Crushed…

The Garlic Twist is allegedly the winner of six Industry Awards – so it must be good, you’d think?

I bought this in a kitchen shop in Falmouth, Cornwall (sorry, can’t remember the shop’s name) – it was highly recommended by the sales lady when I told her I was looking for good kitchen gadgets to blog about.

This is very simple – you put the garlic clove or piece of ginger root into the base, put on the lid and twist the two halves together. Et voila – crushed garlic or ginger! I haven’t tried it with nuts, as usually I need to do larger quantities that will fit into the Garlic Twist.

It is really easy to wash as well, so you don’t end up with annoying stray bits that you have to poke out with the washing-up brush.

So all in all, I’m very happy with it and can see why it’s won awards!

garlictwist1 garlictwist2

Best kitchen knife ever?

I’ve had my Kitchen Devil multi-purpose knife for more years than I can count. It is my knife of choice for everyday use, and I don’t believe that a single day has passed when I haven’t used it. Fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, fish – you name it, it cuts it. I wouldn’t use it on bread (other than small rolls or pitta) only because the blade isn’t long enough.

Its serrated blade stays sharp, its handle remains comfy to hold, and it just keeps on going. More like a kitchen angel than a kitchen devil.kitchendevilsmall

Mystery gadget

jiggerOne of the finest things to do on a rainy August day in Scotland is to while away the time in an excellent kitchenware shop, such as Home Improvements in St Andrews. It’s particularly satisfying when you come across a mystery object which no-one can identify, not even the people serving in the shop.

It was hanging alone forlornly on a display stand for various small kitchen gadgets. The only thing to identify it on the plastic wrapper was that it was made by Grunwerg.

I had to buy it. It was only £3.99 and it was crying out to be owned by someone. I thought that I might set up a little competition on this page for people to guess what it was, but then my friend Denise found it with some creative Googling – “Grunwerg jigger measure“!

It had crossed our minds that it might be for serving spirits measures but didn’t really know why you would need to have one that sits across the glass. Apparently though, according to some of the reviewers on Drinkstuff, it saves the risk of spilling the drink whilst transferring from a more orthodox jigger measure to the glass. Whatever.

It comes in two sizes and mine is the smaller 25ml version. Except it isn’t. Prompted by the reviews on Drinkstuff, which said the measure line on the 50ml version wasn’t accurate, I decided to check. It is a very generous 25ml – in fact, it’s 35ml – fine if you’re settling down for the evening at home with a wee dram of your favourite single malt, but not great if you’re driving and you find you’ve drunk nearly half as much again as you thought.

All in all, it’s a bit of a waste of space. Pretty and shiny, though. I may even use it one day.

 

Keeping the bubbly bubbly

You could argue that there’s no real place in the world for a special champagne bottle cork, as the drink is so popular that you don’t normally need to make arrangements to keep it for long.

But there are occasions when the contents of the bottle don’t disappear straight away, and this is a very good solution from Franmara. The stopper goes into the bottle and the wings clamp underneath the outer rim to give a firm seal, and the whole thing is nice and flat so can fit into the fridge door shelf. It also seems to cope with a range of bottle necks – sometimes Cava bottles have a differently-sized neck.

It’s a great replacement for the old one I had, which you just pushed down into the neck of the bottle. It was free with a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck that someone gave me – and it lasted a good 25 years before giving up the ghost. Anyway, it didn’t fit all bottles and you struggled to get it in the fridge because of the height.

champagne champagne_stopper

 

More tea, mister?

What’s not to love about a little silicon man with perforated trousers? Especially when you can put loose tea in the trousers, then pop him into your mug, pour on boiling water and wait for a few minutes while the holes in the trousers infuse the tea into the water.

His arms cling onto the side of the mug so that you don’t have fish around in the bottom – you just gently pull him out by the head when your cuppa’s ready.

Don’t feel guilty about scalding Mr Tea’s legs – he’s made that way. Thanks, mistertea_lr3Fred & Friends. I want one!

Shelf life

Much as I love my pull-out larder units with hi tech metal shelf inserts, some of them are rather deep and don’t use the space brilliantly. So imagine my delight to find this Oblong Handy Shelf in the blessed Lakeland.

The shelf is small and narrow enough to fit inside the slim larder unit but large enough to be worthwhile – and to virtually double the capacity of the shelf. Perfect for all my baking paraphernalia.

And they currently have an offer on – buy one get another half price!

I do love Lakeland.

Lakeland's Oblong Handy Shelf

Lakeland’s Oblong Handy Shelf

Pass the salt

Joseph Joseph Ovi salt container

Joseph Joseph Ovi salt container

It’s good to have salt to hand when you’re cooking. I’ve usually got my trusty ceramic salt grinder to hand, but lately it’s got clogged up with all the steam about. I thought that at last I’d found a salt grinder that this didn’t happen to but it was only a matter of time. Just more time than usual. So I decided to get a salt pig that can sit on the work surface and keep the salt nice and handy. And, more importantly, dry – not a feature of the usual salt pigs, in which the salt can get all damp and stuck together due to the close proximity of cooking pans emitting steam. Trust the excellent Joseph Joseph to come up trumps, as usual. It’s an elegant, flattened egg shape and nicely big enough to get your hand inside. The top half twists round to close the pig when not in use. It remains to be seen how well this works – I really hope it doesn’t get bunged up. Will report back if it does!

Joseph Joseph Ovi salt container

Joseph Joseph Ovi salt container

 

This rocks

Recipe Rock

Recipe Rock

You may be wondering what this strange little thing is doing in a blog about  kitchen gadgets.

Wonder no more. It’s a Recipe Rock. Just a small metal block with a magnetic ball, which holds in place the loose recipe that you’ve printed out or torn from a magazine. Ingenious, eh? Well, it would be, only the base could do with being a bit taller to stop the printed recipe from flopping over, which is a bit annoying. But it’s still a great idea and it takes up a lot less space than most recipe/cookery book holders.

It was a gift from the States and is made by architec – they seem to have some pretty cool kitchen things though their website leaves a lot to be desired at the moment. I see that it’s also available from Lakeland, as are many excellent kitchen gadgets.

Here’s Recipe Rock in action. (I can thoroughly recommend the duck recipe that it’s holding by the way). I can see that you could make a lot of use of this elsewhere – maybe in the office, to hold something that you’re copying, or for notes by the front door. A real rock.

Recipe Rock in action

Recipe Rock in action

 

It’s so grate

What can I say about my Microplane? It’s just the perfect grater – always sharp, easy to get all the grated stuff off it and to clean, fits neatly into the kitchen drawer. And I think it looks lovely too.

I have the fine grade one and nothing is better for things like Parmesan.

I see that the Microplane company started life making woodworking tools, then brilliantly applied the technology and the rasp style to the kitchen. It seems they also do a version for removing the hard skin from your feet…

microplane

Microplane

Tongs a million

One of the most useful kitchen gadgets ever has to be a pair of tongs. They are just brilliant for picking things up and turning them over and even for serving at the table.

For years, I had a metal pair which were almost useless, as you couldn’t adjust the distance between the tongs. Then I discovered these, by Cuisiprowhich have a brilliant pull system to open and close the tongs securely and also to hang them up by.  They open wide enough to pick up nearly anything you can imagine cooking.

The business ends are coated in silicone, which is heat-resistant to a degree, but you have to be a bit careful as you can burn them if you leave them resting on a hot pan for too long.

Here are the tongs in their closed position. Brilliant.