Month: February 2017

Do You Need A Good Knife Set ?

Anyone who is married to their kitchen like I am knows that for any self respecting cook, a good set of knives is indispensable. Knives are that one tool that you cannot just select from a distance. There is a particular feel that comes with getting that perfect knife…how it feels in the hand. Get a good knife and cooking feels like heaven. Get a good set of knives, and you’ll feel like you’ve just hit the jackpot.

In my kitchen, I can compromise on other tools, but only the best knives will do. This is where I spare no costs to get the best quality working for me. For that reason, I have been a fan of Shun knives for as long as I remember. The high end workmanship involved in crafting their knives, from the handles, to the blades, to the bamboo blocks used to hold the knives in place, these knives speak sheer perfection.

Since I work with a variety of ingredients, my pick for best set would definitely be the classic 7-piece essential block set. Many reasons come to mind. First of all, these are Shun knives! The handle has a great feel in my hands, the blades are sharp and sturdy enough for the job required of them and the overall look is great. Secondly, the pieces included in the 7-piece essential perfectly cover the needs for a basic home kitchen. The obvious pieces required in any kitchen- the Chef’s knife, a good paring knife, a utility knife- come with the package. Additionally, there is a bread knife for those days when I need to fill my home with the aromas of home baking as well as herb shears, which I use when I need to add a touch of fresh parsley or coriander to finish off a meal. To keep all the knives sharp, the classic essentials set includes a honing steel, and everything is kept in place in a bamboo block.

One of my favorite things about the Shun classic 7-piece essentials block set is their implicit acknowledgement that a kitchen needs to start from somewhere and grow. They do this elegantly by including a block with several extra slots- knowing that at one time or other, I will definitely need to add a specialty knife or 5 to the initial set, without the added inconvenience of requiring another knife block. That, right there, is a stroke of genius, and is the main reason why I would gladly recommend the Shun classic 7-piece essentials block set to anyone starting out their kitchen. Or just anyone not very impressed with the current knives residing there.

Banoffee roll

Banoffee Roll

INGREDIENTS

  • 70g butter, at room temperature
  • 120g (2/3 cup) dark brown sugar, lightly packed, plus 2 tbs extra
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 75g (1/2 cup) plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons water, boiling
  • 600ml thickened cream, whipped to firm peaks
  • 3 large bananas
  • 300g jar salted caramel dessert sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons caster sugar

METHOD

  • Step 1
    Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan forced. Grease a 3cm-deep, 24.5 x 37cm (base measurement) rectangular cake pan and line with baking paper.
  • Step 2
    Use electric beaters to beat the butter and sugar in a small bowl until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla bean paste and egg yolks and beat until the sugar almost dissolves. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Step 3
    Use electric beaters to whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Use a large metal spoon to fold the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the egg whites until just combined. Combine the bicarb and water in a jug and fold into mixture until just smooth. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and gently spread to the edges. Bake for 15 minutes or until the surface springs back when lightly touched. 4
  • Step 4
    Place a piece of baking paper on a tea towel. Sprinkle with the extra brown sugar. Turn the warm cake onto the paper. Remove and discard the top sheet of paper.
  • Step 5
    Starting from the short side closest to you and using the paper as a guide, gently roll up the cake. Set aside for 2-3 minutes. Gently unroll the cake by about two-thirds. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Step 6
    Reserve 1/3 cup cream. Completely unroll the cooled cake and spread with remaining cream. Thinly slice 1 of the bananas and arrange over cream. Spoon over 1⁄2 cup of the caramel sauce. Carefully roll up the cake and transfer to a serving platter.
  • Step 7
    Line a baking tray with foil. Lightly grease. Cut the remaining bananas into 5mm-thick long diagonal slices. Place on the prepared tray. Sprinkle liberally with the caster sugar. Use a kitchen blowtorch to melt the sugar until it caramelises.
  • Step 8
    Microwave the remaining sauce in a heatproof bowl on High for 1 minute or until warmed. Allow bubbles to subside. Top cake with reserved cream and caramelised banana. Drizzle with sauce.