What are, say, your top 3 most important kitchen accessories? The stuff it's worth spending extra on because it will get the use, or because it's worth it for the extra quality? Here's my list.
1. Decent Chefs Knife. Rather than get a set of knives, I plan on spending most of the budget on the knife I'll use the most.
2. Decent frying pan. You can go 2 ways with this, cast iron or non stick. What with gas prices, I see the cast iron being a bit wasteful. I'd go for a flat-bottomed non-stick aluminium with a copper base and stainless steel handle. That orders the heat transferrence to the places you want it, and the metal handle means you can place the pan in the oven.
3. Decent chopping board. Not that it needs to cost loads, but a nice wooden one helps you protect your knife.
4. Ceramic casserole dish. Don't really see any alternative for this.
4. Stock pot. Again, in a slightly different way, if you want to make some fantastic dishes, you can't do it without a huge 10 litre pot.
6. Steel. Keep your knife in shape
7. Pestle and Mortar. For spice mixes or seeds, you can do things with this you couldn't even get in a blender.
That's about all I have.