If you really want to be a kitchen ninja who can whip up dinner with speed and skill, you have to set yourself up for success.
I’m not saying you need a high tech kitchen and a whole lot of new toys for it. In fact, most of the tools that save time in my kitchen are surprisingly low-tech.
But there are few items that are must-haves for people who need to claw back time.
Equip your kitchen
A big pot – Slow cooking results in absolutely delicious flavours. You may not have time to do a slow cooked meal every day. But when you do, make sure you have a pot big enough for a double or triple batch. You can freeze the extra serves for another night. A cast iron one that can transfer from stove top to oven saves on time and washing up!
Slow cooker – This is a separate appliance that will cook a meal over 5-8 hours (without you doing a thing). Some people prefer pressure cookers which will cook things really quickly. However, slow cookers allow you to set up the meal in the morning, let the meal cook all day and come home to dinner prepared for you already. Sometimes the flavour is not as rich as with conventional cooking but these cookers are good for nights when you want to walk in the door and not lift a finger.
Glass containerswith plastic lids – Pyrex dishes like the rectangular one in the photo can go from fridge or freezer to microwave/oven to dinner table and then safely to the dishwasher. They are perfect to store big batches of food in the freezer. They give you back the time that you would otherwise spend washing dishes!
A sharp knife – Sharp knives will slice through your ingredients effortlessly. When you are saving time, every micro-second counts!
Big plates – Save time by serving food once, then get people to serve themselves as part of the meal. To really save time, take a leaf from this Jamie Oliver cook book and serve straight onto the chopping board (you’ll get extra points for hipster cred in your own home). This saves time on washing up too.
Food processor – This one is an optional extra. However, I love my food processor so much. On the nights when I can’t face chopping, my magimix does it all for me. Slices, dices, shreds and mixes. Mental load gone.
Stock your pantry for time-saving success
Make sure you keep the basics stocked and at the front of your pantry so you don’t have to waste time looking for things. This list of pantry basics (including my most used dried herbs and spices from which you can create a variety of healthy dishes) will get you started:
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Soy sauce
- White wine vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Smoked paprika
- Dried oregano
- Ground cumin
- Ground coriander
- Black pepper
- Chilli flakes
- Garlic cloves
- Tinned chickpeas
- Tinned black beans
- Tinned tomatoes
- Eggs (fridge)
Next post I’ll talk about how to bring a little bit foo fun in the kitchen to remove the drudge from cooking. Until then, eat well and enjoy!