Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Cutting Edge

Have you ever tried to cut something with a less than sharp knife?  You tear, you pull and it is a lot of frustrating hard work. Any chef worth their salt (ever wondered where this saying comes from? See below) will have their own knives which they look after and covet.  There are some great makes of knives on the market today, such as Global (usually the chef’s choice), Sabatier, ICEL (from Portugal) and I have had many during my life in the kitchen.

A good knife is a very personal choice.  I prefer a 13cm Santoku to an 18cm Santoku but have never been fond of a paring knife. Santoku is the knife with the little indents along the blade.  These create air pockets therefore stopping the food sticking so much to the blade and easier to slide off.  Stops that syndrome when you start out with a nice slice of cheese, for example, and end up with a thin wedge after trying to slide if off the blade.

A good knife is made up of eight main parts and I am going to be referring to the German Forged Steel range of The Pampered Chef (www.pamperedchef.biz/partieswithHeidi).  If you are going to part with a lot of money then you need to treat these knives with respect.  They come with a life time guarantee. I recommend that in a normal domestic kitchen situation you stop what you are doing, clean your knife in hot soapy water (do not use a dishwasher as this will dull the blade and may cause rust spots)

1.       Blade:  they are made of high-carbon German steel, finely crafted through a forging process. This helps to maintain a perfect edge and keep their shape and sharpness. They are stain resistant and corrosion resistant. When the blade is made up of one piece of steel from the tip to the end of the handle this is called “full tang”.

2.       Tip:  of the blade is the front end which is used to cut small or delicate pieces of food or to pierce.

3.       Edge: Working part of the blade. The part you can sharpen from the tip to the heel.

4.       Heel: Rear part of the blade, used for cutting items that require a bit more force.

5.       Spine: The top of the blade, opposite the edge which adds weight and strength.

The best way to store your knives is in a knife block and the Pampered Chef has one to fit their whole range of forged steel cutlery.  If you don’t have a knife block then keep the protective covers on your knives when you store them away.  The cover protects the knife blade from damage from other knives in the drawer but also protects you from serious injury!

Before purchasing a new knife you should try it out.  You might think you will like a particular size or style but when you use it you may decide differently. 

I will be holding a knife Masterclass where you can try several different Pampered Chef ranges of knives and sizes at my house on Friday 11 November 2011 8:00-9:30 pm.  If you live near St Albans and want to attend send me a message and I will see if there are places available.  The Masterclass is limited to 6 places so don’t delay if you want to attend.  We will be trying the whole range of forged knives as well as the colour coated range and self sharpening range.  We will also try using the chef’s knives in a proper and professional manner which should improve your chopping skills.

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