Christmas kitchen tech gifts for lazy Susans
2015 has seen a tonne of timesaving tech dedicated to the kitchen, from ingenious utensils that make cooking that little bit easier, to intelligent appliances that do the whole job for you. And now we’re getting smart devices that can boil a kettle or brew a coffee even when we’re out.
Kitchen gifts are a hardy perennial of Christmas shopping lists worldwide, and this year will be the techiest Yuletide ever. Here are our top ten items of essential kitchen kit for your (rather bulky) Christmas stocking.
Now watch this video, okay?
Alessi Sfrido peeler • £22
There’s nothing electronic going on here, but the brilliant design of this potato peeler by Valerio Sommella for Alessi will still makes you want to upgrade right away. Whoever heard of an electric potato peeler, anyway?
The elegant chrome curves echo the ribbon of peel it leaves behind and the shiny perfection is certainly in keeping with the rest of Alessi’s stylish cookware. But it’s not just for show because that asymmetric shape is especially ergonomic. At last, something that makes peeling potatoes seem (almost) glamorous.
Joseph Joseph M-Cuisine Stack Set • £30
Perfect for chefs who are a little short on space, this M-Cuisine Stack Set from Joseph Joseph enables you to cook pretty much anything in your microwave. The set contains four interchangeable pieces, allowing you to cook, potentially, a full meal at the same time.
The main cooking pot is used for rice, pasta or spuds, there's a steamer for vegetables, and a griddle for bacon (which we've tried, and it's actually delicious). Practical, space-saving, and attractive, what more could you ask for?
Invoxia Triby • £159
This isn’t for cooking, but households might find this magnetic radio communicator indispensible. In the first instance, it’s a rather smart music streamer that clings to your fridge and plays music from your phone, or radio stations from the web while you eat your breakfast.
But its also enables hands-free phone calls over Wi-Fi between family members, while the 2.9-inch e-ink display can show handwritten messages scrawled on a smartphone via the Triby app. The fridge has always been the best place for a family message board, but this takes it to the next level. Our favourite feature, however, is the plastic flag that pop outs of its side when a new message arrives.
Hotpoint TB060CAX0 Steam Blender • £150
Convergence in the kitchen has never made more sense than with this steam blender, which, as you'd imagine, both blends and steams. You can make a healthy pea soup, for example, with it in two steps: just load the frozen peas and other ingredients into the 1.5 litre glass jug, fill the water tank, which will heat to 140°C and steam away. Once cooked, it’s all ready for blending into a creamy soup without generating any additional washing up.
Then why not use the same jug to crush ice for a fruit smoothie to wash it all down? We do recommend that you rinse it out in between, though.
Üutensil Skåler Balance Scoop • £15
Even the foodie that appears to have everything will make room for this ingenious measuring, weighing, scooping utensil. It’s essentially a big spoon made from dishwasher-proof plastic with a handy scale measured in milliliters etched on the inside of the bowl and another marked in grams and ounces along the handle.
This cunning piece of British design means you can measure not just liquids, but also use the spoon as an impromptu set of scales for weighing out the rest of your ingredients. A sliding weight on the handle adjusts the tipping point, so when this is set and the scoop is filled until it’s balancing nicely, you’re good to go.
Joseph Joseph M-Cuisine Egg Poacher • £9
This time, the brothers Joseph have focused their design skills on the once maligned microwave and created the M-Cuisine range especially for the forgotten device of 70s cookery.
It includes a whole selection of ingenious plasticware for time-poor cooks, including one that makes a pretty decent fist of nuking bacon, but our favourite is the brilliant egg-poacher. Yes, you can cook eggs in a microwave. With two eggs supported and submerged in their own reservoir of water, your microwave will poach them to perfection in no time. Then simply pour away the water, serve and scoff.
Salter Heston Blumenthal Precision Orb Digital Kitchen Scales • £40
For those who see cooking as a science, Heston has a range of kitchen apparatus that wouldn’t look out of place in a laboratory. This orb scale, for instance, has a particularly large LCD screen for showing Imperial and metric measurements in crisp definition.
It also boasts an aquatronic function for measuring fluids in millilitres or fluid ounces. The ‘add and weigh zero’ function means you can measure multiple ingredients in the same bowl.
Panasonic SD-ZB2512 breadmaker • £129
Artisan baking calls for strong hands, skill and patience – unless you own this breadmaker. The latest in Panasonic’s popular line now features an ‘artisan’ mode, so it’s a simple case of measuring out and pouring in your selectively sourced, preferably foraged ingredients according to the bundled recipe book and pressing start. In about three hours, you’ll have a steaming slab of rustic bready perfection.
Including the new artisan, rustic sourdough and scone modes, this machine has 33 pre-programmed bread-types in its memory, which is probably more than you’ll find at the bakery. Certainly more than at Gregg's.
Tefal Cook4Me Smart Multi-oven • £249
Another one that's perfect for the impatient chef, this helpful multi-cooker can serve up a meal in 15 minutes flat. And with 30 high-speed preset recipes in its repertoire, that doesn’t mean beans à la toast.
By cooking at high pressure, this sealed smart cooker can tenderise meat and soften vegetables in a fraction of the time, while the flavour stays locked in. If you’re sticking to the pre-programmed list - there are 50 recipes in total - it’s literally a case of throwing in your prepared ingredients, turning the dial and watching the digital countdown.
KitchenAid Artisan Cook Processor • £849
A more upscale version of the Cook4Me, this remarkably flexible kitchen appliance has an impressive CV. Iits listed skills include boiling, frying, steaming, stewing, kneading, chopping, mincing, puréeing, emulsifying, whipping, flipping and stirring. It makes half of your other kitchen gadgets redundant.
Like most KitchenAid kit, this all-metal multi-cooker is anchored to the worktop by its own weight and we can’t see it falling apart any time soon. It’s a simple case of loading your raw ingredients and switching to one of six modes: Boil, Fry, Stew, Steam, Purée or Make Dough and with cooking temperatures up to 140°C, almost any dish is possible.
Krups EA8150 coffee machine • £599
Krups' high-tech coffee machines are usually a tweaker’s delight, with touchscreen controls and dials controlling every aspect of your brew, from the bean to the cup. This latest model, by contrast, is aimed at the novice barista with a radically simplified interface and one-touch control. The company calls it a ‘my first Krups’ product, designed to lure unwary first-time buyers into a lifetime of espresso worship.
Whether you’re new to bean-to-cup coffee making, or just bleary-eyed from an early start, that extra large LED screen is a distinct bonus, while the superfast thermoblock heating and 15-bar pump pressure means a quality caffeine fix is guaranteed.