Betta Living asked me to review five kitchen gadgets for their Ask the Expert feature. I am woefully understocked in the kitchen gadget department (I don’t even have a slow cooker) but I was eager to learn more, so I said I’d take part. They sent me the gadgets to keep in exchange for a review, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be nice about them – they specified that they wanted an honest review, so that’s what they shall get.
Shall we get started?
The first few times I used it my husband joked that it was the start of Skynet coming to get us. I couldn’t figure out how to attach the can opener to the can and then, when I had done so, I couldn’t figure out how to get it to start cutting without my hand having to guide it or how to stop trying to cut the can when the lid had been taken off. I ended up yanking at it and waving it round the kitchen whilst it buzzed at me threateningly. There were no clear instructions included, just a few pictures, and it didn’t make much sense.
After I’d done it two or three times, though, I got the hang of it – a firm press for a few seconds and a bit of a guide to get it started, and then the can opened whirrs round on its own and opens the can perfectly. I still can’t figure out how to detach it from the lid and/or get it to stop whirring, though.
This is like a baby-juicer – you can certainly get things that are a lot bigger than this and more powerful. That’s not a bad thing, though. Sometimes you don’t need a lorry, you just need a van.
You can add entire pieces of fruit to this, which is nice and means making a juice is a lot easier than having to spend ages chopping things up – although it recommends peeling things, which takes up time. It gets a good amount of juice out of the fruit/veg you put in it, although it’s quite noisy too. It is, however, an absolute nightmare to clean – I don’t , but I think that’s the case with most juicers so I can’t complain too much. If you want to do some serious juicing there are probably better products out there, but if you’re just trying it out then this is a decent place to start before you spend a lot of money.
I’m the kind of person who doesn’t see the point in making pasta noodles when there’s perfectly good pasta just waiting to bought from shops. That being said, I do occasionally enjoy courgetti as a delicious way to eat courgette, but my current spiraliser is a crappy handheld thing. This was much better – easier to use and far more powerful. I was able to make my usual courgetti, but also some sweet potato ribbons which I arranged into a pile on a baking tray and sprinkled with parmesan to make little crisps. My previous spiraliser wasn’t great with potatoes at all, but I’m looking forward to making some baked curly fries with it.
There is quite a lot of vegetable waste – it doesn’t use up the whole vegetable. There are ways around this, though – it’s just annoying that you don’t get an entire courgette or carrot worth of vegetable noodles. In the main it sticks nicely to the countertop, although I noticed it had travelled across the counter after a cooking session. It’s also small and compact enough to fit into most kitchens. I’m impressed!
I’d never used a pasta machine before, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Yet I still managed to make lovely long strands of spaghetti on my first go. The instructions for the pasta machine were really clear, including recipes for basic pasta and coloured pasta. The machine itself attached to my worktop easily and grabbed the lumps of dough I fed to it without a problem, pulling it through into long, smooth strips.
It was fiddly at first to change the thickness of the rollers, but it’s something you quickly get the hang of. I had difficulties when trying to cut my sheets of pasta into spaghetti, though – the left side of the machine has rollers to smooth the pasta into sheets and the right side has wheels to make spaghetti and fettuccine. The pasta machine isn’t particularly good at feeding the pasta out and not crumpling it up so you have to use your hands to guide it through, which is fine except for when you’re trying to cut your sheets of pasta into spaghetti and you’re having to turn the crank with your left hand. The crank kept falling out, and as it’s quite heavy it always had me leaping back from the pasta machine worried that it’d land on my foot and hurt me. I imagine someone who was left-handed would have similar issues with the sheet pasta.
That being said, it’s just another thing that takes a bit of getting used to and it wouldn’t stop me using it to make pasta again as mostly it was made really simple by this machine. And I even managed to make something that was halfway edible. 8/10
I think this might be my new favourite kitchen gadget. I boiled the potatoes until they were soft and fed them through this into a bowl, which I then roughly mixed together with a fork and served. Even without adding milk and butter they were fluffy, light and lovely. It was also really easy to clean – I was initially scathing about how much use it’d be being able to remove the metal bowl, but actually it meant I was able to get into the nooks and crannies of the ricer much more easily.
My only complaint is that the metal bowl to put the potatoes in is quite small so you have to do it in several batches, but it’s a small price to pay and is still much less hassle than mashing them and picking all the bits of potato out of a masher.
Have you used any of these products? Do you fancy giving any of them a try? Let me know in the comments x