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Kitchen Secrets: What's the one bit of kitchen equipment you couldn't do without?

We asked our home cooks panel for their kitchen must-haves.

EVERY HOME COOK has their own kitchen hacks, cheats and traditions, and we want to know yours.

Each week as part of our Kitchen Secrets series, we’ll be asking readers to share their cooking tips and go-to-dishes. From the secret to quick-and-easy dinners, to the best way to scramble an egg, we’ll have a new question every seven days.

This week, we’re asking…

What’s one piece of kitchen equipment you couldn’t live without?

Of course, our panel of home cooks didn’t disappoint. If you’d like to join, drop us a mail on food@thejournal.ie!

“I have to go with my overworked, underpaid chef’s knife. This makes meal prep far easier and quicker whether you’re a kitchen novice or pro. There really is nothing as infuriating or dangerous in the kitchen as a cheap, blunt knife. You don’t need to break the bank on this one, get a really good knife that you can use for all types of kitchen tasks – slicing, chopping, julienning, mincing eg garlic with a little salt using one side of the knife.

“It can be used right across the board on fruit, veg, meat, fish, herbs – for the love of Darina just make sure to wash it carefully and sharpen it regularly or once you notice it losing its edge; if it’s not slicing instantly through a tomato skin then it’s not sharp enough.

“Once you get faster and better (remember to tuck in those fingertips to save a trip to A&E!) you’ll realize that this little investment and space saver will save you hauling out a food processor, garlic crusher, mandolin, etc. There’s also plenty of knife skills YouTube videos that will make you a kitchen ninja in no time.”

- Donna Connolly

Potato ricer – gives smooth mash potato without needing too much milk and butter (not that that’s a bad thing!)

- Karina McGuinness

“I have a huge gra for a little multi chopper I purchased in Lidl about four years ago, it is so so handy. That and “my knife and my peeler” that are as old as the hills.”

- Debbie Phelan

I’ll go with basics… Potato peeler! Maximum peel without unnecessary loss of potato, no hand cramp like when you use a knife.

- Danilo Fernandez

Source: Alison Marras

“There are three main things I have in my kitchen that I really couldn’t do without. First and foremost is my Kenwood Chef mixer (especially the “K” beater). It was my mother’s and she bought it (second hand) in the late 70s/early 80s. I really couldn’t do without it! It is a workhorse and definitely a mainstay in my kitchen. As my Mum passed away in 2001, it’s just a lovely connection and I think of her every time I use it.

“I also have a small Kitchen Devil knife. Again, it was my Mum’s. But you really can’t beat a good sharp knife! Especially a little one. The handle of this one is slightly melted where it got too near the hob about 20 years ago. The blade has been almost sharpened away to nothing. But it’s still my go-to knife for small jobs.

“Finally, my handheld liquidiser/beater. It has an attachment for liquidizing soups, purees etc and a whisk. As well as a really handy compartment that it fits into and becomes a mini-blender. It was especially useful for making purees when my son was a baby.”

- Olly Keegan

good thick chopping board with a great knife. A potato peeler to avoid nicks. And a big stainless steel bowl.

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- Laura Maher

“My top kitchen gadget is my KMAX mixer. It’s a high powered mixer that allows me to make perfect bread every time. It’s fitted with a dough hook that takes all the effort out of kneading. Not having arms like Paul Hollywood I could never quite get the hang of it – all that pulling and stretching left me gasping – but now with this wonderful addition to my  kitchen there is not a red face in sight. It sits on the counter doing all the hard work From  a crusty loaf to sugary doughnuts it’s a must for every aspiring Nigella.”

- Angie Nolan

A set of quality knives makes prepwork an absolute joy. Be prepared to invest and you won’t regret it. (And include a cleaver!)

- John Strahan

“With four young children, it’s probably now a smoothie maker. It’s so easy to set-up and whisk up a healthy and tasty treat.

- Ross Boxshall

My favourite piece of kitchen equipment is my Zyliss garlic crusher.  Most people who attend my cookery demos buy one when they get home!  It is so well designed, you don’t need to even peel the garlic clove.  Simply pop in the clove, skin and all and crush the clove, it even comes with a little gadget to push out the skin so you don’t need to touch it and get your fingers smelling of garlic!

- Fiona Staunton

“I couldn’t be without a sharp knife in the kitchen and a bit of music.”

- Sabrina Duggan

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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