Using some of the leftover dry ice from our

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Objectify  photo shoot, I tried out one of Heston BlumenthaTs ice-cream recipes in his book Heston Blumenthal at home . Letjust say BlumenthaTs honey promises of simple 15-minute ice cream didnexactly work out.

Partly due to my own ineptitude: hand-eye coordination when pouring cream into the eggs, but also, after rigourously pulverising the frozen CO, to a powder with a sledge hammer (no rolling pin for me, Blumenthal) and slowly adding it to the churning cream and eggs, not only did my KitchenAid nearly seize up when the bottom froze solid, but the rest became carbonated custard.

So, this particular cooking trial didnwork, but it did serve to remind me of the fun and function (and yes, frustration too) of a kitchen: a lab for creating things to eat. It sounds simple, but itsomething that, especially in a design magazine, can be easy to skim over while focusing instead on the shiny surfaces and colour palettes.

 

As this is our Kitchens and Bathrooms issue, there are lots of sleek benchtops, splashbacks and sexy taps but, through it all, it is the clever, practical details that I really enjoy: a long communal table instead of a solid island for a rural house, a simple ladder leaning against the bathroom wall for holding towels, kitchen cabinetry that, on its reverse, becomes shelving and display for the rest of the room. Alongside some of the most beautiful kitchens we could find-from pale and interesting to natural and rugged-weadded in details of baths, faucets, corner drawer units and handles to help give some practical direction to your kitchen and bathroom daydreaming. Dean Cornish brings his ever-amusing wit to a topic he saves from being all too drearily practical: appliances. No ice-cream makers were included, unfortunately, so Istill on the lookout for an alternative to dry ice.

Really though, I donhave any plans to buy an ice cream maker, not because I donthink I would use it (I am eternally optimistic about my plans for new kitchen implements) but because our kitchen has really run out of storage and I would simply have nowhere to put it. And so the solution (pressed onto me by my husband and I, for lack of a rational comeback, have-for the moment-acquiesced to) is that I will not buy more things for the kitchen.

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I find this a sad state of affairs and, all of a sudden, I am quite compelled to own a sausage maker, a food processor, an olive pitter. You know, just the basics.

My arguments fall on deaf ears, however. And even cooking shows donoften help my cause.

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So much cooking happens in the midst of vineyards or on beaches: a cast-iron pan set over a camp stove. Why then do we need or want a functional and stylish kitchen if, truth be told, we could manage with far less? Well, first, though possible, the basic set-up can be a pain. Recently, whist living through a renovation, we cooked in one borrowed electric frypan for two months. Giving that back when our new hobs and oven turned up was an amazing event. So, there is the factor of ease. But, also, I was struck by something Olivia Harper said in this issueStyle City in her consideration of the perceived extravagance of design: that there is so much joy (and inspiration and comfort) in good design.

And joy too in the odd implement that may not be an absolute requirement, but reminds us that cooking can be play, not just getting food on the table. At least thathow Ijustifying it.

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