Winter warmers: from cast-iron to ceramic cookware

Hero winter warmers 2

Temperatures are trending down. There’s a bite in the air. The smoky ambience of an open-fired pub is calling. And the temptation to nestle in for a Rocky/rom-com/cyberpunk/arthouse movie marathon is becoming hard to resist.

It’s time to shake out your cosy throws and hibernate. Winter is the season of comfort food: braises, bourguignons, casseroles, stews, soups, meats in gravies and jus, paired with mulled wine and cider. Flavoursome dishes that are fuss-free for deliciously lazy evenings. Heaven-in-the-mouth.

Winter warming

Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of citrus and wine – what’s not to love about mulled wine? The perfect accompaniment to freshly baked bread, olives and bourguignon. Image sources from left: via countrywoodsmok.com and vinedigital.co.uk

From risottos and ragouts to roast pork shoulder, breads, butters and jams, there’s a ton of tasty options to tempt the palate in the winter months. Here’s our how-to guide to kit yourself out for culinary decadence.

Cast-iron cookware

Cast-iron cookware is the perfect vehicle for healthy winter warmers. (No one wants to greet the cusp of Spring looking like you’re storing nuts and berries in your cheeks.) Cast-iron cookware dates back as early as 206BC with the Chinese Han dynasty. Renowned for its excellent heat retention and durability, it infuses your food with increased iron content and reduces the need for excessive fatty oils in cooking.  Foods cooked in a cast-iron skillet, especially acidic foods like tomato sauce, have increased iron content.

Chasseur Cast Iron Round French Oven

Produced in the Champagne region known for its fine wine and food, Chasseur is the epitome of artisanal craftsmanship. Image source: via chasseur.com.au

In the nineteenth century, meals were cooked in the hearth or fireplace, so thick-walled pots and pans were the call of the day. With the industrial revolution, the Dutch oven – a covered earthenware or cast-iron pot – was developed for open-flame cooking, transferable from the stovetop to the oven for added versatility.

Chasseur blue

Each piece in the Chasseur collection is hand-crafted from a unique sand mould. Image sources from left: via chasseur.com.au and cookrepublic.com

Ideal for slow-cooking, simmering and braising, these sturdy workhorses enhance the flavours and moisture within your winter menu. Baccarat, Chasseur and Tuffcast offer a selection ranging from casserole dishes and French ovens to grill pans, roasting pans and fry pans in a range of rich colours.

Chasseur

Chasseur products are enamel-coated for easy maintenance. (Bare cast-iron cookware needs to be seasoned with salt and oil.) Image source: via chasseur.com.au

Hard-anodised aluminium

Strong yet lightweight, hard-anodised aluminium is popular in premium cookware products for its superior heat conduction. Similar to the sci-fi experiment that created Frankenstein, it’s made when electrolytic solution and conductors meet to produce an oxidised layer (!?!).

Baccarat Zanui - Signature Stainless Steel 6-Piece Cookware Set

Baccarat Signature Stainless Steel 6-Piece Cookware Set, available online at Zanui.com.au is just perfect for preparing decadent paellas, risottos, soups and stews…

Hard-anodised has the same benefits of aluminium – lightweight for easy handling with even, efficient heat conduction – without being as susceptible to knocks and bumps or sharing its flavour with your vegies and meats (mmmyes… ).

Hard-anodised aluminium is twice as hard as stainless steel and adheres well to non-stick coatings to reduce chipping, peeling and wear. Baccarat offers the iD3 range of grill plates, frypans, and casseroles. It’s worth noting that some hard-anodised cookware is not dishwasher safe – detergent can corrode the anodised layer.

Baccarat iD3 Griddle Frypan Pack

Baccarat iD3 Griddle Frypan Pack available online at Zanui spans sweet to savoury deliciousness. Image source from left: via chow.com and alwaysorderdessert.com

Stainless steel

Popular for its super-shiny style, stainless steel is strong and performs well. However it doesn’t conduct heat as efficiently as aluminium does. Scanpan, Tuffsteel and Raymond Blanc offer fine quality stainless steel cookware collections.

Baccarat Zanui - Signature Stainless Steel 6-Piece Cookware Set

Scanpan offers the Clad 5 collection of sauté, chef, fry and saucepans, featuring a five-layered stainless steel construction ensuring even heat distribution and added strength. Available online at Zanui. Image source: via bbcgoodfood.com

Ceramic

Ceramic is another eco-friendly option for your cookware, popular with young mums concerned about toxins. It cooks evenly and doesn’t leach chemicals. Technically dishwasher, oven, microwave and stove safe, ceramic is versatile and easy to maintain. The Chef Topf collection offers self-basting and superior thermal efficiency in a distinctive modern design whilst Neoflam’s extensive range adds vibrant colour to your cooking adventures. Baccarat Bio+ also have some great options.

Finely crafted from eco-friendly ceramic, Chef Topf’s rosebud-inspired design features distinctive petal detail in dynamic colours. Available online at Zanui. Image source: via burcubilluriye.com

So pop your meal on a slow simmer and cosy up on the couch. Winter is on its way and we are rubbing our hands together in anticipation!

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.