Tag: Cooking

Foodie Swellness: Delicious Olives from Spain

Olives from Spain 1

Although I did not grow up eating olives from Spain (I actually was probably an adult before I tried them for the very first time), but they’re now something I can’t live without. I’ll regularly crave them (coincidentally, one of my cats loves tapenade, she is so much my spirit animal!).

I don’t see how one can’t love olives from Spain. They’re so versatile, for one. A simple bowl of them with your cheese and charcuterie boards. Or add olives from Spain for a brine-y bite to your salads or pasta dishes (pasta puttanesca is a classic favourite!). Baked into a focaccia so that each doughy bite has a bit of olives from Spain. And what about chicken? On it’s own, a pretty bland protein. Incorporate lemon and whichever variety of olives from Spain you can find at your local supermarket into your sauce, though, and you’ve got one mouthwatering, flavourful main course.

The different ways you can enjoy olives are practically endless when you also consider that there are so many wonderful varieties from Spain. I’m not an olive connoisseur but I try to pick up a variety I’m unfamiliar with when I’m shopping at the market.

And did know they’re loaded with antioxidants that research has shown to be anti-cancerous, and they also contain iron and inflammation-reducing oleic acid? So many good reasons to incorporate them into your snacking and cooking repertoire  if you don’t already.

Next time you’re adding olives from Spain to your shopping list, some you might want to try out: hojiblanca, gordal and manzanilla. I feel like most people I know are partial to black olives, and while I do gravitate to them, I do love gordal, too; These large, fleshy green olives from Spain have a great bitter-salty balance, making them great for snacking. The same goes for manzanilla olives when it comes to snacking; they’re nice and round and plump and since its pit is easy to remove, you’ll often find them stuffed (think anchovies, peppers or cheese)—delicious! And hojiblanca? These olives from Spain have a slight fruity and nuttiness to them, which works well for stews and marinades.

Olives from Spain 2

With the versatility of olives from Spain, I started dreaming of Canadian dishes where I could incorporate them, and bannock came to mind. Let’s face it, I dream of carbs so it’s not shocking I thought of bread. I’ve never made bannock before, a bread that comes to us from our First Nations. I did a little research about it and discovered that bannock can be baked or fried, and although traditionally prepared and enjoyed quite simply, modern versions include cinnamon bannock rolls and bannock breakfast sandwiches  Light and fluffy bannock with some chopped olives from Spain warm from the frying pan sounded like it’d be the ultimate savoury treat…and it was! Here’s the recipe:

Fried Bannock with Olives from Spain

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • chopped olives from Spain to taste (I used about a ¼ cup of Hojiblancas)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • vegetable oil for frying
  1. Whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. Mix in olives (I used Hojiblancas) and olive oil, and add water, until almost combined.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead a handful of times but do not overwork.
  4. Divide into 6 balls and flatten with your hands. Fry at medium heat in a frying pan generously oiled on the bottom of the pan until both sides of the bread are golden brown.
  5. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
  6. Enjoy warm!

Given the simple ingredients and method, I’m thinking this could be a great bread to make the next time I go camping or for brunch. Although, it’s not camping I’ve got on the brain now, it’s escaping to Spain I’m dreaming of!

For more recipe ideas for olives from Spain, be sure to check out olivesfromspain.ca

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1 Comment December 14, 2017

Foodie Swellness: DROM Kampot pepper

DROM grinders and pepper

So here’s the truth: I was sent these DROM peppers and two of the beautiful grinders almost six months ago (!) to try out, and I completely forgot about them. I tucked them away and besides was out of town so often last year that I was barely cooking proper meals anyhow. Then I stumbled upon them a few months ago when attempting to organize a little bit of the chaos at home. And I’m so glad I did.

I’ve been cooking more often, thanks to being home for a good solid chunk of time the past month, and it’s been wonderful. I do enjoy cooking (just not the cleaning up) and I definitely enjoy eating! And I’ve gone into full-on nesting mode, which I very much needed. So I finally have had a chance to use these peppers and grinders from DROM.

The DROM pepper is Kampot pepper (as in Kampot, Cambodia) and, much like Champagne and Parma Ham, they have a Protected Geographical Indication. And their flavour (and the fragrance when you freshly grind them!) is incredible. They’re single-origin peppers (meaning that they come from one producer in a specific region — in this case, Kampot, Cambodia). I can tell you that this only deepens my interest in traveling to Cambodia.

Just as good as the pepper itself, though, are the beautiful minimalist design of the grinders. With limited storage space in my kitchen (and way too many small appliances and ingredients in my cupboards!), I have to keep some items on my kitchen island, and these beauties are lovely to have on display (or to go straight from the kitchen to the dining table when people are over). Although you can use the grinder for salt, the pair is actually meant so that one is used for black pepper and the other red pepper (the DROM red pepper is a bit mellower).

Pepper, which you may or may not know, can do your health some good. It’s a rich source of vitamins, can boost mood and research has shown it to have disease-fighting properties. So even more reason to rise and grind! What’s life without a little spice?!

You can order DROM online (and it’s available in some retailers — more info on where to find it is on the website).

 

Leave a Comment March 1, 2017

Foodie Swellness: Zwilling Pro Smart Chef’s Knife

zwilling-knife

With more than 30 trips out of town last year, I cooked at home less than often than usual, for sure, but whenever I was home, I did try to prep quick meals and if home for a week or longer I always cook proper meal or two from scratch as I can.

The first time I heard about the Zwilling Pro Smart Chef’s Knife 8″, it was at a media preview where a professional chef was showing how easy it is to use; the special feature of this knife is the raised ridge that helps prevent whatever you’re chopping from sticking to the knife.

I always thought this was only an issue I had when chopping. I always have had to pause and slide carrots or onion off of the blade before continuing to slice. The demo, well, it did seem to work well but watching the chef use it, though, didn’t actually say much to me, because he’s great at chopping precisely and super quickly and without the ingredients staying on the blade because he’s a professional.

But then I got my hands on the knife at home (I’m a Zwilling ambassador) and put on my apron and pretended I was Ina preparing some wonderful meal to welcome Jeffrey home and put this knife to use on some vegetables. First off, wow, it’s so great to have a sharp knife. Definitely made me realize how dull my current regular knife was. (Now I just need to make sure I  keep it sharp!)

This Zwilling Pro Smart Chef’s Knife  is a pleasant weight and feels right in my hand, so much so that I don’t have to steady it with my pointer finger like I usually do when chopping. I know it’s not the proper way to hold a knife but I’ve always found it made chopping easier. But this knife is designed such that I find I can hold it as one should and it totally works like a dream at preventing ingredients sticking onto the blade. My prep time has been cut down and I no longer dread recipes that call for a lot of chopping. I’ve made a lots since receiving it but recent dishes include chicken gnocchi soup and a Bolognese sauce, and dicing the veggies, a task I used to find a chore, was fun. OK almost fun — as much as I enjoy cooking, it’s nice to have meals cooked for you, too, haha!

I think the Pro Smart Chef’s Knife is a great choice if you’re looking for one knife for your kitchen to meet your general slicing and dicing needs (my other must is my bread knife — I use my Staub cocotte to bake no-knead bread). (Oh and btw, did you know there’s a new Zwilling store in Toronto?I have not been yet, but next time I’m in that mall, I’m definitely popping in!)

Leave a Comment January 5, 2017

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