Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Kitchen Products I Love

I have just finished my dinner - the delicious Wholesome Lemony Dhal from my friend Nicola's blog, Just8 - and had to tell you about it, as I think anyone who enjoys my blog and/or recipes should definitely try this one out. I had mine with broccoli instead of rice, as suggested by Nicola, and David also had some garlic and coriander pita bread with his. I love the simplicity of it - but at the same time, it is so filling, with each flavour really shining through. With the spinach and broccoli, it will take you well on your way to your five a day, and the lentils are a great source of protein. The health benefits of the dish combined with its ease of preparation and delicious taste make it as close to a perfect dinner as I can imagine. The only thing I would add to the original recipe is that if you don't have lemons to hand, you can use lemon juice from a bottle, in which case I would add about 120ml.

Wholesome Lemony Dhal with broccoli and salad
But what I really thought I would write about tonight, was not a recipe at all, but actually some of the recent and not-so-recent purchases for my veggie kitchen. From the start of this blog, I've said I would review products as well as share recipes, so today, I'm going to talk to you about some of the kitchen items I love (and one I'm not so happy with...just to warn you!). So, without further ado...

Tiger - Bargains or Cheap Tat?

I have recently been introduced to the delights of Tiger by my friend Anna at Pink Pom Poms. This shop is fairly new to Glasgow, but from looking at their website, they are a pretty big chain across much of Europe and even further afield. They don't appear to have an online shop, but if you have one nearby (there's a store locator on the website), it's worth a wander. I'd describe it as a kind of smaller scale Ikea (but that could just be the way they name their products) - they sell small kitchen and home products, such as kitchen timers, candles, notepads, etc.

When I was there a couple of weeks ago, I was looking for a cheap and creative way to store my rubber gloves (yes, how exciting!). I can't attach anything permanent to the wall, as we're in a rented flat, so it had to be something removable too. I came up with this:

Yup, a toothbrush holder. But as you can see, I have successfully used it to store the rubber gloves, and at just £2, I'm pretty pleased with my bargain! I was a little bit worried about the suction cups and whether the holder would actually stay stuck to the wall, but so far it's stayed up no problem for over a month. Just goes to show, that sometimes it pays to think a bit outside the box when you're looking for cheap storage solutions.

I also bought a knife sharpener at Tiger. However, this was not such a success story, unfortunately. I thought it looked cool, and must have been swayed by this and the price - £3 - (and the fact that my lovely Jamie Oliver knives are getting a bit blunt). But when I tried it out, it didn't seem to really make much of a difference. I wondered if I should have tried running the knife through the 3 sections for a bit longer, but this actually seemed to make the knife even blunter! I would have to say, it looks like a knife sharpener is not one of those products that you can go for the cheapest option with - or at least, not Tiger's version.

So, looks like while there are some great bargains to be had at Tiger, sometimes cheap really does mean bad.


Who doesn't love IKEA?! I headed there last night to pick up some storage jars for some of the dried ingredients in my kitchen. As you can see below, they look pretty smart in the cupboard, and keep the contents nice and fresh. I've used mine to store my different types of pasta (but need more jars for more types!), rice (ditto), cous cous and lentils in. The tall ones cost £4.25 each and the shorter (but presumably bigger in terms of capacity) ones in front cost £4.75 each. They are really nice and do the job well (I already had one of the tall ones for a while, and loved it so much I decided to 'add to the family'.)

I'll need to get some more for the top shelf though - as you can see, it's still a bit of a mess! 

Kitchen White Board

This white board is the final product I wanted to show you. I actually bought this over a year ago, and I'm so glad I did. It's often the small, simple things that make a difference, I find, and the white board is a good example of that. I didn't have a pin board in my old flat, so thought this would be handy for scribbling notes on. I now do have a pin board, but while I pin money off vouchers, postcards, and taxi company business cards to it, I still like my whiteboard for writing notes. 

I sometimes use it to plan the week's recipes, or if I'm having friends over for dinner, I might write up the dinner plan there, so I remember any good ideas I have for dessert or accompaniments! 

Most recently, we've been using it to keep track of staple ingredients that we run out of (or are about to run out of) as we notice them. That way, when we come to do the weekly shopping, we can just check the whiteboard to see what we need to add to our shopping list in the way of any herbs, spices or other little things we might otherwise assume we have in the cupboard (because seriously, does salt ever run out?....Well, actually, yes, it does. And we remembered to restock because of our whiteboard list.)

The whiteboard sticks directly onto wood or metal (so you could put it on your fridge, if you wanted). Ours is stuck discreetly on the inside of a cupboard door. The best thing about the whiteboard is that it is re-stickable (not sure that's the word they actually used, but I like it!) - so I had it stuck to a cupboard in our old flat, but when moving day came, it couldn't have been simpler to peel it off the door, transport it (I stuck it to a plastic poly pocket just to keep the sticky side clean during the journey), and then reapply it to a cupboard door in our new flat. So another great one for us renters - or anyone who likes the idea of being able to move their notes around the kitchen, or simply not damage nice wooden cupboard doors.

I bought it from Staples for (I think) £5, and the non-permanent markers were from there too (can't remember the price, but it was reasonable too). Annoyingly, I can't see this product on their website any more, so if you know where to find these, please let me know in the comments, as I'd highly recommend them!

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