De Buyer frying pan – seasoning a steel pan.

Posted: March 28th, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: cooking, third party product | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

I love these pans… I have the 32 cm and 24 cm and they are quite simply two of my favourite things. Since leaving home, I had like many others around the world I’m sure,  followed ‘commes de mouton’ (like sheep) the advice that ‘non-stick’ was the best choice for a frying pan. I guess people are deterred by the over-exaggerated level of care required to own and use a steel pan but I’ve found that the little bit of extra care and diligence is well worth it. Using a ‘proper’ frying pan and learning how to use it properly has improved my cooking ten fold. In fact I’ve found a new love for cooking now that my attempts result in more successes than failures.

A steel pan requires ‘seasoning’, a process of coating and sealing the steel with oil which creates a natural non-stick surface and protects the pan against oxidation, stopping rust and damage to the cooking surface. To be clear, the oil polymerizes into a thin, solid, plastic-like film over the surface of the porous steel. When the pan is heated, the film remains in-tact and creates the lovely non-stick properties that you so often see on pans in the hands of celebrity chefs. The trick to using a well seasoned pan is ensuring that when ready to cook, you add oil and heat it until very hot, but not smoking, before adding your food.

This is a video showing the making of the De Buyer Mineral B pans and how to season them.

Here is some information about seasoning and cleaning a steal pan:

To begin, clean the new pan, removing waxes or other packing or protective residues on the cooking surface. The De Buyer Mineral B pan is coated with bees wax and to remove this we heat it up; add boiling water, boil for a couple of minutes, empty the water; sponge it with dish washing liquid; wipe out with paper towel. Repeat if necessary.

Seasoning: Cover the bottom of the pan with a couple millimeters of oil and using you fingers run some of the oil around the sides of the pan up to the rim. We use sunflower oil for this but you can use any oil with a high smoke point. Peanut, canola, vegetable, they will all do the job. Heat the oil on high heat until the oil starts to smoke. Remove from heat, pour out excess oil and let it cool. When the pan is completely cool, wipe the pan evenly with paper towel and the seasoning process is complete.

Cleaning: The trick to cleaning is to add very hot water to the very hot pan after cooking, rest it for a few seconds, empty the water and then wipe with paper towel. You can clean the pan with a sponge and small amount of liquid soap but you must be careful not to scrub away the seasoning. Also, it is not a good idea to put your pan in the dishwasher or to leave the pan to soak in a sink. In both instances you will encourage rust and if done repeatedly over a long period of time it will create pits in the steel.

If I am not going to use the pan for two or more days, I give the pan a light coat in oil for storage, this gives it extra protection against rust.

not saffron.

Posted: March 15th, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: garden | Tags: , , , | No Comments »


Towards the end of Summer last year I bought some bulbs. The man at the garden store assured me that these bulbs were saffron or safran in French. I planted them and waited so patiently for them to show some growth but October passed and then November passed and I thought for sure that I’d been misinformed. They finally popped up their purple heads about 12 days ago and opened four days ago and as expected the three vibrant saffron threads were missing. Such a shame. I’ve been looming over them for five months, so expectant. This year I am going to try again with bulbs purchased from a French producer and hope that I have better luck.






The Museum voor Industriële Archeologie en Textiel, Gent, Belgium

Posted: March 8th, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I treated ourselves to an afternoon off and we spent it at MIAT, The Museum voor Industriële Archeologie en Textiel in Gent. I was busting my side in anticipation. For years I learnt to weave, have my own looms and spent many hours weaving but I had never seen a jacquard loom in real life. I didn’t know for sure that the museum would have one on display but I thought surely they must. I was thrilled to find not one but three jacquard looms and literally floors of exciting weaving machinery and equipment.

The museum is housed in a huge brick building which, from the early 1800′s, housed the former Desmet-Guequier cotton mill. Some of the equipment in the museum belonged to the mill allowing visitors to see some unique equipment that they wouldn’t normally see, unless visiting a working mill of course. The building has huge floor to ceiling windows that let in an extraordinary amount of light and has high ceilings resulting in a beautiful, dynamic space. As visitors move through the building from the top floor to the bottom, the curators want them to feel as though they journey through time. This is done by successfully using huge life-size images to set the scene, time and place. The exhibit begins with early hand operated looms and moves through to steam operated machines and then on to high powered, electricity run mass production machines, some that are meters and meters wide. Not all looms, there are warpers, carders, combers and winders, a brilliant array of equipment to help visitors understand the evolution of woven cloth production.

We spent five hours milling around ooh-ing and ah-ing at every single piece of equipment, each of us constantly calling to the other to get over and look at something else.

Above, a tapestry loom.

Above, a very old, small jaquard loom. Magnificent!

Above, a piston from a steam engine which operates a drive shaft which in turn operates all of the weaving machinery.

Above, the drive shaft runs above all of the machinery and each machine is connected to it by way of a wheel and belt.

Above, along with giant over-sized prints on the walls, the museum uses dummies which give a brilliant sense of time and place. Some of the dummies are quite realistic!

Above and below, a braid loom that can weave multiple braids at once. All with the same pattern but using different coloured warp and weft.

Above, they also run classes and various educational programs alongside the exhibition including a functioning paper printing press workshop that has a vast array of presses in normal working order.

And I leave you with this final message …. be extra careful around industrial equipment! Oh dear …..