Kitchen Tip – all shiny and new

So – at Christmas the inevitable happened; the Christmas pudding was happily bubbling away in a pot on the stove as we all did a quick clean up and sat down for a little break and an extra glass of this or that.

A short while later, a click-clacking began to emanate from the kitchen. Then a rumbling. Then a series of expletives from the various too many cooks spoiling the broth – or boiling off the broth. The pan had boiled dry. And not just an inexpensive throw-away pan, but a rather pretty and pricy aluminium Le Creuset number. Water was thrown into the blackened base of the pan, it fizzed and hissed and boiled off. Enough went in to cool it down and the Christmas pudding thankfully survived (God forbid…just think – no Christmas pudding ice cream!).

But the pan. Oh the pan. There were some seriously unhappy faces standing around. A thick layer of solid, immovable black gunk presented a problem. But – a pleasingly simple solution (the sort of thing you can pretend you spent hours over but really just takes minutes).

Put equal quantities of water and vinegar in the pan (any vinegar will do) along with a teaspoon or so of bicarb. Warm this through on the hob and let it simmer away for half an hour. Drop a scourer into the pan and using tongs swish it across the bottom – you should find all the burnt bits come away easily. If not, carry on heating and repeat after ten minutes. Repeat as necessary until clean. Dead easy, shiny, clean pans.