on 26 July 2010
When I was a child, my mum had a set of Le Creuset pans - big heavy cast iron pans with wooden handles, I loved the chunky feel of them when cooking.
My mum however developed Tenosinovitis, a problem with her wrists and could no longer hold the pans - they went to the carboot, to be replaced by lightweigh stainless steel pans. But I always vowed that one day, when I had my own house, I would own some Le Creuset cookware - and now I own this wonderful dish.
I'm pretty sure some of you are spitting your tea all over your keyboard at this moment - no doubt that seems an awful lot of money for a casserole dish when you can get a perfectly good pyrex one for a fiver. But, you can't put a price on love !
The dish, as you can see, is an attractive heart shaped dish with a matching lid, and two little wing handles, one on either side . It is made of cast iron, with an enamal lining . The dish is very heavy, weighing in at 3.2kg, so is certainly not suitable for those who are unable to carry heavier weights , especially as it is of course heavier when filled .
This dish is a little beauty - not only can I use it in the oven to make casseroles and stews, but it is also perfectly suited for using on my hob . My hob is electric, but don't worry - it can be used on gas hobs, agas, ceramic hobs, and induction hobs too . It can also be used under the grill .
Because of the plastic handle, it can't be used in the oven above 190 degrees celsius. This isn't really a problem, as most casseroles and stews require a longer cook at a lower heat. It is also worth bearing in mind that the casserole dish retains heat very well, which keeps food hot in the oven even after the oven has been turned off for quite some time . Do remember to use oven gloves when taking the lid off too - this dish will not cool down as quickly as glassware will. I would also recommend using a trivet if carrying this dish out to table to serve food, as it is very heavy and will mark surfaces . And lets face it, a pretty dish like this demands to be used as a serving dish.
Naturally, the enamal coating is not non stick, so if using this dish on the hob for frying etc, you will need to use oil . When cleaning, you shuld treat this in the same way you would a non-stick pan however, and avoid harsh scrubbing brushed that might scratch the enamal lining. I should also point out that electric hand mixers and beaters should not be used in this dish as they may also damage the lining, and that wooden, silicone, and plastic tools are recommended by the manufacturer as metal utensils can again cause damage to the lining .
This is fully dishwasher proof apparently, although I don't own a dishwasher so can't comment on how well they wash using this method - I do however find that after a good soak even the most stubborn stains come off easily leaving the pan good as new .
I love this dish. It claims to serve 2-3 people, but I would actually say you could get a reasonable stew and dumplings for four done in this dish with no problems . Yes, it is heavy to carry, especially when full, which may well put some people off, but I find something comforting in the solidity of this cookware. I think the dish itself is attractive, perfect for taking from oven to table, and very smart and classy - much nicer than any of my other cookware .
I really like the fact that this works on all kinds of hobs and ovens - I plan on changing my electric cooker for a gas one in a few months, and it is good to know I will not need to replace this item as I will have to do with some other pans. The best bit of all for me though, is that should I somehow manage to break this item (lord knows how, it seems to be indestructable) then it is guaranteed . Not just for a few months or a few years, but for MY lifetime . Thats right- they offer a real lifetime guarantee - for as long as I live, they will replace this dish if something goes wrong with it!
I love this dish loads . I love the whole Le Creuset range in general - in fact, I'm currently saving up for my next pan!
on 1 April 2004
It weighs a ton, is only big enough for 2 people's dinner (I suppose that's the idea) and is pricey enough to make you think twice, but what a lovely item. All reservations vanish as you see it beaming cheekily from the stove. Aww. Not just for Valentine's you know! Go on, you know you want to.
Updated (practical!) advice having owned this for some time:
1. Do not use oven temps greater than 190 C, as per manufacturer's recommendations, as it has a 'bakelite' type handle and the pan itself can't handle really hot temps
2. Do not plunge into or fill with cold water when really hot, let it stand for a bit to cool or you risk damaging the enamel
3. Do not store with the lid upside down on it to save space, as the edge of the pan will eventually wear through the enamel on the lid creating a permanent mark - my experience!