Buying my first very own Le Creuset felt like a giant leap. Having grown up with a Francophile French teacher mum, Le Creuset was a name I had known all my life. On holidays to France, mum would make a trip to the quincaillerie, or hardware store – for this was about the only place the heavy orange enamel pans were sold in those days – and stock up on heavy lidded pots. And so, buying a large red Le Creuset casserole at the age of 25 or so, marked a milestone for me. No longer a student, earning money, living with my boyfriend in London, owning a Le Creuset. I was a grown up! (How did that happen?) And now I have two children, and the red Le Creuset has a little brother, a smaller blue one, and I couldn’t live without (any of) them.
They are expensive, I admit, but boy, do they last. And boy, are they versatile. Which is why we love Le Creuset, and why these amazing enamel, heavy duty pans get a mention on the blog. Every busy mum – or dad – trying to get dinner on the table needs a Le Creuset, I think. I use mine all the time, and can’t imagine what I’d do without them. Whether it’s to make soup or a stew (the heavy enamel base conducts heat really effectively), to make Bolognese sauce (get all your ingredients in, in the usual way, bring to a simmer and then transfer straight from the hob to the pre-heated oven for 45 mins), or for casserole that goes straight from oven to table, they are simply unbeatable. Perfect for the one-handed cook … Yes, you can even stir them one-handed – they don’t tend to move when they’re on the hob – they’re so darn heavy!
To buy or not to buy a Le Creuset: weighing up the options
– Heavy, solid, a Le Creuset is a quality bit of kitchen kit that will last you for decades (they make a great wedding gift)
– Transfer your dish straight from the hob to the oven, and back again if needs be, and then straight to the table (less hassle, fewer dishes to wash)
– They conduct heat really efficiently
– Le Creuset pans look really attractive and come in an array of beautiful hues to match any kitchen colour scheme, including yellow. (And if your enamel chips, they look even more rustic!)
– They have their own Pinterest page! www.pinterest.com/lecreusetuk
– They weigh a ton. Not for the feeble.
– They are pricey, but they do last for ever, practically (see above).
So there you have it. Le Lowdown on Le Creuset.
There was an article in the Daily Mail this week which highlighted the fact that us Brits are guilty of buying kitchen gadgets that we think we will use and love, but that in reality just sit in the cupboard gathering dust. As a result, toasted sandwiches, along with homemade panini and coffee, cost us an average of £10.68 each time we have one because these gadgets are so rarely used. Yikes. And you thought Starbucks was expensive…
I confess I do have a toasted sandwich maker, and it does actually come out from time to time, simply because it can make even the most boring cheese sarnie vaguely interesting, and the children like them. But I know there are other gadgets lurking that I never use – paella pan I had to have (used once), pasta machine (used twice), mouli-legumes (hate the bloody thing, wish I’d never bought it – cleaning the thing is an absolute nightmare), brandy glasses (used once since we got married a hundred years ago), miniature nutmeg grater… What was I thinking?
Having said that, I have some hero gadgets I absolutely LOVE and couldn’t live without, many of which I am sharing here on my blog. So far we’ve had my one-handed tin opener (a godsend), my easy-peasy lemon squeezer, super pink tongs (they don’t have to be pink) and the amazing one-handed colander. With more to come (I know!).
So rid yourself of the unnecessary kitchen clutter, reclaim your kitchen drawers, chuck out those novelty oven gloves, pass on the breadmaker you’ve never used, repurpose that ‘hilarious’ guitar-shaped spatula and start afresh. You’ll thank me in the long run.
Your kitchen buddy,
I want to know what gadgets or pieces of kitchen equipment did you simply have to have, and are now lying unloved in a cupboard somewhere, or worse in the loft? Come on, ‘fess up – I want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly!
It goes without saying that there are plenty of useful gadgets on the market for the one-handed cook, but if you’re anything like me, you probably don’t want more clutter in your kitchen. (So says the woman who discovered a Lego man in the dishwasher basket earlier.) When it comes to gadgets, therefore, it pays to work out which ones are actually worth having and which ones you can relegate to the bin. With this in mind, I’ve decided to regularly share my Hero Gadgets – the ones that actually work and that are essential for making a decent family meal (IMHO).
The first of these is the chef’n ez squeeze one-handed can opener, as pictured, which I bought in Sainsburys and can be purchased online here from Divertimenti. It truly is a Hero Gadget in my view; you simply push the little button to open the thing, slot it on to the top of your tin, and then – with just one hand (yay!) – you squeeze the handles together, up and down, until your lid is practically off, at which point it sticks to the magnet and you lift off the whole thing. So simple. So pleasing. It works every time. And, to top it off, you can stick it in the dishwasher. (Surely the inventor must be a mum?!)