In cooking, as in life, I’m convinced that presentation is half the battle, which is why I was delighted to discover, while browsing in The Conran Shop, the Tierra Negra cooking pot (from £55, depending on size). I was immediately drawn to the quirky organic shape and the lustrous black finish, which is the perfect foil, I’ve discovered, for all manner of colourful casseroles, including Hungarian goulash (the red peppers really zing out against the black), Spanish chicken, and chickpea and chorizo stew (the lovely orange-red colour looks doubly delicious against the black).
I’ve since cast aside my long-serving Le Creuset casserole dishes in favour of Tierra Negra’s clay pots, which are handmade in Colombia – hence the small imperfections and the fact that no two pieces are exactly the same. Tierra Negra (the name means “black earth” in Spanish) moves from hob to table with total panache.
Although the dishes are made from clay, they are safe to use in the oven or on a hob. They’re also dishwasher friendly. Practicality aside, it’s the handsome dark finish that I love most about this cookware. So now I absolutely must master a Thai green curry – the pale green colour would, I’m sure, look quite stunning in this sleek black pot.