Dear Nigella Team, I am looking for a hob and oven proof casserole dish/pot and having trouble finding one in a reasonable price range. Do you have any ideas? Thanks Jack
By casserole pot we assume that this is referring to an enamelled cast iron casserole dish (Dutch oven) with a lid. Unfortunately as these are made of iron they are one of the slightly pricier pieces in the range of kitchen equipment but they are extraordinarily enduring. Nigella has one that was passed down from her mother who had originally received it as a wedding present. It dates from the 1950's but is still going strong. And when buying certain pieces of equipment it is worth bearing in mind that the more expensive items should last for years whereas you may find with a cheap piece that you will need to replace it more regularly.
As cast iron casseroles wear so well it is worth trying to find a second hand (pre-owned) one in good condition. Car boot sales or eBay are good starting points. Avoid any with obvious cracks in the enamel or too many chips, but if it is a bit grubby then worry less as a good soak in hot water and a scrub with a paste made from bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and dishwashing liquid should clean it up. If you aren't too fussy about the colour then it is also worth keeping an eye open for sales at major retailers as pots in colours that have been discontinued are often sold at a discount. Some retailers will also sell ends of lines on eBay at good discounts.