Whilst I do at heart believe a sharp knife is the foundation of a smooth running kitchen, its also quite nice to play with new tools now and again as well! Over the years I have gone through a variety of herb choppers, including an Italian food mill that was mostly a nightmare to clean after use, 2 electric mini choppers that were also both messy to use and clean after, a blender – too big for the job and also a pain to clean, several chopping boards and possibly even more items but on this occasion I got to play with an OXO’s new herb mincer (RRP £12) which I was sent to review.
It was quite fun to play with apart from maybe being a little too flimsy in that twice I dislodged the protective cover whilst chopping, though admittedly I was using it inside a mixing bowl which was on the small side, which probably didn’t help! (On a chopping board this didn’t happen) Overall it made light work of chopping the basil leaves and kept the pine nuts in quite nice sized pieces, so it was overall quite a success, when I was a bit more gentle with it! My other comment is that I had to use a knife to safely remove stray herbs that got inside the mincer but it was easy to do. I also decided to test it to chop the chilli – great as it meant no chilli burn fingers and good if you don’t want it too finely minced – my chilli was quite big and it kept it in largish pieces but no so large it would be a mega chilli hit in the mouth!
I also received OXO UK’s little salad dressing shaker (RRP £10) which I used to make the marinade up in. The dressing bottle was very busy kitchen friendly, the lid screws off easily so its easy to fill with your ingredients, with convenient measures on the side of the bottle and its stopper is leak proof even with vigorous shaking! I used all my prepared dressing on the tomatoes but it would definitely keep air tight with other home made dressings and it’s far prettier than sticking the more usual ripped label jam jar on the dining table! It was easy to clean afterwards and I really like this item for both practical and aesthetic qualities.
In my kitchen I use a variety of oils and vinegars depending on both mood and cuisine but chose Filippo Berio’s extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make my pasta dressing , they both work well together and complemented the tomatoes perfectly. Their balsamic is sweet enough to bake without being too acidic and the oil is pleasant on the palate without being too grassy or punchy like some of my other speciality oil’s. Whilst these were both sent for review, I do buy their extra virgin olive oil on a regular basis as it’s a good all rounder type of oil and stores well.
So whilst summer is seemingly vanishing fast, I captured the last of it in my simple pasta dish, containing some beautiful tomatoes I bought in the market, which apparently are salt water grown. Something new to me but they were bursting with juicyness and tasted so good! They were a glorious hue of scarlet and their scent was heavenly! I used to grow tomatoes a few years back on my old balcony and really miss their evening scent, happy memories!

By andrei