Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Gadgets to Go in the Tin and Thyme Kitchen

Equipment Reviews | 25th August 2015 | By

It’s been a while since I showcased some of the products that have made it into the Tin and Thyme kitchen in recent weeks. This post is all about the gadgets.

OXO Good Grips Cherry Pitter

I was super impressed with this sturdy cherry pitter. It made the task of taking the stones out of cherries really quite easy and the mess and fuss was reduced to a minimum. I couldn’t believe quite how fast I got through a large punnet of cherries – and I don’t mean eating them. As the title Easy Grips suggest, this is a nice tactile and easy to handle piece of kit. The splatter guard, which is removable, works brilliantly well and as you can see from the picture below, the juice remained where it was supposed to be; I did not get a single drop over my clothes, which I’m pretty sure is a first. When not in use the splatter guard can be put inside and a lock keeps it all together for easy storage. I used the cherries to great effect and made this Black Forest Gateau.

OXO Cherry Pitter

It can of course be used as an olive pitter too and retails at £11.50.

Billy the Teapot

As I type. I am drinking a cup of tea just poured from Billy the Teapot. Don’t be perturbed by the watery look, it’s green tea and I like it weak. Billy’s a very nice teapot to use. As well as looking stylish and being eco-friendly, it pours beautifully with not a drip out of place. It’s really a rather clever thermos flask which enables you to brew fresh tea on the go, whether that’s at work or out and about. It has a two tier strainer that sits at the top of the flask with a handle for easy extraction. Fill the flask with water and the double-walled reinforced glass will keep it hot. Fill the top part of the strainer with tea leaves and when you are ready to brew your tea, place them in the lower strainer which sits in the water.

Billy the Teapot

But Billy is not just for loose leaf tea, or even tea. It works well with teabags, fruit to infuse water, coffee and pretty much any other drink you care to mention. It can keep drinks cold as well as hot.

Designed by James Levine, a tea-loving student at Bristol University, Billy the Teapot is an innovative and versatile product. It’s a very welcome addition to this chai-imbibing household and saves me repeated trips to the kitchen when I’m working. It gets extra points too for being made from glass and bamboo, which has a relatively low environmental impact.

It can be purchased from the Billy the Teapot website as well as Etsy and Ebay and retails at a very reasonable £13.99 with £5 p&P.

Tala Triple Sieve

This triple sieve from Tala is a lovely looking vintage style piece of equipment which gives your average sieve a run for its money on the looks front. It’s based on the original 1950s model and has high cream enamel sides and blue or green carrying handles. The idea is a clever one too as it has three seven inch interchangeable stainless steel meshes of varying size: fine, medium and coarse. The fine sieve is designed for sifting cocoa powder, icing sugar and even flour; the medium one for flour or to strain soups, sauces or preserves and the coarse sieve for draining and rinsing pasta, beans or rice. The high sides are meant to hold in the mess and stop flour or anything else from being spread around the kitchen. It’s a great idea and it works well in some respects. When I used it to sift cocoa powder for my Black Forest Gateau, I found the handles sat nicely over the bowl, but the cocoa got caught around the edges of the mesh and didn’t sift through properly.

Tala Triple Sieve

It can be purchased at a number of outlets and retails at £19.99.

Dexam Classic British Biscuit Cutters

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at bourbon biscuits for a very long time – they are rather a weakness of mine. So when I saw these clever classic British biscuit cutters from Dexam, I was delighted. The pack consists of four cutters for biscuits which the UK public will be very familiar with: custard cream, bourbon, jam treat and iced ring. There was no delaying now, bourbon biscuits just had to be made.

The cutter worked brilliantly well and my unbaked bourbon biscuits looked nearly perfect. Recipes for the biscuits can be downloaded from the Dexam website, but I went my own way as usual. The recipe I used had a rather soft dough, so the biscuits didn’t bake as well as I’d have liked, but that is not the fault of the cutter. Despite this, I was dancing little jigs of happiness at having made something that looked like and tasted even better than a bourbon biscuit. The cutter was easy to use, requiring just a light flouring. The biscuit is cut first using the base, then depressed to get the design imprinted.  I found the cutter a bit tricky to clean, but that is a minor quibble – it’s fantastic and I’m looking forward to having a go with the custard cream one next. Custard creams are, after all, the nation’s favourite biscuit.

Bourbon Biscuit Cutter

The cutters can be bought from Fenwicks or online at Emporium Cookshop and Amazon and they retail at £10.99. The recipe for bourbon biscuits will be coming to a blog near you sometime soon. It’s a good one, watch out for it.

OXO Good Grips Simple Mandoline

Slicing vegetables with a knife is all well and good, but sometimes you either have so many to prepare slicing them is a bit of a chore, or you want them to be thin and of a uniform size. My knife skills are not so great that I can manage either the thin aspect or the uniformity. To get around this, I thought a mandoline would be a useful tool to have in the kitchen. I tried one a few years ago, but couldn’t get on with it. I didn’t find it easy to use and it wasted large chunks of vegetables which couldn’t be sliced down to the end, or anywhere near it. After spotting this OXO simple mandoline, I thought it was time to try one out again.

OXO Simple Mandoline

As soon as I unpacked it, I knew it was going to work so much better than the previous one. Like all of the OXO tools I’ve tried, the design is both sturdy and comfortable to use. I was slightly concerned it might slip around on the kitchen top, but it grips really well. It has five settings along the top, which you can see in the middle photo above. As well as three settings for different slice thicknesses, it has one for julienne. It also has a closed position so that it is flat for easy storage and no dangerous blades are out to catch your fingers – the blade is super sharp.

I tested my new acquisition out with a courgette. I wanted it finely sliced to add to the tomato and ricotta tart featured in the very top photograph. I knew if I did the slicing with a knife, the pieces would be too thick and not cook through. It worked even better than I could have hoped. It was so quick and easy to do the slicing, I whizzed through it in no time at all and nothing got stuck. The slight ridges on the runway are designed to stop this happening apparently. But the thing I was most impressed by was the spring loaded food holder. Not only does this protect fingers, but it goes in close to the blade so that very little is wasted. My last bit of courgette was no more than two slices thick and I was quite happy to eat that. This is a mandoline that is worth giving precious space to in my kitchen.

It retails at £40.

OXO Good Grips Complete Grate and Slice Set

OXO GraterI haven’t tried using this one as it was sent in error and I was rather keen on trying the mandoline above first. However, Janice over at Farmergirl Kitchen did a detailed review of it a few weeks ago and I urge you to go have a look at hers. It certainly looks like a very nifty set. It retails at £30.

 

 

Thanks to OXO, James Levine, Tala and Dexam for the samples. I was not required to write positive reviews and as always, all opinions are my own.

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Lucy Parissi
    25th August 2015

    I must admit I am a bit fed up with gadgets. They just take up space and unless they are useful they get gifted to the charity shop! But I do have the mandoline and it is really great. And I love my spiraliser! Your teapot looks interesting – I love making loose leaf tea.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      25th August 2015

      I know the feeling Lucy, something has to be really good or something I know I will use a lot to get precious space in my kitchen. I have already become very fond of the teapot – it’s staying 😉

  2. Leave a Reply

    Ceri
    25th August 2015

    What a lot of new gadgets to try! A mandolin has been on my list for ages, I’ve made do with a sharp knife and a steady hand for far too long! Cherry pitter sounds brill too – much quicker and I’m sure more successful that using your fingers as I do 😉

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      25th August 2015

      My fingers and a knife were my cherry pitters too and what mess I used to get into – this tool is fab. The mandoline is pretty good too, though I haven’t in fairness tried the julienne function.

  3. Leave a Reply

    Roz Goodgame
    25th August 2015

    gosh the cherry pitter! i need one of these, i eat so many cherries when they re in season, this would make it a lot easier!!

  4. Leave a Reply

    Suelle
    25th August 2015

    I like the idea of the Tala sieves. Do you think the meshes are sturdy enough to do something like rubbing fruit through to extract skins and pips? Or are they really just for sifting and draining?

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      25th August 2015

      They are pretty sturdy Suelle. I’ve just had a go at pressing down with my hand quite hard and there is no give, so I think they should do the job.

  5. Leave a Reply

    Sarah
    25th August 2015

    I’m a real sucker for gadgets – I love anything that makes life in the kitchen easier. Really like the sound of the OXO mandoline as my knife skills are not the best either.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      25th August 2015

      This mandoline is heaps better than the last one I tried Sarah and it’s cheaper too.

  6. Leave a Reply

    Sarah (@tamingtwins)
    25th August 2015

    I know I don’t need any more gadgets but… It’s my vice! The biscuit cutters look absolutely lovely. Such a good idea.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      25th August 2015

      The biscuit cutters are great Sarah. I’m looking forward to having a play with the others.

  7. Leave a Reply

    Prateek D
    25th August 2015

    The tea maker and cherry pitter look great. I have been pitting cherries with my knife , which works fine if I am making a sauce or using it in a cobbler or pie but not good when I want the shape of the cherries maintained.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th August 2015

      I find it takes too long pitting cherries with a knife Prateek and it was messy too, but you’re right it would be hard to keep the cherries in one piece using a knife.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th August 2015

      Thanks Preethi. It’s a very useful little tool and neatly designed.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th August 2015

      The biscuit cutters are a lovely idea Sundari and they work well too.

  8. Leave a Reply

    Priya
    26th August 2015

    useful gadgets! Even I have a stock of gadgets which I use for my blog and time-to-time I clean up the ones which I don’t use or else my kitchen starts looking cramped up..

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th August 2015

      Yes Priya, space is a real problem and gadgets have to earn their keep to stay in my kitchen too.

  9. Leave a Reply

    Molly Kumar
    26th August 2015

    Oh My – they all look Soooo good and Useful but I definitely Love ‘Billy the Teapot’ & Dexam Buscuit Cutter’ (Nothing like a homemade classic Bourbon Biscuits) – Awesome Post!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th August 2015

      Thanks Molly, I felt really pleased with my bourbon biscuits, even if they weren’t perfect.

  10. Leave a Reply

    Kirsty Ralph
    26th August 2015

    Oh wow I love the biscuit cutter, I am a sucker for gadgets I must say, but given how small my kitchen is I don’t have many!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th August 2015

      Small kitchens just shouldn’t be allowed Kirsty – mine needs to be so much bigger.

  11. Leave a Reply

    Maggie
    26th August 2015

    I’ve got more gadgets than you can throw a stick at but I still like looking at them! I’ve got that cherry pitter and it and works perfectly.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th August 2015

      It’s a good one indeed Maggie. I love looking around kitchen shops, but try very hard not to buy.

  12. Leave a Reply

    Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe
    26th August 2015

    A cherry cutter with a splatter guard sounds wise though it always amuses me to see the splatter when I use mine! Love the biscuit cutters and wonder if the name of Billy the Teapot has anything to do with the aussie billycan in which swaggies used to make tea

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th August 2015

      This is good going Johanna – another comment has made it through 😀 I very much imagine billycan is where the name came from. Splatters with me invariably end up on my clothes and won’t wash out – very happy not to see any splatters 😉

  13. Leave a Reply

    Roy @ Piece of Cerebrum
    26th August 2015

    What a dream collection it would be!
    I am a green tea person and Billy thr teapot grabbed my eyeballs right away. But I craving the grater..(I need one!)

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      28th August 2015

      I bet you’ve got some great gadgets Nayna. If you do a lot of slicing, I’d say the mandoline is worth having.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      28th August 2015

      Thanks Jac. The biscuit cutters are really well designed and so is the mandoline come to that 😉

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