Posts Tagged ‘kitchen gadgets’

goodbye little frier

January 8, 2014

Today, and with a heavy heart, I finally brought my old Le Creuset 24cm enameled cast-iron frying pan, which I had bought in the mid-1980s in Haarlem, Holland, to the recycling station. You’ll find it, still in its full glory, in the second and third picture of this post. What happened?

Well, one day in October, I was busy pre-preparation-hot-frying some eggplant slices. I have been doing this many times: heat up the pan, and while doing so, brush all eggplant surfaces with oil. When the brushing is done, you slide the eggplant slices into the pretty hot pan, and cook them until done, on both sides. Simple, right? Oil-economical, and time-saving. (more…)


kitchen gadgets of doom

October 19, 2009

My flat in the UK, a new temporary post-doc-studies accommodating asset, is furnished, which includes pots and pans and things in the kitchen. Most of these are new or at least clean. Only the oven, split into a baking and a grilling compartment, has seen way too many moons and could apparently not be cleaned any more. I am looking forward to a 19th century-style ur-British day of coal mining one day. For now, I’m happy to consider here the various things I am renting.

First, there is the scooper. This is a bent slotted spoon made from heat-resistant black plastic, apparently, or hopefully, used for scooping up sausages from their greasy bath. The plumber, who came after a week to fix a leaking tap, forgot his keys behind the wooden panel in front of the bathtub and used the scooper to retrieve them. (more…)

in search of a cutting edge

February 2, 2008

Some knives refuse to become sharp, whatever one does to them. One day, I was frantically trying to get a new over-long boning knife in trim, which was made of some especially rubbery steel that just didn’t react to grinding at all. When it eventually did, it had developed a micro-serrated, messy edge that would perhaps cut through half-decomposed gravlax, but little besides. A middle-aged member of the extended family was watching me, glasses flashing dispprovingly in the sunlight (sorry, I made this up. I needed some sun here at my desk, in early February, in Sweden). “You know, you really have a knife fetish of some sort,” he said eventually.

There are excuses for that kind of statement. (more…)

pressing matters

January 29, 2008

The culinary value of pressed garlic might be overrated. Most of the time, I am fine with chopped garlic, which sautés nicely. Pressed garlic has, of course, gotten special fame as translucent yellow blobs on takeaway pizza. Sometimes, we just don’t want sauteed garlic. I make tsatsiki with raw, pressed garlic. When I’m about to get a cold, I fill a bowl with yogurt, salt it and add some oil, and press three to five cloves of garlic into it (I never get colds). Pressed garlic is good in soups. Anyway, I do own a garlic press.

The act of pressing garlic brings back long-lost melodies of adolescence. Scritch. The presser’s gleeful thrill carries a note of benevolent aggression. Gotcha, clove. (more…)

two secret uses of the salad spinner

January 29, 2008

I own a Moulinex salad spinner that has served me for approximately 25 years. It holds vast amounts of goods, has a turning crank and the habit of getting unbalanced.

One turns to get rid of the worst of the moisture, and then the spinner begins to spin and wobble out of control. So one stops, opens the lid and very carefully re-distributes the content until the internal spinner-colander almost balances on the pivot. Then one closes the whole machine very carefully again and the spinning becomes a feast.

Robin has a “good grips” spinner that has no such problems of balance. But it turns slightly slower, so the drying takes more time. So we have two spinners, a slow and safe one, and a battered Ferrari.

I don’t want to write about dry lettuce. We all know that it’s better. There is a nice restaurant in the Gothenburg Brew House in Gårda, called bEAT (yES1) that offers very fine, fancy, hand-hewn salad dressings (in line with their other food, which is most of the time very good). But at lunchtime, they serve their lettuce literally floating in its rinsing water. Quite disgusting really. Matter of one hand of the cook not knowing what the other does. Hope he doesn’t cut himself one of these days.

I want to advertise two alternative uses of the salad spinner. (more…)

towards a knife block

January 13, 2008

Most knife blocks that are offered in the shops suck. The cheaper ones are made of blocks of (often tropical) wood glued together in some factory of far far away (I don’t want to think by whom), and the slots are subsequently cut out in some automated process. Most of them look shabby and are in fact too expensive for what they represent in terms of woodwork and functionality.

Then there is a huge variety of high-end design thingies, which only seem to be better, but are they really? First of all, even the chef’s knife blocks (ought to be ‘knives’ really: blocks for several knives owned by one chef) might have been assembled in places where we wouldn’t want to visit – who knows these things? And even here, there is always a slot of a size missing and a bunch of another size too many. How annoying isn’t it to spend a fortune for something gleaming in stainless steel and plastic only to have to keep the cleaver, the boning knife and the standard size chef’s knife in the drawer in any case? (more…)