Update your kitchen basics for less

The kitchen is probably the most-used room of the house – and often the most battered, and the most neglected. Is it time you stepped back and took a look – and perhaps organised a nice cheap basics refresh? And no, I’m not talking a whole new kitchen; you probably don’t need new cupboards or a cooker. And even if you do, your budget probably won’t pay for it. Everyone’s kitchen generally works (because it has to) – but so often we keep making do with the saucepan with the wobbly handle, the odd-sized chipped baking tray that always sticks, the colander with the missing foot, the non-stick saucepan with no non-stick coating left…

So when Tesco challenged me to ‘update kitchen basics for less’ I instantly took them on. It’s a simple thing to do, but I felt like a few small items could potentially make a big difference.

This is a paid collaboration with Tesco, who have compensated me for sharing with you the new range. All product choices, opinions, reviews and photography are my own. Contains affiliate links – which frankly just help my coffee habit.

So my choices? I mulled it over for a few days – I have a 23yr old setting up his own flat, and I was thinking about the versatile basics he’d need that would be worth him purchasing. He doesn’t need a juicer, for example, but a good sharp knife is a must. He probably doesn’t need a set of baking tins, but a flexible baking dish is definitely a go. So in the end I plumped for the most-used items in my kitchen, to see how the Tesco basics stack up.
And to test them out, I gave them the ultimate in an English Kitchen Test – the roast dinner…

I chose some simple basics: A set of three saucepans, a glass roasting dish, a colander and a slotted turner.

The Tesco glass roasting dish.

Firstly – this is a great roasting dish. I’ll admit I was a little concerned about the size, as the dish is longer but much narrower than my old dish (it’s 39 x 23cm), and I wasn’t sure a hefty joint would fit. But this is a large chicken, and you can see it works beautifully.

Almost as important as the dish are the handles – I’ve used one for years which has smalll, very rounded handles, and I have slipped off them more times than I can count. This dish has good rectangluar lips which allow for easy holding.

But this dish is for more than just your Sunday roast. It’s good for lasagne, shepherd’s pie, casseroles, one-dish veg roasting… It also makes an excellent dish for a traybake cake (try our chocolate courgette cake in it, you will not regret it). This dish will fast become an every day go-to for most meals, to be honest.

Clean up is a breeze as it’s glass – dishwasher safe, and it’s sturdy enough for a decent metal scourer for anything stubborn.

I genuinely LOVE this dish. And at £7 it’s a no-brainer. Buy one.

Tesco Aluminium Induction Saucepan Set

A three-pan saucepan set can be a pricey investment – and I’ll be honest I thought cheap pans weren’t worth your money. I was a bit wrong…

This set of pans have been great! They’re good to use on any hob, and the non-stick is excellent thus far.
There’s not much to share about the pans – they’re well-balanced, the handles don’t heat up and are nicely non-slip. They do what they’re supposed to do. The lids fit deeply within the pan, and have a handy perforated edge to allow draining from the pan, which works well for things like boiled eggs and potatoes (you’ll need an actual colander for smaller things like peas or cabbage)

You do need to look after these pans, there are the usual non-stick caveats: don’t use too high a heat, don’t use metal utensils in them, don’t use scourers etc. But if you treat them nicely, I feel like these are a great basic set to last your kitchen more than a few years.

The Tesco Aluminium Saucepan Set comes in at £30. The biggest spend of my update – but not breaking the bank for a set of pans.

The Tesco Stainless Steel colander

There’s not much to say about this colander except that it’s HUGE, it works… and it’s £3.50. Come on now… THREE POUNDS FIFTY!
It has plenty of drainage holes, a foot that keeps it high enough to stop flooding underneath, and it’s big enough for a big family serving of pasta. It has one job, and it does it.

Tesco Nylon Turner

I know, I know, it’s a small thing. BUT. This is the thing that’s always either in use or in the wash. Turning sausages, flipping eggs in the frying pan, easing cakes out of a dish, fishing something out of hot water or oil… there’s a billion and one uses for them. And it’s easy to dismiss it, but if you get a duff one that’s too flimsy, you notice it every time you use it. Nobody needs that kind of daily irritation. But this one’s a good’un – even if it is just £1.75.


So if you’re in need of some kitchen basics, my suggestion is to take a look while you’re doing your weekly food shop. Tesco’s range gets a big RECOMMENDED from me.

The products:

And the answers to the inevitable questions I get whenever I feature my kitchen in a post:

The Worktop – it’s bamboo, 15yrs old, and yes I love it. I’d never choose another type of work surface. It’s super-hard for a wood work surface, brilliantly stain-resistant, you can oil it, but mine hasn’t been done for years, and it still looks like new

The range cooker – Also 15yrs old, this is a Stoves Richmond S1100DF. I adore it, and despite it being old and battered I will never be parted from it. It has been scrubbed so much the paint is worn off in places, it has had a new grill element, the buttons above the grill are slightly mis-shapen (thanks to an unexpected grill pan fire a few years ago…), and the directions have all worn away so it’s pot luck which burner you’re lighting for anyone but me. The removable griddle and all the pan supports are cast iron, and frankly I don’t think I ever want another oven in my kitchen.

The Kitchen Aid – Candy Apple Red. Yes, it was an extravagant Christmas gift from Mr LittleStuff. Yes there are other brands available which are much cheaper. Yes, I do adore it, she’s called Doris and I use her all. the. time. And always finish with a wipe down and a friendly pat on her perfect shiny red roundness).

The scales (first picture far right). Everyone loves my scales! They’re an old Typhoon model from about 18yrs ago which is no longer available, sorry. But you’re right, they’re gorgeous.

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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