Bench­top Ap­pli­ance Wish List

The lat­est high-tech kitchen gad­gets will have you whizzing through food prep and serv­ing up de­li­cious fare in a flash, writes Ge­or­gia Mad­den.

Australian House & Garden - - HOME & AWAY -

Hav­ing the right kitchen gad­gets to hand can be a life­saver when you’re cook­ing for a crowd, al­low­ing you to power through time-con­sum­ing tasks such as chop­ping, slic­ing and mix­ing.

But that’s not all they can do. To­day, you’ll find small ap­pli­ances that make it easy to achieve your daily dose of fruit and veg, cut your fat in­take and even per­form the jobs of sev­eral ap­pli­ances in one.

Multi-cook­ers are gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity, says Gary Brown, se­nior brand man­ager for home ap­pli­ances at Har­vey Nor­man. “They of­fer sev­eral dif­fer­ent cook­ing meth­ods, in­clud­ing steam­ing, pres­sure cook­ing, brown­ing, slow cook­ing and sim­mer­ing. They’re great for busy cooks as they al­low you to pre­pare dishes with min­i­mal ef­fort. Many are also ap­p­con­trolled, which guides you through each step of the cook­ing process.”

The trend to­wards mul­ti­func­tion­al­ity is hit­ting other sec­tors, too; De’Longhi’s three-in-one dig­i­tal Mul­tiGrill, for ex­am­ple, trans­forms from a sand­wich press to an open bar­be­cue grill for meat, fish and vegeta­bles. Te­fal’s Op­tiGrill+ au­to­mat­i­cally adapts its cook­ing time to the thick­ness of the in­gre­di­ents and in­di­cates the pre­cise cook­ing level, even when cook­ing food from frozen.

Mean­while, the clas­sic stand mixer has been reimag­ined. “Stand mix­ers have ad­vanced sig­nif­i­cantly in re­cent years,” says Brown. “You can buy a raft of dif­fer­ent at­tach­ments to trans­form them from pasta maker, meat grinder, food pro­ces­sor and spi­raliser to frozen-dessert maker and more.” Ken­wood’s Cook­ing Chef in­cludes an in­duc­tion fea­ture, so it cooks while it mixes, plus 23 pre­set pro­grams to help you make ev­ery­thing from cur­ries to sweet dishes.

Ap­pli­ances that make it easy to boost your nu­tri­ent in­take are also on the rise, says Ta­nia Grillinzoni, por­ta­ble ap­pli­ances buyer at The Good Guys. “Well­ness is a big trend in bench­top ap­pli­ances, and a lot of great per­sonal blenders, juicers, air-fry­ers and health grills have en­tered the mar­ket.” Brown con­curs, adding, “Blenders are go­ing high-tech and we’re see­ing more com­mer­cial-qual­ity mod­els ap­pear­ing in do­mes­tic kitchens.” No­table new blenders in­clude the Vi­ta­mix As­cent Se­ries, which has wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity and uses a self-de­tect func­tion to read the size of the con­tainer and ad­just the blend­ing time to suit. And the app-con­nected NutriBul­let Bal­ance can weigh the in­gre­di­ents for your smoothie or soup and give you a break­down of the nu­tri­tional con­tent.

If a caf­feine hit is more your style, you’ll find ma­chines that of­fer so­phis­ti­cated cof­fee-mak­ing func­tion­al­ity in com­pact bodies. “Home cof­fee ma­chines are step­ping into the pre­mium end, with pro­gram­mable steam wands of­fer­ing milk-tem­per­a­ture con­trol and tex­tur­ing,” says Colin Jones, prod­uct ex­pert at Ap­pli­ances On­line.

The lat­est ap­pli­ances aren’t just smart; they look good, too. The new styles come in pretty pas­tels, bold brights and so­phis­ti­cated metallics, of­ten with a vin­tage vibe. Ac­cord­ing to Brown, matt-fin­ish plum and pale-blue shades are the key sell­ers this sum­mer.

“Bench­top ap­pli­ances have be­come fash­ion ac­ces­sories for the kitchen,” says Jim Kalotheos, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Smeg Aus­tralia. “Use them to cre­ate a state­ment or fo­cal point in an oth­er­wise neu­tral kitchen, or to com­ple­ment a ma­jor ap­pli­ance, such as your oven.” Look out for Smeg’s re­cently re­leased Si­cily Is My Love col­lec­tion of ket­tles, toast­ers, blenders and juicers, a strik­ing range de­signed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with fash­ion supre­mos Dolce&Gab­bana.

To find an ap­pli­ance that makes your life eas­ier rather than just clut­ter­ing up your kitchen, con­sider the bev­er­ages or dishes you make and the num­bers you cater for. Seek out sturdy ma­chines that will go the dis­tance. “If you want longevity, sim­ply buy a brand you recog­nise,” ad­vises Brown, “be­cause pre­mium brands per­form.”

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