Day 1: Your Kitchen Toolkit

When I was younger, I earnt £856 a month and my outgoings (rent, bills, food etc) was £800. There was a mere £6 left at the end of each month, so when I moved in to my flat, I had nothing except what the place came with – a bed, bookcase and the biggest wall mirror I’ve ever seen in my life.

No knives, pots, pans – nothing!

Luckily though my work colleagues at the time bought me a couple of house warming presents. A bottle of wine and one of those cheap kitchen starter kits your parents would normally get you when you go off to uni haha!

Out of the 50 pieces, certain things started to break pretty quickly and it was then that I realised exactly what pieces of kitchen equipment I should invest in and which pieces I shouldn’t.

Did my mixing spoon break? Yes. Did the pasta strainer spoon break? No. Why? The quality was a factor but it was mainly because I was using certain things more than others.

My point is, when it comes to your kitchen, yes it’s fun to have all of the gadgets but when it comes down to the basics, there’s only a few things that you need. And when there’s only a few things, invest in them if you can.

1. A Brilliant Chef’s Knife

A decent chef’s knife can cost hundreds of pounds but there’s good reasons for it. They’re specially designed to do the hard work for you, while also being comfortable for you to use.

Have you ever tried chopping vegetables with a blunt knife? It’s just no fun and incredibly arduous.

Much like testing riding a new bike, I’d always recommend trying out a few different knives to see how they handle. There’s many players in the field and each have their own way if doing things.

Me? Personally I favour Japanese knives. My first knife that I ever used professionally however was German which is normally a good starting point.

2. 3 Different Bowls

At a minimum you should always have a large stoneware bowl, a large steel bowl and a large glass bowl to hand.

There’s more bowl types but these will be fine for most everyday cooking situations.

Stoneware bowl – use this for bread making, cakes, cookies etc. The weight will help counteract the vigorous mixing you’ll be doing.

Steel bowl – a great conductor of heat, I’d always opt for these when melting chocolate, ice cream bases and when I need a bowl for bain-marie (having a dish in or over hot water) style cooking.

Glass bowl – use this for salsas, anything citrusy and other savoury meals. You won’t have to worry about the glass holding on to flavours or colours from previous meals and the ingredients won’t react like they would in a steel bowl.

3. Premium Utensils

When you use something everyday, you need to know they’re not going to break half way through flipping a pancake or steak. The wooden spoon from my starter kit? Split in to a pasta sauce and I’m all for texture but not that sort!

What do you use most?

As a rough guide I’d tend to say every cook needs the following:

  • Wooden spoon
  • Box grater
  • Ladle
  • Serving spoon
  • Tongs
  • Spatula
  • Standard sized whisk
  • Colander
  • Chopping board

From there you can then indulge in other things like fine zesters and all sorts of different shaped wooden spoons.

Hi, I’m Adrianne, and I currently own more wooden spoons than I probably should.

4. Cast Iron Casserole

I know what you’re thinking and yes SOME are expensive. However when I saw a cast iron pot in the sale for £18, I grabbed it and it lasted me a wonderful 10 years.

With a cast iron casserole you can cook everything in it! You get an enhanced flavour and they look amazing so you can make it a focal point in your kitchen if you want to.

I cook more with my cast iron pots than anything else because it’s so versatile and long lasting.

A con is the weight (I’m being transparent here). So a good alternative would be a hob to oven non-stick casserole with a lid.

5. A Non-Stick Frying Pan (and put that metal fork down!)

A decent frying pan is a beautiful thing. From bacon to pancakes and even them at the same time, a good non-stick frying pan will work brilliantly for a lot of dishes.

If you can find one that doesn’t conduct heat through the handle – great! Otherwise pop a folded teatowel over it so you don’t burn your hand.

When keeping them in tip top condition don’t use metal utensils in it because it will scratch off the non-stick coating.

And there you have it!

A back to basics but by no means any less luxurious kitchen.

If minimalist if your style great! Keep it here. But if you love all sorts of items (ahem) then search cooking shops and the internet to your hearts content!

See you tomorrow for Day 2 of our Back to Basic Cookery Challenge! If you can’t wait, check out the preview below.

Let’s Connect!

Along with the daily journal posts here, each Wednesday at 12pm GMT I’ll be going live on my instagram @therebalancechef to recap on the week’s progress and show you around my kitchen. Depending on the weather you might even meet my rescue hens!

The main point of this challenge is to have fun with it, learn new skills and refresh old ones.

I want to see your creations so don’t forget to tag me and show off what you’ve been doing!

I’m taking part in the Rebalance May Cookery Challenge! Check it out here

Day 2 Preview

How To Stay Cool, Calm and Collected in the Kitchen

One of the top questions I get asked is ‘how do you stay calm in the kitchen?’. This is normally followed by stories of flames, spills, broken plates and raised voices.

When preparing a meal or baking a cake, you can’t escape the fact that multiple things will be happening at the same time and you have to somehow align all those things so at the end of it you have a deliciously hot meal to tuck in to.

Seeing as I cook for a living and me saying ‘prep and everything will be fine’ might not cut it! I’ve brought in PhD Researcher and Ex Royal Marine Saul Cuttell!

If anyone knows how to keep calm in a crisis, it’s this man!

“The first one is perspective and realising if it really matters. So for instance if a knife drops on the floor or a spoon, what’s the worse thing that’s going to happen?”