My favourite kitchen appliances

My favourite kitchen appliances are perhaps rather different to yours; it's always worth weighing the opinions of others. There might be a gem waiting for you.

I have written extensively in this column about our wheat grinder and the bread oven that are used daily in our green-kitchen, so I will say nothing more about them; nor about the fridge or gas stove.

Old-fashioned electric stoves really have no place in the modern home as far as I am concerned; they are slow, greedy users of power and useless during load shedding.

Gas ovens get bad-press, but never having owned one, I will not comment.

Our electric-oven is used several times a week, but always during the day when the sun is shining; it draws 2 kW, same as a kettle. Remaining connected to a stable grid is an option for those who rely on solar for most of their energy; but it opens you to nasty voltage spikes in countries like South Africa.

Our recommendation is to remain connected to the grid but to change to prepaid vouchers; the main breaker remains firmly in the off position except for the occasional need during inclement weather.

My favourite kitchen appliances.

Going green and contemplating going off the grid does mean changing the way one does things, and there is some unavoidable inconvenience and irritation unless you have a very large battery-bank.

Those appliances that draw a lot of current are not used after hours. If roasting the goose and baking the Christmas-pudding can only be done when there is adequate sunlight, and it makes a tiny contribution to saving the planet from global warming, then so be it. 

The next most loved appliance is undoubtedly our tabletop induction-stove. It uses half the electricity of a conventional hob, and works twice as fast; it is a must in my book, and not expensive. They start at about R600. Look for one that can go as low as 200 W or the rolled oats will boil over. They must have a surge detector plug to protect them from a love letter from the utility's supply.

They do not work with copper or aluminium-bottomed pots which conduct electricity too well, with none of the eddy currents that cause the warming. There is no connecting element between the stove and the saucepan; the metal itself is heated directly.

Here is a comment about load-shedding. If the power goes off, drop the main breaker and do not turn it on again for at least five minutes after the electricity has been restored and the voltage has stabilised.


"I work in the interior design business and I can’t tell how many super high-end kitchens I walk into that are totally characterless and bland; completely devoid of clutter and utterly lifeless."

- Chris Pretorius


Our stick blender finds work constantly in making soups and our homemade hummus; look for the more powerful devices and do not use them to break up ice-cubes. They are so much easier to clean, except for turmeric which stains the appliance.

Generally the stick-blender is much more friendly than our old, very heavy Kenwood that only rarely gets pulled out of the cupboard these days.

But we do have two small inexpensive blenders. One is dedicated to grinding spices like cumin, and various seeds such as flax and sunflower; and the other for coffee-beans. Both are important in our family and are used very frequently; I have no fear of caffeine.

Our Hawo wheat mill gives us 100 percent wholemeal.

True 100% whole grains are really quite difficult to find; brown rice is one exception but most folk are not fond of it. There is a big fat lie about wholemeal flour; millers are allowed to label it as such provided they do not remove more than half of the bran and germ. That's where the vitamins, protein and fibre are found; and the very important lignans, let every woman take note.

So we have our own mill for corn and wheat; then meal and flour costs less than a quarter of that on supermarket shelves.

This bread machine loaf is delicious beyond belief and so nutritious; sourdough can be enjoyed by most of those who are gluten intolerant.

I was surprised to read in the Witness recently of some poor folk complaining of the cost of electricity, so that they could not afford to use an iron. It remains in my green-mind as one of the most environmentally unfriendly and useless appliances. By shaking out wet garments directly as they come out of the washing machine, one barely needs to press clothes in any case.

The iron contributes directly to the overload on Eskom and to my mind serves no useful purpose.

Neatly-ironed clothes need to go except for high, but certainly not holy days; opera, the violin and football we will keep, thank you very much. What about the suit and tie, you may ask? Not even at weddings and funerals do folk wear them any longer. They seem to be reserved for lawyers and Eurocentric politicians; we have plenty of them in the South African parliament.

I remain unsure whether the microwave is detrimental to our wellness; perhaps the suspicion is fake news, but we use ours only for reheating cold-food.

A food-processor has only once been a feature in our kitchen; it was useless and the prongs bent when slicing chips, and we were put off for life. Solar would handle the small motor with ease should you have one. The Kenwood is almost never used; since we stopped baking cakes. Refined flour has no place in our green kitchen.

Christmas is coming; have a wonderful festive season, drive carefully and soberly and try to make sure it is only the goose and not you that is getting fat.

My favourite kitchen appliances

My favourite kitchen appliances include the induction-stove and the stick blender. The wheat grinder and bread oven rank very highly. Say goodbye to the iron.

Equally of interest are my favourite kitchen utensils.


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Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, the family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
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