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Essential Tools for Streamlined Cooking for a Healthier Mind and Body

What inspires you to cook, and what tools assist you in the kitchen? For me, a versatile blender is essential. It's fantastic for soups, pâtés, breadcrumbs, pesto, and puréeing sauces—especially when I want to disguise certain ingredients.

If you enter a kitchen and it is dirty and untidy, you will be put off cooking. I like to start with a clean and tidy kitchen and clear up as I go. Some people prefer to tidy afterwards but whatever you do always leave the kitchen immaculate so the next time you cook, it's easy!

On holiday I often face the challenge of inadequate knives at self-catering accommodations. Cooking is a rare activity for us during holidays, but when we do prepare a meal, a dull knife can make it frustrating. It reminds me that good, sharp knives are crucial in my kitchen at home.

Let's talk about pots and pans. You don't need an extensive collection, just a few in varying sizes suited to different dishes. I tend to steer clear of coated options where possible.

I personally don't own a slow cooker. Instead, I slow cook in my oven. However, my son, a student and avid exerciser, has discovered that a slow cooker is revolutionary for his lifestyle. Slow cooking not only tenderises less expensive cuts of meat but also helps in extracting beneficial nutrients like glutamine and collagen, which are vital for body and brain health.

Where do you find your culinary inspiration? For me, it's a mix of actual recipe books, online resources, social media, and treasured family or friend's recipes. A book I love is the Flavour Book, you look up a flavour chocolate for example and next to the food are the possible combinations. Chocolate even works with cauliflower would you believe! I have not tried this yet! Other suggestions are more traditional like almond and orange.

I adore cooking, but it can be exhausting. Sharing the workload is a relief. My husband and I divide the cooking duties fairly, and on weekends or some evenings, we cook together, which becomes a cherished shared activity.

And when the going gets tough, music has the magic to energise and motivate me through a cooking session. Make a playlist of 10 songs to cook with and the time will fly. Here are a few to get you started:

  1. Mary's Place - Bruce Springsteen

  2. Wrecking Ball - Bruce Springsteen

  3. Put The Message in The Box - World Party

  4. Red Light Spells Danger - Billy Ocean

  5. Blue - Zucchero

  6. Second Hand News - Fleetwood Mac

  7. Champagne Supernova - Oasis

  8. Mr Blue Sky - ELO

  9. Islands in The Stream - Dolly Parton and Kenny Rodgers

  10. She's so Lovely - Scouting For Girls

I'm curious—what are your kitchen essentials, and how do you motivate yourself to cook and prepare meals?


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