In the warmer months, your kitchen kit needs to up its game as you move from home to picnic, bach, boat or campsite and long hot days at the beach. You’ll need feeding at all of these locations, and your tools need to be multipurpose and easy to use to guarantee maximum relaxation in the sun. (You also need some snazzy gifts to add to your Christmas list around this time of the year, right?).
So, from a safely transportable knife set to the ultimate barbecue tool kit and a sensational slushy and smoothie maker, here are five gadgets that will make your life easier and your food better (unless you burn it, which we can’t be held responsible for!)... plus how to use them to get the most out of them.
- Cutting edge
A good chef’s knife is an essential part of any keen cook’s arsenal, and the Furi range is, er, cutting edge. Australian superstar chef Kylie Kwong is the brand’s ambassador, which says a lot about the knives’ performance, because if they’re good enough for the slicing and dicing required by Kylie’s innovative Chinese-Australian cuisine, they’re good enough for us. Furi were developed by a former mechanical engineer, and are both durable and high performance. They combine the weighted heft of a Western-style knife with the precise sharpness of an Eastern-style knife (made from high-quality Japanese steel). Invest in a block-set for home, or grab a two-piece set to take away on holiday with you (we’ve all rented a bach or visited relatives and then cursed a lack of decent knives).
2. Salads sorted
Salads are a summer standard, and if you don’t already own a salad spinner, it’s time to invest. It’s a good idea to wash most greens and raw vegetables prior to serving them, to get rid of any lurking bugs and sprays, and you need a spinner to make sure the dirty water is spun away. Working with dry leaves is also essential for dressings — if your leaves are damp, the dressing won’t cling to them, and will simply pool in the bottom of the bowl. If you’re in the market, may we suggest this salad spinner. You can also use it to wash veggies (think chopped leeks) or fresh herbs, as well as to store washed greens and keep them crisp until you’re ready to serve. Plus, if you’re heading out camping or to a picnic or barbecue, the clear bowl works as a serving bowl, while the mesh insert can be used as a colander.
3. Chill out
A popsicle or slushy is a great way to hydrate and keep cool in the summer heat. Kids love them (and helping to make them) and, let’s be honest, adults are typically fans too. The colourful Koji range of BPA-free silicone molds are perfect for creating healthy little chilled numbers — simply puree seasonal fruit or go for a classic berry, banana and yoghurt combo. They also work well with smoothie mix — if there’s any left at breakfast, just freeze it for later. And for a fun summer dessert for the grown-ups, puree berries with a shot of vodka then freeze.
The Koji slushy makers work even quicker than the molds — in only seven minutes you can turn fruit, juice or milk into a delicious homemade treat (this is particularly genius for playdates or afternoon tea ‘cupboards are bare’ moments). All you need to do is pour your favourite flavours into the cup and stir to create a chilled slushy — no electricity required!
4. Summer spirals
Love a zoodle? Keen on cocktails? You need the Chef’n citrus spiraliser in your life. It easily spiralises citrus, fruit and vegetables, transforming everyday ingredients into stylish garnishes, citrus zest (great for infusing water, cocktails or mocktails) or ribbons and spirals for salads and vegetable dishes. And cleaning up is simple as it’s top-dishwasher-rack safe.
And if you’re trying to cut carbs but are missing pasta in your life, the Oxo Good Grips Tabletop Spiraliser is the gadget for you. It expertly shreds vegetables (zucchini, yes, but also think carrots, beetroot, kumara and parsnips), with different attachments enabling you to create spaghetti-, fettuccine- or ribbon-cut noodles. It’s also genius for making curly fries...Barbecue basics
Yup, it’s barbecue season, and if you really want to impress your friends and family this year (or make the dreams of your favourite barbecue chef come true), you can’t go past the 18-piece Davis & Waddell barbecue tool set. Tongs, turners, basting brush, carving knife, skewers and corn-cob holders are all safely stored in a professional-looking aluminium case. From home to campground, it will have you in demand as king or queen of the grill. If you really want to up your barbecue game, use the kit to help create your own signature gourmet burgers. Make your own patties (we recommend grass-fed NZ beef mince with a bit of fat content, mixed with diced onion, herbs, and a dash of ketchup and mustard), and baste with a bit of barbecue sauce while they’re grilling. If you prefer a vego burger, grill slices of zucchini, eggplant and capsicum tossed in oil and garlic, then serve with hummus and tzatziki.