Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Tooled Up for Food

151 Responses

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  • Islander, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Nah there’s just the 3 or 4 inset pieces, triangular, rounded or square – let us know Rich – I am a *serious* recycler! Cheers – n/n Okaritoan-
    Oh! And dimensions of the microwave!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report

  • Hebe, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    My ma has had the grey and white Kenwood as long as I can remember – with the liquidiser, mincer and hooks. They go forever! Hers is at least 50 years old and never blinks.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report

  • merrica, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Oh no, please don’t, really, you didn’t, did you? I don’t say this out of fear of losing an income stream (though I don’t do Korean-English, so no direct threat in this case), I say it out of professional pride. Yeah, sure, for something formulaic and technical like an instruction booklet Machine Translation often gives you something close enough for you to decipher, sometimes even reasonably accurate, but outside of these very strict conditions, do you have any idea how badly MT mangles language?!

    I'm afraid I did...and I understand the rant entirely. I did it with completely open eyes. I was counting on the instructions being fairly basic and that, due to that, I would have a good chance of translating it properly.

    Also, I have a few good friends in Korea whom I used to live with in London I could call on, if the translations didn't work out. I did need the occasional bit of assistance translating a recipe...but the functions and buttons I managed on my own

    So far I have tried all the different rice, mixed grain and millet settings, used the slow cooker functions and the pressure cooker function to cook korean beef ribs

    I have even gone so far as to cook Korean jjimjilbang eggs (the type of eggs you get in a korean sauna) in it. No regrets, all settings and functions translated and understood :)

    NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report

  • merrica,

    Can you still buy brand new Moulinex machines in NZ? My Mum swears by them. Other brands she swears by in a different sense.

    Can't seem to find them in the shops any more though

    NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to merrica,

    Having read your explanation, I must admit I am relieved.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report

  • ilmars Gravis,

    I haven't had time to read all the responses to this wonderful blog. Nice to see blokes getting excited about stuff that really matters.
    I'm prepared to stand corrected, but from many conversations and interactions with the fairer sex, good cooking skills are pretty much at the top there with things that will impress them.

    If I'm already repeating someone else or you already know this Russell, take your knives for sharpening to The House of Knives on Mt. Eden Road.Please please don't take them anywhere else, Shannon is probably one of the few if only people in Auckland who knows how to sharpen a knife properly. Warning though, be prepared for a few cuts after a sharpening, they will be razor sharp.

    mangere bridge • Since Jul 2013 • 6 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    You can still get some new old stuff. Ruth Pretty sells new old fashioned gem irons. What is it about cast iron that makes for such good baking and cooking?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Islander,

    Awesome. Yes, I will drag the microwave out on my next storage unit trip and let you know.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • Marcus Turner,

    A friend gave me a K Sabatier knife. Previously, I had thought I used good knives: this one made all the others seem substandard.

    I bought a couple more, choosing the non-stainless-steel option. I've found that I need to take care with washing and drying these: they stain very easily and would rust easily too, I imagine. I can't tell that they're any sharper than the stainless steel knife, though they're reputed to have a better edge.

    I've learned that "Sabatier" is a name used by a number of different manufacturers, not all of whom manufacture to the same standard.

    Since Nov 2006 • 212 posts Report

  • Marcus Turner,

    Incidentally, I've forgotten who mentioned it, but keeping ginger in the freezer was an excellent tip. Thank you.

    Since Nov 2006 • 212 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    What is it about cast iron

    Mostly mass and thermal conductivity. In order to be strong enough to use for most purposes cast iron must be reasonably thick, which gives it mass. This means changes in temperature are slower than say an aluminium cake tin. For baking in particular, and I'd argue for most cooking, rapid changes in temperature are not good.

    A decent thermal conductivity means cast iron heats up in a reasonable time (versus say clay) and an uneven heat source on the outside of the iron results in an even heat distribution over the cooking surface inside.

    When coated in oil iron does not corrode and it doesn't become brittle with repeated heating and cooling cycles.

    The killer though, is it is dirt cheap to make. A seven layer sandwich of 18/10 stainless steel and copper may arguably work better than a cast iron pan but it costs 10-100 times as much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Hebe, in reply to Marcus Turner,

    My ex is a chef, and one of the things I loved about him was his Sabatier knives. They were carbon steel and like you said stained easily -- wash and dry well after each use otherwise the steel pits. The blades were soft, they wore away with sharpening, but the knives were razor sharp and wonderfully well-balanced. I guess they must be the 'real' version: do you know how to tell the difference in the shop?

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Marcus Turner,

    Incidentally, I’ve forgotten who mentioned it, but keeping ginger in the freezer was an excellent tip. Thank you.

    You're welcome.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report

  • Moz,

    At the complete other end of the spectrum, the "kiwi" brand (made in Thailand) cheap chinese cleavers are marvellous. I bought a small, lightweight one when I first got to Sydney (in 1999) for under $20, possibly under $10 and still use it several times a week. For all that it's cheap it holds an edge really well and is still going strong.

    Recently we bought one of those late-night-TV "slicing dicing" gadgets that's basically a V-shaped blade and something to push veges into the blade. My food thing at the moment is roasted starchy vegetables, and being able to scrub potatoes and kumara, then slice them into 5mm thick bits quickly makes the whole process very quick and easy. Even though that thing can dice onion and garlic... don't. Between the non-sliced bit left at the end and the little bits left everywhere, it's just not worth it. But for bulk slicing of spuds and stuff it's great.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report

  • Andrew Johnson,


    My favourite kitchen tool doesn’t fit in my kitchen… yet.

    This is Mork, my kamado bbq. Oven, really. Bread, pizza, smoking, and charcoal bbq, and can hold temperatures from 80c to 450+c. Here he is, warming up before meeting an upstanding new friend.

    Auckland, mostly. • Since Nov 2006 • 8 posts Report

  • Phil Lyth,

    I make no claims for my kitchen.

    But the wonderful @cle0patra for a year or so blogged her foodie gadgets at http://beanslicer.wordpress.com/

    May there be a meeting of minds.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Andrew Johnson,

    We cooked half a brisket (5 kg) in ours for about 10 hours .... oh god ....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Marcus Turner, in reply to Hebe,

    I don't really know how to tell the difference, but I know that the good ones were K Sabatier (as distinct from Sabatier).

    I'm pretty sure I got mine here: http://www.sabatier-shop.com/

    Since Nov 2006 • 212 posts Report

  • Hebe,

    A kitchen gadget I have long lusted for and scoured op shops for without success: an orange peeler that was given away with oranges in the 1970s. Made of yellow plastic, it has a curved blade at one end, at the other a raised triangle of plastic on one side and on the other side a plastic “tunnel” about 5mm long. you score the skin with the plastic triangle bit, slip the blade under the skin and move so it falls off, then use the “tunnel” to remove any pith. Worked like a charm and stopped my fingers getting gunked up with yellow crud and then irate skin.

    If anyone knows where to get one, please let me know.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Thanks, I knew someone would know. Pity it doesn't go in the dishwasher though. Sadly, that is my main criterion for cookware.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • B Jones, in reply to Hebe,


    Anything like my orange peeler? I got mine in the kitchenware shop I used to work in about fifteen years ago - you use the triangle bit to gouge a strip of peel to start you off, then the sharpened side of the spoon to slip between the pith and the flesh. Really handy when your small knife is too sharp or serrated.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report

  • Gareth, in reply to Andrew Johnson,

    kamado bbq

    A friend in London has a "Big Green Egg", and tells me it's brilliant. Looks very similar to your kamado.

    I could be experiencing a certain amount of bbq envy, despite possessing a Weber, a pizza oven and a wood-fired grill. Tell me more...

    Bucolic in the backblocks… • Since Jan 2008 • 269 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Gareth,

    “Big Green Egg”, and tells me it’s brilliant. Looks very similar to your kamado.

    Kamodo is a type of BBQ, Big Green Egg is a brand of BBQ. His picture and the one I proudly own as well are Big Green Egg brand kamodo type BBQs.

    Same as photocopier and xerox

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Hebe, in reply to B Jones,

    Anything like my orange peeler?

    Not really thanks. I know yours because it was in a cutlery drawer i was once familiar with somewhere. This is more pointed and about the diameter of a big black pencil.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Gareth,

    Tell me more…

    Well a charcoal BBQ that uses bugger all charcoal, burns almost to completion, can maintain 80 C for 16 hours without needing adjustment or more charcoal, can heat to 350 C for pizza, cook with direct or indirect heat and function as a bog standard charcoal grill ...

    is that what you wanted to know?

    Also they have a slight tendency to cause owners to rave about their virtues.

    Mine came as a birthday present just before we ripped out our old kitchen, so we ended up using it many nights when we didn't have a functional kitchen. That said it is a complete luxury and I am well aware of how lucky I am.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

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