An Effortless Cooking Experience

When you move out of home for the first time or want to update the kitchen equipment and cookware you've had since you married back in the '70s, it's hard to know where to start. Do you really need a pan of every shape and size imaginable? Is it worth spending money on a new set of knives?

There's a saying that "a cook is only as good as his or her equipment". While that may not be completely true, the right tools really do make cooking easier – and fun. Sharp knives, non-stick pots and pans, some silicone bakeware, and a few clever utensils will help make for an effortless kitchen experience.

Knives
You won't get much done in the kitchen without a good quality knife set – it's one of the most important tools you can have. Find some knives that feel comfortable in your hand. For a start, you'll probably need a large cook's knife for chopping big items like pumpkin and melons, as well as chopping meat. You can then add a smaller knife for chopping smaller fruit and vegetables such as cucumbers and apples, a utility knife for slicing tomatoes, a bread knife, and perhaps a paring knife for fiddly tasks like peeling apples and segmenting oranges. Don't forget the knife sharpener – it's very important to keep your knives sharp, as blunt blades can actually be dangerous.

Pots and Pans
With a set of good-quality, non-stick pans, cooking impressive meals for your friends and family is a breeze. Start with a few basics and over time, you can build up a collection of different shapes and sizes to suit different needs. A sauté pan with lid is a good place to start – you can use it for almost anything. You'll get plenty of use out of a pair of frypans (small and large), and a big roasting pan is great if you have a large family or lots of friends to feed. Finally, consider a wok for cooking stir-fries and curries. If it comes with a steamer, you can also use it to steam food for healthy meals.

Bakeware
Would you love to fill your kitchen with the delicious aroma of just-baked cakes, muffins, slices, friands, tarts, breads or desserts? It's easier than you think if you have some good baking moulds. With a slice pan and muffin pan in your drawer, you'll have the basic tools to whip up almost any kind of treat for you or your guests, whether savoury or sweet, sinful or guilt-free! If your moulds are made of non-stick silicone, your creations will pop out easily and the moulds will squeeze into any available space in your cupboard.

Tools and Utensils
Having good-quality tools and utensils on hand will help make your time in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable. Some of the tools you shouldn't be without include flexible spatulas, slotted spoons, a strong whisk, soup ladles, quality tongs and a good silicone pastry brush. A metric measuring set and some digital scales will make it easy to measure ingredients accurately, while a digital thermometer with timer will help you cook your meals to perfection.

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About The Author, Felicity Mcdougall
The Chefs Toolbox specialise in quality cookware, kitchen utensils, and gifts. For more information about The Chefs Toolbox and to browse their online store, visit www.chefstoolbox.com.au.