A reader request from the one and only, Lily Pebbles…
…Oh yes. Today’s post goes out to Lily Pebbles, who left me a voice note a few weeks back to say that she was watching my ‘What I Eat In A Day’ video and it was making her realise that she needed to up her kitchen kit game and had I ever done a definitive list of everything we’d suggest? The answer to that was no, so here you go Lily – your wish is my command. I’ve raided through every cupboard, drawer and holder here to unearth THE LIST.
Of course I’ve made a print-out PDF tick-list for you if you just want a shopping list at a glance, but below I’ve broken down each category and split it into the essentials that I’d recommend everyone having in their kitchens and then the additional extras which are certainly handy, but are things you could miss depending on your cooking preferences and space constraints. Obviously I’m guessing you already have the dinnerware and cutlery situation sorted, but below I’ve added what cookware, utensils and bakeware we have in our cupboards (linking up the exact ones we have about 80% of the time). You’ll never be caught short in the kitchen again…
WHAT YOU NEED:
*1 x Large, 1 x Medium & 1 x Small Non-Stick Pan. Perhaps our most used kitchen items full stop for obvious reasons. Various sizes come in handy for different uses and invest in some decent non-stick ones with a glass lid if possible.
*1 x Large Frying Pan. Pick a larger size that can double up for multi-uses. If you feel like you’d use it more for meat over anything else then look into a skillet instead, to add extra flavour.
*2 (or more!) x Chopping Boards. Just make sure you have enough so that you can chop up veggies, fish and meats on different ones. I like the ones I’ve linked up because they are easy to store (and look chic as hell too).
*1 x Large Caserole Dish. We only recently upgraded to this fancy schmansy casserole dish (which now lives permanently on our hob because it’s too big to go anywhere else!), but it’s handy to have a huge dish that can be used in the oven and on the hob. It means you can skip on a slow cooker because this can do the job for you.
*1 x Roasting Tin. Roast your meat, roast your veggies – whatever you fancy. A high-topped one gives you the option to make gravy in it and again I love me a non-stick version.
*1 (or more!) x Large Glass/Ceramic Dish. A glass or ceramic dish is something that we use a lot when we’re doing batch cooking recipes like mac and cheese, or gratins or bakes. A large one is great for main dishes and desserts and a smaller one for accompaniments and sides.
*2-3 Non-Stick Baking Trays. We’re not fussy with our baking trays. We just like them a standard size and find that 2 or 3 is the perfect amount for us where we’re not having to wash up too often during a dinner service.
*1 x Magimix. This is not an essential, but boy does it come in handy. I’ve had mine for over five years now and it’s still bloody fab. We use it for chopping, sauces, smoothies, heck – I’ve even made pastry and cookies in it. My advice would be that if you do get one to have it out on the side and easy to use so that it doesn’t feel like a faff to use it regularly.
*2-3 Silicone Baking Sheets. Again not an essential but they are good for the planet and they make cleaning your baking sheets and actual dream.
*1 x Wok. If you find yourself cooking recipes that suggest using a wok regularly then by all means, go for it. We don’t really use a wok all that often, so this is a non-essential item for us – we’d probably be able to make do with just a high-sided frying pan.
*1 x Stock Pot. You might not need this depending on the size of your casserole dish and how many people you’re usually cooking for, but I love a stock pot for batch cooking and for soups. This one is HUGE.
*1 x 3 Tier Steamer. If you steam your veggies often a three-tier tower is the best way to go – they come in very handy when you’re doing a Sunday roast! Plus the bottom pan can be used as an additional pan on the hob. Just not essential unless you do a lot of steaming. *This is a great compact option too.
SHOP THE COOKWARE EDIT*
WHAT YOU NEED:
*1 x Ladle. I mean, how much is there to say about a ladle? Handy for serving soups and more liquidy things.
*1 x Masher. Are you a fan of mashed potato? Well then you need one of these in your life.
*2 x Silicone Spoons. When I told Mark I was putting this post together, he said these along with a gigantic casserole dish would be his top kitchen picks. There you go. We use these every single day.
*2 (or more!) x Serving Spoons. Again, they do what they say on the tin. I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel here aren’t I?
*1 x Fish Slice. Again one of those utensils that you don’t really think about and then end up using every day. I’d recommend a non-metal one so it doesn’t scratch.
*1 x Box Grater. With a different coarseness created by each side, these come in surprisingly handy.
*1 x Measuring Jug. You’ve got to have one of these in your home. They are a kitchen staple in my family – we all have one!
*1 x Spatula. A bit of a weird one, but these come in handy for baking, but also cooking and scraping down the sides of things too. Leave nothing behind!
*1 x Tin Opener. This is the best darn tin opener there is. You’ll never need to buy another one.
*1 x Vegetable Peeler. Sounds like an odd thing to invest in, but get yourself a decent one to stop yourself shaving half you hand off.
*1 x Kitchen Scissors. Have a pair of nice and sharp scissors that you use exclusively for food, especially if you handle meat.
*1 x Whisk. Get yourself a silicone one and save the bottoms of your pans whilst you make scrambled egg. Thank me later.
*2-3 x Kitchen Knives. You don’t need many knives. I find that a smaller chopping knife, a larger knife and then a seared bread knife is enough for me.
*1 x Colander. Drain stuff through it simples. A plastic one one is better in my eyes because they don’t tend to rust and are easier to clean.
*1 x Tongs. Again get yourself a silicone pair to spare you non-stick stuff the scratches.
*1 x Draining Spoon. Certainly not a must have item because they are ways around not having to use a draining spoon when serving things up, but it’s a nice thing to have on hand.
*1 x Hand Grater. Of course if you have a box grater then a finer hand grater isn’t a must, but I like to have a smaller one for grating things like garlic, parmesan or nutmeg into dishes.
*1 x Garlic Press. Perhaps one of my favourite kitchen gadgets. It’s fun to use and makes light work of the 17 cloves of garlic that I use in every dish.
*2 x Pot Stand. This is not an essential unless you have kitchen worktops which you can’t put hot things directly on to, in which case it will be the best thing you’ve ever purchased. We’ve bought them for everyone in our family.
SHOP THE UTENSILS EDIT*
WHAT YOU NEED:
*1 x Square Tin. What else are you supposed to bake your brownies in? Or flapjacks? Whatever tray bake you fancy, this is the tin you need.
*1 x Tart Tin. Mmmmm tarts. Treacle, lemon meringue, egg custard – the possibilities are endless. Get one with a removable bottom so you can slide your tart straight out.
*2 x Sponge Tins. A low cake tin is what you need if you’re creating a sponge cake of any kind. Of course get two of them if possible, so you can bake both sides at the same time.
*1 x Loaf Tin. Are you a banana-bread making quarantine cliche? You need a loaf tin. Savoury or sweet, we use ours a lot.
*1 x Muffin Tin. Muffins, cupcakes, little egg frittata breakfast bites – they can all be cooked in these. Again go for a non-stick option.
*1 x Sieve. I mean – yeah. You need one of these.
*1 x Big Mixing Bowl. If you bake often then this will be the standout, most-used piece in your kit. Make sure that it’s super kitsch and looks like you borrowed it from your Grandma.
*2 x Metal Mixing Bowls. Obviously these come in handy for cooking too, but sometimes it’s good to have a mixing bowl that stays cold – great for pasty and meringue making.
*1 x Set of Scales. We’ve had these since we’ve lived in London and we’ve only had to change the battery once. I love them because they are so compact and easy to store.
*1 x Set of Cup & Spoon Measurements. Oh my word I’m upgrading my cup measures to this – cup measurements and spoon measurements in one? GENIUS.
*1 x Rolling Pin. For those times when your wine bottle is just a little too short, a longer rolling pin is a pain in the arse to store, but essential for baking.
*1 x Cooling Rack. So many recipes require you to transfer the goods onto a cooling rack afterwards. They are also great if you need to drizzle or top something with chocolate too – just saying.
*1 x Quick Release Springform Cake Tin. If you plan on making a cake or dessert that requires a tin with higher edges this will make your life 10 times easier. Just grease the sides, release the spring at the end and the cake slides right out.
*1 x Pastry Brush. Not an essential tool but any means, but it’s a good one to look into if you make pastry often.
*1 x Cake Skewer. Of course you could use cocktail sticks or wooden skewers to check whether a cake is cooked in the middle, but this is the super cute, reusable option.
*1 x Set of Cookie Cutters. You could just use jar lids and improvise when it comes to cutting out circles, but these are the real deal.
*1 x Pastry Blender. This tool is a family favourite that my Grandma has been using for years. You know when it says ‘use your fingers to make the butter and flour into a breadcrumb like texture‘? Just use this instead.
*1 x Cookie Scoop. If you frequently make cookies *raises hand*, then this means you can portion them perfectly.
*1 x Bench Scraper. A bit of a fancy thing to have in your drawers, but handy if you fancy turning your hand to bread and also good to making really flakey pastry too.
*1 x Citrus Juicer. This seems like a useless addition, but we juice lemons A LOT. It’s also just ridiculously fun to use.
*1 x Cherry Pitter. Making a cherry crumble? Cherry cobbler? Cherry pie? Yeah this is going to make your life a whole lot easier.
SHOP THE BAKEWARE EDIT*
Photos by Mark Newton