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For many years I had been using Pyrex Vision saucepans, you know, the light brown glass ones. They were great to use and easy to clean. You can sense a 'but' coming here can't you? Well here it is, but, they stopped making them, at least I couldn't find any to buy anywhere. This meant that when I broke a saucepan here and a lid there I needed to think about replacing the lot. I had always liked the look of the Le Creuset range of saucepans but had always thought that they were far too expensive, however I was feeling a bit flush at the time (the feeling has passed now sadly!) so I decided it was time to treat myself. At the time I bought the standard set of three saucepans, 1.1, 1.5 and 1.9 litres in capacity, which currently retail at £175, although I think I paid about £95 for mine in Argos about 8 years ago if I remember rightly. I purchased the classic green saucepans, being the best colour to match my kitchen, but they are also available in dark blue, teal (light blue), volcanic (orange), almond, black, cerise, granite, kiwi and satin blue. The only problem with my decision to buy the classic green is that it is now rarely seen so I can't add to my collection any longer. They are made from cast iron with a vitreous enamel coating - in the case of my saucepans it is green on the outside and cream on the inside. They all have pouring lips and matching lids with black knobs. The handles are wooden with a metal ring at the end so that the saucepans can be hung up if that's what you want to do, although you would then have to store the saucepan lids separately. All the items in the range are dishwasher proof and come with a manufacturers lifetime guarantee. The saucepans are suitable for use with any heat source - induction, halogen, ceramic, gas, electric, solid plate, an aga or Rayburn are all fine and you can even use them under a grill if you want to. Since the saucepans are made from cast iron you only need to use a low or medium heat to cook the food. The best way is to use a medium heat setting to heat the pan slowly and once it is hot you will only need to use a low heat setting to keep the pan hot, thus saving energy. The downside to this is cast iron is very heavy to lift and, when the saucepan is full of boiling water and vegetables you really do need to be very careful. In some saucepans hotspots can be caused if heat is distributed unevenly - for example if the base of a pan is not perfectly flat - and this can cause the burning of food. Le Creuset saucepans will distribute the heat evenly and will withstand high temperatures without the shape of the saucepan distorting - thus there are no hotspots and, hopefully, no burnt food. The vitreous enamel coating makes the saucepans easy to clean, but you must not use an abrasive cleaner or cleaning implement or you'll scratch the surface. I find that a soak in hot soapy water and a wipe with the dishcloth usually suffices. On the rare occasions that my pans have become stained from something that I have cooked I just boil some water and soap powder in the pan and then rinse well (obviously!). That always does the trick. Le Creuset also make a comprehensive range of cookware to match the saucepans, such as casserole dishes, sauté pans, frying pans, milk pans, soufflé dishes, open cooking dishes and even kettles. I have since purchased the milk saucepan, which cost about £20 at the time and the open oval cooking dish, which was a gift so I don't know the price of that one! The milk saucepan is coated with a non-stick coating making it very easy to clean although the coating has started to peel off. I won't go into this here as I have done a separate review about the milk saucepan and this one is about the main set of three saucepans. I also looked at the Le Creuset saucepan stand but was somewhat shocked to find that it would cost me about £50 - no chance of that then! I don't mind paying for the quality saucepans but there was no way that I would pay that much for the stand! I did however see the same sort of thing for £5 in a local discount shop, which does the job and it matches the saucepans perfectly! Le Creuset is available from most good department stores such as Debenhams or specialist cook shops, although I don't think that Argos stocks them any longer. I have also seen them for sale at various out of town factory outlets too, usually at a generous discount, but the range can be a bit limited. If you're interested in finding out more about Le Creuset the website address is www.lecreuset.co.uk In conclusion I would say that I have never regretted the money that I spent on my saucepans and intend to continue buying bits and pieces to match whenever I see the classic green ones on sale anywhere. There is also the added advantage of the weights workout every time I use them!
Kitchen & Cookery Product