Unboxing my new Cast Iron Pan

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Today my new cast iron pan was delivered.
I had ordered it from www.diepfanne.com just two days ago, so that was really quick.
What’s special about it is that it’s really heavey and that the handle is easily removable. As I usually cook on a gas-stove, that’s really important for me.
Normal pans don’t have removable handles which means that they always get extremely hot and you can’t touch them without suffering severe burns.
Another special feature is that the handle is actually made of charcoal.
This is treated with an epoxy resin to make it durable.
Looks great, doesn’t it?

It came packed in a sturdy cardboard-box.
Inside there were some other items I had ordered (wooden spoons, some whisks), all packed in paper.
They also added the latest edition of “Slow Food Magazin” free of charge.

The pan itself is packed into a nice, sturdy fabric-bag which I’ll probably use for storing stuff.

Inside the fabric-bag the pan is wrapped in oil-paper to prevent rust.
Some instructions on how to treat the pan before its first use are also included.

The sealed charcoal-handle looks beautiful.
It’s hand-crafted Germany,
Fitting it to the pan is very easy and can be done without actually having to hold the pan itself.
This is definitely a bonus when having to fit it to a hot pan.

If you’re looking into purchasing one of these, check out https://www.diepfanne.com
Besides pots and pans they also have other useful kitchen-accessories in their shop.


A Great Helper: The Spoon Measure

The spoon measure is one of these simple tools of which you didn’t know you needed them until you got one.

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Once you have one, you’ll constantly be using it and ask yourself how you coped before.
OK, I may be exaggerating here but just a little bit. 🙂
The use for this tool is very simple.
There are a lot of recipes that don’t give you the weight for components or spices you add, but rather use “one tablespoon, 1/2 teaspooon”, etc. as a measure.
Now how much is actually a tablespoon? How do you measure 1/2 teaspoon?
This is where the spoon measure comes in.
It’s a cheap tool but really comes in handy.

Knives: The essential Tools

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Whatever you do in the kitchen, get yourself at least one good knife.
If possible, get yourself even more.
A good knife doesn’t necessarily cost a fortune but it’s an advantage if you have money to spare.
Personally, I prefer Japanese knives.
After some checking around, I got to know Miyabi knives.
These aren’t the cheapest but I’m impressed by the quality.

If you can’t or don’t want to spend too much money on knives but still want decent quality, there are quite a few sufficient knives out there.
Going with good German brands from Solingen (which has been the centre of German’s knife-making industry for a few centuries), you can’t do anything wrong.

As you can see in the photo, I have several different knives which I use on a regular basis.
The top one is a bread-knife, I guess I don’t need to explain what I need that for.
The one below that is a Sujihiki. I use it mainly to fillet fish.
The middle one is a Santoku. I use this to cut large vegetables, even pumpkins.
Next comes a Gyutoh which I use to cut meat.
Finally, the small one, called Shotoh,  is for all those other kitchen tasks like peeling potatoes, etc.

I like these Miyabi-knives because they are really, really sharp and they stay sharp for a very long time if you treat them right.
They are sharpened on both sides of the blade with the traditional Japanese Honbazuke honing.

My knives are symmetrical, i.e. honed on both sides of the blade.
Traditional Japanese cooking requires asymmetrical blades which means that these are honed on one side only.
As I don’t do that much Japanese cooking except for the occasional Sushi, I prefer the symmetrical blades.

If you want to know more about Miyabi-knives and gather more knowledge on knives as a whole, check out their website. It’s really worth reading:

https://www.miyabi-knives.com/uk/en/home.html

The Whisk, another underestimated Tool

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If at all, many people have only one whisk.

As the size of the whisk should always be compatible to the size of the pot, this normally means that the whisk is either too big or too small for the task at hand.
That’s why I recommend to have at least three whisks, one large, one medium and one small. This way, you’ll always receive the best possible results.
Also, I prefer silicone-coated whisks. These won’t damage your coated pots and pans like a normal whisk would do.
Again a recommendation from my side.
I buy my silicone-coated whisks from diepfanne.com. They sell them as a set at a very competitive price.

Spoons, the most underestimated Tools

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Everybody uses spoons when they cook. But still this is one of the most underestimated tools in the kitchen.
How many spoons do you have for cooking?
One?
Two?
Three?
Not enough.
You will need at least five of these.
You don’t want to use the same spoon in two or more pots at the same time as you don’t want to stuff to be transferred from one pot to the other.
Then spoons get dirty and you need some spares if you don’t have the time to wash them inbetween.
That’s why I have five spoons, leaving me ample reserves in case I use several pots and pans at the same time.

For cooking, you need proper spoons.
Personally, I prefer wooden spoons made of beech. They are hygienic, the are durable, they don’t get hot like metal spoons and they don’t melt like plastic spoons. Also, they don’t scratch coated pots and pans like a metal spoon would do.

Wooden spoons need a little care when they are new. Done properly, they will go a very long way.
The trick is to wipe them down with kitchen oil (use a neutral oil, e. sunflower oil) and let the wood take up the oil over night. Then wipe off the remaining oil and you’re good to go.

I always use the spoons from https://diepfanne.com (see photo on top).
They are very durable and with a diameter of 13mm, are much more sturdy than what you get in the supermarket.
In addition to that, you’ll notice that they have a wooden “corner” which makes it very easier to get all tat stuff out of the corner where your normal spoon won’t go.

The Gastronorm-System GN

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There is a system for professional kitchens called “Gastronorm”. This covers devices, containers, etc.
The system is standardized worldwide, so wherever you go, you will find the same standard.
Most non-professionals don’t know aboutthis system but it’s really useful, even in private kitchens.
The containers are square and have different depth.
GN 1/1 is a full container with the dimensions 325mm x 530mm.
GN 2/1 is double that size with 650mm x 530mm.
You also get GN 1/2, GN 1/3, GN 2/3, GN 1/4, GN /2/4, GN 1/6, GN 1/9.
They also come in different depths, shown in milimetres behind the GN X/X-name.

I personally prefer GN 1/4 in 20mm and 65mm. In addition to that I have a few GN 1/4-100.
That’s really all you need for cooking even larger meals.

They are stackable so they don’t take a lot of space when you don’t need them.

The photo shows six bowls (2x20mm, 4x65mm) plus four lids, stacked for storage.


Also, they make it very easy to organize yourself even in a small kitchen.
When I prepare a meal, I prepare the different components which I then put into GN containers, each component into its own container.
I then stack them in the order that I need them, i.e the first one I need is on top, the last one at the bottom. That way, I can stack them using only an area of 265mm x 162mm, which is next to nothing.

The photo shows four GN 1/4-65 containers stacked on top of each other.


As they get empty, I stack the empty ones to be cleaned later. Again, not a lot of space consumed and you have everything prepared so that you always use your components in the right order, even when under stress.

And best of all, they come at really affordable prices.
Check out “Gastronorm” on Amazon or eBay. You’ll be surprised at the huge variety of items on offer here.

The complete list reads as follows:

GN 2/1-20650×530 mm 4,5 litre
GN 2/3-20354×325 mm1,25 litre
GN 2/3-40354×325 mm3 litre
GN 2/3-65354×325 mm5,25 litre
GN 2/3-100354×325 mm8 litre
GN 2/3-150354×325 mm11,5 litre
GN 1/1-20530×325 mm1,9 litre
GN 1/1-40530×325 mm4,5 litre
GN 1/1-65530×325 mm7,4 litre
GN 1/1-100530×325 mm12,6 litre
GN 1/1-150530×325 mm18 litre
GN 1/1-200530×325 mm25 litre
GN 1/2-20325×265 mm0,85 litre
GN 1/2-40325×265 mm1,75 litre
GN 1/2-65325×265 mm3,5 litre
GN 1/2-100325×265 mm5,5 litre
GN 1/2-150325×265 mm8,5 litre
GN 1/2-200325×265 mm11 litre
GN 1/3-40325×176 mm1,5 litre
GN 1/3-65325×176 mm2,25 litre
GN 1/3-100325×176 mm3,5 litre
GN 1/3-150325×176 mm5,5 litre
GN 1/3-200325×176 mm7,25 litre
GN 1/4-65265×162 mm1,5 litre
GN 1/4-100265×162 mm2,5 litre
GN 1/4-150265×162 mm3,75 litre
GN 1/4-200265×162 mm5,25 litre
GN 2/4-65530×162 mm3,5 litre
GN 2/4-100 530×162 mm5,5 litre
GN 1/6-65176×162 mm1 litre
GN 1/6-100176×162 mm1,5 litre
GN 1/6-150176×162 mm2,25 litre
GN 1/6-200176×162 mm3 litre
GN 1/9-65176×108 mm0,5 litre
GN 1/9-100176×108 mm0,8 litre