Brian McDermott’s best recipes for handy kitchen gadgets

Many of us have kitchen gadgets and gadgets lurking in the press that we may not use as much as we should because we’re not sure how to use them.

Chef Brian McDermott joined Today on Claire Brain on RTÉ Radio 1 to share some of her favorite recipes using handy kitchen gadgets.

Rice cooker

We’ve all suffered from problems with too much rice, too sticky, too wet, but this little bit of technology eliminates all those problems. A rice cooker is an almost foolproof and consistent way to cook rice.

These machines take up very little space as an everyday kitchen appliance and use less electricity than many others.

The rice cooker can also be used to cook many other foods such as pasta, quinoa, lentils and even stew fruit.

Top tips:

  • Wash the rice three times with cold water to remove some of the starch.
  • Brian uses short grain rice and likes to add flavor by adding two whole cloves, 1 bay leaf and a pinch of cinnamon.
  • The correct ratio of rice to water is equal amounts. This is different if you cook rice in a pot as more water is needed in the ratio. There is three times more water in the pot for the rice.


  • The correct portion of rice is between 50-75g of rice per person
  • For short grain rice you are talking about 18 – 20 minutes of cooking

You can get Brian’s recipe for Chorizo ​​Fried Rice here – he says his girls are “starting” to love it. At first, they weren’t too fond of the spicy element of chorizo, so he sometimes used bacon instead.

It’s really easy to add some leftover roast chicken to this recipe and it adds a new flavor and level of flavor.

Air fryer

Air fryers have become extremely popular in recent years, but are they here to tell? Absolutely, says Brian.

In addition to being a faster cooking method compared to a home oven, it is also much healthier and safer than a deep fryer.

He says the air fryer is ideal for households of two to three people, but not ideal for larger families. Realistically, you would be cooking in batches with it if you have three or four kids. However, this can work if they come and go to different extracurricular activities.

The most important thing to remember when using an air fryer is to add some variety to your recipes. If you’re only using it for frozen chips, why not try one of Brian’s delicious meals?

Top tip:

  • Place four pieces of chicken to maximize space and make the most of it.
  • You can let this chicken cool if you don’t need all four, and then you’ll have deliciously flavored, homemade chicken for sandwiches or salads later in the week.
  • Hake is a fish that needs the right amount of cooking, so timing is of the essence
  • With his recipe, you add acidity with lemon. The addition of the tomatoes and onions helps to spread the heat around so that it doesn’t focus entirely on the fish and its toasting.
  • When we talk about cooking fish in a basket, we are talking about cooking papillotes, which is a French way of ensuring that the fish remains tasty.

You can get the recipe for Brian’s lemon thyme and pepper chicken breast recipe here and his healthy lemon hake recipe here.

Pressure cooker

Is this retro product worth considering as a kitchen gadget in 2022?

Well, after letting his cooker sit in a cupboard for six years, Brian finally found a great use for it after some great advice from an Indian chef who told him how to use it for authentic curry recipes.

For these types of curries that in India would take six or seven hours to cook, you can get that depth of flavor with a pressure cooker in less than an hour.

Brian says the seal and vacuum of these machines can make them difficult and really take some getting used to, but the benefit is that they retain most of the nutrients in the food during cooking.

Top tips:

  • Once you close the pressure cooker, you cannot open it again to add anything.
  • Great machine for economical foods like dried beans or black beans.
  • Lean meats can be cooked in a pressure cooker, while tougher meats should be cooked in a slow cooker.
  • There are only two stages of cooking: basic cooking, which is browning. Then the inclusion of all the ingredients.
  • Use cheap diced beef for this recipe. The wet environment works to tenderize the beef and preserve the flavor.

Get Brian’s Easy Beef Curry recipe here.

Kitchen robot

How many of us really get the most out of our food processors?

Brian recently got some local cucumbers and he decided to get creative. He used the slicing attachment to quickly chop up all the vegetables and then made a pickle out of them. That means he’ll be eating Irish homegrown cucumbers in December and January.

And a family favorite that many of us buy ready-made at the supermarket is hummus. However, Brian says we can easily make our own at home with a food processor. It should be noted that it will only stay fresh for five or six days.

Get Brian McDermott’s homemade pickles recipe here and his homemade hummus recipe here.

Bread bakery

We know that during the pandemic, the nation embraced bread-making, but is a bakery the way to go?

According to Brian, bread making is a great craft tradition passed down through generations and without the concept of a baker. He was gone, his mother was gone and his grandmother was gone.

Instead, it offers a quick and easy bread in a pan that will use very little energy and reduce your costs, since you do not turn on the oven, but cook it on the stove.

Top tip:

Store in an airtight container. Toast a slice for a warm breakfast with poached eggs.

Get Brian’s recipe for a wonderful Bacon and Cheese Soda Bread here.


We know that using the microwave for cooking is much more energy efficient than the stove or oven, but should we use it to prepare our food?

For Brian, the microwave is for reheating food and he rarely uses it for cooking. He will drop his porridge in there as it is one serving in three minutes. That is all.

He is a proponent of building up layers of flavor when cooking and having all the sensory pleasure that comes with it, filling the kitchen with great smells.

His microwave never smells great, so he keeps it for reheating already prepared and cooked foods if needed.