Do you have a kitchen filled with battered looking pans, a mismatch of utensils you’ve picked up over the years and a few ‘must have’ gadgets that haven’t seen the light of day in months? We have all been there, but if you feel it’s time for a thorough clear out we’re running through the ultimate ProCook kitchen checklist featuring everything we think you actually need in the kitchen.
When you open your kitchen cupboards, are you met with stacks of varying coloured dinner plates, a strange bowl you never did quite work out where it came from and a set of side plates that are only to be saved for ‘best’ (and therefore haven’t been used for the past 2 years)?
It’s easy to get lost in a sea of broken/replaced/odd dinnerware, but it’s time to tackle the beast head on and work out what you actually need and which pieces it’s probably time you said goodbye to.
Whether you want to reign in your dinnerware to just what you need for the everyday, or want to keep your guests impressed with a second set for best, there are a few items that we think are essentials when it comes to dining.
- Dinner plates. Are you one for a more traditional design with a rim, or perhaps you favour something a little more contemporary with our coupe design? Whatever your preference, dinner plates are a must have so take the time to pick your perfect ones as these will become the base of your set.
- Side plates. Perfect for when you’re serving breads with your meals, or for when you’re tucking into a slice of dessert.
- Bowls. Wider, shallower styles are ideal for when you’re serving curries or pasta dishes whilst narrower but taller bowls are best kept for cereals and soups.
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- Wine glasses. Essential if you’re serving wine, crystal wine glasses are guaranteed to add a touch of modern elegance to your dining experience.
- Champagne flutes. The long, tall shape of a flute helps keep sparkling wines fizzy for longer and its long stem helps to keep the drink cool by keeping the warmth of your hand away from the liquid.
- Gin balloons. The wide bowl helps collect the botanical scents from your gin, and allows plenty of room for extra garnishes helping enhance the flavours even more.
- Double walled cups. Helping to keep your hot drinks hot but cool to the touch, double walled glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes including espresso mugs, latte mugs, teacups and tumblers.
- Oven to table dishes. Essential in any kitchen, they’re perfect when cooking for friends and family or just want to minimise washing up!
- Serving bowls. Available in a vast array of styles, finishes and size they’re great for serving sides, nibbles or even soups and broths.
- Serving board. Using serving boards is a great way of adding a touch of excitement to your meal and are particularly useful for serving meats, cheeses and antipasti.
- Cheese board. Whether you’re serving cheese pre or post your evening meal, make it an event with cheese knives, boards and serving platters.
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With a knife for every job it can be overwhelming knowing where to begin, but when you’re shopping for a new set of kitchen knives the first thing you need to consider is which pieces you’ll actually use. It’s good to stock up on a few staple knives, but don’t forget that specialist knives designed for specific tasks can make your time in the kitchen not only much easier but more enjoyable too!
If you’re not sure on the difference between a Santoku and a Nakiri, or what you should really be using a Paring knife for then read on as we debunk the technical jargon to help you decide which knives you need in your kitchen.
- Chefs knife. Commonly known as a cooks or chefs knife, this will become one of the most frequently used knives in your kitchen. Ideal for chopping vegetables, the blade is gently curved allowing you to rock the knife so you can cut quickly and comfortably.
- Utility knife. This is the perfect knife to make light work of chopping fruits, root and other vegetables and for tackling any fiddly tasks.
- Paring knife. A good paring knife is a kitchen ‘must have’ and has a small blade perfect for peeling, slicing and coring fruit and vegetables, or even scoring skin on meat such as pork for delicious and crispy crackling.
- Santoku knife. A general purpose knife originating in Japan, the Santoku has a wide scalloped blade making it perfect for slicing onions, fish or meat without worrying about the food sticking to the knife.
- Bread knife. This has a long serrated edge making it perfect for slicing through loaves, tomatoes or anything that is hard on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Cleaver. A butcher’s essential, it will tackle chicken bones and sinew with ease due to its super sharp edge and solid, heavy feel and is even suitable for chopping hard vegetables such as pumpkin or squash.
- Filleting knife. With a long, slightly flexible curved blade this is perfect for filleting, deboning and easy skin removal of most fish. Its length and flexibility allows the blade to follow the cutting surface providing an accurate and uniform cut.
- Boning knife. The sharp and narrow boning knife is specially curved allowing you to work around any joint or bone and will remove bones from poultry, meat and fish cleanly and precisely.
- Nakiri knife. The Nakiri benefits from a flat, oversized blade to ensure that it does not slip when dicing, mincing and chopping through hard vegetables.
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Whether you’re whipping up a quick mid-week dinner for the little ones or catering for a full house at Christmas, having the right cookware at your fingertips will make sure that every meal is a joy to prepare.
Whether you prefer a stainless steel finish, a ceramic coating or a stylish Granite look there are a number of key pieces you’re going to want in your kitchen when you find a recipe you just have to try or want to impress foodie guests.
- Saucepans. We recommend having three saucepans in different sizes so you always have the perfect one for the job, and the varying sizes means you can nest one inside the other to save space.
- Frying pan. If you only have space for one frying pan, we recommend getting the largest one possible with a lid. This will allow you to cook meats in large batches or simmer vegetables in one layer resulting in even cooking results.
- Stockpot. A great all-rounder, a stockpot is great for making stews, casseroles and soups as well as brining joints of meat, cooking pasta for the whole family and blanching large quantities of vegetables… and that’s just getting started!
- Wok. With gently sloping sides and a large volume a wok is the perfect pan for fast cooking when it comes to Asian dishes.
- Saute or sauteuse pan. Ideal for tasks like searing meat or reducing sauces, and perfect for cooking risottos or smaller one-pot dishes, a saute pan is a true workhorse in the kitchen.
- Steamer. Steam cooking is a healthy alternative to frying, boiling and roasting as it effectively retains a far greater percentage of vitamins and minerals and a steamer insert allows you to cook fish, vegetables and much more to perfection.
- Cast iron griddle. Perfect for cooking indoors on the hob or outside on the BBQ, their ridged interior base ideal for searing meats and vegetables so you can achieve perfect food presentation every time.
- Cast iron casserole dish. Offering incredibly even heat distribution, they are the perfect vessel for slow cooking of stews and casseroles, roasting joints, making curries and even baking cakes.
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Often overlooked, when you have the right kitchen accessories to hand whipping up your signature dish suddenly becomes a whole lot easier.
You’ve bought the cookware, you’ve invested in the knives but don’t get caught short by stocking up on the following must have kitchen utensils and accessories:
- Garlic press/crusher – perfect for pasta sauces, Indian curries and Asian cooking
- Pizza cutter – a must have for any serious pizza party!
- Utensil set – all the everyday tools you could ever need in one handy set (including a turner, masher, serving spoon, slotted spoon, wide fish slice and kitchen tongs)
- Potato masher – a real must have if you love smooth and creamy mash
- Ice cream scoop – remind yourself of time gone by with this traditional piece of kit that creates the perfect ice cream balls you used to dream of as a child
- Meat fork – ideal for serving both hot and cold meats and looks great at the table
- Chopping board – prevent cross-contamination with these colour-coded boards
- Pestle and mortar – blend your favourite flavours and spices in the comfort of your own home
- Flour sifter – can be used to dust surfaces with flour and sweet treats with icing sugar
- Colander – our collapsible version is perfect for those tight on kitchen storage
- Egg poacher – making poached egg for breakfast has never been easier
- Digital scales – precise measurements and a handy conversion chart make these scales a must have
- Pizza stone – delivers crisp baked pizza comparable with those cooked in a professional pizza oven
- Instant read thermometer – the days of worrying whether things are done are over!