My 8 most-used pieces of kitchen kit

With so many of us now cooking all our meals at home and perhaps taking lockdown as an opportunity to finally clear out the back of our kitchen cupboards and have a bit of a spring clean, I thought I’d share my all-time favourite kitchen kit with you.

Photo Susan Bell

These are the items that I use day-in, day-out in my kitchen. The old friends that are reliable, useful and most importantly, highly effective. I totally understand our desires for the latest gadgets and fancy culinary toys, but I can’t overstate the importance of having really good basics, that actually do what they are supposed to do (I’m looking at you, rusty, broken peelers and blunt knives).

There is a real pleasure that comes from something practical that is perfect for its job. Particularly if it also makes our lives that bit easier and more enjoyable. All of the following meet those criteria for me.


Happy cooking!

1. Wooden chopping board

A good, wooden chopping board makes a huge difference to how quickly you can do your preparation. Wood absorbs the shock of the knife and stops the food slipping around, helping to make chopping faster and safer. Place a damp dishcloth underneath the board for more stability. Simply wash it in hot, soapy water and allow to air dry (which is also very hygienic), and your board will last for years. Mine is like an old friend now, with the marks of many thousands of meals prepared etched into its surface.

2. Sharp, dishwasher-safe knives

These cheap, brilliant knives are my secret kitchen weapon. They make light work of all vegetable prep and are completely dishwasher safe. Beware though – they are extremely sharp – so be careful of your fingers and definitely keep out of reach of little ones.

3. Stacking steamer saucepan

Invest in a steamer saucepan and you’ll wonder how you ever did without one. Steaming is a great way of preserving the nutritional value of foods and is an incredibly quick and easy way of adding a couple of vegetable sides to a main meal. Plus, all it really needs is a quick swill out afterwards, so barely any washing up either.

4. Lemon squeezer

For the quickest of dressings over steamed vegetables, to an extra zing in a G & T, this lemon squeezer is the simplest way to juice a lemon – with minimal washing up and no annoying pips. I love it.

5. Microplane fine grater

By far the fastest way to zest a lemon, grate ginger, or sprinkle some fresh parmesan, one of these sharp, hand-held graters is a real kitchen bonus. It’s one of those things you think you’ll never use, that is, until you have one. Then you’ll find you use it all the time.

6. Speed peeler

Peelers need to do one thing: peel. If yours doesn’t, or is a pain to use, or the handle is falling off, do yourself a favour and throw under £5 at a new one. It’s a game changer.

7. Stainless steel tray

I use this for everything – roasting, baking, heating, grilling – basically, for anything that needs to go in the oven. It can be properly scrubbed clean (as no non-stick coating), and is fantastically versatile.

8. Kitchen tongs

Simply an extension of your hands for hot things. Brilliant, and essential.

Psst! Here’s a little tip-off…

If you are after some new cast iron pans or dishes, Procook does them for a steal. Not an ad, I was just really impressed with their value for money.


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