8 best kitchen knife sets for every budget and cooking ability, from students to professionals

Published on The Independent on 30th November 2021

A kitchen knife set is a great low-hassle way to kit out your kitchen quickly. Not only do all of your knives match, it’s also often more affordable than buying each one individually. But price shouldn’t be the only thing to consider – style, range of knives and sizes all matter.

For every set, you’ll need to start with a decent chef’s knife. Bigger versions are generally more versatile, especially if you’re cooking for a family, but smaller ones might be easier to store and more comfortable to use for those who aren’t as confident in the kitchen.

You’ll also need a smaller utility knife, or paring knife, which can be used for smaller or more delicate cutting tasks, such as slicing up garlic. After that, it becomes a matter of preference.

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BlueAir blue 3210 review: A whisper-quiet air purifier on a budget

Published on The Independent on 7th October 2021

BlueAir is one of the market leaders when it comes to air purifiers, and it specialises in devices for huge offices as well as small bedrooms.

For consumers, the brand’s ethos is applaudable. Its whisper-quiet products for the home are designed to be super effective while being extremely energy efficient at the same time. And, as well as making products that have a low impact on the environment, the brand also uses its profits to help make clean air available to children around the world.

The blue 3210 purifier, launched in March 2021, is one of the brand’s most affordable and compact devices to date. Weighing in at a mere 1.68kg, it’s light enough to be moved around using just one hand, while also being powerful enough to remove the smallest particles from the air. In fact, based on independent testing, it can remove any pollen, dust and most bacteria and viruses from the air in a 12sq m room in just 12.5 minutes.

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Instant Pot pro crisp vs Ninja foodi max: We put the two leading brands to the test

Published on The Independent on 29th September 2021

Steamers, grills, slow cookers and air fryers – our kitchens are so packed with different gadgets and appliances that it’s often hard to find any space to do actual food prep. But what if there was one gadget that could replace all the others? That’s where multi-cookers come in.

These multi-functional devices are designed to combine a whole host of different ways of cooking so that you can switch from pressure cooking to slow cooking at the touch of a button. And even better, their delay timer and keep warm functions mean your dinner is always ready when you are, instead of the other way round.

Having tested two top-of-the-range multi-cookers – the Ninja foodi max and the Instant Pot pro crisp – we can honestly say that the promises are true.

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Blueair healthprotect 7470i: The specialist air purifier that’s small but mighty

Published on The Independent on 6th September 2021

Unless you’re researching air purifiers, you’ve probably never heard of Blueair before. That’s because, unlike other household name brands, this Swedish firm only makes air purifiers and filters – and it’s exceedingly good at it.

Its product range includes small, bedroom-friendly devices that start from just under £160 to powerful top-of-the-range machines that are designed for offices. And every device it makes uses its trademarked HEPASilent technology, its own version of the high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

Similar to the HEPA filters used in hospital operating theatres, this low-energy filter can remove everything from bacteria and viruses to pollen and bad odours – and it can do it so quietly, you can sleep right through it.

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Wine, walks and healing swims: Why Italy’s Trentino region will soothe your soul

Published on The Independent on 1st September 2021

“Touch the label,” says Andrea Romanese, as he offers the bottle of blush rosé around the table. He cradles its neck in one hand, the body resting against his arm, as if he’s not quite ready to part with it. I lean forward and do as I’m told, tracing the faint bumps with my fingers. It’s a simple design: a Picasso-esque sketch of a face in bold, black lines, set against a plain white background. Beneath it, the name Gabriella, printed in a demure font, refuses to betray the secret of the bottle.

We’ve been at Cantina Romanese – a small winery in the Italian province of Trentino – for the best part of an hour. Most people come to the Cantina to try Lagorai, a sparkling wine named after a nearby mountain chain that’s aged under the cool waters of Lake Levico. But as Andrea, who runs the winery with his brother Giorgio, regales us with Romanese lore, it’s soon clear that their most interesting wines have stronger ties to the family.

Several varieties are named after family members. Among them are Narciso, a bold, red representing their grandfather; Laetitia, an elegant white wine named after their grandmother; and Fides, a robust chardonnay that takes after their great grandmother. But every time we got to Gabriella, he would furtively brush questions aside.

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