With an endless amount of new tools and technologies hitting the market with promises to enhance our culinary capabilities it's hard to distinguish the difference between game-changers and gimmicks. But have you ever wondered what you are missing out on?
1. Cast iron cookware
Whether it's a skillet, tagine or a casserole dish, if you're a crafty home cook, the chances are you will already own (and worship) a cast iron creation of some sort. If not, it's time to invest. Suitable for both the stove top and the oven, a cast iron casserole dish will see you through countless pot roasts, soups, stews, cakes and bread. Easy to clean, hardy and naturally non-stick, it's a failsafe addition that you'll never regret – and likely never have to replace.
- Signature cast iron round casserole in Marine, Le Creuset
- Frying pan with cast iron handle, Staub
- Cast Iron square grill in Duck egg blue, Chasseur
2. Combination microwaves
The microwave is a must-have in just about any family kitchen, though sometimes we’re forced to compromise the crisp finish of our leftovers for a quick reheat. Imagine a microwave that can give you crispy bacon, flaky pastry or a tender roast. Machines like Whirlpool's Crisp N Grill or Smeg's new Speed oven are the multi-functioning gems that can do it all. "For me, it's the ultimate appliance because of the convenience of speed - I can get home late from work and roast a chicken with potatoes in half an hour flat," says Smeg's Head of brand Tamara Buchanan.
- Whirlpool ‘Crisp N Grill’ convection microwave, The Good Guys
- NeoChef Convection Oven in Black, $709, LG
- Compact speed oven ‘SFA4395MCX,’ Smeg
3. Pull-down sink mixer
The kitchen tap is one of the most used items in the house and for all the colours, sizes and shapes of tapware choices on the market, there is one style that trumps them all – the pull-down sink mixer. This wondrous invention makes everything from cleaning big, bulky pots and pans to filling buckets a breeze. Serial renovator and interior stylist Carly Schulz admits, “In our last renovation I chose a more traditional mixer for the colour, and it wasn’t until we actually moved in and started using the kitchen that I realised how much I had relied on (and missed) the spray lever.”
- Linsol Elias Kitchen Mixer With Pull-out Hose Matte Black, Harvey Norman
- Oliveri brushed Mito pullout mixer, The Good Guys
- Vivid pull out sink mixer in Chrome, Phoenix tapware
4. Teppanyaki plate
If the size of your kitchen island permits, a built-in teppanyaki plate is the ultimate inclusion for an entertainer's dream kitchen. As a centre point for good conversation and serving drinks, guests naturally gather around the island – so imagine being able to show off your culinary skills you’ve got an audience. Not only are they a show-stopping statement, the Japanese style cooktops require less oil than pans or grills and heat up a lot quicker. Look to appliance retailers like Siemens, Gaggenau and Smeg to find one that fits and let Japanese cuisine inspire your next dinner party.
- Vario Teppan Yaki 400 series VP 414, Gaggenau
- Teppanyaki plate 'C9TEP', Smeg
- iQ 500 Teppanyaki plate, Siemens
5. Self-cleaning oven
The cooking process may be therapeutic to some, but the clean-up that follows certainly isn't – especially when it comes to the oven. Now, thanks to pyrolytic technology, ovens are cleaning themselves. In just the turn of a dial, it'll heat up to 500 degrees burning foodstuffs and spillages to a crisp – once cool, all it needs is a wipe down. Former My Kitchen Rules star, cookbook author and Whirlpool Ambassador Scott Gooding says, "In the past, I've used tough chemicals to clean inside my oven, which I don't like, especially when there are kids are around. Now, I don't use any chemicals, just wipe it out with a damp cloth after the cycle."