Best Ice Cream Makers

Why bother with home made ice cream? Because you can control the ingredients, you can use fresh fruit and luscious cream, and exclude all the artificial flavors and additives that you get in store bought ice cream.

cuisinart ice cream makerIce cream makers take the effort out of it, there’s an electric mixing paddle to beat the mixture stiff. The built in freezer bowls mean that the mixture cools immediately. This is homemade icecream with a gadget to do the tough bits.

Here are the best ice cream makers available:

Cuisinart Ice Cream makers

Cuisinart ice cream makers are easy to operate. You make sure that the freezer bowl is cold before you start (keep it always in the freezer). Then when you need to make icecream, get it out, place it in the ice cream maker, put the mixing bowl inside it, lock the lid into place, turn it on, and then add the ingredients through the spout.

You will see the bowl turning as it mixes and cools the ingredients. It should take about 30 minutes to make your icecream (or frozen yoghurt or sorbet). Then just scoop everything out into a freezer container and store in the freezer for when you want to eat it.

Cuisinart ICE-30BC 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker

This version is made from brushed stainless steel, holds 2 quarts of ice cream, and comes with a double insulated freezer bowl (which needs pre-freezing), and recipes are included in the instruction booklet.

You also get a three year warranty.
Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker

This version is smaller – it holds one and a half quarts. It comes in twelve different colors though – turquoise, white, red, orange, lemon, lime green, raspberry, berry blue, dark blue, dark purple, magenta and plum. (Click the link to see all the options).
Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker

This is the super-deluxe version.

It comes with a commercial compressor, with a double paddle – one for gelatos (which need aerating) and the other for traditional icecream. The mixing bowl is anodized aluminum which means there is no need to pre freeze it (which saves about a day’s waiting) – in other words this is a quick ice cream maker. It has a touchpad control panel with LCD readout.

Get this if you are really serious about icecream and need to make multiple batches – because the bowl does not require pre-freezing, you can make batch after batch.

Lello Ice Cream Makers

All Lello ice cream makers have built in compressors which means you don’t need to pre freeze the bowl (unlike the cheaper cuisinart versions shown above).

Because the compressor operates continuously, you can churn out multiple types of ice cream if you want, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry etc, one after the other – this is the closest thing you can get to an automatic ice cream maker. The bowls are removable and you get a 1 year limited warranty with your machine. They include a booklet full of recipes, plus an ice cream scoop with their machines.

Lello ice cream makers are made in Italy and are top quality as far as ice cream maker brands go.

Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker

This is one and a half quarts, and is made from stainless steel (which makes it pretty heavy, but robust). This is the best Lello ice cream maker in my opinion, it should last you for decades.
Lello 4090 Gelato Pro Quart Ice Cream Maker

This is a two quart machine. It is considerably cheaper because it is plastic rather than stainless steel.

Best Olive Oil Dispensers

If you cook with olive oil, you will require an oil dispenser that releases just the right amount of oil and doesn’t completely drench everything in it. Here are the best olive oil dispensers available:

The Rachael Ray Stoneware Oil Dispenser

rachael ray olive oil dispenser This oil dispenser is made from opaque stoneware which helps keep light away from your oil, which in turn preserves it longer.

Thanks to the built in handle and narrow spout, it is easy to pour and control the flow of oil.

It holds 24 ounces which is quite a lot – only go for this size oil dispenser of you go through a lot of oil. It is also dishwasher safe.

It comes in a range of colors – see below:


Chef’s Planet Oil Dispenser

chef's planet oil dispenser This is a glass dispenser with a beautifully rounded shape that looks good when on display in the kitchen.

The glass is tough shatter-proof borosilicate glass, which is safe in dishwashers. It comes with a collar around the spout to ensure that oil doesn’t drip as you pour. It has a 30 ounce capacity.

Though this is an oil dispenser, you can use it to hold vinegar or other liquids.


Tablecraft Stainless Steel Oil Dispenser

tablecraft oil dispenser This stainless steel dispenser looks more like an old fashioned oil can. It’s perfect if you have a modern chrome-look kitchen.

It holds 25 ounces, and because of the long spout, balanced by the handle on the other side, it pours smoothly.

The stainless steel means it’s extremely easy to clean.


How to clean an olive oil dispenser

If you’ve been using your dispenser for a while, oil can gunk up at the bottom of the cruet. Here’s how to clean it: fill it with a mixture of water, detergent and vinegar and allow it to stand overnight. Then add a handful of uncooked rice into the mix and shake the cruet hard. The vinegar should have cut through the oil, the oil should have attached to the detergent and the rice should act as an abrasive to dislodge any stuck bits. Then empty it out, and use dish soap and a baby bottle brush (which should fit easily through the neck) and give it a good clean. Rinse with fresh water, and your cruet should be clean!

Related articles:

Olive oil misters
Cruet sets

Potato Ricers

If you need to mash potato to make croquettes or creamed potato, then a potato ricer takes all the effort out of mashing. Potato ricers are great for making hash browns too (put raw potatoes into the ricer and it presses out nice dry shreds that you can then fry – the dryness of the shreds makes the hash browns more crispy). You can also use potato ricers to cream or mash other firm vegetables too, such as turnips, swedes or parsnips. Potato ricers can also be used as garlic presses (you need to use the finest sieve for this).

Here are the best potato ricers on the market:

OXO Good Grips Potato Ricer

oxo grips potato ricer This ricer is made from stainless steel and is dishwasher safe. All you need to do is place your boiled potatoes in it, you don’t even have to peel them, hold it over a bowl, using the non-slip knob at the end to balance, and then squeeze the two tong like handles. The potato will come out on the other end perfectly mashed.

The handles are soft and coated with a non-slip surface, and Oxo won the Tylenol/Arthritis Foundation Design Award because of how gentle on the hands they were.


Chef’n FreshForce Potato Ricer

chefn frshforce potato ricer This ricer has a stainless steel basket which sits within a plastic holder.

They’ve added an extra gear mechanism to make the press more powerful, so that even the gentlest squeeze will mash the potato easily.

This potato ricer is safe in the top rack of the dishwasher.


Kuhn Rikon Potato Ricer with 2 Stainless Disks

kuhn rikon potato ricer The benefit of this ricer is the two stainless steel discs which come in a medium and fine size. (So you an use the medium disc for hash browns and the fine disc for plain mash or to press garlic).

The spare disc is stored in the handle, so it won’t get lost.

The main part of the ricer is made from plastic, and can go into the dishwasher.

It comes in two colors, black and white.

Please note that if you need to mash other vegetables, particularly vegetables with a lot of fiber or skins, or vegetables that are soft, ripe and juicy, you may be better off with a food mill instead of a ricer, especially as mills have a bigger capacity and finer sieves.

Please see this related page on the best food mills and this page on the best chinois strainer.

The Keurig B70 & K75 Coffee Maker – Best Price

The Keurig B70 single cup coffee maker, is the premium model in the Keurig range. It utilizes Keurig’s unique “K-cup” system to produce a single cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate at a time. The K cups take out all of the difficulty in deciding whether you have added the correct amount of coffee as they are all pre-measured. You can also get reusable k-cups, which you can fill with your favorite coffee brand.

This page shows you how it works, compares it to other brewers and tells you where you can get it for the best price.

keurig b70 best price

Here’s how it works: you fill the reservoir with water and open the lid on the top and insert the K-cup of your choice. Then simply select the brew option from five cup sizes. It takes four minutes to heat up and brew your drink.

(The cup sizes on offer are as follows: a small 5.25 ounce cup, a 7.25 ounce medium mug, a 9.25 ounce large mug, an 11.25 ounce travel mug and a 3.25 ounce iced beverage.)

Here is a video demonstration of how the Keurig works:


This machine is programmable, which means that you can organise for it to come on when you want, and also arrange for it to automatically shut off when you want. The water reservoir is blue-lit and contains 60 ounces of water (equivalent to 10 cups) and has a descale indicator. I recommend that when you fill the reservoir, you use filtered water as it should make your machine last longer and save you from descaling it.

The benefit of the Keurig over other single serve coffee makers is that you can either choose a pre-filled k-cup or a reusuable K-cup which you fill yourself with your favorite coffee and thus gives you more flexibility (unlike the Tassimo where you must use the pre-prepared discs). What is more, K cups come with lots of different brands of coffee – for example, you can get Starbucks k cups now. However the Tassimo is a more sturdy machine with less reported breakdowns (see the sidebar for information on the Tassimo) and it comes with a built in water filter.

Keurig have licenced their K cup technology to other coffee manufacturers such as Cuisinart and Breville, so if you want k-cups but a different brand, you can try them out. In my opinion the Keurig machines look sleeker than the Cuisinart and Breville versions.

Keurig have also introduced the Keurig K75, which has a bigger reservoir (72 ounces) and comes with a water filter kit (this is the only difference between the Keurig B70 and the Keurig B75).

Best prices: – Amazon are selling the Keurig B70 with free shipping. Below I’ve included the Keurig B75 and the Breville which also comes with free shipping but is considerably more expensive, plus the Cuisinart, so you can compare prices:


You can also get it on eBay:



keurig b70 coffee maker

Best Japanese Lunch Box

Japanese lunch boxes are also known as Bento Boxes, and are the traditional Japanese way of carrying food to work or school. They’ve now been modernised – some are microwavable, and others have thermos insulation, which keeps food warm.

Here are the best Japanese lunch boxes on the market today:

Zojirushi Mr. Bento Stainless Steel Lunch Jar

zojirushi bento box This bento box is made from vacuum insulated stainless steel, which keeps the food warm. In addition, the four food bowls included are all microwavable – so you can heat them at any time if the food gets cold.

Here’s what you get in this set:

* stainless steel vacuum outer container with locking lid
* 15.2 ounce main bowl with lid
* 10.1 ounce large bowl with lid
* 6.8 ounce small bowl with lid
* 9.5 ounce soup bowl with gasket valve and lid
* forked spoon with cover and holder
* zippered carrying bag with strap

As you can see – everything you need for carrying a nice tasty lunch!

The soup bowl sits right at the bottom of the jar, and the 6.8 ounce small bowl sits inside of the lid of the food jar. The bag has pockets where you can store napkins and sauce packets.

It comes in four colors – silver, red, yellow and gun metal – see below:


Japanese Compartmented Bento Box

japanese compartmented bento box This is a traditional style bento box, made wityh removable compartments, all of which are made from bpa-free plastic and are safe in the microwave (remove lid before microwaving).

This stores 870 ml of food, and can be washed in the dishwasher. This bento box is made in Japan, and come with chopsticks which are stored in the lid.


Two Tier Bento Box

two tier bento box Both tiers of this Bento box are microwavable (remove lids first) and one of the tiers has a divider, which means you can put three different food into it.

It comes with a belt (to hold the stacked boxes together), chopsticks, and a draw-string bag to carry it in. It is all safe in the dishwasher and is made in Japan. The total capacity is 630ml which makes it a bit smaller than the bento box above.

It comes in four colors/styles – see below.

Related post:

Soup thermos containers

tag: bento boxes

EatSmart Digital Kitchen Scales

EatSmart make three popular digital kitchen scales – the Precision Pro, the Precision Elite and their Nutritional Scale.

Let’s start with the Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale .

eat smart digital kitchen This is an accurate but lightweight scale that can measure food as small as one gram and as much as eleven pounds. You can either place the food directly on the scale, as in the picture left, or put the food in a bowl and use the tare function to subtract the weight of the bowl. It can handle measurements in both metric (grams and kilos) and American weights (ounces and pounds), and allows you to switch or convert between them.

The lightweight plastic scale with it’s simple clean design makes it easy to store and easy to keep clean (you just need to wipe it down after use). The digits on the LED display are nice and large, so you don’t have to squint to see the weights. All weights are displayed in decimals (so have a calculator handy if your recipe book uses old-fashioned fractions).

The main plus point of this scale is that it uses standard AAA batteries (two batteries are included). Anyone who has operated a digital kitchen will know what a nuisance it is trying to get replacement lithium batteries. You don’t have to worry about that with the eatsmart scale. It switches off automatically after three minutes of non use, to save battery power. It sits securely on your kitchen table top (thanks to the small rubber feet underneath the scale). You also get a free calorie counter booklet to help you understand what is in the food you are weighing.

It comes in several different colors. Amazon are selling this with free shipping:


The EatSmart Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale is a little more upmarket. Made of stainless steel instead of plastic, it has a 15 pound capacity (and can weigh items as small as 1 gram). If you need the bigger capacity, this is a better scale than the Precision Pro (which is shown above).

Because it is bigger, it requires four AAA batteries (included), and comes with a tare function and 3 minute auto shut-off function to save battery life. Get this scale if you need a bigger capacity, want something sturdier and more solid (as it is stainless steel).


The EatSmart Digital Nutrition Scale is more expensive than the Precision Pro and the Precision Elite, because it does more than just weigh your food.

eat smart nutritional scale You can not only weigh food (in both grams and ounces up to eleven pounds), but it has a nutritional function: for every food item you weigh, it calculates the amount of carbohydrates, calories, cholesterol, calcium, fiber, protein, sodium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, total Fat and saturated Fat.

If for example you are watching the amount of sodium you take in (perhaps you suffer from heart problems), then the eatsmart nutritional scale helps you work out what is in your ingredients before you cook your meal. If you suffer from Diabetes or other ailments and need to adhere to a strict diet, this scale will also help you, indeed it helps anyone who is interested in working out what is in their meal before they cook it, including those trying to lose weight. All you need to do is put the food on the scale, and then punch in the code for what it is (say potatoes, or flour), and it analyses it for you. The scale has a memory function too, and saves up to 99 items, so you can track your consumption daily or weekly.

It runs on four AAA batteries (included), and comes with a two year warranty. Amazon are selling this with free shipping.


Some background: Eatsmart were founded in 2005 and specialize in health tools for those trying to lose weight – digital kitchen, nutritional and bathroom scales to help people monitor what they eat and their progress as they lose weight.

You may also wish to read the following pages on the Ozeri touch II digital kitchen scale and the Soehnle Flip digital kitchen scale

Eatsmart digital kitchen scales