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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

My Gadgets - Part Two - "Cheap and Cheerful"

Continuing my obsession with gadgets I have decided to move away from the expensive tools I discussed in a previous blog and instead focus on those cheap little tools, that maybe wont get used everyday, but when you need them they are ready.

Some of these tools are rather old and I can't remember where I brought them or how much they cost.  I am sure however you can still find them around, try Amazon, they seem to have everything.

So, here we go, cheap and cheerful gadgets, I use the word gadgets very loosely, useful however, I think so.

Garlic Peeler
This is one of those clever little devices that are so so simple it makes you wonder why didn't I think of that?  There will be some millionaire sitting on a private beach somewhere who invited this little device.  No moving parts, nothing to go wrong (keep it away from flames) and works every time.   Simply place the garlic clove (or cloves) in the tube, apply some pressure while rubbing back and forth...hey presto, skins are removed and garlic falls out cleanly.  Wash under a hot running tap. I also found this device useful for opening bottle with particularly tough tops.  Buy one here.

Single cup French Press
As you may already know from reading my previous gadgets blog I am a coffee-holic.  I have a number of different devices for brewing the perfect cup.  I don't always just press a button and wait, sometimes I like to do it the old-fashioned way.  When I was young I was very curious of my Grandmas strange looking glass device on the kitchen worktop,  it had a plunger that if you filled with water you could pump up and down and produce fizzy water, which would go everywhere.  Later on I learnt this was a coffee making device, a French Press, and now I have both a large one for 12 cups and this 3 cup (although it actually makes enough for one normal sized cup)  Sometimes I still get the urge to fill it with water and pump! Buy one here.

These can be cheap, but I found out mine was expensive (it was a Christmas present), cheap or expensive this is a great little device.  More than just a grater its able to remove the fine outer layer of lemons and limes to produce the perfect zest.  Great for parmesan too or chocolate for topping cakes.  Well worth investing in one of these.  Easy to clean, simply wash under the tap or cycle in the dishwasher.  Surprisingly for something so razor sharp its very difficult to cut yourself!  Oh, please remember this isn't one of those devices for grating your feet...yuck....get them from Boots if you must!  Buy one here.

Mini (Coffee) Thermometer
Any coffee-holic knows that when making a latte or any milky coffee drink you never boil the milk.  Instead it should be heated to 65C or 75C if you like extra hot.  For a few years when I first got my coffee maker I used to judge this by touching the side of the heating jug - not very scientific nor sensible when dealing with hot steam.  So I decided to get myself a mini thermometer just like the ones used in coffee shops.  They are not expensive (around £12) and can be found online easily.  I also use mine for checking the internal temp of meat, but mainly for coffee.  Buy one here.

Electric Knife Sharpener
A recent purchase when I noticed my carving knife wasn't cutting as well as it should.  I came across this online while searching Amazon for cookbooks.  Can't remember the exact price but it wasn't too much - around £12.  It is rather fun to use, noisy though, and if you don't mind the odd spark quite easy too.  Simply turn on, guide the knife one side, then flip and repeat, then finally hone the knife to perfection on the other side.  Result is perfectly sharp blades ready to carve, slice, chop, anything.  Buy one here.

This brings to me the end of my small and cheerful gadget post.  More to come soon.