You may say that I’m an extravagantly frugal person. I felt like having to go and buy my coffee from Starbucks every morning would over the years weigh heavily on my pocket. I mean the latte factor is called the latte factor for a reason, right? So I did what every modern girl does and Googled to see which were the best espresso machines 2016. I was blown away by the ridiculous pricing of most of those machines. $1200 for just one machine? No way, I wanted coffee like they make it in the coffeehouses, I didn’t want to spend like they do in the coffeehouses. That’s when I came across the Gaggia 14101 Espresso Machine. At the time it cost me $399.99 for a new one.
Gaggia is made from stainless steel meaning that all my rust worries were thrown out the window. It is also an Italian brand. I didn’t know much about Italy but I did know that when it comes to espressos, the Italians don’t mess around or do a shoddy job. They would produce a top espresso maker. A top espresso maker was what I got. It uses the 58mm filters usually found in the very expensive brands to ensure that you can make a very rich, very tasty and (may I dare to add) better tasting espresso than Starbucks. Because what you make tastes so much better right? The only downside to this espresso maker is that I can’t use tap water on it but bottled water. The other downside that I’ve not experienced myself but have read about is that the boiler can corrode. For a first-time espresso owner I would say that Gaggia has manufactured the top espresso maker in the world. It made my life a lot easier since I no longer have to wait in those impossibly long Starbucks lines.
Last year, when we celebrated my husband’s 60th birthday, the entire family came over, and they stayed with us for about 4 days. Obviously my rice cooker would not be sufficient. My daughters brought theirs but I still wanted one more. So we searched the net for the best rice cooker for our larger group. I opted for Tiger JBA-A10U which is a three in one rice cooker with micro computer built within it. I’d heard a lot of praises for the latest Tiger rice cookers from my colleagues, so when the opportunity came to buy a rice cooker, I opted to buy one.
I can cook 5.5 cups in addition to the other three rice cookers, which is perfect for such group gatherings. The reason I am smitten by this rice cooker is its easy to use control panel, and steam vent that can be removed. In all, there are 9 different functions possible, such as cooking brown rice, cooking porridge, cooking mixed grain, steaming, cooking plain rice, etc. It is even good for slow cooking. The cooking timer in this rice cooker is two memory timer, meaning two different times can be preset in it. I think that is going a bit overboard with technology, but perhaps, I am set in my ways.
I really don’t know how coating the spherical pan inside this beetle shaped rice cooker with infrared ray is helping me. But I guess, there may be some benefit. I am happy that I can pull out the pan and push it in dish washer. Other rice cookers, I have to soak for a while and remove the few grain sticking to the pot all around. Such uneven cooking is not there with this Tiger rice cooker for sure.
My older daughter has also recently purchased a Tiger rice cooker. She has bought the JBA-A18U, which is quite alike mine, but it is a 10 cup rice cooker. However, when we went to purchase rice cookers, we could not take our eyes off Tiger JAZ-A10U, which is again 5.5 cup rice cooker but it is a simple electric rice cooker with nothing computerized in it. It is really beautiful piece to look at.
Most people think there is nothing remarkable about a kitchen knife as the rest of the utensils. And yet they get frustrated with the same knives when they cannot dice, slice or peel with the desired ease. Do not stock your kitchen with dozens of knives if they won’t serve their purpose. What is the point of having all those when you only use two which are probably just as uncomfortable and ineffective? It is only fair you look for a good chef knife to buy and get rid of the useless block of blades. It is practical to invest in a few, perfectly working knives and create an incredible experience in your kitchen. Perhaps you have experienced the discomfort at a friend’s, relative or colleague’s house. You can always choose the perfect knife and present it as a gift. It may seem odd, but it is not unnatural.
Here are some great, abstract ideas of the best knives to get you started.
Victorinox Fibrox Chef’s Knife
It is the best asset I have bought in years. It has stayed exceptionally sharp and has made chopping easier for me, especially with the tomatoes which were always a struggle. It sits well in my hand without slipping. I have used it in a commercial kitchen for a while now, and it has showed me how bad most of my knives are.
Global G-2 Chef’s Knife
I love this blade because of its density not too heavy. I no longer have to stock a pile of knives in the house for different types of food. I use it for almost everything; from the watermelon, tomatoes to paper-thin roast beef.
Barmix Chef’s Knife
Before I bought this knife, I would have a knife for almost every task, mincing, chopping, slicing and dicing. Sometimes they were too blunt, misplaced or I just couldn’t figure out what was meant to do which task. When I acquired the Barmix; I got an all-purpose blade. No more digging into a pile of knives so that I can peel a mango.
My youngest daughter is an extremely outgoing personality and is a good cook as well. She frequently hosts parties, and would not like to be seen with old fashioned cookware. So every third or fourth year, she changes her best cookware pots and pans, and hands down what she does not wish to be seen in her kitchen. We often end up buying for her what we would be happy to find in our kitchens four years down the lane. Recently we bought KitchenAid’s KCH1S10KD Non-stick 10 piece set for her.
This set is made from hardened 4.5mm aluminum which has 3 layer PFOA free nonstick coating internally. Handles in this set are riveted and made from stainless steel. I thought the handles would get hot, but surprisingly, they did not. The set can be used on induction stoves as well. The base is made from stainless steel. We were able to order the pots and pans as per her specifications. Therefore, we ordered skillet pair of 8 inches and 10 inches, apart from a stockpot of 8 quart with its lid. She specified she wants 3.5 quart saute pan, and a 3 quart sauce pan. We added 2 quart sauce pan to the set to complete the number. The pans and pots have glass lids which are not shaped like a dome in traditional sets. In fact that is what attracted me to this set. The set has been used at my place recently and I have washed it in dishwasher.
I am now using Circulon Infinite Nonstick (10 piece set) right now, which is a hand down from her. I do think this hard anodized set looks better. There is only one sauce pan. It is of 1.5 quarts. There are two saute pans, one of 3 quarts, and one of 2 quarts. Skillets are of the same size. The SS lids in this set are dome shaped. I concur with my daughter that the sizes can prove to be a problem especially if she has to cook for a larger group.