Good kitchen equipment makes the preparation, cooking and presentation of food quicker, easier, tastier and sometimes safer ~ a blunt knife is dangerous. Always try to buy the best quality as these items, though more expensive, are more durable and will reward you with a lifetime of satisfaction. The following is a selection of essential items that are used time and again ~ it is not an exhaustive list of all the wonderful kitchen aids that are available on the market.
Pots and Pans
A sturdy construction and a heavy base ensure that these items won't bend, dent, break or wobble and that the heat is evenly distributed during the cooking process. It's great if the handles are oven-proof as well, as many dishes may be started on the stove top and finished in the oven. Stainless steel with laminated aluminium bases are a good option but there are many types and you should choose what suits you and is affordable ~ copper is a great heat conductor but very expensive and more difficult to maintain.
A range of pots and pans from small to medium will ensure that you can make all sorts of dishes for one or more people. A large pot is great for pasta, soups and stock and a large cast-iron one will enable you to make stews, curries and casseroles for those informal, winter dinner parties. You can also cook in bulk and freeze for those days when cooking is more of a chore than a pleasure!
A Chef's knife, a paring knife, a boning knife with a flexible blade and a serrated knife should see you through the preparation of most foods in the kitchen. Don't forget to purchase a good steel to keep the knives in tip-top shape, except for the serrated knife ~ the blade would be damaged by the steel.
Other Essential Preparation Equipment
A variety of wooden spoons, serving spoons, a slotted spoon, a fish slice, an egg lifter, a spaghetti lifter, tongs, a couple of whisks, a vegetable peeler, good quality graters, stainless steel sieves & a colander, measuring cups & spoons, accurate kitchen scales ~ very good for precise measurements in baking, a pastry brush, a rolling pin, a corkscrew, a salad spinner ~ essential for drying salad leaves, and a pestle & mortar.
Various sized cake tins, loaf tins, baking sheets and fluted tins are a must if you enjoy baking.
A good food processor, a blender and / or blender stick, a coffee / espresso machine, a hand-held beater and an ice-cream maker ~ perhaps not an essential item but a real nice-to-have!