I live in a small loft apartment, with a small kitchen which you can see from the whole house. Does that stop me from buying 10 kinds of pasta and 5 kinds of flour, nah. So there is a high need to keep things minimal, organized and efficient. Here are some items I deem essential for a basic kitchen:
This is one of those things: You don't know what you miss, until you've tried. I recommend going to a good kitchen store where they can help you and you can feel some. Feeling knives? Yes! I don't mean sharpness, but how it feels in your hand. Does it feel comfortable in your hand, is the balance good, does it feel like an extension of your arm? I don't know a lot about knives, but when I held this one it felt like it was made for me, which was such a weird sensation.
Before I felt some knives I was asked whether I wanted German or Japanese Steel. She told me German is sturdier and you can cut harder things like pumpkin, where Japanese steel is sharper but also more fragile. I went for German, since I want my 1 big knife to be versatile.
I own the Wüsthof Classic IKON Chef's Knife of 20 cm. But really, have a feel for yourself!
The Other Knives
Besides your Chef's Knife a classic addition is the pairing knife. A knife suitable for smaller jobs like cutting crowns of strawberries, destoning apricots etc. During an internship I discovered the bird's beak knife, which I can really recommend. A bird's beak knife has a rounded blade, which makes these tiny jobs even easier, I just love it.
I own the Victorinox Bird's Beak
Another knife often recommended is the bread knife, with a serrated edge. I have one, but honestly I use my Chef's Knife for both bread and tomatoes. So, I wouldn't per se recommend buying a serrated one.
The Cutting Board
Get some measuring tape and literally measure how big of a cutting board would fit your counter. Our kitchen counter consists of 4 "blocks": 1 stove, 1 sink and 2 workspaces of 75 cm wide. One of which is filled with my standmixer and a drying rack. I still bought a cutting board which is over 52cm wide and it is amazing! All the things you cut can sit on the edge of the board for a bit, which saved tons of bowls which need washing, and you still have lots of space to cut other things.
One note I have on this. Normally I would recommend having colored coded cutting boards to ensure you don't have any case of cross contamination, but in small kitchens this just isn't feasible. Please ALWAYS ensure food safety in your kitchen. Check out my blog about that here.
I own the OXO Good Grips Cutting & Carving Board. It is big, not too expensive and doesn't slip.
There are four kinds of pans I often use: non- stick frying pan, a steel frying pan (like the Ikea OUMBÄRLIG), a saucepan and a non stick milk pot. Dependent on what kind of food you like/ make switch up the pans you have. You never make oats, but you like wok dishes, by all means, get a wok.
I use my pans for the following things:
Non- stick frying pan: Perfect for frying up some eggs or baking some pancakes. I don't recommend making any strong flavoured dishes in this pan though, because it can absorb flavour. Chili banana pancakes for breakfast anyone?
Steel frying pan: Absolutely amazing to get some flavour going. Food can stick to this pan, so some people get frustrated with it, but learn how to cook with it and you'll love it. This pan does not absorb flavours, so it has my preference for making dishes like chili.
A saucepan: great for sauces, boiling smaller portions of pasta, heating up leftovers, boiling veggies etc. For pasta it is often recommended to have a large water/ pasta ratio, but honestly I don't have space for a massive pot, nor the patience for that much water to boil. You could use an electric kettle, but I have shoved that aside, since the lime scale builds up in no time, yuck.
Non- stick milk pot: I bought this while living in a shared house with shit equipment and it is something I didn't know I needed. But if you love making (plantbased) milky oats, but hate the burning on the bottom of the pan, get a milk pot and your life will be so much better. If you don't make oats, I would recommend getting a second sauce pan.
Bowls and things
For bowl I can recommend having 2, one very large one and one smaller one. Easy for baking, mixing, serving salads, making pancake batters, whatever you like.
Besides that I can recommend: A sieve and a colander. I hate straining pasta with the lid of a pan, haha. Do you have a small kitchen like me? Joseph & Joseph have this bowl/ colander/ sieve/ bowl/ measuring cup nest which is ideal. I have had it for about 6 years and it all still looks super. Worth it.
Not to miss, imaging having to get your egg from your non- stick pan with a fork and ruin the pan!
I have a love for spatulas and use them for anything: stirring soups/ sauces, flipping pancakes, scraping out that last bit of brownie batter... I have one from Joseph & Joseph and just some random ones from HEMA. You don't have to spend big bucks on these, but look for quality. I have had some handles break already and the frustration is real when you have to fish your spatula head from a hot pasta sauce.
Grater: For cheese or garlic for example. A microplane has been on my wishlist for a while, but my fairly cheap/ basic one is still functioning absolutely fine, so I haven't bought one yet.
If you love baking I recommend an ice cream scoop- have perfectly portioned cookies and cupcake batter every time and a pastry brush (to get that golden glow from an eggwash or oil your cake pan perfectly).
And ofcourse a cake pan. I would just go for a 23cm round springform. You can even use the bottom seperately as a small baking sheet or pop some aluminium foil in there to use it as a roasting tin. Multi- functional!
For most of these things goes: Look at your situation, the space you have, the budget, the wishes. Think about what you realistically need in your kitchen and what would make your life easier. And don't forget to save some space for all those amazing ingredients.
Do you feel like something is missing or do you wonder how I make things with this "small" equipment list. Let me know in the comments!