Slimming World is great, because nearly all of the recipes you can make completely from scratch and you don’t need anything ‘specialised’ in your kitchen. Nowt worse than when you go to make a soup and it’s asking you to boil your broccoli in a sous vide for 9 hours in the salty tears of a dying swan. That said, we do have some lovely things in our kitchen (as a result of having that pink pound of ours, go gays!) and they can make things easier. In the interests of absolute full disclosure – you don’t need any of these things for our recipes, not once, not ever. But if you want to treat yourself, do!
You’ll have seen so many people banging on about slimming world chips – the recipe is simple, cut up your potatoes, par-boil them for 5 or so minutes (you just want the edges softened up a bit) and then spray with Frylight. Put in the oven for 30 minutes or so or until they’re done to your liking. Serve.
Alternatively, if you’re a lazy sod like me, buy an Actifry. It’s a kitchen gadget that I can say, hand on heart, we use at least twice a week – cut up chips, put in a tiny drop of oil, cook for twenty five minutes, and to my mind they’re like chip shop chips. We chuck sea salt on ours and leave the skins on – lovely. This is our fourth actifry – and we’ve been getting them since they were released – the other three we were clumsy with and dropped various bits.
There are other airfryers out there, like the Philips Airfryer, and indeed we bought one of them – but you need to get up and shake the basket every now and then and well, we’re too lazy for that. The Actifry can also make omelettes, spag bol, chicken nuggets, all sorts. Sausages come up a treat too. And the best bit for me? Getting all the crunchy bits from under the paddle after cooking. Heavens yes.
Our casserole pot – Le Creuset
This is genuinely one of the best things I’ve ever bought. I do believe in buy cheap buy twice and this has never let us down, not least because you can use it in so many different ways, from a casserole pot in the oven or for risotto on the hob. The non stick means that you can sear meat at a high temperature without it sticking, which is important when making stews and the like because it helps to seal in the flavour. Yes, it was very expensive, £140, but it will last many, many years, and if you consider how much money you’ll spend on cheaper pans where the non-stick fails, it’s worth it. You can get cheaper lookalikes which work just as well from Sainsburys. We even use ours as a frying pan if we’re making eggs because the non-stick works that well. That said – it is VERY heavy – it’s a cast-iron pot, it’s not going to float out of the oven – so it might not be suitable if you have problems with grip or feel as weak as a kitten.
The soup maker
I LOVE soup. I genuinely think it’s one of the best lunches out there – hence there’s quite a lot of soup recipes on this site. However, because we’re lazy and I don’t want to pay for a cleaner, we never bothered making it because for us, it meant dishes – chopping boards, a pan to cook it in, washing out the blender, washing out the soup container. Nope. You can chuck it in your veg, onions, stock, meat, whatever into this – and it’ll cook it nicely and then you just switch it to blend and you have your soup. To clean it, just put in a bit of boiling water and a drop of Fairy Liquid and blend. It now takes me 5 minutes to prepare my soup and then I can leave it cooking. Again, you can get cheaper ones – hell, you could do the same thing with a hand blender, but this is a very ‘one dirty dish’ way of making soup! Go for it.
A decent mandolin slicer
Why did I caveat that by saying decent? Because a crap mandolin slicer is bloody dangerous. You can lose your fingertips easily. But this one is my favourite – a safety catch hides the blade when not in use, and you have a little ‘gripper’ that holds your vegetable so you won’t slice your fingers. We use this a lot – it’s perfect for slicing onions, leeks, peppers, carrots – even cheese. It’s a tenner and you can have the job of veg prepping done in the time it takes one Enya song to play out. Above all else, I’d recommend one of these – especially if you’ve got shit knives.
As an aside, don’t buy shit knives. Buy ONE good knife. Two if you’re generous. Do some research.
I beg your pardon – I never promised you a herb garden? Well that’s a pity, because we have one outside, with rosemary, sage, bay, thyme and all sorts of other nonsense growing in it. I can’t recommend growing your own herbs enough because by god it’s easy and you’ll notice the difference. Get a little planter from the garden centre and a few starter plants and you’ll be away.
However, some plants don’t grow easily in our climate outside, so we have two of these suckers hanging from our kitchen ceiling, with basil growing in one and mint in the other (don’t plant mint in the garden, it’ll take over!). They’re easy to water, up off the worktops and because they look pretty, we actually use them, as opposed to the usual buying a plant in Sainsbury’s and letting it rot on the windowsill.
Look, this one is an extravagance. You don’t really need one of these, but it’s only £8. Quite a few recipes, especially stir fries and the like, ask for carrot matchsticks – and one of these buggers will get you those in a flash. We like decent presentation in our food but we don’t like effort. So this will help!
This was something that I really had to battle Paul over, who was content with a normal sized fridge. I, however, won him around with tales of chilled ice and water on command, which is like manna from heaven for a fat bloke. When it arrived, they had to take it all apart, move it into our kitchen and put it back together, cursing us all the while. We originally filled it up with lovely bottles of wine, Tab cola and glass bottles of coke, but now, like everyone else’s fridge, it has that weird big of spilt milk, a limp leek rolling around in the bottom and a funny smell. At least it’s giant monolith appearance lends itself to being covered in slimming world certificates and “inspirational” fridge magnets. Yes Margaret, you’re right – I AM amazing.
Kenwood stand mixer
This was a total vanity buy, I’m not going to lie, but it has served us incredibly well. Before I went on this diet I used to do a lot of baking (can’t now, as I always work on the make two, eat one principle of baking), and I am far too lazy to mix things by hand. We saw these on the Great British Bake Off and it had to be done. It’s great, and well worth the money, especially once I had remembered there was more than one paddle in the box. It creams butters and sugar together wonderfully, it whisks for meringues and it stirs bread, Christmas cake and heavy dough without breaking a sweat. It’s also a lovely shade of cherry red, just in case you suspected that there wasn’t a stereotypically homosexual reason for buying it as well. We use it now mainly for making SW friendly pizza dough. Yum.
Like the above, this was another vanity buy – you can buy a hell of a lot of other much cheaper food processors out there that will do the same job. But this is an absolute bloody beast. You can chuck anything at it – soft veg, hard veg, pastry, cats – and it’ll slice and dice quicker than you can turn the dial. It’s handled my cack-handling of it with aplomb, it’s never failed me yet. And it looks…so…pretty!
The Egg Squarer
Remember my square egg recipe? This is how I did it. Entirely pointless. No really it is. But if you have a spare fiver, why not throw one in to amaze and delight your friends? Because well, why not?
Reusable food containers
These food containers are fantastic if you’re a busy working gal or if you like to batch cook, you can put them in the freezer, microwave and dishwasher and use them all over again! A pack of ten will last you absolutely ages and are just what you need to prepare throughout the day. They’re partitioned off too so you can make it even easier to make sure you’re getting enough Speed food.
We hate Frylight just as much as you do. It’s pricey, it makes your pans all claggy and then strips off all the good stuff. We don’t think we should have to buy all the different varieties for whatever you’re doing and then faff on with turning the heat down, so we just use this instead and it’s a million times better. Fill it with your own oil and spray away – you get a nice mist rather than a squirt so you really do use less of it too. It pays for itself after no time at all!
We totally went along with the bandwagon when it came around to spiralising the hell out of everything and we have no regrets. Ok, it’s a bit of a gimmick but if you want to get extra veg into your diet, it really does help having them on your plate looking all curly and pretty, rather than just sliced and smeared on the edge. They’re pretty cheap and this particular model comes with a lifetime guarantee, so even the clumsiest twat is covered. G’wan, treat yourself.
Everyone loves nice, smooth mash! Get it nice and silky by using one of these, it takes no time at all! Crack an egg into the mix and you’ll have the best mash ever!