(Pocket-lint) - Jamie Oliver believes that having been a chef for the last decade, he knows just the thing to crush those peppercorns or spices to turn them into powder with little effort. Kitchen essential or 5-minute wonder? We put his new Flavour Shaker to the test.

Although heavily criticised by the cooking press, we personally can't see what's wrong. The Flavour Shaker has been designed by the Naked Chef to help you make rubs, marinades, flavoured salts, sugars dressings and anything else you can think of for that matter. It's a case of popping the ingredients in the device and giving it a good shake like you would a cocktail mixer.

The device itself looks like a Russian Doll set; of course, in reality it is nothing of the sort. Coming in two parts, opening the Flavour Shaker reveals a small ceramic ball that does the cracking and smashing. Herbs, spices and other ingredients are placed in the bottom and then the unit is sealed.

If you're worried that your vigorous shaking is going to smash the thing into a thousand pieces, you shouldn't be. It is made from high-grade thick core polycarbonate (tough plastic to you and me) and comes with a rubberised grip so you can hold on to it without fear of it slipping out of your fingers.

In our tests, we opted to make one of the salad dressings that Jamie suggests in the accompanying recipe pamphlet. Putting in some peppercorns and rock salt, we sealed the unit (it simply clicks closed) and then shook the shaker vigorously. After a couple of minutes of shaking, the peppercorns and rock salt were a fine powder and ready for the liquid (don't try put everything in at once, we did and it didn't work) the end result was a great dressing.


Mr Oliver has said that he thought of the idea because he was bored by the amount of time it took to do the same with his pestle and mortar. In the office, the kitchen gadget got mixed comments. Some seemed to think it was the best thing since sliced bread, while others labelled it a money grabbing venture that served no better than a pestle and mortar, or in some cases a rolling pin and a bit of brute force.

Either way we've yet to see a pestle and mortar for under £20 so this is cheaper and quicker, plus you get to shake a ceramic ball in a toughened plastic case like it's a Polaroid picture.

The result is perfectly crushed spices in the end allowing you to spice up that Christmas mulled wine and the best thing about it, is that it can be thrown in the dishwasher afterwards.

Writing by Stuart Miles.