‘Decent pots and pans – spending a bit is worth it as they’ll last a lifetime if they’re decent’
There’s a lot of depth to what’s ‘decent’ or not but here’s a pretty swift guide. You should look for pots and pans that are dishwasher-safe, have a flat base (essential for electric cooking), oven-safe, have stay-cool handles and knobs, and come with well-fitting lids. When it comes to a material, stainless steel is a good choice as it’s hardy and dishwasher safe.
‘Oven thermometer to get accurate readings for baking’
Let’s be honest here, your oven isn’t brand new or regularly calibrated, so chances are its temperature isn’t accurate. If you’re going to bake anything you need to be exact so an oven thermometer will help you be accurate.
‘Keeping a few spatulas to hand to make sure mixing bowls etc are scraped out so you’re not wasting money’
This one’s a freebie. We’d recommend something with a silicon coating – that means it’s rigid enough for you to get stuck in but flexible enough to scrape things out of the corners.
‘Use trimmings/carcasses to make stock and freeze it so a quick soup is an easy dinner when you get in late from work’
If you keep a hold of your trimmings and carcasses all you’ll need for a good versatile stock is water, celery, onion, carrot, peppercorns, and some herbs. A good stock can turn a so-so meal into a great one or be a quick meal in and of itself.
‘Good digital scales. These will help you convert recipes into grams so you have more accurate weights’
A bit like having a good oven thermometer, digital scales will help you be exact when baking.
Even with these tips James Cochran cooks better food than you ever will. Go check out his food at James Cochran EC3 and be amazed.