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Topic # 22807 9-Jun-2008 11:05
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Righto, so I need to upgrade my kitchen.  And by kitchen I mean the things I use to cook my food. 

I'm getting a bit sick of non-stick pans that stick and pots with loose handles.  So I'm looking to get some really good quality pots and pans for my budding interest in cooking new and different things.

I know that the price can go through the roof for these sorts of things so I'm looking for peoples input on what they think is the best bang for buck.  I could be barking up the wrong tree here, but I'm picking there some Geekzoners that enjoy finer dining than the stereotypical pizza and coke bunch :)

Any suggestions?  Where'd you get your gear?  How much?  What do you think of it?

Fingers crossed this isn't a dead thread :)

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BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 136634 9-Jun-2008 11:15
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It may not come cheap, but you can't beat a Le Creuset cast iron pan. No breaking parts, no movable parts. Just a big, heavy, naturally non-sticky (if correctly done) cast iron.

The more you cook on cast iron pans the better the food is.

They have other styles as well of course. But for steaks and grills... Hmmm.




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  Reply # 136635 9-Jun-2008 11:17
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I have a wiltshire stock pot which has a heavy base.  Feel the weight of everything, go for heavy bases...  I have a cheap warehouse stockpot, which I bought before the wiltshire, which was also from the warehouwse.  It steams my fingers and traps water/vapour inside the handle...  The Wiltshire ones vary in standards, there are cheaper ones in the same sizes...  Don't buy a scam scanpan.  It went 'off' in the first six months and the repalacement one did the same..  They wouldn't honour the warranty.  Reckoned I'd overheated it.  Which I never, of course!  We have two cast iron pans to sear the hell our of our steaks when it's too cold to use the barby... If you follow the instructions on oiling etc they are fine.  Just don't let destructo-boy, aka 'Junior' near them.  And buy local, so you can go back with all your complaints...  (FWIW we are still using our Hills pans my grandfather gave us in Sydney as an engagement present in 1979, although the frying pan does buckle under high heat.  With our pans, I put warm soapy water in them and simmer the dirt out.  I burnt rice in one the other day and it survived.  (Oddly, the lid still smells...)

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Reply # 136636 9-Jun-2008 11:22
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mobygeek: IWith our pans, I put warm soapy water in them and simmer the dirt out. 


Just don't do this on cast iron pans because of the way the iron is naturally "non-sticky":


Once I have seasoned my matt black piece, how often do I need to re-do it?

  1. It is not necessary for it to be scrubbed or washed in hot soapy water; this may breakdown the seasoning or 'patina' developed. Generally, if it is washed/scrubbed under hot running water while still warm, any residues will be removed and harsher treatment is not needed. Should the piece need to be cleaned in hot soapy water it is recommended that the piece be seasoned again. Generally, if it is washed/scrubbed under hot running water while still warm, any residues will be removed and harsher treatment is not needed.
  2. After cleaning dry thoroughly and avoid leaving to drain on the sink.
  3. Store in a dry place.






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  Reply # 136637 9-Jun-2008 11:27
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Woohoo, thanks guys!  Found this just now: http://www.thehomestoreonline.co.nz/

Might have a wander down there at lunchtime and see what's on offer. 

Is anyone using the Jamie Oliver range?  Any good?  I can't stand the guy personally but I've heard some mixed things about the product quality - some rave about it, some hate it.

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  Reply # 136638 9-Jun-2008 11:28
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The Lambton Quay one? Good range of products, that's where I buy some cooking ware. But not cheap.




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  Reply # 136642 9-Jun-2008 11:33
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A good steak recipe for cast iron:

1.Make sure the cast iron pan is "seasoned" - which is done when needed or when you buy it. Google is your friend;

2.Turn on oven, put the cast iron pan inside;

3.When the cast iron pan is hot, put it on already heated stove top (remember it will be hot - it's iron!)

4.Spray some oil on your steak. Season the steak. I use salt only (NZers don't put salt in their food!)

5.Put steak on cast iron pan;

6.Cook each side two to three minutes to sear it. Once for each side only!

7.Take the cast iron pan and put back in the over

8.Leave there for another five minutes for rare or up to seven minutes for medium.

9.Take off the oven in put the steaks on a pre-heated ceramic plate, covering it with tin foil

10.Leave for another couple of minutes.

Enjoy.






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  Reply # 136645 9-Jun-2008 11:43
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freitasm: The Lambton Quay one? Good range of products, that's where I buy some cooking ware. But not cheap.


Yep that's the one.  They seem to have a good range - from $100ish to $1000ish.  My budget doesn't stretch to the latter but still interested to see what one gets for that amount of money :)

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  Reply # 136681 9-Jun-2008 15:45
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Le Crueset is definitely the way to go, but to complement your pan selection with a couple of cheaper smaller ones I use black steel pans, these are ideal for all sauteing(sp) operations, they are what pretty much every profesional kitchen uses and like cast iron they need to be seasoned before you use it which is then an ongoing action as you use it, it can take a few weeks to get a good carbon finish that will provide a stick free surface. These are not expensive ranging from $20-40 depending on size, the locally made ones are Dissco and can be purchased at Moore Wilsons. Only down side is that they are not suited to ceramic hot plates but ideal for gas as they can bow slightly with use.

They also can be bunged in the oven with no issues (as can Le Crueset) which is great for things like Beef Fillet where you can sear on the hob at high heat (cant readily overheat these basic steel pans) then finish the fillet off in the oven, just throw it in pan and all.

Also cleaning of cast iron and black steel pans, wash in warm but not too soapy water, if needed let them sit a few minutes to soften hard stuck on items, as you dont want to remove any carbon finish if possible as its the carbon that gives the non stick action, then rinse and dry and put back on the hob to heat gently to get rid of water in the steel pores, let cool slightly then wipe out with a paper towel with a bit of olive oil on it to get a clean oil finish, let fully cool and put away.

Cyril

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  Reply # 136684 9-Jun-2008 15:54
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You should always salt the meat after it's been cooked and rested... not before.

Other than that, get some good cast-iron pans and bake them in the oven with lard. Vegetable oil can get a bit gunky. Never put soap in them, and you have non-stick pans that'll last you a lifetime. Make sure they're heavy too. Good for strengthening the arms that.




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  Reply # 136686 9-Jun-2008 15:56
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Oh, and you'll want a stainless steel frying pan too. They're good for cooking meat and making sauces.




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  Reply # 136689 9-Jun-2008 16:02
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1. Scanpan from Denmark is another good brand. I have a couple which were about $300 each

2. Hmmm.... always salt or season the meat before cooking (that's what I was taught at chef school...)

3. I was Sous Chef at the Lone Star in Chch where we cooked upwards of 200 steaks per night - hot grill (or hot pan), a couple of minutes each side for rare. Can't get much simpler than that!




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  Reply # 136690 9-Jun-2008 16:07
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I simmer the stainless steel pans with hot soapy water.  The cast iron pans get hot water in them as soon as the food (read steak) is removed, and they just clean themselves with their retained heat.  A quick scrub, rinse and re-coat of oil is then applied.  Ours are cheapies, and tend to rust if the outside goes near water..  I only have olive oil aroind - I tried the rice bran oil but it goes sticky when over-heated.


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  Reply # 136691 9-Jun-2008 16:09
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I always oil and season meat before cooking. And yes a stainless steel pan is also required for the likes of sauses and reductions, cast iron and black steel pans will/can lose their carbon finish with reduction making and can impart an iron taste which is not good, I can also recommend ScanPan and Circulon, but once again Moore Wilsons or the Knife Factory, Southern hospitalitiy are better for prices than most high street kitchen shops.

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  Reply # 136693 9-Jun-2008 16:11
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Only problem with 'normal' non stick pans is they don't like high temps...


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  Reply # 136719 9-Jun-2008 17:20
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freitasm:

6.Cook each side two to three minutes
...
8.Leave there for another five minutes for rare or up to seven minutes for medium.


Either you have steaks roughly the size of half a cow, or your idea of rare is very different to mine.

Two to three minutes either side, then rest and eat it.  Red, raw and kicking!




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