Take their word for it – these food bloggers have tried and tested many Le Creuset products and when it comes to great buys they know what’s cooking! Here are some of their top-notch suggestions for the keen cooks and entertainers in your life, plus some of their favourite dishes and Christmas cooking shortcuts.
Author of two books, Sam Linsell is a recipe developer and commercial and editorial stylist. She was one of the first South African food bloggers to be showcased on Huffington Post and her Instagram feed is a feast for the eyes! While she’s all about modern twists on Christmas favourites, Sam loves the traditional touches too.
This year I’ve got my eye on the Toughened Non-Stick range of Bakeware. They are of a very high quality and would happily find a home in my kitchen. The Le Creuset Chef’s Knives are also very covetable.
As far as giving a gift to a foodie, the Le Creuset 30cm Buffet Casserole is hands down my favourite cast iron piece and it’s so versatile. The wide base is ideal for stovetop cooking and then you just pop on the lid (or not) to finish off the cooking in the oven. The fact that it is very good looking means you can take it directly to the table too.
I also think the Toughened Non-Stick Ribbed Rectangular Grill is genius as the entire surface area heats up evenly so you can load it end to end with food to grill. It’s non-stick so cleaning up is a cinch too.
My advice for the busy host is to do as much prep the day before so you don’t have to spend the entire day slaving in the kitchen. Less is more, so keep things simple. Get family members into the kitchen to help, whether to make the brandy butter or peel potatoes.
I prefer celebrating Christmas in the evening as opposed to in the day, as it’s far too hot to be eating so much food. In our family, we have a dinner on Christmas day. Our day starts with coffee, tea and rusks with present opening followed by a hearty brunch of bacon and eggs, which would be the last time we eat until the feast. It’s all hands on deck in my family and we all get involved. The food is very traditional and my Dad takes care of stuffing and cooking the turkey. My drink of choice would be bubbles and then more bubbles.
As much as I adore traditional Christmas pudding it can be very rich after such a heavy meal and I think pavlova is an ideal alternative. The berries and fresh cream look so Christmassy too.
Ilse’s alter ego is The Food Fox and her eponymously named blog is a delicious foray into edible nirvana. Ilse also works as a stylist and recipe developer for a variety of brands but her ‘happy place’ is making mouthwatering videos for her grateful fans! For Ilse, entertaining is a chance to play with colour, both in her food presentation and with her cookware and table essentials.
My absolute favourite Le Creuset collection is the classic Black cast iron range – black is my favourite colour! That said – I’m always looking for new colours to complement my visuals and other props. Bright colours, like the new yellow Mimosa simply pop on camera but anything in Caribbean Blue will also do!
I have a few items on my Christmas wishlist – the 32cm Signature Soup Pot is one of the bigger casseroles in the Le Creuset range – this one has a slightly different shape than the Signature Rounds and so very sexy in black. Especially if you add a copper knob.
I also have my eye on the Stainless Steel 3-Ply Saucepan & Lid – in this case, any of the available sizes will do. This is such an incredibly versatile little pot, with the long handle on the one side and a short handle on the other. For sauces, for a quick porridge, for custard, for reheating leftovers – I use this size pot every single day of my life.
I love the idea of giving someone a 1.9l Batter Bowl – I own two of these bowls (in Cerise and Cassis) and I use them for everything! They look beautiful on your shelf, and they’re such a handy size for anything from pancake batter to butter frosting.
If you have a family member who is serious about cooking, I think the 28cm Non-Stick Frying Pan with helper handle is the best non-stick pan I’ve ever owned. It’s a real workhorse, yet the thick stainless steel on the outside makes it look effortlessly luxurious. Such a great kitchen addition!
To save on Christmas prep stress, do as much ahead as possible. Terrines and patés work so well as starters, grilled marinated veggie salads at room temp are winners as side dishes, large slow roasts are wonderful for mains, and refrigerated, set desserts (like mousses, panna cottas and trifles) work wonders for dessert. And remember you can do all your festive ingredient shopping online – no queues!
Food stylist and photographer Katelyn moved from print media to television and is now a well-known face in the South African food blogger arena thanks to her blog The Kate Tin. Her passion is baking and it’s impossible not to be inspired by the plethora of gorgeous images of her just-baked creations – of course it’s no surprise that many of the items on Katelyn’s Le Creuset Christmas wishlist relate back to baking.
For Christmas this year I’m definitely lusting after the new Sorbet Collection – I want it all! I always serve ice cream in some form when I’m entertaining friends or family and even if you buy the ice cream, your guests won’t even notice if you serve them in such pretty bowls!
I love giving the Le Creuset Cappuccino Mugs as gifts – they’re the perfect size for snuggling up with a cup of tea, a good magazine and a box of choccies!
One of my signature Christmas dishes is my Chocolate Mousse Fruit Cake – I love a really moist fruit cake but often find it’s a bit heavy, so I’ve layered it with a rich chocolate mousse and then covered it in an on-trend chocolate and gold mirror glaze. No marzipan or fondant icing in sight!
When it comes to Christmas shortcuts, frozen or fridge-set desserts work well because you can make it days in advance then just add the finishing touches before serving. And if you feel a dessert needs a last-minute wow factor, there’s nothing sparklers can’t fix – guests are always mesmerized by sparklers on desserts!
When it comes to Christmas, these bloggers have got it all wrapped up! Visit www.lecreuset.co.za to create your own festive wishlist.