Shrove Tuesday was traditionally the day where rich foods were used up before lent, with the origins of pancake-eating being part Christian and part Pagan. It has evolved into the day where we dig the plastic squeezy lemon out of the cupboard, try our hand at flipping and argue about whether syrup or citrus makes for the best topping. Some parts of the country still hold pancake races, although most of us enjoy our pancakes at home, with family. But how to best prepare for the next pancake day or big family feast? By making sure your kitchen is in order, of course.
Here are our five tips for getting your kitchen sorted.
1. Keep it clean
The newer ovens often come with self-cleaning features, such as catalytic liners as well as high temperature or steam-cleaning settings to leave you with a sparkling oven that’s free of food debris. But most of us are more concerned with cleaning the hob, as that’s where most of the spills occur, especially with pancake batter. It’s here that ceramic and induction hobs come into their own. Traditional gas rings or electric elements leave lots of uneven surfaces and crevices for dirt to get stuck in and burnt on to.
2. Invest in heat control
Making pancakes is all about the mix and the heat control, which is why you often find yourself throwing the first one away. Always pre-heat the pan for a few minutes before you cook. You may also wish to consider a wok burner, which will give you plenty of heat and lots of control. You can fit these in a traditional hob, or as part of a mixed ceramic or induction hob (often referred to as ‘domino hobs’).
3. Create a good layout
A good kitchen is as much about the design of the layout as it is the appliances that you have. You want to have a good path from the ingredients to the mixing bowls and the hob. The typical kitchen triangle is designed for a clear path from fridge to cooker to sink, but you may have your own list of top priority pathways. Before you decide on kitchen layout, you should think about how you work in there and how you most like to prepare food. Consider whether you like to have breakfast on stools at a worktop or get out and leave the washing up out of your sight.
4. Sort the extraction for smoke and steam
Cooking can be a steamy and smoky business, with pancake frying and flipping being something that’s sure to fill the kitchen with smoke, as well as set the smoke alarms off. The best modern kitchens are well-ventilated and, most importantly, have good extraction to draw out any smoke or steam, as well as the invisible drops of oil that will splash around as you cook. You know, the stuff that ends up all over the wall behind the hob or coats the cooker hood. A stand-alone extractor fan for the kitchen is a good idea, but a powerful extractor hood is the best buy for any serious cook. Price is generally a good guide to power, so do go with the best you can afford. If you can’t fit an extractor hood, then choose one with good charcoal filters.
5. Call in the pros
Whether it’s advising you on which kind of extractor to fit or finding out just how many burners you can have on your hob, it’s always good to call in a kitchen professional when thinking about overhauling your kitchen. We mostly associate kitchen fitters and designers with measuring up and building kitchen cabinets, but they can do a lot to enhance the layout, advise on paints and colours and even let you know just what can and can’t be moved around, from combi boilers to sinks and dishwashers. They may also be able to secure deals or extended guarantees on certain brands if they are approved suppliers and fitters.
Have a question about your kitchen? Ask our registered kitchen fitters in our Ask an expert section.