Saturday 29 September 2012

Kit and caboodle

I'll make no bones about it, I'd like a nice shiny Kitchen Aid freestanding mixer, or a cheery new Kenwood K-mix. But for the moment I'll make do with this ...

Bless it! I have no idea how old it is, I inherited it (as I have a lot of my kitchen kit) from someone else.

I got to thinking the other day about kit and we when you bake or cook a lot you tend to rely on certain pieces of equipment. I'm personally still in mourning for a particular wooden spoon Mr Blackbird broke; it was my favourite scrambled egg/white sauce making spoon, with a little pointy bit at the end - for the pan scraping.

I've realised that the kit I use the most, and that I'm most fond of isn't that expensive (as I said above a lot of things have been passed down to me). So alongside my relic from the 70s (I think) these are the others in my top 5.

Actually, this is one I did buy, solely because Delia informed me (reliably as it turned out) that making royal icing by hand with a balloon whisk wasn't something you wanted to get involved with. But in the stead of a the aforementioned freestanding mixer it has served me very well. Many of Blackbird Bread's drizzle loaf cakes have been whisked by it and unlike my handheld blender whisk attachment it doesn't start to burn out at the first sign of some 'not-very-well' softened butter.

Now this has served me well over the years and is still a kitchen classic. Another inherited piece. Yes, I've got some nice modern plastic mixing bowls with non-slip bottoms and lips for ease of pouring, but this makes me feel like I'm doing proper grown up baking! Probably because growing up all the mums I knew had one.

I love this little chap. He came free with a magazine and was once pink. He's had loads of use and is considerably more flexible and useful than the spatula I actually paid money for.

Aah, only higher in my affections than Mr Spatula comes my silicone pastry brush. Once this fella came into my life I was no longer afflicted with old-style brushes that would moult over my pastry (looking suspiciously like cat hairs). I think I paid a whole six English pounds for this, but he's a top investment to avoid guests looking worriedly from the ginger tom to their plate.

To be fair, I am a bit obsessive about my kitchen (not that it is anything to look at). Sharing it with Mr Blackbird Bread can be an interesting experiment in marital harmony. And I also have a habit of tidying up his work surface which, if it was the other way around, I would consider emotional cruelty! I'm not too bad about sharing the kit (apart from that wooden spoon - think you can gather I'm still smarting about that one) in fact in the background he's making breadcrumbs (some loaves just don't make it!) in the ancient Kenwood mixer. Although that may change if I ever get may hands on a KitchenAid.

So, I guess what I'm saying is sometimes it doesn't matter how much something cost, how you came by it (as long as it was legal) or who you share it with, love your kit and it will serve you well.


  1. Don't get a Kitchenaid, get a Kenwood Titanium! I treated myself at Christmas time, and honestly, I can't believe I didn't do this earlier. It is just amazing, it has a really really good dough hook, and makes my daily bread so easy.

    Go on, bite the bullet next time you have some spare dosh..