It is not uncommon for every adult in a family household to have a full time job, which makes family meal times difficult to schedule. Getting in from work after a busy day and still having a family to feed can mean that many of us resort to pre-packed ready meals, but this doesn't have to be the case!
With a few clever gadgets and appliances, you can be one of the envied ‘super-mums’ of the playground, with home-made pack lunches and a hot, healthy dinner on the table every evening.
Whether you live alone, have a huge family to feed or have friends coming over straight from work, a slow cooker can be a life saver. Simply chop up all your ingredients the night before, add your curry sauce, red wine jus, or a good hearty gravy and you can just flip the switch before you leave for work, knowing that when you get home, you’ll have a perfectly cooked stew or curry!
There are hundreds of options and recipes available for fast and healthy slow cooker meals, and best of all – hardly any washing up once you've finished!
There are also different sizes and capacities – so you can pick up a slow cooker big enough for just one meal, or 8.
If you’re a keen baker, cook or just like to experiment with new recipes, it can be difficult to find the time to dedicate to your hobby. But with a food processor all the kneading and whisking can be done in a matter of minutes, making the prep time much shorter and easier.
There’s a huge range of food processors, from simple smoothie makers for whipping your favourite breakfast treat, to the much sought after Kitchen Aid, available with a wide range of attachments from pasta presses, to strainers, slicers and even ice cream makers!
A hand blender is cheap and cheerful alternative to a lot of tedious tasks, from blending a quick vegetable soup, to creating exotic curry pastes and tasty marinades for healthy home-made meals!
Of course there’s always the people that would rather stand and grind up the spices with a pestle & mortar or buy packet sauces for quick meals, but with a blender there’s no excuse as to why you can’t finally make that Thai green curry paste you've been wanting to try or even make a your Sunday roast gravy a little bit more interesting!
A multi-level veg steamer is a kitchen staple for some, but many still prefer to boil cook or roast vegetables. But not only are steam cooked vegetables better for you, they’re also easier to cook, and ideal if you have limited space.
Most steamers come with three, or even four, separate baskets that will cook multiple vegetables evenly, over one hob ring. Or you could invest in an electric steamer that will simply sit on the side leaving your valuable hob free for other things.
So if you have a lot of picky eaters to feed, it’s easy to make sure all the different veggies are cooked to perfection!
Good quality sharp knives
Whatever’s on the menu, if you’re making it from scratch chances are you’ll need to do some chopping. Whilst you might think that your knives do the job just fine, if you didn't pay a lot for them – you’ll spend more time chasing your carrots around your work surfaces than actually chopping them!
A good set of sharps knives will cost a little more than a basic supermarket set, but they can be a real time saver. In addition, although the blades are much sharper, they are actually safer as you are less likely to slip, even when tackling a tricky butternut squash.
Freddie Richardson is an expert on appliances. He manages the team at Domex appliance repairs.