Tag: Cooking

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


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

Foodie Swellness: Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker


To say that food occupies my thoughts much of the time is an understatement. What will I eat next. What will I order for dinner out tomorrow? (I’ve actually asked friends what they plan to have, and my question has been met with expressions of “I can’t believe you’re already thinking of what you’re going to eat there”). What will they be serving at the lunch I’m attending? What groceries I need to pick up. How I really want to try more Malaysian cuisine. How a pizza would hit the spot right about now. Even when I’m on a plane and we all know how awful plane food can be in economy, I ponder when it will be served and what will be on that little plastic tray.


And while I do enjoy cooking, sometimes it does feel like a chore. So I occasionally have breakfast for dinner; it’s easy to make something breakfast-y that is simple but tasty and I often have the ingredients in my fridge. Another reason is because I do quite enjoy it, and breakfast sandwiches are something I crave from time to time. So when I saw the adorable Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker, an award-winning product, I knew I had to try it out. (The company gave me some of their appliances to test out, full discolosure!)

What it is and how it works? Basically, on the bottom portion, after heating up the machine, you place the bottom of your sandwich bread (think bagel or English muffin), and any veggies, cooked meat or cheese you want in your sandwich, then on the top portion you crack an egg and break the yoke and top it with the top of your English muffin. Close the top on the appliance and about 4 minutes later, you swing out to the side the middle non-stick plate with the tab so that your sandwich becomes, well, a sandwich (one layered piece) and then you lift open the appliance (wearing an oven mitt for safety as parts of it are hot!) and use a spatula to slide off your warm breakfast sandwich. The cheese (I always put cheese!) has melted nicely, the egg is cooked and the bread has a nice warm crispness to it.


It’s super easy to clean and pretty nifty but I suppose you have to eat breakfast sandwiches pretty regularly to make getting this appliance worth it. I can see it being great for a family with a few kids. Or someone in college or university living in a dorm. The appliance is quite small so storage even in my small downtown condo is not an issue. The only way I feel it can be improved is if it could also cook whatever meat you want in your sandwich; when I was growing up McDonald’s for breakfast was a treat and I’m still a fan of their Sausage McMuffin with egg. But I can’t make a similar homemade version using this appliance since the Maker won’t cook a sausage patty (and cooking it separately to then insert into the completed breakfast sandwich defeats the convenient purpose of only using the Maker).


Currently I’m using the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker to make a small yet filling breakfast after a run (when I’m typically lazy to fuss with cooking anything more elaborate) but I go through spurts of using it often one week and then giving it a break the next. I think I need to experiment with more ingredients, but so far my fave sandwich includes tomato, ham, cheese, egg and avocado, on an English muffin.

Stay tuned for my next Hamilton Beach product review: the Searing Grill!


Leave a Comment August 8, 2016

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