• For knives and scissors, see chopping
  • spatulas – I have two sorts, the traditional metal / non-stick kind you use for pan frying meat and the silicone ones you use for scraping the last of the cake mixture from the bottom of the bowl.
  • wooden spoons – I think that they are a very personal thing. I prefer the ones with the thin handles, whereas I have friends who swear by the chunky ones. A corner spoon, however, is a must for making sauces and custards. Ours has a very hard life!
  • vegetable peeler – I’m definitely a Y-peeler girl. It’s so much easier to use than the traditional peelers, especially if you get a really hard vegetable like butternut squash. I recommend OXO’s Good Grips peeler, as it’s excellent and never slips.
  • bottle and tin openers – I can really recommend buying a good quality one of these. For years, I had a standard tin opener, only replacing it for a better one (again OXO’s Good Grips) when it died. The new one is sooo much better and it glides round any tin, even budget and slightly dented ones that the old one would get stuck on halfway round.
  • large / serving spoons / ladle – a good selection of these, some with draining holes which are useful for fishing poached eggs out of the pan as well as draining veg.
  • balloon whisk  – for beating by hand, although I have to admit that I don’t do a lot of that! People get scared of balloon whisks because they think you have to be a serious baker to use them. Actually the balloon whisk is the friend of amateur cooks, as a quick whipping will get rid of any lumps in your sauces, custards, gravies etc.

    My most used utensils

    My most used utensils

  • potato mashers and ricers – I prefer to use a hand held masher than a ricer (too fiddly and you have to work really quickly for the potato to still be hot by the time you’ve finished). However, there is no getting away from the fact that if you want silky smooth mash with no lumps at all, you need to use a ricer. A hand held mixer will also do a good job but don’t try the food processor – it will turn your spuds to a glutinous goo!
  • ice cream scoop – not just for the obvious, but also for scooping out mini baby portions of food to pop in the freezer.
  • pastry brushes – you either like the traditional ones with proper bristles or the silicone ones. I’m a silicone girl here as, although the bristles can give better coverage when you’re doing something like an eggwash, the benefit is often shortlived when they come out on your dish. The silicone ones also come a lot cleaner and don’t die if you put them in the dishwasher!
  • skewers / cake tester – for kebabs, checking your cakes are done in the middle and piercing packaging you can’t get into ;)
  • tea strainer – never used for tea in our house, just for dusting desserts with icing sugar or cocoa powder.
  • cake slice – makes it easier to get that tricky first slice out. For a foolproof way of cutting a circular cake, cut right across the middle (rather than just to the centre) before you attempt to take the first slice out. It’ll make all the difference!


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