Category: Baking equipment on test

Best for baking- Oxo Good grips Hand held mixer

Whiskful thinking.

The Oxo Hand held Whisk

When it comes to whisking food up what do you use? I usually use my Kitchenaid, my tiny whisk from the Nigella Lawson range or my hand held stick blender. Depending on what it is I am making, of course.  I don’t have a traditional whisk (the kind with a pair of removable beaters. I really should do something about that!)

Last week I was sent a press release for one of OXO Good Grips latest products.  A hand held mixer.  Now, I love to test anything baking related so I asked if I could have one to play with. It’s funny how a new toy gets you making things you haven’t made in ages! This week so far we’ve had pancakes, omelette and I have just whipped up a chocolate butter cream for a chocolate cake, just so I can have a go on this whisk. Thank goodness there’s no cream in the house or the healthy eating really would have gone out the window! (The cake wasn’t for us!)

Mixing chocolate

OXO

I have known about OXO Good grips for ages. I studied them (or at least their ethos) when I was at Uni doing Product Design. They’re very clever at designing comfortable to use items with great style. Everything has to be ergonomical and effortless.

So what’s so special about this whisk?

There are a lot of reasons for liking this whisk. Firstly it has a really soft non-slip handle which makes it  very comfortable to use. That’s obviously essential when you are likely to be whisking for a long while, like with meringues.

It's so easy to clean. Just press the button.
It's so easy to clean. Just press the button.

The whisking part of the mixer is removed at the push of a button.

Easy assembly
Just give the whisks a gentle tug to remove.

  The steel beaters are also removable and can be cleaned in the dishwasher after use. Just a gentle pull to the sides makes them pop out.

The elevating bar
See how the extra bar at the bottom prevents the whisks touching the bottom of the bowl? So clever!

It’s the ingenious bar which raises the beaters off the base of the bowl during the whisking that I think really makes this gadget a winner! 

Oxo Good Grips mixer

I’m not one for having a gadget just for the sake of it. Who has the space in their kitchen drawers apart from anything else? But I would definitely add this to my ‘must have’ list. Just because it’s so much fun!

enjoy!

Best for baking #1

Baking equipment on test

When it comes to baking equipment you can easily spend a fortune getting the right stuff. I’ve been decorating cakes for a few years now and my baking armoire (yes I bought a huge French cupboard just to house my baking stuff in!) is packed to the brim with cutters, rolling pins, baking papers and the all important tins and trays. If you’re into baking you’ll know what I’m talking about. You can never have enough!

Pink Heart Roaster, £8,Available in Sainsburys at Easter 2012

Well, yesterday I went to the Sainsburys Spring / Summer 2012 press launch – we work far ahead in the magazine world! I was talking to the Head homewares  about bakeware. They’ve got a gorgeous new range of baking products coming out which I will be sharing with you when they hit the shelves next year. Here’s a sneak preview to whet your appetite!

We were discussing what keen bakers look for in their baking equipment and what Sainsburys should be stocking for us decorators of cupcakes, biscuits and cakes alike and it got me thinking about how you can easily buy tons of stuff that you will hardly ever use or that you don’t really need. Also, is it always worth buying the expensive stuff or will a less expensive version do?

So, I am going to share with all you readers what I rate and what I use in my ‘Best for baking’ posts. I get to test out new gadgets and equipment all the time as well as new foods for features when I write for magazines so watch this space for up and coming products. But for now……

Mermaid bakeware – On Test!

Ten years ago, when asked by my mother-in-law what I would like for my birthday,  I said some  Mermaid baking tins. M-I-L wasn’t keen as  this wasn’t the glamorous gift she had in mind. But I had it on good authority (albeit from a PR who was slightly biased) that these were the tins to have. It was said that the tins out last many marriages! Once I saw them I had to have them. Those original tins are still going strong today. And I still use them all the time. I was recently  sent a set of their new range to test for a feature I was writing and I can’t tell you how excited I was when the box  arrived.

The baking sheet

I blame ‘The Great British Bake Off’ for my latest obsession with using a baking sheet over a baking tray!  I had never had one before and now I can’t do without it. All the Mermaid tins are hard anodized . This means that the heat is distributed really evenly, so whether you are using a tin for a cake or sheet for biscuits there are no hotspots and everything is baked to perfection, AND you can get loads more cookies on a sheet than on a tray!

Square tins  or round tins?

I was really impressed with not only how well the loose bottomed cake tins performed but how easy they are to clean. I’m a bit of a clean freak with my tins. I like them to always look like new – and these do. There’s something very satisfying about a really cold, hard baking tin that you can scrub clean easily.  There are lots of sizes to choose from in the loose bottom collection-in both the square and round shapes. I’ve nearly got all the sizes now. They’re an investment but I know I’ll never have to replace them!

It’s also worth mentioning the pudding basin, perfect for your Christmas pudding.  I haven’t baked any puddings in mine yet but it’s a great shape for so many decorative cakes. It’s a really handy shape to have in your stores.

Mermaid don’t just do baking sheets and tins, they do Roasting tins too (although I have been using their mini roaster to bake cakes in for ages as it is such a great rectangular size for a football shirt cake!)

So, If you are looking to buy some new bakeware I can definitely recommend Mermaid Cookware. Check out the range at www.mermaidcookware.com or call them for your nearest stockist on 0121 569 7906. They are also available at John Lewis and Lakeland.

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