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Pots and Pans


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I'm looking to replace my current pots and pans, I've had them a good few years now and when I got them I wasn't really in to cooking, as such they are pretty basic in terms of quality. I'm mainly used to non-stick pans but I'm wondering if I would be better off with steel (or something else?), or would a combination of 'stick' pots then a non-stick frying pan be the best option? I've been looking at the Le Creuset range (not their cast iron stuff) which look very nice but do come at a price. What do you nice folk recommend? :)

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I've got risotto/saute pan from that range and I love it, easily my most used pan. Sits in a nice place that you can do risottos/long cooked bolognese/oven cooking/'one pot meals' all from the the one pan, I've even had a couple of friends cook with it and comment how nice it is. It doubles as a frying pan as well, I used it for a while as my primary frying pan but in the end got ticked off that's it's not great for pancakes and so brought a cheapo frying pan ( Nonstick 3-Ply only as 2 years guarantee(compared to 10 years for non-nonstick) so didn't seem worth paying the extra as I really only do eggs, bacon and pancakes in the frying pan).

Although Le Cresent saying it offers the best combination of able to quickly changetemperatures and continuous heat (no hot spots), it's pretty good at having no real hot spots but I think it can take a while to change temperature.

http://thecookskitchen.com/browse_6287

I've got a saucepan from the range as well, but I don't really use it loads, odd times for stuff that wants a frying and then a long oven cook, decent build quality and everything just I think my cooking style has changed a bit.

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I've got a real hotchpotch of stuff at the moment, it's something that I'd like to sort out at some point. I've got everything from a massive stock pot (bought for boiling lobsters) to a tiny little frying pan, but everything is in varying states and nothing matches. I also have some big gaps in my arsenal at the moment (no griddle pan, no proper casserole), so I definitely need to sort out some upgrades.

The other problem I have is that my kitchen is a bog standard one with cupboards (as opposed to drawers and hooks etc), so traditional pans don't seem to fit very well. As soon as you put a Wok and a couple of large sautée pans in one of them, that's it, it's full up. My Dad was telling me about some pans he got with handles that fold in, so that you can "nest" them, has anyone got any experience with things like that?

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I've got a real hotchpotch of stuff at the moment, it's something that I'd like to sort out at some point. I've got everything from a massive stock pot (bought for boiling lobsters) to a tiny little frying pan, but everything is in varying states and nothing matches. I also have some big gaps in my arsenal at the moment (no griddle pan, no proper casserole), so I definitely need to sort out some upgrades.

I find that quite appealing for some reason.

I think lancashirebambaata's suggestions are good, but it all depends on your budget, how much you like cooking, how often you cook, what you like cooking, etc.

But a good, large non-stick frying pan and a decent collection of 3/4 saucepans are definitely the basics, then you can think about other things as and when you need them, for instance:

a wok for stir-fries (can be used for deep-frying and steaming too)

a large cast-iron casserole dish for oven-cooked dishes (can also be used on the hob)

a cast-iron gridle plan - for healthier frying of steaks, fish, large veg, etc

a steamer if you like steaming foods - I've recently dug one out that I had in the garage for over a year, and have been using it daily. It's great. It's also good for sterilising bottles for babies :unsure:

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Yeah, I can see the appeal of having a variety of favourite individual pans, all nicely worn in, but in a small house like mine it's not that practical. If I had a big country kitchen I daresay I would buy more specific pans than I have now.

Something like Jamie Oliver's house, for example?

I get insanely jealous watching his new show.

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Yeah, it sickens me when I watch these shows and they just whip something out from a convenient shelf, or pluck it from an overhanging hook. When I cook anything different there's usually about half an hour of "Where's that bloody cake tin!" with me having to pull out half the kitchen cupboards, and virtually crawl into them to find it.

I really wish I had deep drawers instead of cupboards, they make so much more sense.

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Check this out Chosty, this is the range I alluded to earlier.

http://www.tefal.co.uk/tefal/products/prod...0K81JSML6SADKPB

Not only do the handles fold in, the lids form some sort of compact base for the whole shebang.

Can't believe it's taken so long for companies to make this.

I saw something in one the weekend broadsheet gloss mags about a Creuset casserole pot, whose lid doubled up as a saute pan. Ace! Shame it's been discontinued. :)

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What about opinions on 'stick' versus non-stick? I've got a decent wok, but everything else needs replacing so I'm thinking a decent non-stick frying pan and then the rest of the pots would be uncoated.

Yes, a good non-stick frying pan is essential. It saves loads of hassle and cuts down the amount of oil you need. It's worth spending a decent amount of money otherwise you'll get a crappy coating that loses its non-stick after a while, and thin metal that warps and heats unevenly.

I also think a small non-stick milk pan is handy for heating milk/beans, making custard etc.

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I've never been in TKMaxx: I thought it was just some Primark-type clothes shop with really crappy products. Might have to take a trip to one now.

Wilkinsons has some good deals - I got a thermospot Tefal non-stick pan for a really good price.

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Is Ikea stuff any good? I'm eyeing up some pots and pans with the three layer base thing and nice Teflon coating.

Also, can anyone recommend a cheapish frying pan/saute pan with a metal handle? I always have to transfer meat to roasting tray after searing it if I want to roast it afterwards and I can't help but feel I'm losing out on the caramelised bits left in the frying pan.

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I got a really nice wok from Ikea, it was about £50 but for the size / quality, it was well worth it, a similar quality one from a well known brand would have been a lot more. Their cast iron stuff looks like a good alternative to the Le Creuset stuff as well.

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Why not just sear it in the roasting pan, on the hob?

Ikea stuff is variable. I had a frying pan with a decent enough non-stick coating, but the metal was thin and the bottom of the pan warped. Their cast-iron griddles look alright though, I was going to try one next time I go over to Lakeside.

Because my roasting pans are all thin pieces of shit that start making disturbing noises when placed over direct heat. I could get a better roasting pan but I think I'd get more use out of a frying pan.

I was specifically looking at their 365+ stuff, which is steel with the aluminium middle bit and Teflon. They seem to have metal handles too and don't seem that thin. Can you put Teflon pans in the oven or will that wreck them?

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I got a really nice wok from Ikea, it was about £50 but for the size / quality, it was well worth it, a similar quality one from a well known brand would have been a lot more. Their cast iron stuff looks like a good alternative to the Le Creuset stuff as well.

£50 for a wok?!

I thought a wok is one item where you don't need to spend lots on - relatively thin metal, no need for non-stick coating, etc.

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There's a big difference in results from using a good non-stick wok in my experience. For a start the heat distributes better which is handy when you consider only a very small area of the pan is in direct contact with the heat. Also, frying off your spices / garlic etc is made much easier as there's no chance it will catch / burn on the bottom.

I went with the Le Creuset sauté pan in the end and a Henckel knife set.

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