Investing in a good set of kitchen knives is one of the steps to successful cooking. Check out our video guides for the MasterChef knife collection, plus see tips from chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan.
Hi, I'm Luke Mangan, and from all my years in the kitchen, I can tell you this. One of the most important things you can do is get yourself some good-quality kitchen equipment. And the new expanded range of Coles MasterChef knives is a great place to start.
In the set is a large cook’s knife that's perfect for everyday chopping tasks. The blade is curved so it's also great for getting that chop-and-rock motion going for herbs.
The MasterChef large santoku knife is slightly smaller and the blade is thinner with a straight edge. This makes it great for precise cutting.
There's also the small santoku knife with a slightly shorter blade. Again, that straight edge, perfect for slicing and dicing. There are two steak knives in the range and they have that serrated edge for cutting through cooked meat easily. They're also perfect for fruit with firm skin and soft flesh. Think tomatoes, peaches.
The MasterChef paring knife is a great all rounder. It has a sharp point that's made for delicate cutting and scoring. And this is the big one, the MasterChef cleaver. It has a large heavy-duty blade that gives you more power. This is what you need for those big jobs like cutting pumpkins
Also in the range of the MasterChef kitchen scissors. These are great for your quick shopping needs and essential for big jobs like dividing up a whole chicken.
And finally we have the MasterChef mini chopper. It has a glass bowl and a stainless steel blade for chopping veggies, herbs, nuts, you name it, and it's perfect for making your own pesto or mayonnaise, which will definitely make your salads extra special over the entertaining season.
Now it's important to know how to look after your equipment. All the knives in the collection are dishwasher safe, but to avoid dulling the blades it's best to handwash them carefully using mild soap and warm water. Remember to always take extra care handwashing sharp knives to avoid cuts.
To store your knives safely, I suggest the MasterChef knife block. It's made from durable rubber wood and has two compartments to hold your scissors and knives safely. It's available for purchase separately from Coles while stocks last so make sure you get in quick.
The large size of the cleaver means you'll need to store it in a separate holder or sheet. So there you have it. That's the complete set perfect for all your cooking needs. For more ways to use a collection, click on the videos below.
This is a knife that'll probably get used the most in your kitchen, a large cook's knife.
One like this, about 19 centimetres in size, covers lots of cutting jobs. The upward curve tip allows for a rocking motion, which is great for finely chopping fresh herbs. And its large heavy size makes it perfect for bigger ingredients, like chopping up a pumpkin, but I'm going to show you how to use it to slice ham.
This is really handy if you don't have a specific carving knife and forks set. Holding the hock steady, slice on a slight angle down to the bone, making your slices as thick or as thin as possible. And just continue slicing towards the hock.
If the slices don't come away as you cut, you can run your knife horizontally along the bone to remove them.
Slicing an onion is one of those basic kitchen skills every home cook should know how to do. With the right knife, if it's nice and sharp, there should be no tears.
Here, I'm using a small santoku knife which has a wide blade with a straight edge, perfect for slicing and dicing a variety of ingredients. Things like cutting up watermelon or pineapple into chunks after peeling.
To cut your onion, slice it straight through the middle from the root to the tip. Then place the flat side on your chopping board and slice off the tip.
Using a claw grip, that's with your fingers curled like this to avoid cutting yourself, make even cuts into the onion from the root, making sure you leave the onion intact at the root end. And you just slice nicely, about three quarters of the way up, moving your fingers along, just like that.
Then, if you turn it on the side, and just do about two or three slices of the onion, and then you just go down like that. And you get that nicely diced onion.
And there you have it - finely diced onion ready to cook or toss into a salad.
This here is a large santoku knife, an Asian-style knife with a straight blade.
Like a cook's knife, a santoku knife is a fantastic multipurpose kitchen knife with a thinner blade than a cook's knife.
The santoku knife is great for precision cutting, like slicing a capsicum into even size batons. Now, to do that, hold the stem of the capsicum in one hand, then slice from top to bottom.
Slice all around by turning the capsicum until you're left with a centre membrane and seeds attached, which you can then just toss into your compost. Working with one piece of capsicum at a time, place it skin-side down and press gently to flatten it slightly.
Keeping the tip of your knife on the board, slowly lift the knife up and down to thinly slice the capsicum, just like this, which we chefs call julienne. These lovely thin batons are then perfect for sauteing or using to top pizzas before baking.
How to prep and roast a pumpkin. Kent pumpkin is delicious roasted or barbecued for an easy side dish, but we all know that pumpkin can be hard to cut. The simplest way to do it? Use a sharp heavy knife, like this MasterChef cleaver. Start with your pumpkin on a chopping board.
Carefully pierce the top of the pumpkin with the tip of the cleaver and slice downwards, following the grooves, to cut the pumpkin in half. It goes without saying be really careful here. The large, heavy-duty blade on this cleaver gives you more power and weight for chopping and slicing hard vegetables like this. It's good for prepping meat and large fruits like pineapple as well. Now cut it in half again.
Follow the grooves - I’m making these about two centimetres thick. When you're not using this cleaver, store it safely in a separate holder or sheath. The large size means it won't fit into a standard knife block like the other MasterChef knife block. Now all you need to do is remove the seeds and membranes from the wedges. It's easier if you use a smaller knife for this. The MasterChef paring knife is perfect.
I’m adding these to a salad, so I'm going to cut them in half again. To roast the pumpkin wedges, preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Put the pumpkin wedges on a tray and spray them all over with olive oil spray. Roast them for about 20 minutes, flip them over and then roast for another 20 minutes or so until golden they’re brown and tender. I like them with baby spinach, crumbled fetta, toasted walnuts and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
There you have it, a perfect light meal or side dish for entertaining. For more handy tips using MasterChef knives, click on the videos below.
As the name suggests, a steak knife is your go-to knife for serving a steak like this delicious juicy Scotch fillet here. But with its razor sharp, serrated edge, a steak knife can also work well for slicing through the delicate skin of tomatoes.
Use the knife in a back and forth cutting motion to cut the tomato crossways into thin slices, just what you need for a classic burger.
Of course, you can also slice it down the middle and cut through the flesh into wedges to add to a simple salad, just like that.
For more tips on knife skills, click on the videos below.
How to prep your Christmas ham. I have a glazed ham on my Christmas table every year. Here are my simple steps to prepping your ham so it's ready to bake with your favourite glaze.
You can use either a half leg or a full leg of ham from Coles and a small sharp knife such as this MasterChef paring knife. Use a knife to cut around the ham about eight centimetres from the shank. This paring knife has a nine and a half centimetre long blade, so it's a handy size for this job.
Next, run your thumb under the right to separate it from the fat, just like that, really easy. If you find it tricky to get your thumb in there, try this first: carefully run the knife under the rind just around the edge of the hand.
Start peeling the rind back, sliding your fingers underneath it to remove it from the fat. You should be able to gently lift off the right in one piece, making sure you're leaving the fat intact.
Now take the knife and use the sharp tip to score a diamond pattern across the ham at three-centimetre intervals, just like this. The sharp point on this knife is perfect for this. Remember not to cut too deep. Make sure you're only cutting into the fat, not into the meat.
Next, stud the diamonds with the whole cloves to decorate. Just simply place them in like that, in the middle of the diamonds. There you have it, and now you're ready to glaze. Then all you have to do is pop your glazed ham in the oven at 190 degrees Celsius for about an hour, basting with the glaze every 10 minutes.
And there you have it, the perfect glazed ham for your Christmas table. For more handy tips using MasterChef knives, click on the videos below.
How to cut a roast chicken into pieces. You can't go past a classic Aussie roast chicken for family meals or casual entertaining, and I'm going to show you the easiest way to cut it into pieces.
Start with the cooked chicken, breast-side up. Take the leg and pull it out slowly to expose the joint like this, then cut through the skin between the leg and breast. Then just do the same thing on the other side.
You'll see I'm using the MasterChef kitchen scissors here rather than a knife. In my opinion, this is the easiest way to cut a chicken. Once you've removed the legs, you can serve them whole or use the scissors to separate them into a drumstick and thigh like I'm doing here.
Next, you need to remove the wings. Take hold of the wing, then cut through at the joint to remove. These scissors aren't just great for prepping chicken. I find them really handy for jobs like snipping herbs too. You can even use the recess in the handle here to help you crack nuts in the shell.
Now, turn the chicken over and use the scissors to cut along either side of the backbone to remove it. Turn the chicken breast-side up again and use the scissors to cut down the middle through the breast bone.
You can leave the breast pieces whole or cut them in half to make smaller pieces. I love to serve this at a barbie with a simple salad of mixed leaves, cherry tomato and sliced red onion. Delicious. For more great ways to use the MasterChef knives range, click on the videos below.
How to make mayonnaise. Making your own mayonnaise is so much easier than you think. So I'm going to share with you a really basic recipe and some of my top tips on how to get it right every time.
Start by putting two egg yolks, two tablespoons of lemon juice and two teaspoons of Dijon mustard in a food processor. I'm using the MasterChef mini chopper, which is perfect for whipping up sauces and dips.
Once the lid is in place all you need to do is press the pulse button to blend your ingredients. Hold it for up to 30 seconds at a time when you're processing ingredients like this, or finely chopping them. If you wanted a coarse chop on the other hand, you do short pulses.
When the mixture is well combined, you need to get the oil ready. I use a mixture of vegetable and olive oil. Olive oil is great for adding flavour to your mayo, but you don't want to overpower it so it's best to combine it with a neutral flavoured oil. T
o stop your mayonnaise from splitting, and this is a really important tip, you need to add the oil a little at a time. I really like that this machine has two chopping speeds. Keep processing until the mixture is well combined. It will look thick and pale when it's ready. Season with salt and pepper.
Another great thing about this mini chopper is that the bowl is made of glass so it's easy to clean. Just wash the bowl and stainless steel blade in soapy water and then dry before storing. Just remember to be extra careful when washing because these blades are really sharp.
Now this mayo is perfect with cooked prawns. To add extra flavour, I like to stir in some finely chopped dill and finely grated lemon rind. Don't mind if I do. For more great ways to use the MasterChef collection, click on the videos below.
WARNING: keep out of reach of children
SHARPENING: A sharpener should not be used on serrated edged knives