Kitchen gadgets for stress-free cooking

No matter how many celebrity chefs and cooking competitions are thrown at us, some of us just aren't destined for culinary perfection. But it is possible to make life easier in the kitchen with these handy gadgets.

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Potato ricer
Say goodbye to lumpy mash forever with this handy, easy-to-use gadget. They work effectively like a garlic press, forcing your boiled spuds through tiny holes to produce a smooth texture that's just aching for some butter and cream. Ranging from the very reasonable price of £11.99 through to a pricier £25 version, even top chefs swear by them.

Hand blender
Literally one of the handiest kitchen gadgets available, invest in a hand blender and you'll be producing super-smooth soups and whisking egg whites effortlessly. Starting at just £9.99 for a basic model, other are available with accessories from around £29, but the Cuisinart Professional Hand Blender (£75) gives excellent control thanks to a variable speed dial, and comes with three attachments, enabling you to chop, puree, blend, whisk and beat at the touch of a button.

Cheese grater
Not just any cheese grater - the Microplane Cheese Grater with Slider. With an angled, non-slip bar, the Microplane Gourmet Graters allow for easy grating with no movement and are a hit with chefs. Available in three grades, coarse, ribbon and fine, the graters themselves start at around £21. But to make life even easier, invest in the Microplane Slider, which allows you to get at that troublesome last piece of cheese without fear of injury.

Spice grinder
If you like your food spicy, a spice grinder can add a little zing to your cooking. You can pick up a basic grinder for around £12.99, but the Revel Wet'N'Dry Grinder is excellent value at £28.37 and does exactly what it says on the tin. It'll even grind coffee for that fresh morning cup.

Meat thermometer
Make under-cooked roasts a thing of the past with a meat thermometer. Basic models can be bought for £4.99 but if the idea of a lazy Sunday roast is what appeals, Lakeland sell a digital thermometer that will allow you to relax. The probe is inserted into the meat while the digital display attaches to the outside of the oven door, showing you what the temperature of the meat is during cooking and with the additional feature of a beep to let you know when it's done. And since it's just as happy in a saucepan, it's excellent value at just £19.99.

Triple timer
We all know timing is everything with cooking but you can put an end to kitchen nightmares with a three-in-one timer. Simply programme your timer to let you know when each of your courses is ready and hey presto! Dinner party disaster averted! And with prices from around the £16.95 mark, that's a gadget worth having.

What's your favourite kitchen gadget? Leave your comments below...