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What to purge and what to splurge on in the kitchen

Pasta measurers, novelty ice cube trays and spiralizers; we’ve all indulged in “must-have” kitchen items that have tempted us with their seductive promises of saving time and better food. If your cupboards are heaving under their useless weight, it’s time to purge – then splurge on these expert-recommended essentials that will make a real difference to how you spend your time in the kitchen.
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Lizzie Loel, freelance Food & Wine writer, product and recipe development for Jocelyn’s Provisions, Brisbane:

PURGE – Egg Poacher.

“They stick, tip over and won’t release your egg without burning your finger tips first. Instead use a saucepan with ‘rolling’ water (just under boiling and just over a simmer), and add a splash of white vinegar. Drop in fresh eggs for 4 minutes then scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Drain on a paper towel and bingo – perfectly poached eggs.”

SPLURGE – Nutribullet high powered blender

“It makes everything from smoothies to fine purees, sauces and dressings. I use it to makes sauces like Romesco silky smooth. It also makes emulsion dressings beautifully and can be used for fresh juices and smoothies.”

Shelagh Ryan, founder, Lantana Cafe, London:

PURGE – Stainless steel fish poacher.

“I have a lovely unused one taking up valuable cupboard space, just waiting for that moment when I want to serve poached fish to 20 people.”

SPLURGE – Solid stone pestle and mortar

“Great for smashing garlic, making curry pastes, pesto, salad dressings, chopping nuts and grinding whole spices, which give so much more flavour than pre-ground ones. Plus it’s a great de-stresser and keeps children occupied.”

Jane Lawson, food and travel writer and author of new cookbook Milkbar Memories:

PURGE – Pasta machine

“I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve used it in the last 20 years! They aren’t cheap, they take up space and are a pain to clean. There’s quality fresh pasta readily available these days, so I don’t mind cheating in this case. I’ve also simply hand rolled pasta on the kitchen bench when testing recipes, like homemade ravioli.”

SPLURGE – Kitchenaid Electric Mixer

“A really good quality, heavy duty electric mixer makes light work of cakes, meringue, whipped cream and kneading dough and saves time and manpower. I love my Kitchenaid. It was a very worthwhile investment, as I haven’t had a problem with it in 15 years of frequent use. A cheaper version’s motor might have burnt out.”

Sam Coleman, cook and food blogger, theseasonaltable苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛:

PURGE – Cupcake batter dispenser.

“I wanted to love this, but it really doesn’t work. As soon as you add anything at all to the mix, like choc chips or fruit, it clogs up. Save your $20 and use a spoon or small pouring jug instead.”

SPLURGE – Breville Stick Blender

“It’s so incredibly versatile for soups and sauces. If you don’t have space for a food processor, these come with a small attachment that does the trick. I make my girl’s smoothies every morning and even grind my spices in it.”

Brenda Janschek, director and certified health coach at Brenda Janschek Health & Lifestyle

PURGE – Teflon frying pan

“Although they are undoubtedly easy to use and clean, non-stick cookware emits toxic fumes when overheated, some of them carcinogenic. While Teflon cookware is safe as long as it’s not overheated, this can be tricky to monitor. It’s much easier to just replace it instead with safe metals like stainless steel or cast iron wherever possible.”

SPLURGE – Slow cooker

“As a busy working mum with two kids and a husband who works long hours, my slow-cooker is the love of my life. Usually in the morning I can throw in whichever ingredients take my fancy (note cheap cuts of meat end up succulent morsels in the slow cooker), press a couple of buttons, then spend the rest of the day inhaling the delicious aromas. Not only does it make a generous meal for my family of four, but there are always leftovers. All this with just the single cooking dish to wash at the end of it!”

Julie Tjiandra, owner Scrumptious Reads, Brisbane.

PURGE – Egg separator

“A real waste of money, resources and labour.”

SPLURGE – Wooden spoon

“No matter what cooking utensil I have in the drawer, a wooden spoon is one that I reach for most of the time when I am cooking – a very unassuming but important kitchen tool.”

Zoe Bingley-Pullin, founder and director of Nutritional Edge and 8-week online program, Falling in Love with Food

PURGE – Fruit Corer

“With the right knife and knowing where to cut, there is no need to purchase and then store a device to core fruit.”

SPLURGE – Food processor

“It not only allows you to create dips and purees in seconds, but also helps cut down on waste. For example, if you have leftover herbs, you can quickly turn them into a pesto, or leftover chopped tomatoes, can become the base of a sauce.”

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