By Jackie Eager
The kitchen items that I’ve chosen in my Top 5 make my life in Solomon Islands very tasty. They bring me joy on a continued basis by opening the door to the gorgeous fruits and vegetables that this tropical country has to offer. Like with any task, it’s a pleasure to have the right tools for the job.
If you’re not too sure about my list then feel free to leave a comment below about what kitchen items you love to use in Solomon Islands. And so here are my Top 5:
- Lime Press
As limes were often pricey at my home in Australia, I didn’t buy them regularly and so hadn’t discovered the ease of a lime press (pictured above). But in Honiara, limes are for sale everywhere at a price of five for five dollars. While they can be cut in half and squeezed by hand of course, nothing beats a lime press for getting the most juice out as possible and for keeping your hands clean. I like to add lime juice to a cup of hot water in the morning and I also make lime flavoured ice blocks to put into soda water.
- Big Tough Knife for Coconuts
Our big tough knife was a present from a friend who had been house sitting for us. She had been trying to open a coconut (a daily occurrence in Solomon Islands) with an everyday kitchen knife. The shell had been too strong and the top of the knife had succumbed to the endeavour. Although a little shocking for her, it was a brilliant stroke of luck for us as she then (very generously) bought us this most useful item.
If you don’t have an apologetic and thoughtful house guest, and if you’re not near a shop that stocks Scanpan, you can always get a small bush knife. This is what locals often use to open their coconuts. They can be purchased at many of the hardwares around Honiara.
- Salad Spinner
Cleaning your lettuce/ Asian greens/ capsicum is very important, as you never know what dirt or little bugs your meal may have come into contact with while growing. This is particularly important when preparing watercress. Wash your food thoroughly in the colander and then spin, spin, spin until the water has been caught in the bottom of the bowl. I know it’s a simple device but it is a truly magical one to me.
Our juicer was probably the biggest purchase that my husband and I made in the lead up to our move to Honiara. There was a bit of research before hand, a lot of umming and arring, and conferring with those who already owned one. Something I learnt is that people are very passionate about their juicers and about you supporting their choice by choosing the same one. It was interesting to watch our friends and family turn into temporary sales people as they imparted their wisdom and guided us to the juicer light.
We ended up going with an Oscar Neo slow press juicer. It seems to make good juice, is easy to clean by juicer standards and isn’t too big to store. If you’re planning to buy one, I would recommend doing so during the mid year or Christmas sales. Prices at these times may make you faint a little less.
- Bread Maker
The bread in Honiara is mostly white sliced or brown sliced sandwich loafs and bread sticks, although I do also eat chocolate bread from Happy Bakery and custard buns and rolls from the Hot Bread Kitchen from time to time (aka more often than I should).
I’m a fan of fancy breads so I use my bread maker quite often to kneed focaccia and pizza dough, which I then bake in the oven. Yeast is readily available although I would bring your own bread improver (if you need it) as I don’t often see that in the shops.
All of my items were bought in Australia and so if you’re moving to Solomon Islands I would buy them in advance. I have however seen salad spinners and tough knifes available in China Town, and I’ve seen juicers and bread makers from time to time at Discount Electrical in Hyundai Mall and at C&I Electronics Centre, Panatina Plaza. The key is to keep your eyes open and ask around!
And remember, once you’re in Solomon Islands, plug your important electrical items into a surge protector powerboard. This will help keep them safe from any of that annoying electrical surging that can fry your favourite gadgets.