Food writer Ed Smith’s practically perfect kitchen

Food writer Ed Smith’s practically perfect kitchen

Food writer Ed Smith’s practically perfect kitchen

Functionality as well as good looks add up to a stylish space that has it all

(Read to the bottom to spot our pan!...Netherton)

Ed Smith, THE TIMES Magazine, October 14 2017

Without wishing to be clichéd, the kitchen really is the heart of my home. It’s where I spend virtually all of my time apart from sleeping. I cook for my family, but it’s also where I make my living, creating recipes and writing cookbooks.

My London flat is open-plan and not very big, but it has everything that you need. My knife rack is on the wall close at hand. I could probably cook with my eyes closed, I use it so much.

We’ve got high ceilings, so my Kilner jars of pickles sit on top of the cabinets. I love fermenting food, it’s a great way to add crunch and sourness to dishes. My perfect kitchen has a counter looking out over the room. I like being involved in the conversation when I cook, and cooking at a counter is very social. It has a professional-style stainless-steel top that’s easy to clean and can take hot pans without any worries about damaging it. It’s a psychological thing. Stainless steel makes me feel like I’m back in a restaurant kitchen – it gets me into work mode.

The tiles are stylish and simple but quirky, and the dark cupboards are contemporary but functional. You pick up too many smudges with a white kitchen. I know I’d get one dirty quite quickly. Practicality wins every time for me, though I still appreciate style and I use items on display, like my jars and chopping boards, to add character and decoration. I always have a sturdy mortar and pestle – a real smasher. I think lots of cooking is still best done in a tactile way. You get better results doing, say, a pesto by hand. It’s like gas hobs. Gas is really reactive and primal.

I’ve only recently allowed a microwave back into the kitchen. We got rid of the last one but we’ve just had a baby and I’ve relented because otherwise sterilising everything becomes a pain. He’s only ten weeks, but I can see myself writing children’s recipes in the future, and I’m planning to strap him to my chest and cook – whether he likes it or not. Here, I’ve tried to create a good-looking kitchen that‘s also functional. I’ve used the traditional chef’s triangle, having a hob, fridge and sink each on a point without anything impeding your route. It’s more efficient that way.

Two ovens are a luxury. It’s not just about capacity, it’s being able to cook different things at the optimum temperature at the same time. Grundig’s Divide and Cook oven does this in one unit; it’s like having a double oven in the space of a single oven. Thanks to the ceramic divider I can use the whole oven or split it into two. It also comes with a meat optimiser, so you can just set it to how you like your meat cooked. I hate wasting food, and I think we should applaud initiatives such as Grundig’s Respect Food campaign, which is a commitment to reducing food waste and developing appliances to keep food fresh for as long as possible.

At home, I give myself a Ready Steady Cook challenge to clear the odd bits left in my fridge. Typically, I’ll have a fridge forage on a Monday or Tuesday when I haven’t got round to doing the weekly shop, so I’ll make a dish from the last of the greens and gnarly bits. Broccoli and cauliflower stems often end up being thrown away, but they are actually delicious. If in doubt, add anchovies, Parmesan, bacon and/or an egg, and you’ve got the makings of a decent meal.

 Ed Smith, is a cook and author of ‘On the Side: a Sourcebook of Inspiring Dishes’, and the food blog, www.rocketandsquash.com

Get the look

The key accessories that bring Ed Smith’s ultimate kitchen to life

KitchenAid

It’s important that cooks know how to do things by hand, but let’s be honest: life is too short to whip up meringues using elbow grease alone. I’m happy to whisk up to about 600ml, but beyond that, and for doughs and so on, a stand mixer like a KitchenAid is so much quicker. KitchenAid Artisan in Empire Red, £499.99 johnlewis.com
 

Oven
My actual oven is pretty dirty because it’s constantly in use. Sometimes if I’ve slow-cooked lamb or roasted something pungent, fats and odour can linger. I don’t really want that when, immediately afterwards, I may want to bake a cake or a refined dessert. Of course, with Grundig’s Divide and Cook oven, I can cook two dishes at the same time at two different temperatures with no mingling of odours. It also has a self-cleaning function, which saves me so much time and mess after I’ve been cooking different dishes. Grundig GEZST47000BP Divide and Cook, £899, grundig.co.uk

 

Paint
This kind of blue-grey has an elegant moodiness to it, which I think is more contemporary than a wooden kitchen. I’d happily paint my living room this colour, so I like the idea of taking it into my kitchen as a space I want to enjoy spending time in. Farrow & Ball “Stiffkey blue No 281”, £43.50 for a 2.5l emulsion,], farrow-ball.com

 

Knives
The Japanese have a great history of knife-making – just think of Samurai swords. I find steel ones to be slightly thinner and lighter than European-style knives, which I think explains why Japanese knives are really popular with professional chefs over here. A good knife is essential in the kitchen, and the best are refined, reliably sharp and make endless hours of cutting and slicing a pleasure. Misono UX10 Gyuton #711 and Honesuki #741, £210 and £245, knivesforchefs.co.uk

 

Kettle
I’m a bit of a coffee snob and this pour-over kettle is one of my geekiest gadgets. With a regular kettle, you dump all the water in at the same time and it just rushes through the grinds, but with this spout you have complete control as you pour. Hario V60 Buono Large, £55, hario.co.uk

 

Stool
I find most barstools rather ugly – clunky and over-designed — but do see the value of being able to eat or sit at a kitchen counter. These Swedish-made ones are very neat and timeless. Sleek stools aren’t comfortable most of the time, but the cork tops on these buck the normal trend. Hem “Drifted”, about £200, hem.comhem.com

 

Pan
Using spun iron frying pans is an old school way of cooking — rather than having a non-stick coating, they build up a really durable patina over time as you cook with them. They are very no frills but I enjoy that. I think they’ve an innate style. Netherton Foundry 12in (30cm) spun iron pan, £57.50, netherton-foundry.co.uk

 

Pestle and mortar
I use a pestle and mortar all the time to smash up garlic or grind spices. Some things just taste better when made by hand. There is something about the flavour of a rustic, hand smashed sauce or paste that just isn’t there if you use a machine to blitz the same ingredients. Granite, £42.50, souschef.co.uk

 

Apron
I suppose my apron is like my work uniform. It gets me into the mind-set of cooking and creating. Enrich & Endure makes really well designed aprons, with classy stylistic elements that won’t go out of fashion. Plus they are made from this beautiful, tactile linen, which just feels really nice to put on. Enrich and Endure ‘Hubbard’, £65, enrichandendure.com

This article was originally printed in The Times Magazine Saturday 14/10/17, in association with Grundig.  If you want to read the orginal, it's on-line at:                                Copyright: The Times.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/static/my-ultimate-kitchen/food-writer-ed-smith-imagines-his-practically-perfect-kitchen/


Ed Smith is making quite a name for himself in the world of food writing. Find out more about Ed here:

Rocket and Squash website.

@Rocket&Squash on facebook

Have a look at Ed's latest book ON THE SIDE

A sourcebook of inspiring side dishes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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