Size Matters in Your Kitchen

From diminutive single-cup coffee makers to supersized pressure cookers, new products in the small electrics category cater to those feeding one person or their entire block.

At the International Home + Housewares Show (IHHS), vendors showed off their latest introductions.

Storebound’s Dash brand showed Mini Makers that cook a single adorable waffle or pancake at a time. Mi Aroma, Aroma Housewares individual digital rice cooker now in fresh accent colors, makes two to three cups of white or brown rice at a time. Bella Housewares individual coffee makers, in trendy mid-century pastels, and its new 1.5-liter slow cookers should appeal to the “single girl or empty nester,” said Sweety Ghuman, from Demonstrate PR, which represents Bella. And the most prominent launch at the show, KitchenAid’s Mini, its 3.5-quart stand mixer, pictured in the new color Hot Sauce, caters to that same demographic.

Read: Top 5 Rice Cookers in 2016

Small Size, Big Function
Miniaturized doesn’t necessarily mean fewer functions. Consumers want to “live large” in smaller spaces, said Tom Mirabile in his annual trend seminar, “The New Rules of Engagement.” They require appropriately sized appliances that perform.

Read: How to Use Less Plastic

More Multi-Taskers
Manufacturers expanded the functionality of their slow- and multi-cookers by adding new cooking features and finishes. Sautéing and browning functions are standard as are grain and rice cooking.

Zojirushi added a steel-cut oats setting as well as one for brown rice to its popular Micom rice cooker, now available in a petite 3-cup raw rice capacity.

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Glad I Bought This Beautiful Espresso Maker

espresso maker review

I am so glad that I purchased this espresso machine. My husband has been asking for one for the past year and I finally decided to take the leap. It’s the best espresso maker I could’ve bought.

This machine is very well made which one would expect from any Breville product. The only downfall to the construction is that it is very heavy however, to me this is also a good thing.

This machine has a coffee bean Grinder built right into the machine. The cool factor of this Grinder is that it has the ability to grind at different levels. I love super fine ground coffee and I get a great grind with this machine. The grind dispenser took a little getting used to, if you press in the espresso cup once it auto fills to the amount you indicate on the nob. If you continue pressing and holding it allows you to choose when the machine stops dispensing grounds.

Beautiful design
Hot water option for teas is great
Once you figure it out, espresso is delicious
Grinder is great to have and works fine
Price is right

It really took a while to figure out how to pull a good shot
Although cleaning is easy, I was a little surprised how often machine asks me to clean it with the tablets (about once every 2 weeks)
This may just be me but it seems that when I make a latte or cappuccino it gets cold a little quickly, even though cup is pre-heated and textured milk seems hot enough
Water tank is plastic and seems a little cheap, but I guess for the price, not so bad

Be patient!
Don’t use the single shot filter baskets or the dual wall one. Stick to the double shot filter basket. After lots of research I learned that it’s easier and you’ll get more consistent results to make double shots.
If pressure needle is the right spot (grey area) you’ll pretty much get a dang good shot
See video for details

Just one last comment. When I tried to make my first couple espressos per the Breville recommendations, hardly any espresso would drip from the portafilter. This has happened to many people. The solution is when you first get this machine, grind your beans very coarse. Don’t use the fine setting as recommended by Breville until you’ve pulled a few shots. For some reason, this machine can’t handle too fine a grind until you’ve pulled some shots with a coarse grind first. I have no idea why this is. But this was told to me by customer support. Once I pulled a few shots on a coarse grind setting, I dialed it to the fine grind setting and it works fine every time. I am pulling 27-second shots with the non-pressurized single shot portafilter. Tastes great!
In summary, I don’t think I could go back to a fully automatic machine. It’s true, the fully automatic was fast to use. 3 buttons to push and no clean up until the spent grinds container got full. But this Breville 870XL only takes 5 minutes from start to finish, including clean up……..definitely the best espresso maker to buy.

The Best Cookware Sets You Can Buy In 2016


Deciding what kitchenware or cookware sets to buy or use should not be taken for granted. We cannot deny the fact that we prefer cheap utensils, cheap plates, cheap woks, etc. over those that cost twice or thrice as much. The logic behind this mentality is that they’re just objects for cooking or heating purposes, why spend two hundred bucks for them?

However, practically speaking, it actually cost more to buy low-priced cookware sets that will not last more than a year, or even less, than something that may cost a little more but could last for 3-5 years, right? When purchasing an object, we should not be eyeing on its price, but instead its features or quality.

If a ceramic kitchenware is not your type and what you are after are the style and elegance at the same time its quality, then stainless steel cookware set is the one you are looking for.

There are various reasons why stainless steel sets are very popular in the market:

  • First and foremost, the designs are beyond marvelous. They are elegant and contemporary. They are even comfortable to use.
  • Unlike the handles of other kitchenware types, its handle bends a little higher so that your fingers will not touch the hot lid, and it makes you feel you are in-control of the grip. Since they are made of steel, the handles remain cool even on top of the stove or pan.
  • The steel lids or covers are tight-fit that also contribute to the regulation of heat inside the pot or pan.
  • Having dripping problems? The rims of each item are all tapered to avoid dripping.
  • Its core is pure aluminum that regulates heat and for better-quality heating procedure. Like the ceramic kitchenware, it heats up and cools quickly.
  • All are oven safe and could stay up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The benefits of using stainless steel kitchen tools do not end there. This kind of kitchenware is great even for classic techniques such as frying, browning, searing, sautéing, and even for inventing delicious sauces.
  • If you’re too tired to clean all the pieces you used, you can simply wash all of them by using dish washing machine.

Related article: The good of my stainless steel cookware

Best Cookware Under 100 / 200 / 300 / 400 Dollars

I am currently reviewing a bunch of great cookware, so stay tuned for a brand new comparison article about the top rated kitchenware sets on the market.

Here are the kitchenware types I will review – best cookware:

  • under 100
  • under 200
  • under 300
  • under 400

Reference: Basenji’s Mom

Top tips for choosing an espresso machine

Since the boom in espresso based drinks, our humble filters, percolators and even our French press’s are taking a back seat. Today it is all about lattes, espressos and cappuccinos. Many people want to re-create that café experience at home, and the good news is that with such a great range of best espresso machines in 2016, plus lots of boutique roasters popping up all over the high street and internet, there is something for every budget!


But how to choose?! Here are my top tips for choosing an espresso machine to suit YOU.


1. Budget!

Sad, but budget has to come first. With an idea of what you’d like to spend, you then can enter the market at a realistic level. If you want to spend under £200 espresso machine, your choice is limited, but it is still possible. Spending over £500, and you can look at durable, long term bean to cup machines or even semi commercial machines.

2. Function

What do you want from your espresso machine? Do you mainly drink lattes, espresso or Americano? If you mainly drink coffee with steamed milk, when looking at models make sure the steam wand is as good as it can be for your budget. Take a milk jug with you and make sure you can easily access the wand – for example, some wands on small machines are low to the tabletop and will require a very small jug to be used.

If you mainly drink espresso, consider other types of espresso maker – for example the Presso (RRP £79.99) or the Handpresso (RRP £89.99), both of which create fantastic espresso and are non electric (so they are quicker to use than a machine and also cheaper to run).

3. Usage

How often are you going to use your machine? Once a week, once a day, once an hour?! If you will be using it fairly intensively (i.e. if you work from home) then I would suggest investing in a solid model with a larger water capacity (look for one with over 1 litre capacity), so you are not refilling every five minutes. Also, check if it is compatible to being left on for long periods of time – for example, lever machines such as La Pavoni or Elecktra will overheat very quickly if left on for hours at a time, but bean to cups are more durable to being switched on all day (mainly due to their power saving technology).

No matter how expensive your coffee machine, it will only be as good as the coffee you are using. ALWAYS use the freshest possible coffee you can (more on this in the next blog) and if possible buy direct from the roaster. If you haven’t got a grinder, invest in one, as espresso is incredibly sensitive to stale coffee. If your coffee is old, your shot will taste poor and weak, which will tarnish your opinion of the machine.

Related posts:

Cook Brown Rice Perfectly

There’s no getting around it, brown rice is trickier to cook than white rice. Not only does it take a whole lot longer — close to 50 minutes — but the results can be varied. Sometimes it’s still a little crunchy. Other times it’s totally gummy. And cooking it on the stove top almost always results in an inedible layer coating the bottom of the pan.

Rather than torture ourselves trying to master brown rice on the stove, we have found another method. One that works every single time. One that requires little effort from you. One that won’t heat up your kitchen with a hot oven (yes, baking rice is great but it is also hot). And one that does not require you to add a rice cooker to your exhaustive list of kitchen appliances.

We learned this trick from our friends over at Saveur and we’ve been cooking perfect batches of rice ever since. Here it is: boil it. Like pasta. No need to perfectly measure out the water-to-rice ratio. No need to worry about how hot the burner is. Just boil it for 30 minutes, drain and then leave the rice to sit in the pot, covered, for at least 10 more minutes. This steams the rice, finishing off the job of cooking. Head on over to their site for full instructions. It will be the best thing you do all day. All month. Maybe even all year.

Then, once you’ve done that, make all these glorious brown rice recipes.

brown rice recipe





In a 8″ cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Stir in diced onion and minced garlic, cooking for 4-5 minutes. Add in butternut squash and cook for 2-3 minutes. Next, add 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder and ½ cup brown rice; cook for one minute.
Next, add the stewed tomatoes with their juice, ½ cup chickpeas, and ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper. Give a good stir and cook until tomatoes start to boil, 3-4 minutes.
Finally, carefully pour in 1¼ veggie broth. (The broth will be up to the edge of the pan but will reduce down from there.) Bring broth to a boil and the reduce to medium-low.
Continue to let cook without stirring until rice has absorbed almost all the liquid, roughly 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

The Low-Down on Japanese Rice Cookers

These popular souvenirs bring the art of cooking rice to a level rarely tasted by foreigners. The hottest selling rice cookers come from the trusted, well-known brand Zojirushi, which each year dominates the top three models of all rice cookers available in Japan. Panasonic and Tiger brand machines are also quite popular and provide steady competition to Zojirushi.
rice When it comes to cooking elements in rice cookers the three heavy hitters are:

  • Micro-Computer
  • Induction Heating (IH)
  • Natural gas

Of the three, the micro-computer type is almost always the most affordable, while IH comes in at a higher, but moderate price range. Gas cookers, the least popular for home use due to limited functions and a high price tag, almost always receive an excellent customer satisfaction rating. As a whole, rice cookers typically run between $50–1500 USD (though some can be found priced much higher); and because the number of capabilities Japanese rice cookers offer these days continues to grow—making pizza, bread, hamburgers, and even alcohol—means that customers are always looking to buy the next great cooker.

An important factor to consider when buying a cooker is whether or not it includes advanced features. Microchip technology found inside rice cookers now can control the cooking environment within to obtain cooking perfection by changing the length of time the grains cook as well as the temperature inside the cooking bowl. The machine automatically knows when to switch from cooking to warming, which means no longer worrying about uncooked or burnt rice.

Zojirushi Rice Cooker NP-NI10 IH
For quality, customer satisfaction, and price, our number one pick is the Zojirushi NP-NI10 IH Pressure Rice Cooker Warmer with a 1-liter capacity. This machine uses top of the line IH pressure cooking and what is called AI (Artificial Intelligence) logic technology for cooking ideal rice. This ensures the grain has the same consistency in summer or winter as humidity and room temperatures dramatically change.

Panasonic Rice Cooker SR-SPX104 IH
Up second is the Panasonic SR-SPX104 IH Steam Pressure IH with a 1-liter capacity and a multitude of eco-cooking course modes. Eco-cooking courses conveniently prepare rice for curry, sticky sushi rice, porridge and gruel. It also has a user-friendly, easy-to-read LCD display and a lid-to-bottom IH cooking process invented by Panasonic. The new models come in Rouge-Black and White.

Tiger Rice Cooker JBU-A55-W
Finally coming in third is the Tiger JBU-A550-W Micom (micro-computer) Cooker Warmer with a 3-cup capacity. This machine is just right for a bachelor or couple living together. It is equipped with a mini tray and recipe book which details how to cook rice side dishes. Small portions of chicken and vegetables will fit in the mini tray allowing simultaneous cooking. This small rice cooker also has other functions for making stew, soup and cake.

Find more information about Japanese rice cookers here.

Where to Store Your Cookware

There’s more to designing a kitchen than selecting cabinetry, appliances and surface materials. Numerous smaller details must be taken into consideration, including how and where you store your kitchen tools. Pots and pans pose a particular challenge, due to their size and bulk. You want them stored in a way that makes them easy to grab for cooking, but you may not necessarily want them on full display in your kitchen. And stacking them three or four deep in a closed cabinet is just not optimal, especially if you cook often. Here’s help finding the best storage option for you, your kitchen and the way you cook.

The first thing to decide is whether you want your cookware on view or hidden. This is a personal preference; some people like the look of hanging pots and pans, and others prefer a clean, uncluttered look. If you don’t cook often, I’d recommend storing your pots and pans in a pantry or closed cabinet, so they don’t collect grease and dust.

If You Like Your Pans on View
pots and pans
The obvious on-view storage option is a pot rack suspended over an island or peninsula. Make sure the pot rack is mounted high enough that everyone’s head clears the cookware, but not so high up that you can’t reach everything.

For a more streamlined look, arrange your pots and pans in a line on the wall using a linear rack. Linear racks are nice if you want your pots and pants easily accessible yet not necessarily taking center stage ó as they tend to do with a traditional pot rack hung in the middle of the kitchen. This is also a better option in a galley or smaller kitchen, as it takes up much less space.

This gorgeous copper-clad cookware definitely deserves to be seen. But again, in a tighter space you may not be able to suspend a large pot rack from the ceiling. Double up on linear racks and you can store a large number of pots and pans on the wall.

If you use your cookware daily, you may want to store it on a shelf right above the range. If you opt to store cookware in the open and you cook often, you’ll want to have a vent hood that can pull grease out of the air and exhaust it to the outside, so that your pots and pans don’t end up covered in grease.

Normally I’d be opposed to hanging something in a window that obstructs the view out or light coming in, but there is something so charming about pots and pans hung in a kitchen window. For many this may be the only place to hang cookware, and it could help obscure a less-than-ideal view.

More storage ideas for your pots and pans here.

Half Way to Dinner with No Can Opener

Sometimes I spend hours in the kitchen preparing home cooked meals for the family. Usually those times are on weekends, or holidays. With a house full of kids and a full schedule, week-night dinners usually consist of whatever is in the cupboard paired with whatever isn’t growing fuzz in the refrigerator. These meals might not be fabulous, but they are usually tasty enough, and most importantly – EASY. Spaghetti is one of these meals that ends up on the table on a Wednesday night, for all the reasons mentioned before. Especially the part about being easy. After all, what is easier than boiling noodles and tossing on a jar of sauce? Until your husband does the shopping.


When my darling husband volunteered to make the grocery run I was pretty happy about it. That left me time to pick up the living room and get the noodles boiling so all I had to do was add the sauce he was bringing home and we could eat. Of course, I forgot to mention to him that our can opener was recently broken by our son trying to crack open rocks with it. The thought never crossed my mind because in ten years of being married I have never once used tomato sauce in a can. I think it tastes like a can, so I always buy glass jars. Imagine my pleasure at being handed a large can of sauce, with 5 minutes left on my pasta. Instead of dishing out the selection of choice words that were going through my head, I had to think about creative ways to open a can.


The first thing that came to mind was stabbing at it with my utility knife. One glance at my son told me this would be a bad behaviour for him to re-enact later. I remembered my dad using a screwdriver and a hammer to pop the lid off a can of beans when we were camping. Probably not good for the three year old to try. Also, I re-called half of those beans ending up on the ground. Then it hit me. I would just grind the top off on the back step.

The steel used for food cans is actually quite soft. The lid is held on by being rolled around the walls of the can. You only have to get through the first thin layer of the outer ring. My boys looked on, while I headed out the back door with the can of sauce. Kneeling on one knee, and placing the can flat against the concrete, I rapidly scraped the can back and forth. It didn’t take long at all. Under a minute, and I had the first layers ground off. Then, all I had to do was slip a butter knife under the edge, and viola! Sauce in the noodles before they were overcooked. Now I just have to hope my son is not yet strong enough to duplicate that trick!

Excellent Knives Set

I remember when you had to spend hundreds of dollars to get excellent knives! Not anymore – thank goodness! This set is all you want! Sharp!
knife set
Knives were essential for refined dining rather than consuming with their hands, folks employed the sharp point to stab their meals and eat directly from the knife. Luckily, we have forks for that right now, but I nevertheless think it would be sort of fun to try this at your next dinner party and see what men and women do. Knives are one of the most usually employed and essential pieces of kitchen equipment you can own. Wasting income on substandard knives will only frustrate the customers when they mash and saw the food they are attempting to cut rather than cutting, slicing and peeling it with precision and handle. All three of the sets we have reviewed above are higher top quality and would match in any kitchen. When you take the time to decide on an excellent quality knife set, you will have that set for years and maybe decades to come.

Even if you in no way choose the best knife for meals prep, you require a sharp knife for meals. The six-piece Victorinox Rosewood Straight Edge Steak Knife Set is a best decision of both owners and professional testers for excellent overall performance and a sleek look. They’re comfortable to hold and cut even the toughest meats cleanly and simply. Even though edge retention might fade, these Victorinox knives are straightforward to sharpen. For instance like like what the handle is produced of. You can also check if a knife is complete tang or not. I would extremely recommend acquiring a full tang for durability and ease of use. This is a single of the most vital kitchen products you’ll be employing, so it tends to make sense to get some thing that feels great and works nicely. For individual use cutting meats. Some are serrated, some not. It’s worth getting at least four-five of these about for steak night with the family members or when guests come more than. In fact, unless you are cutting by way of some truly thick meats a slightly serrated butter knife does fairly well in my opinion. Still, this is a single of those things that a typical kitchen is going to need to have. Forged knives are the strongest and sharpest knives, a lot far more so than stamped. There is a definite distinction between the two. Panelists (hand sizes from little to big) judged the chef’s knife on how comfy that knife felt in their hands.

The handle of your knife is practically as crucial as the blade. Getting a comfy handle that is easy to hold and feels excellent in your hand affects the way you cut and control the knife. There are numerous distinct materials that knives are made of. Since the handle of your knife plays such a massive part in the overall performance you get from it, pay focus to the supplies the handles are produced of on the knives you are hunting to acquire. The details in this kitchen knife set review will assist you identify what tends to make a fantastic kitchen knife and aid you narrow down the choices from the dozens of various types that are on the marketplace today. You never have to be a professional chef to want a great kitchen knife set. Cooks in all kitchens no matter whether a professional a single of the a single in your property will take pleasure in having a kitchen knife set that is properly made and that has all of the diverse varieties of knives in it that you would use routinely. The bolster is not on every knife only those that are forged. The bolster can be situated between the deal with and the blade and is made out of the very same material as the blade. The bolster adds weight, stability and balance for the duration of use and it is the thickest component of the blade. The downside to that set (for some) is that they all come in funky colors (albeit a range) and there is no knife block (they do consist of sheaths).

If the carving job you did on your Thanksgiving turkey resulted in a botched bird, perhaps you require some new kitchen knives to aid you get better final results. Use our getting suggestions to sharpen your understanding of knives and then refer to our Ratings to uncover the greatest models for your budget. Your household will thank you at the next holiday gathering. If you want a a lot more traditional searching that contains a cool place to store them, the Utopia Kitchen 6 Piece set (they contact it 6 piece” on the product listing because it comes with a block, but there are only five knives). The downside is that despite the fact that they are a strong piece of metal (full tang), that includes the handles, so the grip could not be as good if you have wet hands. In addition to locating Ratings for the most current models, you can now shop on-line using an ad-free of charge interface where you can acquire kitchen knives in a secure-shopping environment. The Lifetime Warranty that Cuisinart gives on this Steel Hollow Deal with Block Set ought to say it all about the higher high quality and durability of this set.

OK, enough history. Let’s get down to brass tacks and look at how to acquire amazing kitchen knives for your self or as a present. Even the most spartan of kitchens is going to need a least a handful of, so Everyone could advantage from knowing an professional knife purchaser! Really, I’ve discovered that a lot of people simply do not know they are producing their lives harder by utilizing the incorrect knife for the wrong job, or using dull blades. Our Produced in the USA kitchen knives are manufactured in our 1 location in the heart of the United States, Waverly, Iowa. We take pride in providing a line of cutlery’s every cook loves—from pros to newcomers. Paring Knife – The straight edge of a paring knife helps peel the skins from fruits and vegetables extremely very easily. It is most typically utilised for peeling, shaping and decorative cuts. Most often the paring knife is about 3” extended but can go up to 4”.

As a cook that uses what ever is closes to me, rather than what I truly ought to be employing (ever fry an egg in a pot?), I’ve discovered that there are only two vital knives you need in the kitchen. Of course, others will come in handy, but speaking about bare bones, here’s the two I advocate. At Rada Cutlery we supply an array of paring knives for all your slicing and dicing needs. The greatest selling paring knife we sell is the Standard Paring Knife. This knife has a 3 ¼ inch blade that functions effectively for slicing a selection of fruits and vegetables. An additional common paring kitchen knife loved by our clients is Granny Paring Knife. This is the smallest paring knife with a 2 three/8 inch blade. The curved blade tends to make peeling fruits like pears and apples a simple job.

The handles of knives can be made from wood, stainless steel, plastic and even fancier components such as marble, and ivory. Many handles are made to be ergonomic to give the user lots of comfort. In basic the a lot more comfortable a knife deal with is to hold, the a lot more manage over the cutting the user will have. The metal finish cap displays the J.A. Henckels International Logo. This set looks as great as it works and it makes a stunning gift for a newly married couple. This will a lot more than probably be the only knife set they will ever want. The Serrated Steak knife often receives raving evaluations from our consumers. Why? They enjoy the 3 3/eight inch serrated blade. The knife makes it possible for the perfect leverage for slicing all types of meat like beef, pork and chicken. Many individuals also use this knife to cut other foods like vegetables as well. This knife, like all of our items, come in the two manage choices: black and silver. This is the perfect made in the USA kitchen knife. The smallest of all is the peeling knife. Its size and curved blade make it a best choice for peeling vegetables and fruits.