The kids may be back at school, but that doesn’t mean a break for working parents. There’s no doubt that parenting can be a real juggling act, especially before and after a hard day at work. Mealtimes can be particularly difficult to manage, and that’s why any gadgets that can save you time and effort have got to be worth a look. We’ve compiled a round-up of some of the best kitchen gizmos around.
If your family are curry fans, then the Swan Curry Station and Chapati Maker, available from I Want One of Those for £29.99, is a great buy. The meals you make will be a lot cheaper than a takeaway, and you can make sure that you know exactly what the ingredients are. The little station with its four steel pans looks really cool too, meaning you can just place it on the table and let the family help themselves. Are you spending a fortune on takeaway pizza rather than curry? If so, how about investing in the SMART Rotating Stone Bake Pizza Oven, £69.99 from Find Me A Gift? This really does take the hassle and mess out of making pizza at home – forget having to clean burnt cheese from your oven shelves. Best of all, you can be tucking in after just ten minutes. Get the kids to help top a shop-bought base with lots of veggies and calcium-boosting cheese, and then just pop the resulting pizza on the oven’s rotating dish. You can keep an eye on what’s happening through the viewing panel, but you don’t really need to; this gadget delivers evenly cooked crispy-based pizza every time. Once cooked, slice with ease with the help of some Dreamfarm DFSC2027 Scizza Pizza Cutters, £18.50 from Amazon. They’re heat-resistant and have a spatula tip, so you won’t scratch your pizza oven or baking tray. Most importantly, they cut neatly so you don’t end up with all of your toppings scrunched up in the middle of the slice or, worse still, left all over your kitchen worktops.
If you like the idea of slow cooked food but don’t have the patience for all that waiting around, you need the JML Microwave Hot Pot, just £12.99 from JML Direct. It’s got its own little chimney to let excess moisture escape, leaving you with flavourful meals that are evenly cooked – and ready to eat in a flash. Use it to cook everything from poached eggs to chocolate cakes. For recipe fans, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z3, £269.95 from Amazon, gives you the perfect opportunity to dump the cumbersome cookery books in favour of a bounty of recipes and apps available on the internet. The Z3 is a perfect accessory to have on hand in the kitchen thanks to its water-resistant and no-fuss, no-mess operation. It’s waterproofing also means you can scroll around your favourite pages without having to constantly dry your hands.
One of the best ways of getting your kids to eat is to let them get involved in the cooking and preparation. You might normally try to avoid this on busy weekdays because of the mess and time involved, but give them the right tools and they might actually turn out to be a bit of a help. The Opinel le Petit Chef Knife Set, £39 at Trouva, for example, is great for teaching kids how to cut and peel food thanks to its training rings, but there are also finger guards to keep them safe. If their chopping leaves you with half-cut items that would normally go to waste, invest in some handy Fruit and Veg Food Huggers, £9.98 from Lakeland, which simply attach to anything from peppers and onions to grapefruit and limes and keep them fresh until you want them next. If your kids have had their fill of fruit and veg and need a treat, however, you could inject some fun into mealtimes with a Retro Pop Up Hot Dog Toaster, £44.95 from Prezzy Box, which toasts not only the buns but the hot dogs as well. You probably won’t want to use it all the time, but it looks pretty darned cool and is the perfect solution for quick treats or for impromptu visits from your kids’ little friends.