Kitchens are the heartbeat of many homes, but if they are cluttered and chaotic, these epicentres of entertaining can prove difficult to navigate and an embarrassing eyesore. These top tips will have your kitchen sorted.
Now that the days and nights of outdoor BBQs are almost over for another year, it's high time you streamlined your cooking space, ready for those autumnal soirees. Cook and Food Stylist, Mish Lilley, shares her top tips to de-clutter any kitchen.
1. Stack smart
Have a small apartment and even smaller kitchen? “Rectangle stackable containers are invaluable in a compact pantry space, especially if you are like me and have every type of grain and flour under the sun," says Mish. For optimal organisation, measure up your cupboard first – width and height – and then buy your containers in bulk so that you are assured they all lock in nicely together. Those with attached lids are also preferable, so you don’t lose lids along the way.
2. Put up pots
“Hanging your favourite pots and utensils over your stove or on a wall is not only extremely functional, but it also looks great too and can potentially be a great feature in your kitchen,” says Mish. The beauty of this styling tip is it can really be done anywhere, in any corner!
Don’t display all your pots though, as years of wear, tear and tomato-based pasta sauce preparation may have rendered them a little tired. Copper is always a lovely look so if you have any of these, put them on display.
To shine them up before presentation, cover half a lemon with salt and rub it along the surface. And if your stored pots and pans are taking up too much space, ditch the lids and use a sauté pan as your universal lid instead! For oven dishes that require a tight seal, go with aluminium foil.
3. Store spices
Dried herbs and spices can take up valuable space in your pantry and if stored incorrectly on your bench top, can look messy and go rancid rapidly, explains Mish. She suggests that storing spices and herbs in a drawer will not only make them more accessible at a moments notice, but will also ensure they remain at the right temperature at all times. “Line your drawer with small rectangle containers that will fit depth wise inside and label the lids so you can locate the herbs and spices easily,” she says.
4. Do away with doors
Floor to ceiling open plywood shelves and cubbyholes are the hottest look in cafes and kitchens. Super easy to bang together and budget friendly, they are also a great way to stack up plates and glasses in a slap dash – but stylish – array. If you already have a pantry, you can build in an extra open shelf across the top of them, which gives the illusion of more space, updates the look of the kitchen and enables further storage for fiddly kitchen gadgets.
Kitchen Bits To Keep
If you are throwing out everything but the kitchen sink to clean up – quite literally – Mish insists these pieces should remain steadfast staples:
1. A good quality cooks knife
“This may seem obvious, but an all rounder cooks knife is a very worthwhile investment and gets a big workout in my kitchen,” she says. One really good one is also better than 12 blunt ones too, so get rid of the butchers’ block if it’s taking up valuable space and invest in a knife sharpener instead!
2. Invest in heavy base pans
“Not only do they hold their heat more effectively, you will get better cooking results overall,” says Mish.
3. Where for art thou Julienne?
A julienne slicer is a kitchen must-have, notes Mish. “If you haven’t quite got the time to cut your carrots into perfectly thin even sized matchsticks but want the look then this is the perfect gadget for you. Just make sure you use a slicer that comes with a safety guard as they are seriously sharp!” she cautions.
4. Find the perfect food processor
Although Mish is a big fan of the Thermomix for all-round use, she believes that a good quality food processor comes a close second if you are short on space, or money. “They are really helpful for grating large quantities of fruit or vegetables, whipping up a good dip or making breadcrumbs,” she enthuses. “Mine gets a daily workout.”
5. Get back to the grind
A mortar and pestle look great in any kitchen, and work hard for their place in it, notes Mish. “If you cook a lot of Asian food a mortar and pestle is invaluable for bashing and grinding your fresh or dried spices and curry pastes into a perfect flavour packed consistency,” she says.
6. Piping up
Not only for icing cupcakes, a piping bag is an old-school essential, assures Mish. It takes up next to no space and you can make it yourself. “I pipe dips, cupcake batter yogurt into glass jars and anything where I need neat and even execution!” she says.