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I've been trying to improve myself to be entirely comfortable cooking anything and having an armoury of kitchen equipment that can get any job done in the kitchen for me.
Having seen these used a lot on television and read how effective they are in some of my dessert cookbooks, I bought a Kitchen Blowtorch from Amazon. I bought one for £17.99 which seemed pretty good as this was £5 cheaper than the ones in Lakeland, and seemed to have a wealth of decent features with it.
Part of the attraction of this particular model was that it was recommended by Delia Smith, who knows quality and value better than most. I am glad I did as this has added a whole new dimension to my cooking especially saving me time grilling and allowing me to make my food much better presentationally.
You do need to find a supply of butane gas to fill and refill the blowtorch but this lasts a long time and if you check in your local yellow pages its easy enough to find a supplier of this, i've not needed to refill this since I bought it in January and the instructions suggest it should last close to 6 months anyway.
The instructions are fine they explain how to use it and give details on features such as the safety lock, how to allow it to free stand when not in use and the best processes for using this.
I have to say it looks pretty cool, silver with a black finish and red trigger button, there is a simple safety feature which ensures you can only use it when you need it and it has an adjustable flame which allows you to go to work on meat or delicate desserts easily enough.
Apparently the flame can go to a heat of 1300C which is pretty hot!
All in all, I use this for a few things, for heating the skins of peppers or tomatoes to a roasted standard, for browning meat allowing more juices to come out and then recover the meat and for browning tarts, desserts, frittatas and omelettes, it has made work in the kitchen much easier as my grill isn't reliable and it allows me to brown items as little or much as I want meaning they look so much better too.
It is already an invaluable item in our house and was definitely worth the money, my partner is enjoying finally being able to make decent home creme brulee's while i'm fully appreciating this as an option to fully brown meat and make it more presentable. I may update this when we first have to refill the butane to advise if this is a tricky operation, but it was fine initially and I can't see it being a real issue.
A decent product that is pretty timeless, just be very careful with it, keep it from kids reach and enjoy making your food even better than i'm sure it already is!
A blowtorch is one of those kitchen gadgets that I think everybody wants because it's fun to use, but once you own one it rarely makes an appearance in the kitchen. There are loads of different ones available to buy and it can be difficult to know which one will best suit your needs.
My brother has a small blowtorch with a pathetic flame, but as he's not the most avid cook in the world, he simply uses it to light his cigarettes! I on the other hand love to cook and I wanted a blowtorch for crème brulees.
So I opted for the Master Class Kitchen blowtorch, because it is described as a professional cook's blowtorch and apparently it has been used a lot on television.
I ordered mine online from Amazon as they offered the cheapest price (£15.60, but it is available from places like Lakeland for just under £20) and from the photos it looked really well made and well designed.
When I received it I wasn't disappointed and quickly prepared some crème brulees to test it out. It doesn't come with any fuel and it is supplied empty, I guess for safety reasons. The 80cc refillable cylinder uses butane lighter fuel and I just bought mine from Amazon as they were doing a deal with the blowtorch.
Even though the blowtorch came with clear instructions on how to fill up the cylinder, I was a little wary and I got my fiancé to help me the first time. It was actually very easy to do, so I'm confident of doing it myself now.
The blowtorch is very simple to use. Just release the safety lock, turn the dial to release the gas and then ignite using the piezo trigger ignition. The adjustable anti-flare flame is easy to change so that you get the flame to the size that you're comfortable using and it also works at all angles.
The chrome-effect non-slip metal body feels very comfortable in your hand and I think it's the perfect size, even though I have quite small hands. It isn't too heavy or bulky so it's very easy to wield this weapon of fire against those poor unsuspecting grains of sugar sitting happily atop my custard.
It can be very easy to burn sugar when making crème brulee, but with this blowtorch you feel that you have a great deal of control with the flame so that you can do it slowly and build up a good caramelisation. I love that the nozzle is really long so that the flame is far away from your hand and much less likely to cause you a nasty burn.
A blowtorch might seem like one of those superfluous kitchen gadgets, but I think it's essential for a proper crème brulee and this one does the job brilliantly, without any fuss. Highly recommended!