Category Archives: Kit

Pressure cooker

This is another life saver. I love, love, love beans and lentils. Not a day goes by without us eating one or the other at home. My favourites are chickpeas, black eyed beans, cannellini beans, butter beans, Puy lentils and red lentils. I use the various pulses in a variety of salads, dips, soups and stews. They are great, and not just the domain of vegetarians.

Cooking beans takes quite a while, unless, of course, you own a pressure cooker. I love mine. It is old and battered, bought at a fleamarket in Marseille on a hot August morning. It is beautiful, and it evokes beautiful memories. The French, like the Italians, swear by pressure cookers. The English seem to be afraid of them if one is to go by the warnings that come with them if you purchase a new one here.

I am totally with the French on this. I would not give up mine for the world. With my pressure cooker, I can not just cook pulses quickly. Making veal or chicken stock takes no time. And lamb shanks or osso buco is now feasible to make for dinner after a long day at work, and with a very tired, little sous chef. The same goes for a proper ragu, an ox cheek stew, and risotto. The possibilities are endless. And the pressure cooker is super cheap to boot. If you go to sunny Marseille, that is…

You can buy a modern one from Amazon. I can only teally vouch for the Tefal:

Kenwood Chef A701

I am all about vintage. My kitchen has a bare brick wall, original wooden floor boards, and ancient kitchen units. We eat at a small formica table, my side cabinet is an old metal piece, and most pots and pans are fleamarket finds from Paris and Marseille, or local second hand finds.

I do not own many gadgets. For a long time, I had no kitchen timer, no blender, mixer or chopper. I do not own a juicer, nor a bread maker. What I do own, however, is a beautiful Gaggia espresso machine (more on this later) given to me by an old friend when I first moved into my house. And as of two weeks ago, I also own a Kenwood Chef. Model A701 from the 1960s, restored to its former glory by my very own engineer. An item of beauty and utility that fits right in.

I love my Kenwood Chef, and I already cannot imagine how I did without it. It has an old glass blender attachment, which works a treat for making hummous. It has a dough hook and enough horse power that I can make rye sourdough without it feeling like a major upper body workout, and the whish makes it a million times easier to whip egg whites if compared to my daughter’s pink balloon whisk. My Kenwood Chef is truly awesome. Thank you so much, Mr Speranza.

A modern version of the wonder can be purchased via Amazon: