Simple and tasty summer cooking: 8 essential kitchen must-haves every aspiring home chef needs

Woman sprinkling herbs over mixed-leaf salad made in the kitchen at home with utensils from Aldiss in Norwich

With utensils like herb scissors and gourmet knife sets, it's simple to prepare light, fragrant salads. - Credit: Getty Images

How to whip up some stunning summer dishes at home and everything you’ll need to get started.

“There’s no better way to welcome the warm weather than a party in the garden with family and friends,” says Tina Barkway, Trading Director from Aldiss department store in Norfolk. “This season is the perfect time to put your cooking skills to the test, try out new recipes and make the most of outdoor dining.”

Below, Tina shares her favourite summer recipe for BBQ chicken and asparagus salad, as well as the kitchen must-haves you’ll need to make it.

1. Herb scissors

“The secret to great summer cuisine is making the dishes fragrant and refreshing,” Tina says. “The easiest way to achieve this is using fresh herbs like basil, chives and lemongrass.”

"One of my favourite gadgets is a pair of herb scissors. You can finely cut herbs to sprinkle on top of pasta dishes, salads and chicken."

“The scissors are lightweight, slimline and easy to use,” Tina adds. “The accompanying brush enables effortless cleaning, which is handy when you’re preparing a variety of herbs.”

2. Salter electronic bowl scale

Useful for both baking and cooking, an electronic scale can ensure pinpoint precision, allowing you to tackle more complicated recipes with ease.

“You can save on washing up by measuring multiple ingredients in the same bowl,” Tina says. “The scale is straightforward to use and takes up minimal space on your counter. It’s ideal for efficient food preparation.”

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3. Kilner preserving jars

Summer is the best time to get busy in the garden. If you grow fruit and vegetables, you can use them to create delicious jams, chutneys and marinades, adding flavour to your breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes.

“You can store your marinades in a Kilner jar to ensure they last longer and retain their bold flavour,” Tina suggests.

4. Judge stainless steel three-tier steamer

“Fresh vegetables make the best side dishes for summer dinners,” Tina adds.

Kitchen utensils and cooking gadgets from the KitchenAid range at Aldiss in Norwich

The first step for any aspiring home cook is to stock the kitchen well. You can find everything you'll need in the KitchenAid range. - Credit: Aldiss

Using a three-tier steamer allows you to prepare several vegetable accompaniments at once, healthily, and without taking up the entire cooker.

“The steamer works on all hobs and is dishwasher safe,” Tina reveals. “The double-sided handles enable you to easily lift each stack and the bottom pan has a thermic base which can be used as a bain-marie to perfectly steam asparagus.”

5. Utensils from the KitchenAid range

One of the most important steps for any aspiring home cook is to have a well-stocked kitchen.

“Explore the new KitchenAid range to discover all the essential utensils, including spatulas, gourmet knife blocks and strainers, that you need to try out new dishes,” Tina says. “Additions like a digital mini timer and prep bowls will help you bring recipes to life.”

6. Soft linens from the Sophie Allport Hare set

It’s also important to stay safe in the kitchen.

“You can find matching oven gloves, pot grabs, hob covers and aprons in the Sophie Allport range,” Tina says. “The quaint hare and bee designs will add a stylish twist to your kitchen décor.”

Mixing bowls and kitchen utensils from the KitchenAid range on sale at Aldiss in Norfolk

Find matching kitchen essentials, all in red, from the KitchenAid range, perfect for cooking delicious summer treats. - Credit: Aldiss

For a gorgeous outdoor dining table, you can find napkins and table runners in the same print.

“Each piece is machine washable at 30 degrees, so it’s easy to keep your linens looking fresh,” Tina adds.

7. Pieces from The Mary Berry Signature collection

Food should not only taste good but look appetising as well.  

“We eat with our eyes, which is why finding beautiful dinnerware to serve your food on can only enhance your meal,” Tina explains. “The delicate and sophisticated Mary Berry Signature dinner set is perfect for daily use and special occasions.”

“The elegant flower and bird design accessories add natural charm to your home, and will provide you with all the pieces you need to host a stunning summer feast.”

Elderflower Lemon Cake baked using kitchen essential and tools found at Aldiss Department Store in Norfolk

Salter's electronic bowl scale and Mason Cash's heritage cake tins are ideal for baking this summer favourite - elderflower and lemon cake. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

8. Mason Cash heritage cake tins

“A silky sponge cake is a great way to complete your alfresco menu and is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser,” Tina says. “Two of my favourites to bake in the summer are a strawberry sponge or elderflower and lemon cake.”

To ensure your bake remains fresh and moist, store it in a Mason Cash heritage cake tin. The hard-wearing set includes a six-litre and four-litre tin, to fit both small and large desserts.

To kit your kitchen out in time for summer, visit aldiss.com or stop by one of Aldiss’ Norwich or Fakenham stores.