Now, I am no great cook. I’m not Michel Roux or the oh so charming Michel Roux Jr and I’m never going to make it onto Masterchef. No, not me. I can still burn toast. In fact, this lunchtime, along with mackerel with lemon and sumac that Alexander wolfed down, I did manage to burn some chips that went straight into the bin. I have no patience; that’s my cooking downfall. Nevertheless, I’m a responsible adult now with one, two, three or four mouths to feed (depending on whether you think it’s my responsibility to feed, apart from the obvious toddler PCG, Mr PCG, myself and the au pair- I’ll go for the toddler, myself and sometimes Mr PCG but to be honest he often cooks his own pasta whilst I eat my homemade chicken soup – elixir for the soul and new all round health boost diet).
I’m writing today about pots and pans. Most couples inherit a grubby cheap set from their footloose and fancy free lives as singles or perhaps if they have been married long enough, from back where wedding lists still had those sorts of items on them, may still be using their wedding list set. There comes a time in every family’s life that they need to purchase saucepans as true adults. Where they aren’t just in need of a round vessel to heat up a can of baked beans and even if they are, they will be damned if anyone else knows that! You have to grow up one day and part of this rite of passage is being able to buy a sparkling new, top quality set of saucepans that will, dare I say (or even think it!) take you through until you no longer need saucepans!
I’ve evaded this responsibility for a very long time. Having a best friend who could be on Masterchef and actually have a real chance of winning it also sparked my interest as well as gave me a great place to go for advice. So it is with this all in mind that our grubby, scratched and probably toxic collection of misfit pots and pans that was hanging , yes hanging – not even enough cupboard space to hide the offensive items – in our kitchen had to be replaced. It’s a serious matter too, these pans could be for life if I’m careful or lucky, or unlucky depending!
So down to the task in hand. We have old-fashioned gas at home, none of this newfangled induction, no Aga, nothing swish. The name that I had heard on my travels, doing my research was GreenPan. A Belgian-made relative newcomer on the block but with an amazingly high performance and true green credentials, it’s patented ceramic non-stick Thermolon, a natural mineral coating, has won it extremely high acclaim. Containing no PFOA’s (plastic) or harmful chemicals so that if you do accidentally overheat then you aren’t going to poison the family but with brilliant heat conduction it means that it’s the best non-stick on the market. Once more, you use less energy to cook too so it’s environmentally friendly as well, boasting 60% less CO2 emissions, I am told. For the cooks and health-conscious, the Thermolon coating requires no oil for cooking unless you wish to use it for flavour or to crisp up food.
Anyway, it was to GreenPan that I was lead and with GreenPan that I stayed. Even an amateur chef like myself knows that you can’t use non-stick for everything. Luckily for me, GreenPan have collaborated with my food idol, Michel Roux Jnr, chef patron of probably the best restaurant in London (by my standards anyway, preferred over Gordon Ramsay with the same 3 Michelin Stars) and offering, by the way, one of the best value-for-money set lunches around. Food is our thing and classic French food cannot be beaten. So, out of the collaboration comes a complete set of saucepans good enough for the professional chef but perfect for the home cook as they can be used on any heat source and offer variety and amazing quality to last. They look good too, which is a bonus and with traditional features can inspire and give confidence to even the most begrudging of cooks to give that more technical recipe a try. They are made from tri-ply stainless steel so they are heavy too and without sounding too salesly, have all round pouring rims which means lazy people like me can pour easily from them. So all the frying pans have the Thermalon coating, whilst all the others are tri-ply. There are 14 pieces in the collection , from milk pan to casserole to covered sauteuse including also a 3 pan set for those just wanting a taster. I’m sorted for life now with all that I need to become the gourmet cook Mr PCG has always wanted me to be. Michel, could I ask for a lesson or two? S’il vous plait?
Michel Roux by GreenPan from £55, available from www.johnlewis.com