As a change from Georgette Heyer, and because I've spent much of my morning off trying to impose a bit of order on my kitchen (basically a waste of time because it never stays ordered for very long but sometimes I feel like I should make the effort).
Of all my many kitchen obsessions the most expensive is without doubt my passion for Le Creuset and their cast iron products. I love them. Sometimes after I've struggled up the stairs with another newly acquired and long to be cherished piece I get a vivid flash back to when I moved in (the much smaller collection I had back then was enough of a pain to haul upstairs, I frankly dread trying to move the stuff out again one day). I've been lucky with my Le Creuset, my mother had a clear out when she moved house not long after I graduated and decided that orange wouldn't do for her new kitchen so I got all of her old volcanic range (bought in the early 1980's when all I ever remember seeing was orange, and still as good as new).
Had I not liked cooking with these pans it would most likely have stopped there - even though more tempting colours kept appearing on the market, but I do like cooking with them. Initially it was the case that the pots suited the way I cooked but as time has gone on the way I like to cook has probably been more influenced by the pots I love to use than the other way round. An old house mate commented on this when I was making risotto one evening. After a long, slightly critical look at what I was doing she commented that it was no wonder I liked making that dish so much as I got to use all my favourite kitchen things (I recommend a shallow casserole dish for the operation but more of that another day). She was annoying but right.
The rest of my collection has been carefully bought in sales, from the outlet shops as slight seconds, or heavily hinted for as Christmas presents. I have different favourites on different days but a kiwi green casserole that I picked up a couple of years ago from Bicester village. It was an impulse buy based on it's shape which I liked and the assumption that it would probably come in handy for something. It does come in handy and is easily one of the best uses of £40 I could have found. (Le Creuset fans will know that's a bargain). It's a lovely size for making enough of something for 2 - 4 people and is good for any soup or stew. What it's turned out to be best for though is cooking rice. (Rice, an equal amount of water, a knob of butter, bring the lot to the boil and then turn off the heat and leave for 15 mins or until the rice is satisfactorily steamed through and fluffy.) The heavy lid and small heat source to surface ratio make it perfect for this and anything else that might want to be cooked in a similar fashion. I think it also looks good bought to the table. It's a nice looking thing that works very well and will last me forever - basically the three things that make me happiest with any gadget or utensil.