The online products company JMLDirect has a bit of a hidden treasure with its Copper Stone Pan collection. We try them out.

Long before the interweb there were catalogues that came through your door packed full of the most remarkable and bizarre things.

You didn’t know you needed half of them, but you soon convinced yourself that you did.

Time-saving gadgets, although it was never entirely clear what you were saving that time for, things to achieve perfection in areas you’d never thought needed them, shoes that looked like Cornish pasties but promised ultimate comfort, and trousers that elasticated out to accommodate a swelling stomach. I suppose I should have bought a few pairs of those, thinking back.

I loved those catalogues when I was young and for a few heady months many years later I ended up writing for one as a freelance gig. I sat in the giant warehouse with a laptop and spent all day playing with the stock. Best Job Ever.

Anyway, JMLDirect have, like everyone else in their field, now got a web site but they do still print catalogues. They’re rather proud of their Copper Stone Pan collection so they sent us some to try out.

The first thing you notice is that they are not as heavy as you expect; they are not made out of copper or stone.

They do look like copper, though, and the wood effect Bakelite handles look like real wood and feel soft and comfortable in use.

Externally, these won’t look bad next to your North London Aga.

The interiors are a bit divisive, they look like fake marble worktop. Some people like that, some don’t we found, but the important thing is do they work?

The core of the pans is cast aluminium, the base is stainless steel and can be used on any hob even induction. The interior is ceramic of some sort, it’s not specified. The handle is certified oven safe to 150C, but I am not sure I would risk it.


On arrival the pan needs seasoning, which means washing it out then putting on the heat with a small bit of oil. Once hot, the oil is wiped around and into the ceramic. That’s it, the pan is now ready and only needs to be re-seasoned every once in a while.

The best test of non-stick has to be a fried egg, so that what we tried, with Clarence Court eggs, of course. You really don’t want a bad pan when you cook expensive eggs.

We used no oil at all, which makes for a healthier breakfast. The egg once in the pan which heated up quickly, cooked evenly all round and soon a shake of the pan proved it wasn’t sticking in the slightest.

Once done, it slid out of the pan onto the toast with only the tiniest of shake. Very impressive.

We tried cooking our muffins in a pan, Ooh, err Madam! I’d made these myself with a sourdough starter and they were rather wet, all the same in the dry pan they came out very well, evenly browned and no sticking.

And as final test we made a tomato sauce for meatballs; the onions and garlic all cooked evenly and sauce simmered with no obvious hot spots.

There are a range of sizes in the set, 20cm, 24cm and 28cm which gives a pan for every task and they have a reassuring well-built feel to them. There is also a griddle pan and wok available.

The pan set comes with a free glass lid for the largest pan, very useful, and a recipe book and is currently £69.95. The pans can all be bought separately.

Good looking and hi tech, the Copper Stone Pans seem very good value and should last for years if the interior is treated with respect, no metal tools of course, stick to safer plastic and wood.

Now, about those trousers.