I sneaked in a little shopping for kitchenware at Aldi of all places on Wednesday. I'm having a cast iron moment. I threw out all my non-stick pans a a while ago and have been cooking with cast iron. I'm loving it, and it feels good not cooking on top of all those chemicals.
I've had a few Le Creuset items for a while now: enamelled skillet, Dutch oven and French pan and I loved them (even though they cost a fortune!). Unfortunately the skillet didn't have the raw cast iron cooking surface that I was after, so I bought one from IKEA. It's great, but when I saw one in the Aldi catalogue this week for $14.99, I couldn't help buying myself a blue one (the other colours have enamel interiors), two red roasting pans, a red 4L Dutch oven and a red 3.5L French pan.....all for under $100 - I still can't believe it.
My blue Le Creuset French pan cost more than $300 and the Aldi one $24.99 and I honestly can say that there isn't a huge amount of difference between them. The manufacturers copy Le Creuset so well. The Aldi pans have a more glossy exterior and the paintwork isn't perfect, the exposed cast iron on the skillet is a little rougher than the IKEA pan (it's quite beautiful) but it works well after seasoning. I even made a rustic quiche in it:
|Crofton skillet from Aldi and IKEA Senior pan at the back|
I got excited and I wanted to try out the Dutch oven. So I soaked some beans for a while. The kids loved putting their hands in the bowl to play with the beans, so did I.
And then turned them into Vegetarian Chilli (without any chilli - blame the kids), cooked perfectly in my new red pot.