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This Russell Hobbs Marco Pierre White Thermolon pan set consists of five pans: 16cm, 18cm and 20cm pans each with a lid, a 14cm milk pan and a 24cm frying pan. I bought it from TJ Hughes for about £80 a couple of months before moving out of home and was super-pleased with my bargain. Here are a few specifications taken from the Russell Hobbs website:
* exceptional non-stick capabilities
* quick and even heat distribution
* non PTFE non-stick
* easy clean non-stick
* oven safe
* suitable for use with standard gas, electric, halogen, ceramic, solid fuel or oil-fired hobs
* specially pigmented painted to prevent discolouring
* this cookware is one of the first in the world to use the unique, new, non-stick technology ThermolonTM
* Thermolon non-stick is heat resistant up to 450°C
The pans are very modern- and stylish-looking - slightly unusual in white and with a pleasing rounded shape, but as well as them looking good I was also pleased that they are what's known as Green Pans - made with Thermolon, which uses up to 50% less CO2 at the point of application than other non-stick materials, and does not release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
I've been using them for about three months now and am very, very impressed with their non-stick capabilities. You can cook pretty much anything, and even if it LOOKS totally caked on, you can almost always just rinse them with water and they're clean, you barely need washing up liquid and a sponge. One day I had a bit of a daffy moment and left a pan of pasta boiling whilst I went and did something else. My excuse is that I wasn't familiar with electric hobs. But anyway, by the time I came back the pasta had boiled dry and the pan was smoking and looking very black and I thought I'd ruined it. But no! The burnt stiff just sort of peeled off the non-stick and I was able to wash it as normal and it was as good as new - I couldn't believe it and that's a massive point in the pans' favour.
That said, while the non-stick coating is very impressive, its lastability is NOT. As I said I've only been using these pans for three months - not heavily either, only cooking with them about four times a week and always being careful to use only wooden utensils and sponges rather than scourers - and yet still the non-stick coating is already starting to chip away in places. Not only that but the paint is wearing away on the bottoms of the pans as well, making them look very shabby - it's only cosmetic but certainly not what you'd expect after only three months.
I wouldn't recommend these pans on the basis of what I've already said, but there are a couple of other minor niggles too. As the handles are steel, I had initially worried that these would heat up and be too hot to handle but to their credit they don't. The metal lids DO heat up however so you have to use an oven glove or tea towel just to lift the lid to check on your sauce (you have to lift it because of course you can't see through steel). Glass lids with a plastic knob would have been much more practical on all levels.
The handles are a slinky looking curved sort of shape, which looks fabulous but means that they're difficult to get a grip on - they just slip through your hands when you try to tip the pan to pour out the contents. And once you do manage to pour out your soup, that lovely aesthetic curved shape of the pan that I was so fond of causes its own problems. Because there is no 'lip' around the edge of the pan, anything liquid being poured from it just dribbles straight down the side and onto whatever surface you then place the pan on, causing more mess than necessary all round.
Finally, these pans are quite weighty. I like this because it suggests quality and durability but it's something to bear in mind if you have hand or wrist issues - once the large pan is full of stew or whatever it does become really quite heavy!
So in conclusion, I'm not very happy at all with my lovely pan set. I feel partly at fault because I just loved the look of them and didn't consider some of the practicalities like the shape of the handle or the material of the lid ... but then if I can pick up on these design faults within a few uses, surely the manufacturers should have??
Model number: 14206