What are the must-have appliances for the modern kitchen?
If you're a fan of reality TV cooking shows, you may be forgiven for thinking the list of gadgets and kitchen appliances required to cook restaurant-quality meals is endless. But, really, you don't need to spend a crazy amount of time - or, more importantly, money - on setting up a kitchen that will serve you like a chef.
Follow our handy checklist guide to get started on the most useful electrical appliances for the modern kitchen. From here, you can add things down the track or as your budget allows. But, regardless, this list is all you really need to establish a functional and hassle-free space for maximum culinary creativity.
A food processor is one of the most versatile electrical appliances, which makes it excellent value. Not only does it save you time when compared with manually grating, slicing or chopping ingredients but, if you're limited for space, a versatile food processor can do the job of many appliances in one.
How much you spend on a food processor is really up to you - the price range and functions vary widely. However, some research on the range of a food processor's abilities (shredding, grating, slicing, mincing and so on) and other elements (quality/longevity of blades, ease of replacement, after-sales service and warranty options) can help in deciding on the food processor that is economical for you.
You might have a small kitchen or you mainly just cook for yourself, which means a food processor may not offer you great value. In this case, a hand mixer (or stick mixer) should be on your kitchen essential list instead, for its versatility coupled with cost-effectiveness.
A hand mixer still lets you grind, mix or blend food - but at less family size or 'industrial' levels - and it's also portable and relatively inexpensive compared to the bigger blender, juicers or food processors.
Many of us view a good cup of coffee or tea as an essential part of our morning routine but, sometimes, instant coffee just isn't going to cut the mustard. And, let's face it - huge cafe-style coffee machines aren't in everyone's price range either.
If you fit in the coffee drinker category, a good coffee maker is definitely an appliance that needs to be ticked off your kitchen essentials list. A coffee plunger (which can double as a tea leaf plunger) or a traditional, Italian-style espresso maker are both affordable and space-saving devices, depending on the kind of coffee that floats your boat. Try sampling both styles and then take your pick, or get both.
As distinct from a stick or hand mixer (see above), a blender is a handy kitchen appliance, especially when it comes to whipping up something quickly, like a delicious and healthy smoothie. A blender can also help in making pastes, soups, sauces or grinding spices in next to no time, and with minimal effort - perfect for the time-poor or space-constrained cook in your life.
While it might seem like an obvious inclusion, some people tend to overlook the humble electric kettle when it comes to their kitchen appliance lists. Not only does a kettle help with your coffee and tea requirements but it also comes to the rescue when a recipe needs boiling water, or you're pressed for time or cooktop space.
There are some expensive high-tech kettle options available but there are also many affordable and funky style designs to coordinate with whatever kind of aesthetic or ambience you're hoping to create in your kitchen.
What's a kitchen without a toaster? Like kettles, there are many different styles and prices to choose from. Whether you're just toasting for yourself or an army of schoolkids where the daily brekkie routine is more like a game of survival-of-the-fittest, finding the right toaster is one of the less time-consuming decisions you need to make when getting your kitchen established.
In the vast majority of eating plans, rice is the basis of a number of healthy dishes. As a nutritious and lucrative staple, its versatility and range (basmati, long-grain, wholemeal, jasmine, Arborio and so on) can't be ignored. Conversely, cooking rice properly can sometimes be a time-consuming and attention-draining task. But there's a solution to that problem.
Introducing a rice cooker into your culinary arsenal ensures preparation of rice to perfection, quickly and easily, and with minimal mess, which makes it a must-have kitchen appliance for rush-rush schedules.
On the same note as a rice cooker, adding a slow cooker to your essential kitchen appliances repertoire is an excellent move.
Slow cooking is a fantastic way to prepare simple, hearty and nourishing casseroles and soups in a single pot, keeping mess to a minimum and not cluttering up your kitchen benches or storage options. As the name suggests, the slower cooking method allows the flavours of individual ingredients to blend together much more effectively for a brilliant end result across four-hour plus cooking times.
Let your slow cooker do its job over the course of a day so you arrive home to some mouthwatering aromas and a meal that's good to go.