after a couple of years.
Zing silicone utensils, brush, whisk, spoon and tongs
RRP from £4.99 each, available from Amazon, (search for Premier Zing).
THIS range looks super cool, and I love the vibrant colours they come in. They brighten up my kitchen.
This is a new range of silicone utensils from Premier Housewares, available in seven modern colours. These include bright shades of pink, blue, green and orange.
The set includes everything from spatulas, spoons, whisks, colanders and sieves as well as trivets, spoon rests, kitchen scales and rolling pins. The range boasts that it is durable and heat resistant to 240c.
I guess serious cooks would not appreciate this set, but I am not the best cook in the world so I was happy to give them a try.
As they felt quite soft to touch, I worried they weren’t up to the job. However, the utensils worked well and they didn’t retain odours after cooking like wooden utensils can.
I wasn’t so impressed by the whisk, though, as its strands were a bit too soft and food kept getting stuck inside it.
Another down side was that it claimed to not stain but I noted that the spoon stained slightly after stirring chilli tomato soup.
This range is more for the image conscious rather than the Jamie Oliver style cooks out there.
Oxo Good Grips Range – Salad Dressing Shaker £12, Ratcheting Pineapple Slicer £9, Hand Held Mixer £20.
All available at Oxo’s website – www.oxouk.com
I AM a keen cook, but I am not a gadget freak when it comes to my kitchen. I like to keep things basic, so I approached the Oxo’s Good Grip range with a little caution.
First of all I gave the salad dressing shaker a whirl – and at first I was sceptical. However, I can see the advantage of using a specific item designed for dressings and marinades. You can see how much you are making for a start, you don’t need to adopt the use of stirrers or whisks and, as it has quite a nice design, it can be taken straight to the table to be used for serving. It is also ideal to store any left-over dressing in and fits neatly to the milk compartment in the fridge.
I then gave the hand held mixer a go and with this I was most impressed. Its smooth soft grip handle was ace and it blended my clafoutis mixture beautifully without giving me an achy arm. Top marks from me.
The pineapple slicer was the utensil which gave me the most concern. My boys love pineapple, but in all honesty I avoid buying them as I really can’t be bothered with the faff. Is there really a product that makes it easier to core and slice these pesky fruits? Well, yeah, there is and let’s just say that we will be munching down on pineapple a lot more in our household from now.
Colourworks Nylon Headed Jumbo Turner – Pink £7; Colourworks Nylon Headed Masher – Purple £6; Colourworks Silicone Large Spatula – Red £7.
All available from www.sterlingfurniture.co.uk
FIRST and foremost these items were not as flimsy as the Zing utensils as they are more plasticky and less rubbery.
I was able to use the headed jumbo turner on non-stick pans and because it is heat resistant to 210°C, it didn’t melt. The down side is it’s so big, it’s hard to store it, however it does have a loop at the top for hanging it up.
The spatula, because it is made out of silicone, is more flexible than the turner. I used it with pasta, soups, and sauces, and it remained stain-free. It is heat resistant to 260°C, and again it did not melt at all.
The masher was sturdy and mashed up my tatties in no time at all.
All the items are available in a range of bright colours.