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BUYER’S GUIDE TO POTS AND PANS
Posted by Hayley Gilbert Monday, 25th July 2016
Once you’ve chosen your new Rangemaster range cooker, you’ll want a sleek new set of pans to go with it. As you will be using them every day, for everything from family meals to entertaining friends, it’s important to choose cookware that will last and with such an investment to be made, it’s also essential that your new tools are compatible for your style of cooking. Good quality cookware provides even heat distribution, eliminates hot spots and enables you to cook mouthwatering meals, so we’ve compiled a buyer’s guide to pots and pans to help you choose the best kitchen kit for the job…
A shiny set of copper pans hung from the ceiling or displayed on open shelving not only looks bang on trend but this material is also a good conductor of heat, and is the pan of choice for the professionals. It heats up and cools down rapidly and because the copper runs throughout the pan, the contents will warm quickly. Look for pans with a tin lining in a 2mm heavy-gauge base rather than a stainless steel lining, as steel reduces heat conductivity. Bear in mind that copper can’t be used on an induction hob and it’s not dishwasher-safe either. We love using it for delicate sauces such as hollandaise and jams, which need high temperatures and rapid cooling. To keep it looking good as new, you can buy specialist copper cleaning products but another trick is to use half a lemon dipped in salt. Rub all over, rinse in warm water then dry with a soft cloth.
Dunelm sells copper based pans, priced £64.99 for a set of three, www.dunelm.com
At Argos you’ll find this Heart of House copper five-piece pan set for £149.99, www.argos.co.uk
Many home cooks choose aluminium as it’s lightweight and easy to use. There are two types to choose from – hard anodised aluminium is more durable and induction-compatible while coated aluminium is not as hardwearing and doesn’t work on induction, which makes it cheaper to buy. Like copper, aluminium is also a good conductor of heat, so look for heavy gauge designs with a ground base. Other things to look for are a non-stick coating and a minimum 2mm thickness. As a guide, you should always heat the pan slowly and let it cool before washing. Some are dishwasher-safe while others aren’t, so check before you buy if this is a game-changer for you.
These pans from House of Bath are made from sturdy but lightweight aluminium with a tough, non-stick ceramic coating. Prices start from £24.95, www.houseofbath.co.uk
Enamelled cast iron
It may be the heaviest option but this material is perfect for casseroles and stews. As a good conductor of heat, which cools down slowly, the enamel coating also helps to distribute heat so food is cooked evenly. You can season the pan by wiping with cooking oil before first use, and this gives it a non-stick coating that should last the lifetime of the pan. We also like this style, as you can transfer straight from hob (including induction) to oven. To keep it clean, any annoying stains can be removed with Bar Keeper’s Friend.
Houseology has a great range of cookware including this Le Creuset cast iron oval casserole in a cotton colour, priced £160, www.houseology.com
Durable and hardwearing, stainless steel is made up from a combination of chromium and nickel and this is what the 18/10 symbol stands for – 18 parts chromium to 10 parts nickel. An 18/10 stainless steel pan is the best for durability and rust resistance while other options include 18/8 gauge steel. Though it’s not a good conductor of heat in itself, an aluminium or copper base will solve the problem. To clean, wash with detergent and a brush or nylon sponge, avoiding steel wool or metal pads as these will scratch the surface. Most are dishwasher-safe though, as well as induction-friendly. If you are cooking with gas, avoid placing a small pan on a large burner, as the flames will creep up the side and discolour the pan.
Ikea’s Sensuell series of cookware is made with a layer of aluminium between two layers of stainless steel for even heat distribution and a durable finish. Prices start from £30 for a small frying pan, www.ikea.com
To complement your range cooker, Rangemaster has a wide variety of pots, pans, casseroles, bakers, grill pans, sauté pots, non-stick woks and steamers as well as selection of kitchen tools, cleaning products, textiles, bakeware and sink accessories, which you can find at www.divertimenti.co.uk