It seems that every five minutes another must-have piece of kitchen gadgetry is hitting the shelves as Kiwis hunger for more exotic flavours. Having scoured the world for the cutting edge of kitchen tech, I've uncovered cooking gadgetry that combines science, insanity and technology in equal measures with the culinary arts.
Here's our top ten extreme kitchen gadget picks:
#1 The Pacojet
With summer looming, large, fluffy, fragrant sorbets are bound to be a crowd pleaser. If you're feeling more than a little jaded with the current crop of sorbets, check out the Pacojet. There isn't much that it can't make into a sorbet.
In theory the Pacojet looks dead easy to drive. According to its manufacturer, you simply freeze the sorbet ingredients in the Pacojet's beaker, attach it and let the blade (which spins up at 2,000 rpm), slice the frozen goodies into incredibly thin layers (at less than two microns thick).
Air trapped between the layers of ice crystals also gives the ingredients a super light and creamy texture.
Best of all, the Pacojet (in theory) can make anything that's able to be frozen in its beaker into a fully-fledged sorbet. One of the more extreme dishes reportedly made is a crayfish sorbet - shell and all. Pacojet's Swiss makers say that because there is no heating required to make sorbet syrups, fresh flavours are able to be preserved and the resulting sorbets are far more nutritious.
There's nothing quite like knocking out a cocktail to welcome guests when entertaining, but let's face it, a shaker is nowhere near as much fun as the Tailgator - the rev-head's answer to a blender that puts testosterone back into drink making.
Powered by the same 25cc Poulan 2-stroke, 2 ¼ HP petrol motor as used in a multitude of chainsaws, there isn't much that the Tailgator can't blend. Its manufacturers say that the Tailgator can blend a full load of ice into slush in a mere 11 seconds. The Tailgator is also pretty economical to run and is rated at 6,500 mpg (Margarita's per gallon).
There's a good reason why the the Heidolph VV Micro Evaporator resembles something out of a mad scientists lab from a B-grade 60's sci-fi flick. It is a piece of lab equipment, a micro distillery - designed from the ground up to extract flavours from almost anything.
Ingredients are placed in its glass evaporation container which is rotated in a bath of hot water. Because air pressure in the evaporation container is reduced, the boiling point is lowered to 45c, which helps preserve flavours that'd be otherwise destroyed at a normal boiling point. As moisture from the boiled ingredients seeps out, they rise into a condenser tube, where they're cooled and collected as a clear liquid that can add intense flavours to dishes.
If you're wanting to boldly go where kitchen kind has never been in order to get your culinary trekkie mojo happening, Star Trek cookie cutters may be just what bones ordered. Shaped in a variety of symbols from the old sci-fi TV series, the cutters are also spring loaded, making them a doddle to use.
If you're more of a savoury sort of Trekkie, you may want to check out the enterprise pizza cutter. Shaped like the famous starship with a pizza cutting wheel, you'll be slicing peperoni at warp 5 before Scotty can yell "you cannae change the laws of mozzarella captain!!"
With summer nearly upon us, it's almost time to think about so getting some BBQ action underway. Unfortunately most BBQs tend to be unplanned affairs that simply don't allow enough time to really marinate that choice cut of meat before it gets plunked on the hot grill which more often than not means you're left with limp flavours that are just lacking.
Enter stage left the Reveo MariVac Food Tumbler. Not only can it reduce marinating time by hours, but it can get that carefully thought out marinade into nearly every nook and cranny of that meat with consummate ease.
This marinating magic is worked because the reveo removes all the air in the container where the meat and marinade are placed. This causes the meat's fibers to open up and expand, creating more surface area to come into contact with the marinade. The container also slowly rotates so that more of the meat meets the marinade. Genius.
Staying with all things BBQ related, there's nothing like that taste you get with freshly smoked food, however smoking can be a messy affair that'll either make your eyes water, alienate the neighbours and/or set off smoke detectors. Thankfully an easier, high-tech alternative is available in the form of the smoking gun.
Essentially a fancy alternative to the smoker boxes of old, the gun pumps out cool smoke which means it'll work on foods that were previously considered un-smokeable like salads, sauces - even chocolate. The Smoking Gun works by the feeding wood chips, herbs, spices, tea leaves, or even dried flowers into its top. Nicer still, the Smoking Gun also uses AA batteries which makes it portable too.
Resembling something like Grandad used to spray the roses with, the Handspresso is a go anywhere espresso machine that'll ensure that the death before decaf crowd can get their fix no matter where they are.
Perhaps the most nifty thing about the Handspresso is its sheer portability. Its ultra-petite formfactor means you can pretty much get a caffeine hit anywhere. Using a bit of old-fashioned elbow-grease the Handspresso is pressurised to 16-bars by pumping it up just like with a bicycle pump. Simply add hot water, coffee grounds (there's an optional adaptor for coffee pods) and you've got espresso to go. There's no batteries or electricity needed, so banishing that instant muck or semi tasteless drip filter rubbish becomes almost effortless.
As much as I love to cook for guests, the rangehood in our kitchen is a conversation killer as it puts out about as much noise as a fully laden passenger jet taking off. This has long been the curse of well-heeled foodies who've had the choice of less food aromas and smoke plus hearing damage or being smogged out in their own kitchens.
This conundrum has obviously occurred to the folks at Schwigen who've done the seemingly impossible. They've designed a whisper quiet rangehood that'll extract cooking fumes out of the kitchen, allowing a civilised conversation with dinner guests. Not a single set of ear plugs was harmed when using the Schweigen rangehood.
This magic is worked by the range hood's motor being located away from the actual hood and closer to where the extractor exits your house. Either way, noise and fumes are removed from the kitchen which stays whisper quiet allowing you to cook up a storm without it sounding as if a storm is brewing in your kitchen.
We recently adopted an ex-racing greyhound who has the ability to stealthily steal an incredible variety of food from the kitchen. We're seriously thinking of renaming her Insinkerator, given her ability to dispose of such an array.
If you're not lucky enough to be the proud owner of a greyhound with ninja-like counter surfing capabilities, getting rid of those scraps quickly and easily can be done with a real insinkerator. Where waste disposal units of old were semi industrial sounding beasts that cranked out a fearsome amount of noise, the Insinkerator evolution can do its thing at a barely audible whisper. According to its makers, the insinkerator evolution is up to 60 per cent quieter than previous models so your kitchen needn't sound like a sawmill as you dispose of food scraps
#10 The Anti-Girdle
It may sound like an overly complicated piece of old school lingere, but the Anti-Griddle is as clever as it is innovative. The Anti-Girdle is the cold alternate to a hotplate grill thanks to a system of pumps which moves refrigerants through its cold plate to maintain below freezing temperatures.
Just as you'd use a hotplate to stir-fry food, the Anti-Griddle allows you to craft deserts that are frozen on the outside but liquid inside, meaning treats such as whipped-cream pancakes are possible. Now how awesome is that?