Admission, I’m a kitchen gadget junkie.  The basic kitchen equipment needed is probably a selection of chopping boards and bowls, a couple of good knives, a stick blender and, if you want to bake, some sort of electric mixer. Over many years I have acquired an Instapot, Sous-vide, Masha, breadmaker, soupmaker, rice cooker, pasta maker, ice cream maker, slicers, dicers and mixers. I have them all.

Especially for any new cooks among you, I thought it might be worth summing up the good and bad points about a few of them.


I am so in love with this gadget that it got a post all of its own – find it at this link.


This is a recent acquisition and has been a big hit. Not cheap, but it replaced my pressure cooker and my slow cooker. I could probably get rid of the rice cooker too. It has been amazing for things that usually take three or four hours in the oven, as well as for some of the more traditional pressure cooker type stuff. Also, and this is important sometimes, because it’s a plug-in gadget it can bubble away in another part of the kitchen and leave your oven/hob available for other dishes. This is the one I have, there are others available.


This is a water bath where you cook sealed food at very low temperatures. To be honest, it is totally unnecessary in a domestic kitchen. It takes up loads of space, requires you to plan ahead and involves fiddly vacuum sealing that I can’t quite get the hang of. It does have its good points, but probably not enough to recommend.


You probably never heard of this, but if you are a fan of perfect mashed potatoes you should immediately invest. It looks like a regular stick blender but the results are dramatically different (there’s some science behind it apparently to do with starch or something). Have a look on Amazon here.

Bread maker

I have this for years and now really only use it for the dough phase of the operation if I am making something like pizza bases or Chelsea buns. I tried it with half a batch of sourdough one day to see if the rise would compare with the slow rise of a handmade loaf – it was ‘okay’ but not amazing.

Soup maker

This combines the sautéing, cooking and blending in one machine. So it cuts down a bit of washing up, but to be honest the real value is that you can put soup on, time it, and leave it alone to do its own thing. When you get back it’s easy to warm up and blend.  This is the one I have.

Rice cooker

This is only worth having if you cook rice a lot. The keep-warm feature is useful if you are entertaining and need to not be trying to time the rice to go with other stuff.