My Kitchen Essentials


  • My cream KitchenAid mixer- this was a real treat, an expensive one, but a long-term investment and I get a lot of use and pleasure out of it. I use it primarily for baking – whisking egg whites, beating cake mixture, mixing cheesecakes, etc
  • A hand-held blender – perfect for liquidising and blending soups directly in the saucepan
  • Sharp knives – I recently bought two Global knives. These come highly recommended by top chefs, including Anthony Bourdain. I have two cooks knives, a medium sized one for chopping vegetables a larger one for meat
  • Wooden spoons of various sizes – I use these all the time and have an extra long one for making gravy directly in my roasting tray
  • A grater
  • Wooden chopping boards
  • Digital weighing scales
  • A colander
  • A sieve – perhaps surprisingly baking is not what I have in mind for this, but straining soups, gravies and sauces
  • A Pyrex measuring jug
  • A potato ricer

Pots and Pans

  • A good, non-stick frying pan
  • A large frying pan with a lid
  • A griddle pan
  • A tiered steamer
  • A solid, non-stick roasting tray with handles
  • A large Le Creuset casserole dish – it can be used on the hob and in the oven. I couldn’t be without it in the winter
  • A non-stick milk pan
  • A stock pot

Store cupboard

  • Stock bases: Knorr Touch of Taste Beef and chicken concentrated bouillons, Marigold swiss vegetable bouillon – this makes up a wonderful vegetable stock and is perfect in soups
  • Oils: Lemon, chilli and garlic olive oils – for speed (or should that be laziness?), extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, toasted sesame oil, groundnut oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Tins of chopped tomatoes
  • Rice (risotto and long grain), various pastas including the essential spaghetti
  • Maldon sea salt – it really does live up to the hype
  • Peppercorns
  • A few pots of Dried herbs and spices – bay leaves, thyme, oregano, Chinese 5-spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, chilli flakes
  • Pure vanilla extract – forget vanilla essence, it tastes very synthetic and is nothing at all like the real thing
  • Vanilla pods
  • Plain and self-raising flour
  • Caster sugar and vanilla sugar – just a vanilla pod kept in a jar of sugar
  • A few food colourings -pink and yellow are my favourite
  • Tomato puree
  • Port and Marsala

Fresh Produce

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Lemons
  • Unsalted butter
  • Celery (for stocks, soups and casseroles)
  • Carrots
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary


  1. Jane
    September 9, 2006 / 10:28 pm

    Hi Julia! I’m new to your great blog. Any recommendations for a handheld blender? I’m in the market for one and don’t know whether it’s worth getting a more expensive one, or whether for something so simple the £10 Braun blenders will do just as well. I primarily want mine for making soups, although I’m sure I’d find some other uses for it too! Thanks. Jane

  2. Julia
    September 10, 2006 / 7:24 pm

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t have an expensive one and it does the trick just fine, in fact I think it’s a Braun. The only thing I’d say is that you really should get a metal rather than plastic one if it’s for soup.

  3. 4EverLSU
    September 10, 2006 / 10:30 pm

    For an uninformed Yank, could you explain what a milk pan is, please? And I’m assuming what you guys call a roasting tray is a roasting pan/roaster, here?

    Great site, I think I’m gonna’ enjoy reading it.


  4. Julia
    September 11, 2006 / 10:06 am

    Hi CJ, a milk pan is really just a small pan, often with a spout for pouring.

    Yep, a roasting tray is a roasting pan/roaster.

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