We test six of the best fun kitchen gadgets for readers
Easter is on the way and if you are thrilled at having sweet treats, these devices will make creating them a piece of cake. Polly Weeks reports.
Gourmet Gadgetry Candyfloss Maker, £25.94, from www.lakeland.co.uk
When it comes to kitchen gadgets, this is about as fun as it gets. Make candy floss in just a couple of minutes with little fuss and barely anything to clean. Turn on the machine and let it heat up for a couple of minutes, then use the scoop provided to pour sugar into the middle of the spinner. After a minute or so it will begin to create a web of sugar that you gather on a stick, turning as you go so it wraps around evenly. You might be thinking it's not the healthiest snack - given it's pure sugar - but you're only using a teaspoon of sugar per serving, so if it's an occasional treat it's not that bad. Want to jazz it up? Lakeland also sell food colourings and flavours. Pop a drop or two into a bowl of sugar, let it dry out - so it doesn't clog up - and then use in the same way. Voila, bright pink, coconut-flavoured candy floss (though we like the cherry flavour best).
The write stuff
Candy Craft Chocolate Pen, £19.99, from www.argos.co.uk
This may look like a comedy giant pen - the type you'd get at a novelty shop - but it's actually a toy-come-kitchen accessory. Stick a couple of AA batteries in (you'll need a cross-head screwdriver to open the compartment), then pop some chocolate in one of the bags - chunks, chips or buttons work best - clamp on the pen tip and put the pouch into some hot water for a few minutes to melt. Then it's just a case of inserting the melted chocolate package into the pen, turning it on and letting the chocolate flow out. Use one of the three mould trays to create all manner of designs - such as animals and rainbows or, alternatively, create your own artwork by using one of the four nozzles and using greaseproof paper as a canvas. Then just let the chocolate set in the fridge or at room temperature and peel the chocolate off when firm.
ElectrIQ Frozen Fruit Dessert Maker, £16.98, from www.appliancesdirect.co.uk
When the kids are insisting fruit doesn't make a pudding, serve up this 'ice cream' instead. Small enough to sit on your kitchen counter, it will also help you and the family get your five-a-day. So how does it work? Freeze some fruit - or for complete ease, buy frozen fruit - then let it soften slightly by leaving it at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Once softened, pop it into the compartment at the top, press the 'plunger' down (like you would if using a food processer) and out comes a frozen fruit dessert - not unlike sorbet or ice cream. If you use bananas it gives it that creamier texture, but if you do want to indulge a little, you can add some yoghurt or cream to the mixture.
Top of the pops
American Originals Popcorn Maker, £19.99, from www.argos.co.uk
Recreate the magic of going to the cinema without leaving home, with a DVD on the sofa and this small kitchen gizmo. The popcorn maker is unbelievably easy to operate. Plug it in, pop a scoop (provided) of corn kernels in the machine, turn it on and after a couple of minutes, popped corn will come flowing out of the top. You will of course need a bowl to catch the treat in. Because the machine uses air rather than oil to heat the corn, it makes for a healthy snack - however, you can of course change that by adding hot butter (melt it in the scoop on top of the machine), brown sugar or go for something really indulgent like caramel or chocolate sauce. Now all you need is for someone to annoyingly look at their phone in front of you or chat loudly behind you while the film is on for the complete cinema experience.
Giles and Posner Flip-over Doughnut Maker, £29.99, from www.gilesandposner.com
Prefer baked goods to chocolate eggs? This gadget will suit. Follow the recipes suggested in the booklet to create a lovely thick batter split between six moulds, and within 10 minutes you'll have delicious warm doughnuts. Where this device stands out from others is that you can flip the entire machine over so you'll be guaranteed to get an even bake, even if your counter or tabletop is a bit wonky. Once they're ready, dust your donuts with sugar or cinnamon, or perhaps even melted-down chocolate eggs!
How do you fondue?
Vonshef Chocolate Fountain & Warmer, £24.99, from www.domu.co.uk
Whether you're having a party or just love the idea of a chocolate fondue treat, this fountain is the perfect gift for any chocolate lover. Easy to clean, it'll add a touch of glamour to the dinner table. Melt chocolate in the microwave and place in the base unit, it will then make its way up through the device and pour out of the top and down back to the base unit (where it makes its way up again). As it pours down, dip treats into the lovely mix - whether that's fruit, cake or more chocolate. Don't need the fanciness of a fountain? You can just use the base unit to dip into.
App of the week
McVitie's iKitten app, free, App Store and Google Play
You've seen the ads where cute little kittens pop out of a packet of digestives - now you can play on the app. The iKitten app allows you to rub a lovely little kitten's belly, dress it up and, best of all, it has an augmented reality section so you can make kittens appear in front of you and take photos of them.
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6. Live Wallpapers for Me - Custom Animated Themes and Backgrounds by Apalon Apps
7. Facetune by Lightricks Ltd.
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10. Football Manager Mobile 2016 by SEGA