Kitchen tips.

This week’s speaking engagement is at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton – the home to the “Saints” football club.   Visually impaired people from all over Hampshire will be discovering ways of making life easier.

I’ll be talking at 14:15 on Wednesday 28 September at the free Open Sight Eye Contact exhibition (10:00-16:00).   Free parking at the stadium or book free transit from the station.   Pre-register for the event at:

For those who can’t make it, there will be an outline of the prizewinning international cooking tour and sharing ideas on kitchen equipment that works for people like me without sight.   Talking scales and thermometer are my only concessions to blindness and both need careful auditioning.   Everything else is off the shelf, mainstream and, consequently, a bit cheaper than bespoke accessible kit.   But everything has to be selected for good design and ease of use.

My top tips are:

  • “Hot cup” one button push makes this energy-efficient kettle-replacement dispense exactly the right amount of boiling water into a mug (Breville). No more risk in lifting a heavy hot kettle, trying to guess if it is pouring into the cup and whether its full.
  • Three sizes of plastic storage boxes but all with the same lid (Lakeland). One never needs to scrabble around in a cupboard to find the right lid.   The boxes work for pre-measuring ingredients, mixing some recipes, cooking in the microwave and freezing.
  • Four and two litre ice-cream boxes (with lids) for storing large quantities, compost bin on the work surface, managing ingredients in the fridge, packing with equipment in the cupboards.
  • Cup measures which physically reflect their size: the half cup is a half-circle; the quarter is a quarter circle and so on.
  • Knives tend to be the short vegetable paring type which are lighter and more sensitive when feeling what is being cut. Daily use.
  • Knife block –with “straws” makes it much easier than stabbing for slots (Lakeland).
  • Chopping boards with a prominent lip on one side to avoid dropping debris on the floor or work surface (Joseph). Daily use.
  • Knife sharpener that clamps to the work surface (Any Sharp). Daily use.
  • Potato peeler – the old-fashioned sort. Daily use.
  • Zester for oranges and lemons. Daily use.
  • Microwave with manual dials rather than digital controls. One quickly learns the power and timing that works best.
  • Metal vegetable or pan drawers in the cupboards rather than shelves make finding ingredients and equipment so much easier.
  • Gas cooker with tactile knobs rather than digital controls plus glass lid that cuts gas off to the hob keeps me safer and I can hear the distinctive sound of gas burning (Leisure Rangemaster – old version). My favourite.
  • Carrot sharpener (just like for pencils) so much easier than a spiraliser.
  • Electric pepper grinder means you can locate the plate with one hand and grind with the other.
  • Dark floor, white-cupboard doors, dark laminate work surfaces gave me good contrast when I could see a little and the work tops are more forgiving than granite or marble when one misjudges the distance.

To make the best of the final homegrown tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers, this simple ham hock terrine can be dished up with the salad for a light lunch or supper.   Simply add some potatoes or bread to make a more substantial meal.


© 2024 - Penny Melville-Brown
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