Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Tooled Up for Food

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  • B Jones,

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    My favourite gadget is a Le Creuset thing called a marmitout, very much like this one. The lid doubles as a little non-stick frying pan - fry your onion and garlic in the base, brown your meat in the lid, throw it all together with a few other things and you have your risotto, or paella, or casserole or whatever in the appropriate cooking time. I bought it in the Kirkcaldies sale more than ten years ago, and its only sign of age is a little crazing on the enamel of the lid. It's just the right size for a small family.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Which one of these does it look like?

    Left one.
    You can still get ’em-

    and thanks Russell! We cherish the thing absurdly – there’s been intense family discussions as to who is it’s next cook-guardian…I’m tempted to have a bake-off between the nevvies & nieces*** to see who is the fittest before I get too much older-

    ***it’s kept in family & goes to eldest child when holder wants to pass it on…so it goes to one of my many sibs ' many kids..

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Which one of these does it look like?

    The one on the left. Real 70s look. I expect new ones are actually more fully featured, probably use less power. But it works just fine, and the inner is also a large oven safe casserole pot.

    ETA: Snap, Islander.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    PS Are you allowed to love cookware and kitchen stuff yet hate cooking?

    Why not?
    Aesthethically pleasing useful things are collectibles in their own right.

    Wanna see my collection of edged weapons???(from mere to rapiers!)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Emma Hart,

    so the time it boils in a kettle? Not good enough.

    I was talking about a whistling kettle, as in a stove top one that you can let whistle as long as you like, for use on camp cooker/BBQ etc. But yes, even a big one is only going to make a few liters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to B Jones,

    snicker

    Chortle.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Manakura,

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    i got my great-grandmothers hand-mincer made by husqvarna - just like the one pictured. it's almost 100 years old and still minces paua with the same way it did when i was kid growing up at aramoana - only with the application of arm-breaking effort. which (along with a hua or two) makes paua fritter tastes better

    Whaingāroa • Since Nov 2006 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Manakura,

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    but when im being lazy i use my grandmothers 1970s era kenwood chef… here teamed up with my favorite blade, Te Hiatoto - so named because the first time I used it i lost a large chunk of me left index finger nail

    Whaingāroa • Since Nov 2006 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Manakura,

    We’ve got something similar but not that kind – aluminium yep, but wider mouth.
    My Uncle Bill used it for mincing busher ram/venison/wild pork flesh which his Mum (my Nanna) then made into sausages or rissoles…it was also used for making mince from a wether or downed cow from my Nanna’s brother’s farm-

    have a sudden need for iron (basically barley) bread – off to prepare it!

    Should I mention that, between my Mother's brothers' hunting & fishing skills (which all her kids were brought up with) and her mother's cooking skills - we ate extremely well as kids?
    And do, as adults?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Manakura,

    lost a large chunk of me left index finger nail

    They are brillant blades!
    I have 2 - but I cherish more the damascened blades my late next-door-neighbour's
    son-in-law made (my family also pay him to sharpen his knives...)
    They *slip* through flesh-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Susannah Shepherd, in reply to Islander,

    We have my Nanna’s girdle-iron – which belonged to her Nanna & was brought to ANZ from the Orkneys…I still cook iron breads & potato cakes on it

    Snap - they made that stuff to last back in the day! My most precious piece is a cast iron frypan that looks like Russell's, only bigger. I know exactly where mine comes from - at least six generations of mother to daughter, back to the 1850s. It's got a sheen like silk on it.

    Of the modern stuff, I'm pretty attached to my heavy-bottomed stove-to-oven casserole / saucepan with silicon handles, and my mandolin.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2008 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Clare,

    My partner and I are just setting our first kitchen up together, so much on the wish list but we're having to do it a bit cheap and rough to start with.

    So far my most favourite things are the Scanpan Santoku Knives, so well priced and so handy. Absolutely the number one most favourite thing is my late Gran's Christmas cake tin that is lined with newspaper from the late '70s and just works better then any other cake tin I have ever tried buying!!

    New Zealand • Since Jul 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    I know exactly where mine comes from – at least six generations of mother to daughter, back to the 1850s. It’s got a sheen like silk on it.

    I dont know how many generations family has owned it - 7-8? maybe more?– but it is so smooth, so efficient…arnt we lucky?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Doherty,

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    This Instant Juice Press No. 2 makes short work of a grapefruit glut. A present from a lovely flatmate, from a second hand shop in Symonds St back in the 90s.

    Since May 2012 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Nora Leggs,

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    I just had to have this gadget twenty or so years ago. Sat in the cupboard for most of that time and has suddenly been pressed back into use in the last year. It’s intended for making sweet crispy wafery biscuity things – I got it to make pizelle and a nordic cardamom wafer. But since it has returned to service it has churned out a large number of cheesy wafers, using cheese straw recipe. Also experimented with deep dark valrohna chocolate wafers with some success.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2011 • 2692 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman,

    Back at the beginning of the millennium, Deirdre and I were living in rural Japan while I was on the JET Programme as an assistant English teacher. Every year, each of the town's assistant English teachers could request one thing for their apartment. For reasons I can't remember, my request for my year was a cushion. My predecessor was far more ambitious. Tired of his little griller that was useless for anything other than supermarket pizza, he requested a new cooker. He was given a top of the range multipurpose oven, the size of a microwave but able to bake, microwave, grill, defrost, etc. However, the instructions were all in Japanese, so the only thing he ever worked out to do with it was grill supermarket pizza.

    It was a great challenge working that oven out using my little electronic Japanese–English dictionary and some experimentation. We lived on the output of that oven for a year. The high-point was producing a braided challah for our local gaijin Christmas pot-luck.

    Actually, the challah wasn't the thing that gave us the most difficulty that Christmas. We managed to make a pavlova, that ended up all of 2cm high. We had difficulty finding a beater or even a whisk in our town. Well, we did find one that ran on AA batteries, which proved insufficient to the demanding task of beating egg whites. We were reduced to whipping eggs with a fork. Despite all that, the pav was a hit.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Manakura,

    I spent many happy hours as a child mincing various foodstuffs for my mother with one of those - my favourite was making the Christmas mince using the gooseberries that grew prolifically around our lawn. Consequently, I have always preferred slightly tart mince pies. This house is full of three generations of stuff and I just had a quick look for it. Opened a hidden cupboard in the bathroom and found instead her pressure cooker. It was used every night to cook the potatoes and only occasionally exploded.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Fiona,

    I love the stories of items with a story behind them.

    I spend way too much time cruising the aisles at Moore Wilson's variety department, fortunately I am limited by the small size of my kitchen, which means lots of double duty.

    My favourite things are my enamel falcon pie dishes, mandoline and my large, deep frypan with lid.

    Having said that, the item I most covert is a Thermomix. Friends of mine in the UK has one, and say it is worth the ridiculous amount of money.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth,

    It's only now, 28 years later, that I realise how lucky we were with our wedding presents.

    Sabatier knives, still sharp.

    Le Creuset saucepans (four: two big, one medium, one small).

    Le Creuset casseroles (one for the wedding, one big one for our first kitchen).

    More recently, a Le Creuset cast iron griddle that goes on the hob and does grilling on one side and drop scones/pikelets/flatbreads on the other.

    A cheap Chinese cleaver from a shop in Soho.

    SWMBO's mum's recipe book. Sauced onions being the best pickled onions you'll ever taste.

    (Next food thread should be nonnas, Russell, although in our case that would be Mamgu and Nanna)

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Fiona,

    Having said that, the item I most covert is a Thermomix. Friends of mine in the UK has one, and say it is worth the ridiculous amount of money.

    I really wish I hadn't followed up that mention. My kitchen equipment is, of spatial necessity and by choice, pared down to the essentials. I love, love, love my Oscar DA-900. That Thermomix looks like an itch I must not scratch.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ben Chapman,

    We managed to make a pavlova, that ended up all of 2cm high. We had difficulty finding a beater or even a whisk in our town. Well, we did find one that ran on AA batteries, which proved insufficient to the demanding task of beating egg whites. We were reduced to whipping eggs with a fork. Despite all that, the pav was a hit.

    What an insanely ambitious project, though. This is a Great New Zealand Story!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to B Jones,

    snicker

    Hoot.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gareth,

    (Next food thread should be nonnas, Russell, although in our case that would be Mamgu and Nanna)

    You're on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Sinton,

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    My late Mother-in-law's mortar and pestle.

    No great rarity—you can get similar ones here—but obviously this one comes with a lot of history attached.

    Solid stone and of a considerable size, I carried it back from Malaysia as hand luggage. Not sure of the exact weight, but my arms have not been the same length since.

    Seen here full of freshly-ground, dark-roasted Sri Lankan-style curry powder. Nearly time to make a new batch!

    Chistchurch, NZ • Since Jul 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

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