Basic essentials of vital importance for superstar student cooks.

Creating something from scratch takes some patience and dedication. Chefs, musicians, construction workers, artist’s all share something in common in terms of the equipment they use being of a certain quality or standard. 

This also applies to those of us who try to be creative at home. Having easy access to the necessary tools is of vital importance for anyone living off a budget, sticking to a healthy plan, preparing food in advance etc. I rely on a few basic peices of equipment that have a significant contribution in achieving efficiency in the kitchen. In other words, the items listed below allow me to prepare large quantities of food in the shortest amount of time because they help reduce the total amount time spent preparing & cooking food. This I believe a key factor when keeping track of a budget or a diet.

Before you say psycho…

I would like to confirm that the knife collection is due to a previous professional endeavor that is no longer the situation.

The majority of these knives are rarely used as the one I rely on the most is the long serrated confectioner’s knife (1st on right beside the sharpener). Costing around 30 euros (link below) it is by far the most versatile of the bunch because ilon one side of the blade there are little “teeth” and the other side is straight as a razor.
It gets used for everything – chopping all kinds of veg, slicing meat, carving chicken, cutting up desserts etc.

So – my recommendation is to forget about buying lots of different knives, just invest in one good knife and a steele or stone to maintain a sharp edge.

Mind your tips…

Unless you like the pain that comes with loosing a finger or two. I assure you the sensation triples when the skin is grazed from your knuckles while grating the zest from citrus fruits or hot chillies.
Besides that – using the madolin safely by taking your time pays dividends over time as you become faster. Before you know it, you’ll have developed ninja like speed just rattling off onions and peepers right down to the core stopping just before the tips of your fingers end up in the bin.

3 wise pans

Having in your possession some decent pans are essential components in the persuit of great cooking at home. A deep wok that allows you to make stirfrys, stew, spagball in fact anything in large batches. There’s nothing a wok cannot be used for as they are so versatile. 

A small pan for cooking omelettes / pancakes and reheating cooked rice in are perfect for quick and easy meals. Sometimes making  small quantities of food can get lost in a large pan so it is handy to have a small one on standby for meals that require less maintenance. 

And finally a griddle pan – IKEA sell these for €10 and are ideal for bugers, steaks, chicken, sweet potatoes, corn on the cobb. This is personally my favorite because of the smokey, charred, bbq flavor that can be achieved when cooking meat or veg. The only downside is the amount of smoke that builds up when left on a high heat, even if it’s not for long. My advice is open the windows on advance. 

When the pan begins to smoke and get hot, put the meat or veg. onto the pan and let it cook for a few minutes then turn the heat down to medium. This way it allows for the food to become charred and will then slowly continue to do so as the smoke clears away.

Again it is unlikely that I would cook from start to finish on the griddle pan with the exception of burgers perhaps. Usually I’d start the chicken on the pan and finish it in the oven, or start in the oven and finish on the pan.

Nothing is achieved without effort so therefore the plan is to maximize the the highest amount of output based on the level of input. Having a few of the basic essentials will no doubt in my mind helps make life at the stove that bit easier.

Peace out,

Shane.

(The link for a good set of knives can be found below. Just to clarify this is NOT a paid advetisment by any company who either make/sell/stock these products, this is just some friendly advice)

http://www.sweeneyorourke.com/ebstore/so/product.asp?p_part_code=~4501%2E26

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