We asked legendary chef and founder of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation for her top five tips to change every home cook’s life. Here they are…
Invest in one or two pieces of enamelled cast-iron cookware, for example a cocotte or a saute pan with a lid. They will last you forever! They simplify the sort of cooking that starts with sauteeing a few ingredients (onions, garlic, carrot, celery) and can then have extra things added (a chicken, a chunk of meat, borlotti beans), some liquid, then be covered and transferred to the oven for a long, slow cook, and can then be presented directly to the table.
If you love good bread that is solid and with a serious crust, invest in a really good bread knife. It should be fairly heavy. It must not be at all bendy or wobbly. Expect it to be a major purchase and invest in a good brand.
I do not have many gadgets but I love my food processor, my Nutribullet, my small rice cooker, and my home vacuum-pack machine. My food processor is used every day. Any recipe with spices needing to be ground into a paste I reach for the Nutribullet, and I like the small rice cooker as it can be tucked into a cupboard when not in use and I do not need to cook more than 1 cup of rice at a time. My home vacuum-machine is marvellous for sealing leftovers, or for example for making double the amount of a recipe, such as stuffing, and sealing one half for another day.
I use my chest freezer to augment the very small section in my refrigerator. I can store unusual ingredients such as frozen bush fruits that come in 1kg packets, big pieces of beef or venison, batches of congee or minestrone for lunches, stock, of course, and emergency supplies of butter, coffee beans and luxury leftovers such as mascarpone butter cream for a cake that I haven’t got around to making, or containers of egg whites.
Spend time making a shopping list! Think ahead to avoid getting home and starting to make something then realising you don’t have enough sugar or milk, for example. So annoying!
Together with customers and fresh produce suppliers, Coles has donated more than $1 million to the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF) through the sale of fresh produce, to support positive food education for Aussie children. Coles has donated more than $250,000 directly to school communities through its school and store partnership program, and developed more than 60 educational resources for 2000 schools across Australia. For more information about the Kitchen Garden program, go to kitchengardenfoundation.org.au.