FOOD blogger Chandra Patel writes:

I carry the scars of various disasters in the kitchen over the years, especially related to my day-to-day gadgets!

My gadgets nowadays are limited in number, kept readily to hand and are tried and tested to be super useful for blending, making sauces and grinding spices. I do have others but admit most of them are stored away and pretty much forgotten. One which springs to mind was the foaming gadget I bought - an outright kitchen fail.

I even bought a slow cooker with a timer, to cook whilst at work. Hmm! The problem was I had nightmares about the house setting on fire, so this now sits on the workspace loaded with empty containers!

Nowadays I keep to what I know and try to limit my technical innovations to next to nothing.Simple is best and allows me to focus on the food itself, rather than the process.

Gadgets are more present in the kitchen than any other room in the house; coffee machine, soup maker, spiralizer etc. Some may say it’s like cooking with an extra pair of hands, making the process easier.

Good quality, long-lasting kitchen gadgets are an investment. Some people with stylish kitchens may have fancy kit on display as part of their showpiece kitchen, but hopefully even more reluctant cooks might be inspired to experiment if they take a little time to find out what gadgets can do for them.

If I have to spend too much time setting up the gadget, washing it, drying it and then storing it away is just far too much bother. I’m not a bona fide kitchen pro and I find that my home-chef life brings me much therapeutic joy through manual chopping and stirring.

Do you have a favourite gadget? Is there something everyone rates as a “must-have” in the kitchen? It would be great to hear!

Here’s my recipe for this week - Spiced Mushroom Soup. Autumn is my favourite season; the beautiful autumnal colours, the morning light seeping through fallen leafed trees. It’s simply beautiful. Flashbacks of running home from school collecting conkers.

With the cold dark nights, warm comfort food is calling. This recipe is just the job - hearty, spicy, quick.


1 onion, roughly chopped

1 punnet button mushrooms, medium slices

1 punnet shitake mushrooms. Medium slices or two of the same type

4 tsp ginger, grated, fresh, frozen or jar

2 tsp green chilli, chopped, fresh, frozen or jar

2 tsp garlic, chopped, fresh, frozen or jar

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp coriander powder

½ heap tsp turmeric

½ -1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 vegetable stock cube

Handful coriander chopped, fresh or frozen

Salt to taste

1 tsp coarse crushed black pepper

4 tbsp single or double cream of choice (optional), vegan option - plant cream, home-made cashew cream (soaked and blitz) or coconut cream


* Pre-heat oven to 180

* In a roasting tray throw in the mushrooms, onion, oil, soy sauce and spices. Roast for 20 mins

* In a deep pan, crumble stock cube into 750ml water, simmer for a minute

* Once the onions and mushrooms are roasted, set aside some mushrooms for garnishing

* Carefully place the pan of water on a flat surface, tip in the mushroom mix

* With a hand blender whizz the stock and mushroom to required consistency

* Return to the cooker, gently simmer, stir in the cream, season

* Garnish with reserved mushrooms and chopped coriander

TIP - a great recipe for batch cooking which can be frozen.

* More of Chandra’s recipes @leedshomecook