Miscellaneous “Must Have” Items

Blind Chef Sue advises on everything from strainers, plates and storage, to cutters, juicers and safety equipment for the kitchen.
Ok here goes for a hotch potch mix of “got to own” unrelated bits and pieces.

Steamers and Strainers

If eating healthily, or, dare I say it, steaming sponge or suet puddings are your forte, a stainless
steel, graduated steamer is a must have item!
With holes in the base, handles on each side and a tightly fitting lid,
its outer graduated rings will fit most average size pans. Make sure that the one that you try sits
firmly in position and that it will hold the depth of bowl or basin you are
going to use for your puds or the quantity of veg you want to steam.


Another “can’t do without” item for straining veg, pasta etc, is a colander. Plastic is all very fine but not
particularly stable when its standing in the sink and you are using both hands
to drain a heavy pan. Stainless steel has to be the one, preferably with handles on either side and fine holes in the
bottom to catch those tiny pieces!

Ovenproof Dishes and Pie Plates

There are far too many to discuss in detail. Decide what you
enjoy preparing regularly and plump for those that fit the bill. An enamel 7 inch, (18 cm) diameter plate with
a well in the centre and a rim will be fine for making the average size pie. An oval, not too thick 3 to 4 inch, (7.5 to
10 cm) deep dish, for covered, deeper pies.

Other must have items

  • A good, long heavy wooden rolling pin with handles.
  • Fluted and plain pastry cutters in varying sizes, usually sold in sets
  • .

  • A flour dredger.
  • Metal tablespoons with deep bowls.
  • Wooden spoons with long handles.
  • Large, Sturdy, plastic spoons with deep bowls and long handles.
  • A good set of kitchen utensils with hanging rack. M and S, barrel-handled stainless
    steel are brilliant and should be kept near at hand The fish slice, slotted spoon, ladle, potato masher and palette knife are fabulous!
  • Cooks knives with un-serrated fairly short blades and not too sharp points for chopping and slicing fruit and veg (very much a personal choice! Try Lakeland Ltd’s “all purpose knife”.
  • Other knives, one fairly long, un-serrated for dicing meat etc.
  • another serrated bread knife.
  • I store all my knives safely away in a closed knife block.
  • Two good chopping boards in wood or solid plastic one for chopping veg and the other kept for cutting fresh meat only!
  • A sugar dispenser.
  • Pastry brush.
  • Plastic spatula or scraper.
  • Set of measuring cups and spoons, standard size as sold by the RNIB or Lakeland Limited.
  • A lemon or citrus squeezer in solid plastic or toughened glass. Sold with a cup to catch the juice and separate the pips
  • .

  • Wire cooling rack.
  • Potato peelers with horizontal blades running across the top of the handles.
  • A nylon sieve for sifting flour.
  • A mesh sieve for sieving hot liquids.
  • An egg slicer, to take all the hard work out of making those egg and salad cream sandwiches!
  • Several sizes of funnel for transferring wet and dry foods from large containers to smaller ones, there will be thousands of uses for these.
  • Ready made cake tin liners for sponge or loaf tins.
  • A pair of easy-grip kitchen tongs.
  • Good quality oven gloves those with a thumb, insulated with wadding not foam, bought singly (not
    the mitts that are joined together with a strip of material as these could be really dangerous if they catch on the oven or hob when you’re carrying hot tins and pans.
  • Can opener that has easy grips and comfortable to turn handle, preferably with complete lid removal to leave “most” tins less sharp.
  • A sturdy bottle opener.
  • A corkscrew with leavers which lift up as you turn the handle to insert the screw thread into the cork, then press them down to remove it.
  • Wine saver bottle tops to keep wine fresh once opened.
  • A manual ringer timer. Most hardware stores like Wilkinson’s stock them, they run for an hour. Be sure that there is room round the edge of the dial to mark it
    at either every 5 or 15 minutes.
  • Weighing scales, should be the traditional balance kind with weights on one side and a large pan for ingredients on the other, invaluable for using always! Excellent for weighing guide dog’s food!Don’t forget the
    weights, two sets, one metric and one imperial, either in brass or cast iron.
  • A good quality, round stainless steel teapot with a good long spout and sensible handle.
  • A large oblong heat resistant tray for tea or coffee making.
  • Storage containers large enough to hold bags of flour and sugar once they have been opened.
  • Smaller containers for dried goods (pasta or rice etc).
  • Flat boxes to keep in the fridge to separate uncooked from cooked food.
  • A couple of plastic cereal dispensers, you will thank me the next time the box of porridge oats or cornflakes fall out of the cupboard on to the floor and nothing spills!!

There are, of course, hundreds of items for those unusual fiddly little jobs, like melon ballers,
cherry stoners, and so on and so on, I could go on for ever but I won’t I
promise! This is by no means a full
list of products that you might need, and you may, of course, want to
specialise in something like, jam making or cake decorating. If you do, the equipment is available to

If you would like to delve into the realms of necessity some more or simply look at those things you
never knew you wanted for that someone who has everything! That’s up to you, the gizmos and gadgets are
there for your perusal.