You don't need a lot of kitchen equipment to make cooking easier - in fact, having too much can take up space and hold you back. How do you know what's worth buying? What will you end up raving about?
The best kitchen gadgets save you time and effort, but are also easy to clean and store. Don't even think about investing in anything that looks complicated to assemble or to wash - even the thought of it will end up putting you off using it.
We know only too well being lured in by the latest juicer, hottest smoothie maker or avant garde utensil - but we also know the pain of watching them hide at the back of our cupboards, never to be used again!
These are the kitchen gadgets that we promise you'll end up using every day...
1. The one that gets most of lemons
It won't be a faff to juice lemons anymore with this simple squeezer that really gets the most out of the fruit. Slice a lemon in half and trim off the end, pop in the squeezer and squeeze tightly. It's that easy.
TIP: Juice 5 limes in quick succession, then add to a jug with a bottle of Asti and lots of ice for a really refreshing summery drink.
2. The one that makes all your drinks
We're taking things a little old school with the next gadget we love - the SodaStream, because it's had a grown up makeover. Forget fizzy pop and sparkling sugary drinks, what we're interested in is the speed which you can produce sparkling water at - and for a fraction of the price you'd pay for branded bottles in the shops. There's further good news too, SodaStreams mean G&Ts are possible, even when you've run out of the T. Simply squeeze half a lime into a glass of the fizzy water produced, add a measure of gin and stir. If that doesn't say 'everyday gadget', then we don't know what would.
3. The one that saves you chopping
Use a mini food processor to chop onions, make breadcrumbs or make your own sauces, like homemade pesto. The small size means you can whizz small amounts effectively and then pop everything in the dishwasher. You'll never cry at an onion again.
4. The one that will help you eat more veg
The Nutribullet will change your life, or at least get you to eat more fresh fruit and veg. It's neat enough to sit on your worktop so it won't go out of sight/mind and it's so easy to pop in the dishwasher that there will be no excuses not to use it. That's why it's pricey, but worth it. Use up fruit and veg that looks like it's past its best to make delicious smoothies, saving food from the bin too.
5. The one that does the job of a spiralizer
You've heard about the low carb alternatives to pasta that you can make with a spiralizer but they can be bulky and hard to clean courgette, so the novelty tends to wear off. That, and we're not convinced by courgetti (that's courgette spaghetti) when what we really want is real spaghetti. This is where the julienne peeler comes in. Use it to make fast work of a courgette, carrot or sweet potato and you'll have a similar effect, with minimum effort. Use them to add texture to salads.
TIP: Prefer a heavy-duty spiralizer? See all the different vegetables you can spiralize.
6. The one that will grate anything
Make fast work of lemon zest, Parmesan and more with a handheld Microplane grater. It's super sharp and VERY effective; try it once and you'll be converted. It's not cheap, but it really is worth it. A must in our kitchen.
7. The one that cooks without you
How can you make dinner when you're not even there? With a slow cooker, of course. Most slow cooker recipes need just a few minutes prep, then you just turn them on and leave them to cook for you - using about the same amount of power as a lightbulb. There's a reason why slow cooker converts rave about theirs; it's a secret weapon when you're feeding a crowd, but don't have much time on your hands.
8. The one that will make baking hassle-free
Unless you're a very keen baker, we admit that you might not use silicone moulds every day. BUT we still think it's worth a mention as once you've gone silicone, you'll never go back. Cakes are so easy to pop out once they're ready, without all the fuss of greasing and lining.
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