Your must-have winter kitchen kit
We’re in the midst of winter now, rugging up against the cold and spending more time indoors. It’s the time of year when pottering around your kitchen becomes more enjoyable: cooking on the stovetop or in your oven will help to heat your home, while devoting a weekend afternoon to food preparation feels like an excellent use of time when the weather isn’t so good. With that in mind, here’s our round-up of the pieces you might want to look at investing in for the season.
Slow and steady
Whiling away an afternoon slow-cooking is a very good idea on a wintry weekend. Davis & Waddell has lots of kit to help you achieve delicious results in this department, including the Davis & Waddell stock pot, $99.99, which has a 16.5-litre capacity - perfect for par-boiling potatoes, making stock from your roast remnants or cooking generous batches of soups and stews. And if you’re planning on heading out for the day, the Davis & Waddell Electric Slow Cooker, $129.99, will be your best friend through winter: simply pop your meat, veg and liquid in the slow-cooker in the morning and when you return that evening you’ll have a delicious hot meal awaiting you.
Making your own dumplings is a fun way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon with friends, family or as a solo self-improvement exercise. You can buy dumpling wrappers from Asian supermarkets or grocery stores, then you simply need to cook up a batch of filling (or several different fillings if you want - you can always freeze some of your dumplings to cook later). When it comes to folding the dumplings, make life easier for yourself with the Capital Kitchen dumpling moulds, from $12.99 - they’ll ensure every dumpling is neatly wrapped, with no unwanted filling explosions. And when you’re ready to cook, it’s simple to steam dumplings in the Capital Kitchen bamboo steamer, from $24.99. Serve up your dumpling feast with dipping bowls of soy sauce, black vinegar and chilli sauce or chilli salt (we also recommend investing in the Capital Kitchen Chilli Salt Grinder, $59.99, which blends sea salt and chilli flakes for a fiery and flavourful seasoning).
Stirring it up
Winter cooking also involves a lot of stirring and ladling; if you want to add some style to your practice, invest in some Falconware enamel pieces, from $9.99. Slotted spoons, mixing spoons and ladles will all come in handy for everything from skimming froth off slow braises to scooping up all the good bits in a stew and testing to see if pasta and dumplings are ready.
Silky smooth mashed potato is the perfect accompaniment to all kinds of winter dishes, from slow-cooked lamb shanks and beef cheeks through to roast chicken. While you might have always made do with a regular potato masher and a bit of elbow grease, if you want to achieve a perfectly smooth purée, you need a potato ricer in your life. We recommend the Capital Kitchen potato ricer, $39.99. It works a little like an oversized garlic press - you put the cooked potato in the basket, then press to squeeze it through the holes. You then mix butter and milk into the potato and hey presto - beautifully smooth mash. If you really want to impress your guests, you could also add a bit of fancy flavour by seasoning your mash with Amola Black Truffle Salt, $24.99, or Wildly Delicious Truffle Mashed Potato Seasoning, $9.99.
Cakes, biscuits, puddings and crumbles are all de rigueur for winter. Whether you’re creating an afternoon tea for family, baking treats for lunchboxes or whipping up dessert to share with friends, the Momento Maison baking range, from $6.99, has everything you need to prepare, cook and present your food beautifully. From mixing bowls to cake stands, pudding bowls and ramekins (hello individual chocolate fondant puddings), you’ll want to take a look.
Want to know how to inject your casseroles, braises and soups with extra layers of flavour? Spices are the secret ingredients all good cooks use: Add them at the beginning of cooking, along with ingredients such as onions, so that their flavour has time to infuse the dish over the length of the cooking period. Cumin, coriander and fennel seeds all work well in all kinds of winter dishes; simply while seeds to a dry frying pan over medium heat and toast for a few minutes, or until they smell aromatic and are beginning to turn golden. Transfer to a mortar and pestle (we like the Capital Kitchen range, from $19.99) and roughly grind, then add to your dish.