Stoneline Cookware Review – 12 Piece Set with Bonus Knife Set

Stonedine 12 Piece Master SetWe’ve reviewed a lot of cookware over the years, including most of the top brands but never have we had the chance to review an As Seen on TV product. To be honest, I don’t think we would have even thought to do so, because As Seen On TV products often have a tendency to not be at the standard of quality most would desire. So when Stoneline asked us to review a 12pc set of their cookware, let’s just say, we weren’t expecting much.

BUT…after using this cookware continuously for the past two months, I’d have to say that we are both quite impressed. Who would have thought?! In fact, we were so impressed that we both went looking for a larger Stoneline frypan the other day, to add to our collection.

So let’s get started with the review…

Our first impression on taking the pots out of the box was that they were sturdy and well made, without being too heavy.

We split the set up between the two of us to use in our respective households, and we used the cookware as much as possible over a two-month period. We basically replaced our regular cookware with the Stoneline range to make sure that we gave it a real work out.

This wasn’t all that difficult because it didn’t take long for us to realize that this is actually really nice cookware to work with. It feels good using it and the handles are comfortable.

The beauty of the  Stoneline cookware is that it can be used on induction, gas, electric and ceramic stove tops. I have a gas stove, Paula has an electric stove and the pots perform equally well on both types.

What I really like is that the pans heat up quickly and evenly, and I have not experienced any hot spots. This is due to the 4.5mm thick stainless steel alloy base, which distributes the heat in an optimum way and the conductivity, which reduces the cooking time. So these pans are energy efficient.

Stoneline Vs StoneDine vs All the Other Copy-cats

Bear in mind, that there are a lot of copy-cats of this product and they aren’t the same. This is where a lot of confusion can arise when people are giving their reviews for this product. Are they actually using the original or are they using a knock-off?

When checking reviews for this product on Amazon, we found people writing reviews for StoneDine under the Stoneline product. They didn’t even realize that what they had purchased was not the original Stoneline product. So it was difficult for us to get a good idea of consumer sentiment from these reviews as we didn’t know if those bad reviews were actually for Stoneline or were for another product. However, those who were talking about Stoneline were very positive.

Oven Safe?

All the pieces are oven safe up to 350f (180c) degrees.

Seasoning the cookware

If you are like us and don’t read instruction booklets, then you will probably miss the instructions to season your cookware first. Weuse oil when cooking most of the time, so we probably got away with that one, but Stoneline recommends seasoning the cookware before first use by placing a couple of drops of cooking oil on a paper towel and gently rubbing over the cookware.

Even with constant use we have not noticed any loss of the non-stick surface but if you do notice this after a while, simply re-oil the pan with a few drops of oil on a handy towel while it is cold. This will re-season it. You may notice some loss of the non-stick feeling if you have placed the pans in the dishwasher, which of course it is recommended you don’t do.

Speaking of oil…

Stoneline states that this cookware doesn’t require fats or oils when cooking. Personally I like my food cooked in oil or butter. I never got caught up in the ‘oils are bad for you’ type of philosophy. There are good oils and there are bad oils and my preference is to cook with those good oils as the food just tastes better.

In fact, both of us prefer to use a fat of some sort when cooking, so just wanted to make that statement as in most cases we both used oil when cooking with this cookware.

But since we wanted to test this thoroughly, the times that we didn’t use oil, the food did not stick. We have cooked steak, omelets ( which are notorious for sticking), soups, casseroles and fried onions and have had great success with each. We cooked both with (only because of habit), and without added oil or fats and nothing sticks. Omelets, which are notorious for sticking on a lot of surfaces, simply slide out of the pan. With steak and roast veges we simply rubbed them with a little bit of oil and herbs but did not add oil or fat to the pan.

Eggs over easy (fried eggs) worked well and actually tasted better without the added oil. It’s just a matter of being patient and letting them set on the bottom before turning them.

So nothing sticks to the pans and cleaning them is really easy.

What Type of Stove Tops can Stoneline be Used On?

The beauty of the Stoneline cookware is that it can be used on induction, gas, electric and ceramic stove tops. I have a gas stove, Stoneline Dutch OvenPaula has an electric stove and the pots perform equally well on both types.

What’s on the Bottom?

What I really like is that the pans heat up quickly and evenly, and I have not experienced any hot spots. This is due to the 4.5mm thick stainless steel alloy base which distributes the heat in an optimum way and the conductivity which reduces the cooking time. So these pans are energy efficient.

What is it made of?

The Stoneline pots and pans have a magnetized stainless steel base , a layer of aluminum in the base and sides and a non-stick surface made up of tiny particles of stone. The aluminum ensures even cooking and we have found this to be true of this cookware.

The Stoneline non-stick cookware range is PFOA-free. The inside of the pans are coated in stone – they do not have a Teflon coating.

The saucepans have bakelite handles that stay cool and are comfortable to hold. The handles can be placed in the oven up to 180 degrees Celsius.

Clean Up

Since I am the person in my household that does most of the washing up, (and we don’t have a dishwasher), this cookware is a breeze to clean. Since nothing sticks to it, you only need to wash out with a soft cloth.

Stoneline doesn’t recommend that this cookware be used in a dishwasher. I personally don’t recommend putting any non-stick coated cookware in a dishwasher. We’ve never known a non-stick cookware to last for long anyway, regardless of the manufacturer and placing it into a dishwasher only shortens it’s life even more so.

Longevity

As we have mentioned previously, we have been using these pots and pans for over 2 months now, so in terms of longevity, we have no idea how long they will last, so that will have to be an update at another time.

So far, the coating is like new and there is no sign of pealing or chipping.

So What’s in the Box:

We received the 12 pce set which includes:

  • 1 roasting pot – 9.5” diameter, 4.5” high – (4.5 ltr/4.8 qt)
  • 1 cooking pot – 8” diameter, 3.75” high – (2.5 ltr/2.7 qt)
  • 1 saucepan – 7” diameter, 3.5” high – (2.5 ltr/2.7 qt}
  • 1 stewing pan – 9.5” diameter 2.25” high
  • 1 small frying pan – 8” diameter, 1.5” high
  • 1 square pan with lid – 11”w x 11” d x 3” h
  • 1 Dutch oven with lid – 11” diameter 5.25” high (7 ltr /7.4 qt)
  • 3 glass lids that fit both pots and pans

Stoneline Square Pan

The square pan has a set of oven mitts that slip neatly over the handles of the and I find that its best to keep them handy as the handles on the pan do get hot. So make sure you have oven mitts or teatowels on hand when removing the pans from the oven or when using it on your stovetop.

There is a also large Roasting set available as an optional extra and I will certainly look out for one as I love the idea of the lid doubling as a large baking dish and the roasting pan is a decent size at 16 ¾” x 10” x 4 ¾”. Perfect for cooking a roast in one and the roast veges in the other.

The Downside

After using this cookware for a couple of months now we don’t have any real negatives to speak of except for the size of the fry pans….they are just too small compared to the rest of the pots and pans in the set, especially the smallest frypan which is too small for much although I to cook an omelet or some fried onions or mushrooms.

The larger frypan is about right for a two member family but even then if you want two big juicy steaks for instance, they are pretty squashed in the pan. This is why, we went looking for a bigger version of the fry pans.

There is an 11” fry pan available and in Australia we can buy a 12” fry pan which is a much better option for families.

Warranty

The set comes with a 12-year warranty, which means that Stoneline will repair or replace an item that is found to be defective in workmanship or material within the 12-year period. The decision on whether an item is considered to be defective is at the discretion of the Stoneline distributor.

Scratches, stains, discoloration, minor imperfections and slight color variations that do not impair the functional use of the cookware are not covered under the warranty.

There are a few things that you can do that will ensure that your Stoneline cookware lasts:

  •  Only use silicone utensils in all my cookware and it is recommended that you don’t use metal utensils.
  • Never put a hot pan into cold water or you may crack the coating
  • Stoneline (or any non-stick cookware) should be hand washed, it is not recommended that you put your non-stick cookware into a dish washer.
  • The lids are oven safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celcius)


The Knife Set

We tried just about all of the pieces in the knife set over the two month period. I would say these are just average. One knife in the set already had a tiny nick out of it and the quality isn’t great.

We both make our own bread and the bread knife really isn’t up to the job. The steak knives aren’t too bad and they were able to cut through a medium steak quite well.

However, it’s not a bad knife set overall, and you are getting the set as a bonus.Swiss Sword Knives

The knife set includes:

  • 1 chopper
  • 1 cleaver
  • 1 bread knife
  • 1 fillet knife
  • 4 steak knives
  • 1 paring knife
  • 1 pair scissors

Again it is recommended that you do not place the knives in the dishwasher.

Final Thoughts

 Well this is not what we expected; our findings do not fit our original expectations that this cookware was just going to be another poor quality As Seen on TV product.

We are impressed and would certainly recommend Stoneline Cookware if you are looking for a new cookware set, replacement cookware, and this set would make an excellent gift.

Family Dinners: Tips for a Fun and Flawless Outdoor Eating Experience

 

Family on vacation eating outdoors
There’s nothing better on a summer day than sitting at a table in the backyard, watching the kids play and relaxing with a cold drink — except maybe having a fantastic family dinner at that same table first. All it takes to create these fabulous family memories is a little bit of preparation followed by lots of relaxation.

A Firm Foundation

You’ll need an outdoor dining table with comfortable chairs. Outdoor seat cushions can make just about any outdoor chair comfortable, and will last quite a long time if you store them indoors between uses. Find and use a sturdy umbrella to protect you from the sun and prevent annoying glare as the sun sets. Cantilever umbrellas are ideal, since they don’t break up the table and can easily be adjusted as the sun moves. Wayfair offers a wide variety of umbrellas and bases starting around $160. Available at Wayfair.com.au.

Set the Scene

Will you still be sitting outside when the sun goes down? If so, how will you light the area? For some families, flood lights that are already in place will suffice. Others like to use twinkle lights or candles in lanterns or mason jars to give softer light.

Placemats are a great way to both add color and save you work. Rather than aggressively cleaning a table that won’t stay clean (it is outdoors after all), you can just wipe it down and throw the placemats in the wash after the meal. Cloth napkins are also easy to clean and use. Plus they’re heavy enough that they won’t blow away with the first hint of a breeze, sending you chasing them across the yard while your meal goes cold. Cloth napkins are also environmentally friendly and you won’t run out of them when you least expect it.

Set the Table

Choose sturdy, reusable plates like Tupperware’s Fiesta line from Tupperware.com.au, or if you don’t want to do dishes, opt for eco-friendly disposables like those offered by Biome, available at Biome.com. Invest in a large, well-made tray with comfortable handles and a lip all the way around to transport dishes, silverware, food, and drink from inside to outside and back again at the end of the night. You’ll also want to cover food either by serving from lidded dishes or covering with a tea towel or dish cover. This will help keep the food fresh at the right temperature, and keep any flying pests away.

Don’t Overdo It

Remember, you’ll be transporting food from the house to your outdoor eating area, so don’t add stress by cooking overly elaborate dishes that require constant attention. Save the souffles and the duck confit for another occasion and choose a meal that won’t drive you crazy. After all, you’re meant to enjoy the experience too. Perfection – at least in this case – isn’t about a perfectly plated meal, it’s about enjoying your surroundings and your loved ones. So don’t worry if the serving plates don’t match. If the food makes it out to the table, onto the plates and into bellies, all is well.

Sit Back and Enjoy

You’ve done it! Food is on the table, music is streaming through a portable bluetooth speaker, and everyone’s having a jolly good time. All that’s left to do is serve dessert… oh, and don’t be afraid to let someone else do the dishes. Enjoy!

Fresh Cherry Ice Cream Recipe

cherry-ice-creamAt the moment it is cherry season in Canberra and the cherries are plump and ever so juicy.  So because there is an abundance of cherries I needed to come up with a way of using up some of the excess.

Well I have found one way to use them that is absolutely yummy – cherry ice cream.

Back in August I brought a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and I love it.  In fact I look for any opportunity to make ice cream. And over that time we have sorted out some favourites. Up until now my favourites have been chocolate with added bits and pieces such as hazel nuts or crushed up crunchy bars and my other favourite was fresh strawberry,  Paula’s favourite is toasted pecan ice cream.  So I make each one as the mood takes me.

But now my favourite is definitely fresh cherry.

I use the recipe that came with the Cuisinart for the Fresh Strawberry ice cream and just adapt it with various fruits such as mango, passionfruit, frozen mixed berries, whatever is in season.

[ultimate-recipe id=7965] 

How to Make Marinated Feta Cheese

We recently purchased a Mad Millie’s home cheese making kit and finally got around to making some Marinated Feta. The kit comes complete with the following items:-

  • a ceramic cheese pot with ceramic pressing plate and lid
  • cheese mould
  • plastic colander
  • a piece of cheesecloth,
  • thermometer
  • vegetarian rennet tablets
  • citric acid
  • cheese salt
  • recipe card.

So you have everything you need to get started. The contents are packed inside a French artisan themed box which makes this kit an attractive gift.  But this one is for me and I love it. Everything is kept nice and neat inside the box so I don’t have to go hunting for things the next time I want to make cheese. We decided to start with the Marinated Feta recipe.

And remember you don’t have to have a kit, you can use items you have in the home, but the kit makes it soooooo much easier, especially if you are just starting out.

So lets go through the steps that we took to make the cheese – the recipe can be found at the bottom of the post.

The first thing to do is heat the milk to 95°F  (35°C). Make sure you stir the milk while it is heating.

Cheese Making

testing-the-milk-temperature

After sprinkling the citric acid over the top of the milk we added the diluted rennet. To dissolve the rennet tablet we crumbled it into 1 Tbsp of non-chlorinated water 

rennet

dissolve-rennet

After stirring  in the rennet we had to wait for 30 mins to allow the curd to form.  Once the curd was formed I cut it with a long knife.

cut-the-curd

 There is a fair bit of hurry up and wait when making cheese so it has to rest undisturbed for 5 mins once you cut it into cubes.  Then you stir it gently for 1 min and leave it to sit again for another 5 mins.

stirring-the-curd

During the resting time I lined the colander with the cheese cloth and then carefully poured the curd into the colander.

pouring-the-curd

pouring-the-curd-1

curd-in-colander

Once all the curd was poured into the colander its time to pull up the corners of the cheesecloth in preparation for hanging from the tap. This allows the excess liquid to drain nicely from the curd.

bringing-the-cheesecloth-ends-up

the-curd-hanging

Once the liquid has drained for around 30 mins or more, place the cheesecloth with the curd into the plastic cheese mold and place it in the ceramic cheese pot.

curd-in-cheese-pot

Open up the cheese cloth and place the pressing plate directly on top of the curd. Bring up the ends of the cheesecloth and place on top of pressing plate.

add-pressing-plate

ends-on-top

Now its time to apply some pressure to squeeze out the last drops of liquid and to do this we add 8lbs (3.5kgs) of weight.   I couldn’t find anything on hand so resorted to filling up two Tupperware containers to equal that weight. And they worked just fine.

weighting-the-curd

After the cheese has been pressed for a couple of hours – until it is firm – remove the the chess mold from the  cheese pot and rinse out the pot.  Now it’s time to add the salt brine to the cheese pot.

brine

Remove the cheese from the mold and the cheesecloth and cut it into 1/2 in (2.5 cm) cubes. Put the cubes back into the mold (without the cheesecloth) and place the mold into the salt brine that is  in the cheese pot.

Leave the cheese for 30 minutes until it becomes noticeably firmer and salty in taste. Remove the cheese from the brine and pat it dry with a wet towel.  I forgot to do this important step and couldn’t make out why the cheese was a bit wet and crumbly. So do remember to do this before adding the cheese to the jar. You can see in the picture that my cubes aren’t as nicely cubed as they should be as they are a bit damp.

curd-in-jar

Sprinkle all of the herbs over top of the cheese and then cover it in oil and seal.

add-herbs

add-oil

oil-added

Leave for a week before sampling. Well the is what the recipe says but we kept some aside to have with crackers and it was really tasty and delicious just as it was. a However, I am looking forward to the end of the week when we can open the jar and sample the oil and herb soaked cheese.

cheese-and-crackers

It really isn’t complicated if you just follow the steps in the recipe.  And I think its well worth it. You know exactly what has gone into your cheese and that’s a plus in my book.  Bon Appetit.

 

[ultimate-recipe id=7913]

7 Gadget Gifts for the High-Tech Chef

gadgetsSince the first wooden spoon allowed a cave man to stir his stew without burning his arm, humans have been on a quest to make shinier, faster and better kitchen gadgets. If you have a high-tech chef on your list this holiday season, take a look at these seven gadgets that are perfectly priced to fit almost any budget.

Salter Stainless Steel Electronic Scale ($100-$150)

Named the number one must-have gadget for home cooks in 2013, by Fox News, this kitchen scale will let you tackle recipes with new accuracy. Because most European recipes are written with weight measurements instead of volume measurements, this gadget is just what your high-tech chef needs to tackle recipes from all parts of the globe. The stainless steel design makes it the perfect addition to any modern kitchen.

Cuisinart SG-10 Spice and Nut Grinder ($60)

The innovation behind a spice grinder is not new, but this essential gadget is often sadly overlooked in favor of more novel items. By freshly grinding and toasting your spices instead of buying them already ground, you add incredible flavor and dimension to your dish. Although you can grind spices with a mortar and pestle, consider buying your high-tech chef a little electronic grinder like the Cuisinart.

Food Network App (Free)

Your high-tech chef is more likely to have an iPad propped up on his countertop than a cookbook, and the Food Network in the Kitchen app is just what he needs on his device. With recipes from all of the stars on the Food Network, this app also lets high-tech chefs store notes about which substitutions they like for each recipe they use. When it’s time to approach a new tactic, the app provides links to countless instruction videos, according to Food Network.com.

Magic Bullet ($60-$160)

Able to mince, dice and blend anything in a matter of seconds, the Magic Bullet is an express blender that shot to fame through infomercials. Its popularity means that it’s now stocked in stores like Macy’s where shoppers can choose between several different sizes of Magic Bullets at great prices, especially on Black Friday. Perfect for the chef who wants to make anything from icy summer cocktails to healthy green smoothies and flavorful pureed soups, the Magic Bullet is a must-have for the high-tech chef.

Jaccard Simply Better Pro 45 Meat Tenderizer ($20-30)

It’s time for your high-tech chef to put down his boring mallet and grab a Jaccard meat tenderizer. Perfect for even the most expensive cuts of meat, this meat tenderizer promises to make cheaper cuts of meat taste tender and flavorful. The 45 stainless steel blades on this tenderizer work with more accuracy than a mallet, and your meat will cook faster and absorb sauces better after a round with this tenderizer.

Omega Nutrition Center Juicer ($300-$430)

In most cases, your high-tech chef will want presents to make cooking and chopping faster, but the Omega juicer does just the opposite. By slowing squeezing fruit instead of quickly grinding it, this juicer preserves necessary nutrients and enzymes. The slow squeezing process also slows the effects of oxidation, which means that you can enjoy your juice for up to 72 hours after it has been made.

Robot Coupe Combination Processors: Bowl Cutter and Vegetable Prep ($400+)

In professional kitchens all over the world, food processors are all referred to as Robot Coupes, and now, the company whose brand is synonymous with the food processor has come out with a combination processor. The Robot Coupe combination processor can grate, slice, dice or julienne whatever your chef needs. Whether your high-tech chef is making a puree, a fruit compote or a batch of mayo, this is the gadget for the job.