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I’ve got to say, as much as I rolled my eyes at the introduction of the wifi kettle, I love a bit of tech in the kitchen. My warming drawer is one of my favourite things in the entire world, and though I thought my app-based washing machine would be a bit of a gimmick, I use the function often. I’m thoroughly in love with my Google Home smart device for entertaining me while I cook and I use the various cooking functions on my oven more than I ever thought I would.
In a nutshell, anything that can make my family cooking experience easier and more streamlined seems to work for me. In fact, in a survey carried out by Salter to assess what they call #PlatePressure – the pressure parents feel to cook ‘good’ food for their families – 40% of all mums would be prepared to go barefaced for a year in return for a personal chef to cook all their family meals.
I hear that!
So when Salter’s new app-controlled scales and kitchen thermometer arrived in the post, I was excited to see how they’d enhance my day-to-day cooking experience, perhaps removing some of the pressure I feel when running round the kitchen like a headless chicken (happens daily).
Using Bluetooth technology and an app on your phone or tablet, Salter Cook connects to your most-used kitchen tools and lets you create your own personal cookbook directly within the app. You can use pre-installed recipes on the app, download online recipes or create your own. Teamed with the Bluetooth scale and thermometer, the range updates the cooking process and makes your favourite recipes much easier to re-create in future.
I decided to give the scales and thermometer a try this weekend while cooking for some friends. With a menu that included Arancini (deep fat frying!) and meringues (precise measurements needed!) I thought it would be the perfect time to see if they cut the mustard. I was most of all excited to use the thermometer while frying, having used nothing more advanced than the ‘drop a breadcrumb in and see if it sizzles’ method when cooking my amazing Buttermilk Fried Chicken.
On first glance, the tools are very lovely looking: sleek and white. They were welcome in my kitchen for their looks alone ;) Using the scale without the app it works exactly as any other scale will, with various weight measurements (including liquids) available. But switch on the app and pair the device and there’s a whole other world of weighing available to you…
Setting a target on the app, I measured out the caster sugar for my meringues more technologically than I ever have before. This scale goes up to a whopping 10kg and there was no need to worry about overhang from big bowls over the display that usually causes me to miss the numbers: I just watched my numbers go up on the app instead.
Just to be on the safe side, Meringues being the flighty beasts they are, I used the thermometer to check the temperature for the oven would be correct. Pleasingly, at an oven temperature of 160 degrees C my Salter Cook thermometer was registering at 158.
The resulting pudding was pretty special:
Although you can link your recipes to the app and easily tap through to set your temperatures, weights and timings, I tend to cook more from memory. And where the Salter Cook thermometer really came into its own for me was when making Arancini – deep fried risotto balls stuffed with mozarella (I base my recipe on Felicity Cloake’s).
For these and other recipes that require deep frying I’d only ever been able to check the temperature of the oil using sight and instinct, so for me being able to use such an exact probe was brilliant. For my Arancini the oil should reach 170-180 degrees, and using the measure meant the resulting dish was perfect: golden-brown with melty cheese on the inside.
Setting the target of 170 degrees for my oil also meant I could potter around the kitchen while it heated, the alarm alerting me when it was ready which meant there was no need to hover around with an eye on the temperature.
The Salter Cook tools really do mesh my love of two awesome things – tech and cooking – and though I was a little dubious at first, they’ve made a huge difference to my gastronomic process. All visitors to my house have had a full demonstration of how they work and my dad has already requested a matching scale and thermometer for his next birthday.
In short: I’m sold on kitchen tech, the wifi kettle will be making my morning brew before you know it. You can be sold, too… the scale is £79.99 and thermometer £49.99 on Amazon, but for a time you can buy both for £99.99 (saving £29.98) on Salter’s website. You can also purchase from John Lewis, Steamer and Argos. Happy cooking!
Thanks to Salter for sending me these fabulous kitchen tools. Get 20% off on the Salter website with the code ‘MoreThanToast’.