When it comes to whipping up deliciousness in the kitchen, I truly believe that using good equipment – alongside carefully chosen ingredients – can make all the difference. And, every so often, I come across examples of both (equipment and ingredients) which I think take my cooking to the next level – in terms of ease, enjoyment and results. And when that happens, it feels mean not to “share the knowledge”!
Recently I had the opportunity to try some kitchen equipment from the Judge range – I’d heard a lot about it, but hadn’t had the chance to get my hands on it – and so needless to say I’ve had great fun over the past few weeks doing a bit of “road-testing” to see if it lives up to ITS reputation and MY expectations – and it certainly did on both fronts!
Judge 5-piece stainless steel pan set
First up was a beautiful 5-piece stainless steel pan set. The set is made up of a milk pan, 3 differently sized saucepans (complete with lids) and a frying pan with some of the most impressive non-stick action that I’ve seen in quite a while!
When they arrived, I was a little nervous that they wouldn’t be compatible with my induction hob – many pans aren’t – BUT luckily, for me, this set works not just on induction hobs, but also on gas, halogen, ceramic and solid plate hob types. However, they don’t JUST work on the hob – they’re also oven safe too – and so when it comes to searing a fillet of steak or fish on the hob and then finishing it off in the oven, or whipping up a Tarte Tatin or frittata I don’t need to use a whole host of pots and pans – these will take care of everything – PLUS they look stylish enough that I could just take them straight to the table –and you can put them in the dishwasher afterwards! Bonus!
Having a range of sizes was really helpful – I could use the largest pan to cook pasta whilst using one of the smaller ones to cook Bolognaise sauce, poach eggs or heat up leftovers. Scrambled eggs are, as regular followers will know, something I’m a big fan of – at any time of day – and using a good pan can make a real difference to the result – and I wasn’t at all surprised when the frying pan that came with this set made good scrambled eggs!
I particularly liked that, despite feeling really solid and hard wearing, they were actually remarkably lightweight – some of my other pans are sturdy enough but boy do you get an arm workout when you use them – which makes me warier when it comes to using them. In fact, I think the only thing that would have made this set better in my opinion was if the frying pan came with a lid too – for things like finishing off Shakshuka – but one can easily improvise on that front with a dinner plate so it’s no great loss!
All in all, they definitely get a big thumb’s up from me – it’s probably just as well they have a 25-year warranty* (not that I think I’ll need it based on Judge’s reputation) as these are going to be getting heavily used!
Judge Block of 5 Knives
Next up to the test was a block of 5 knives, complete with their own wooden display box.
Sharp knives are essential in any kitchen – not only because they’re more efficient and mean less work for you – but also because blunt knives can cause more damage to your body and your food than sharp ones. And boy these were definitely sharp!
The paring knife made easy work of cutting through an over-ripe tomato without it turning to mush (we’ve all been there) and I couldn’t believe how easy it was to prepare my “Hasselhoff Potatoes” with the slightly larger utility knife –raw potatoes are never the easiest to cut into – but not here, there was no effort required at all. The chef’s knife really came into its own when I needed to joint a chicken for a recipe I was making – and chopping a butternut squash has never been quite so easy – helped, in part, by the comfortable grip that the knife handles have.
And you know that moment when you’re stood in front of your guests waiting to carve their dinner, all eyes are on you and you’re worried that your deodorant might not be up to the job? Well I didn’t have that experience with the carving knife – I was able to cut thin, delicate slices of roast lamb (rather than great hunks!) as effortlessly as if they were sponge cake and with not a hair out of place!
Bread knives are something I’m always a bit wary of – it’s hard to find one that doesn’t tear your bread/bagel to pieces as you slice, especially when they’re warm or on the fresher side – but the one in this set was definitely one of the better ones I’ve used – my bagel wasn’t destroyed and the “fresh from the oven” seed loaf that I’m recipe testing at the moment was easily sliced without it failing to pieces!
Knife blocks can, I think, sometimes be a bit gimmicky – taking up precious space on your worktop and testing your patience each time you actually have to put the knives back in –I do actually like using them as they keep your they knives from rubbing together and blunting in the drawer, but also because they’re more accessible whilst you’re cooking (and safely out of the reach of little hands!) Luckily for me the wooden block that comes with these knives not only looks stylish enough that I’m proud to have it on display in The Little Kitchen but there was also something about it that meant it actually felt easier too when it came to getting knives out of – and back into – it.
The details that came with these knives says that these are dishwasher safe – generally I prefer to wash mine by hand (can you tell I’m quite protective over my knives?!) plus the stainless-steel blades on these makes doing that a doddle – but it’s nice to know that, on lazier days (or days when Jamie uses them – if I decide to share!) if they do go in the dishwasher then they will survive undamaged.
So again, another top mark from me for these!!
Now neither of these sets are cheap – and as I said at the start, I was kindly gifted mine from the lovely team at Judge – however if I was looking to buy some new kitchen equipment and wanted to get really good quality items that I could be sure would last me for more than a year or two – things that I would be able to use for years – then I wouldn’t hesitate to go out and buy either of these sets – I think they both represent really good value for money – especially when I compare the price of them to that of buying 5 pans or 5 knives from an equivalent brand – it just seems like a bit of a no-brainer to me!
However, readers, the team at Judge have not only been very generous to ME – but are also offering to be to YOU too!
SPECIAL OFFER – 50% OFF
Judge are kindly offering you 50% off the price of both the knife and pan set – all you need to do is use the discount code ‘MRWFCLASSIC60’ which will entitle users 50% off the RRP price of any Judge Classic product and/or IC60; Free shipping on UK Mainland deliveries.
The website link is https://www.horwood.co.uk/brands/judge
50% of the following product lines
Perfect if you’re looking for a special gift for someone you care about – as well as a treat for yourself!!
*10-year warranty on the pans for the non-stick coating
Offer is valid until the 31st of July 2019
At least 1 product from the Judge Classic range OR knife block set needs to be in the basket for the discount code to be applicable. 1 use per email address.
When ordering the knives, there will be an adult delivery service where the purchaser will have to provide ID at time of delivery.