6 tools to save time in the kitchen

Cooking during the week can be a race against time and fast-dwindling energy. Whether you’re cooking for one or a family of 10, it can be hard to come up with enough ideas, let alone ones that can be on the table in under an hour. Here’s our pick of time saving tools for some much needed, midweek meal deliverance.

Mid week meals to save time in the kitchen

1. Food processor

The food processor is one of those appliances you might think you don’t really need but once you have one, you find yourself using it for everything. Aside from standard chopping and mixing, most food processors also come with additional blades and accessories, allowing you to grate, slice, whisk, knead and some even juice. So, whether you get a full-blown machine like a Magimix Food Processor or a KitchenAid Food Processor, or a multitasking stick blender set, like the Morphy Richards one, we’re sure you’ll embrace these time savers. Best bit? Most can be washed in the dishwasher when a simple tap rinse doesn’t cut the mustard.

Making basil pesto with a magimix

2. Slow cooker

While its name is counter-intuitive, what the slow cooker lacks in panache, it more than makes up for in convenience. Cooking food on the stove or in the oven requires constant observation due to high heats. The slow cooker drops the temperature and takes low and slow to whole new levels. With a little prep in the morning you can leave it to cook food for between 4-12 hours, while you’re free to do other things before tucking into a warming meal at dinner time.

3. Pressure cooker

Since pressure cookers were invented, there have been stories of lids flying off and hitting grandma, and covering the roof in half-cooked split pea soup, but the new generation of pressure cookers, like the WMF Ultra range, have more safety features than you can count on one hand. Cooking under pressure superheats liquid, turning it into steam. This steam is ultra-efficient at transferring heat and cooking food evenly and fast. This means that all the good stuff is kept in one pot, time is dramatically decreased (we’re talking butternut soup cooked in 10 minutes), and admin reduced.

Pressure cookers save time in the kitchen

4. Mandoline

Slicing and dicing is one of the great time consumers when cooking. Mandolines are designed to make quick work of these tasks. With a few small wrist movements and a sharp blade, you can have potato bake, diced veg, julienne strips and more in minutes. The finger guard may leave a bit of waste, but you can either give those veggies a quick manual chop, or save them for soups. With straight-bladedV-slicer and some mandolines with julienne blades, there’s plenty to choose from.  Here are 10 things to make with a mandoline.

De Buyer Kobra Complete Slicer

5. Gadgets

While there are a myriad of kitchen gadgets on the markets that end up causing more mess, these are genuinely useful. The Chef’n Garlic Zoom makes light work of chopping our faithful aromatic. The ADE Franca Kitchen Scale combines the best of a measuring jug with a kitchen scale, saving you time and washing up. Another wonder from Chef’n is the Emulstir, a zippy homemade salad dressing maker and container in one. The Master Class Potato Chipper churns out homemade fries in minutes, while the Cuisipro Gravy Strainer separates the bits from your sauce and keeps the fatty layer behind while you pour.

Gadgets that cut off wasted time

6. Express books

While tools go a long way in cutting time, ultimately knowledge is power. Try Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute and 15 Minute Meals for recipes, tricks and tips to cut down prep time. Nigella Express offers her fabulous brand of flavour with short cuts and pointers for keeping the pantry stocked and ready to rumble. On a local note, cook and blogger Alida Ryder’s Simple and Delicious, full of recipes she cooks for her family (so they’re bound to be quick, she has twins!).

Cookbooks with time saving recipes

So the next time you’re bashing out dinner after a long day at work, give these tools a try and see how many minutes you can shave off dinner prep. Lickety split cooking, here we come.