Dessert


For those who don’t know, my hands-down most favourite dessert of ALL time is chocolate dipped strawberries. I’m not entirely sure when that obsession started but regardless of when it did, it stuck. What I love most about them is that the combine two spheres of desserts into one: fresh, ripe fruit and creamy, satisfying chocolate to create the ultimate dessert for me. Despite my intense love for these things, I rarely get a chance to eat them. So when strawberries were in season, I quickly decided to buy a few and put my leftover chocolate chips to good use.


Recipe:

The process is simple. Get a bunch of ripe and fresh strawberries, wash them thoroughly and pat them dry. Then melt the chocolate however most convenient for you (I typically opt for the microwave but would just as easily set up a bain-marie if I planned to do a lot. Get the strawberries, dip it in the chocolate and set onto some wax paper to cool. If you’d like, you can dip the strawberries into nuts or decorating sugars after the chocolate. You can choose whatever kind of chocolate that you’d like based on your tastes. This would also be a fun cooking event to do with kids.

I thought that these would be particularly cute to make for your special someone for Valentine’s day. I used both white and milk chocolate and then dipped them in red and white sugar and peanuts just for a different taste. They were all equally good and I made a fairly large batch but was quickly eaten in the days after. I haven’t made it since but when strawberries are back in season I’ll definitely be picking up some to make this again.

Happy Eating! :)


Browsing through old blogs, I discovered the fascination and adoration for macarons. Previously, the only macaroons I was aware of were those of the coconut variety but I soon discovered the creative and intriguing world of French macarons. I immediately began looking for some place to try it but unfortunately there were no places in Kingston that I could find catering to this French dessert. So my craving would have to wait until a trip back home to Toronto. In the meantime, I decided to learn whatever I could about them, their flavours, where to find some and what I should expect when it comes to a good and fresh macaron.

For those who don’t know, a macaron is a meringue-based dessert: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar. It comes in a wide variety of flavours and quick browse through food blogs, you’ll quickly see its popularity and versatility.

So I researched and looked through forums debating on where to get a decent macaron in Toronto. I compiled a list and vowed that if I was in the area of any of them, I’d venture and get my first taste. I never did end up in any of the areas; instead I got a friend to drive me out to the closest one – Ruelo Patesserie.


As you enter the store, you immediately notice the desserts sitting in the glass case ahead of you. The place is clean and colourful without being too overly decorated or in your face. The desserts are laid out with labels and prices, each looking more appetizing than the next. On the forums, I read mixed reviews from the place but I was willing to try anyways. I reviewed their flavours in advance and knew when I wanted. I ended up purchasing 11 different flavours to try and took them home to enjoy. They were packaged in a little bag for me with a card showcasing the store’s range of flavours. (more…)


Christmas is one of my most favourite times of the year. I love the music, the traditions, the snow, the shopping…It really is the happiest time of the year for me. I’ve always had really good memories with my family.

A few weeks leading up to the Christmas time, especially since it corresponds with exam time for students, I tend to bake little treats to keep my energy going, give me something sweet to munch and put me in the Christmas mood. Baking cupcakes is always a quick fix and I happily decorate them in the holiday spirit.

Recipe:

it’s pretty basic and simple. Get yourself a cake box mix or use your favourite recipe. Top it off with homemade or store-bought icing and decorate as you will. It’s a great treat to do even closer to Christmas day as it is a fun activity to get others involved (relatives, children) An alternative for gingerbread men or houses since those might be a little more costly to buy or harder to make.

These were a simple white cake mix (probably french vanilla). I bought the icing and had christmas inspired red green and white sprinkles plus white chocolate chips to garnish.

My twist on the cupcake came with what was inside… (more…)

Cheesecake is one of my favourites desserts. Other than plain cheesecake, my favourite flavours are of the fruit nature. For a family potluck party, I decided to make a cheesecake from scratch (ok, well almost from scratch hehe) I choose the lemon flavour for the refreshing flavour it brings and the hope that it would cut down the greasiness of some of the other foods.

I don’t have any go to recipes for cheesecake as it had been a long time since I last made one. So off to google I went to try and find a recipe that was manageable and tasted delicious. Upon first glance, the recipe seemed rather simple; mix the ingredients, put into crust, bake and then cool. But I discovered while going through the making of this particular cheesecake that its actually a much more lengthier process. I was so happy that I had decided to start making this a day earlier as it turned out to be just enough time to get it all done. And as with many things in life, patience brings it rewards as this cheesecake was incredible. (more…)

I first tasted this dessert in during my summer employments. Like many other office jobs, sweet treats are a favourite especially during those  long days where you need a sugar boost at 4 in the afternoon. Doughnuts, cookies, cakes, chocolates, and candy were prized at my office.  These sweet treats were no different. Given to us as a reward when we had zero errors on our reports, we were treated to this unique Greek dessert.

I will admit that when first offered to me, I refused due to just unfamiliarity. It didn’t look completely appetizing at the time that I first saw it, inside a box clumped as one big sticky mess. I finally got the courage to eat it and totally fell in love. It was definitely as sweet as it looked. The ball itself was like a doughnut but surrounding and absorbed inside is the honey syrup that bursts into your mouth when you bite into it. It’s warm and filling, definitely not something you could eat handfuls of.

I recently remembered eating the dessert and tried to find if any Greek restaurant in town had them on their menu. Sadly, there was none. My craving had grown and I just had to have some so I took it upon myself to find a recipe, gather the ingredients and give this dessert a try.

P.S. I apologize for the lack of photos during the creating process. I didn’t really know how it would turn out and I spent a lot of time checking things twice and ensuring things would go well to take the necessary pictures. Should I make this again, I’ll be sure to update with step-by-step photos (more…)

The Rainforest Cafe experience is highly kitschy, unique and appealing to the senses. I remember when the restaurant used to have multiple locations in  Toronto and my family often went when I was younger. I even attended a birthday party there which is an experience I’ll never forget. Unfortunately, the only two places left to experience it in Canada is either in the Niagara Falls area or at Yorkdale mall. On another shopping trip, my family decided to head over to Yorkdale mall which instinctively created a craving for both my sister and I to eat their famous dessert. With most franchised restaurants, the menu doesn’t have highly unusual food but it remains fairly consistent and hits the spot when you’re hungry.

Their menu changes from time to time to keep things new and innovative but one classic remains; the volcano. Their iconic volcano dessert never slips my mind and there are many days where I’m left craving the luscious dessert. I would have gladly just eaten the dessert but the family decided to make a meal out of the entire thing and see what was on the menu. A favourite of my parents had sadly disappeared on the menu so we decided on two other dishes. We shared the food so that we could save  room for the highly filling dessert. (more…)

I’ve noticed in the last little while that my home cooking strays more towards the vegetarian region and my restaurant/takeout meals lean more towards more  meaty dishes. So I wanted to switch things up and try the vegetarian fare at Lotus Hearts Blossom. Since moving to downtown, I became aware of the  lovely vegetarian restaurant close to where I live. I’m actually able to look into the restaurant from where I live and I often people watch from time to time while in my kitchen. I was thoroughly surprised at how much traffic the restaurant received. I looked over their great website and wonderful menu and I realized that I had to give the restaurant a try.

I decided to do take out because I’m the type of person who feels a little uncomfortable being in a restaurant alone, especially one that I’ve never tried before. Take out was also more appropriate because at the time I was busy doing lots of readings and housework so I just didn’t want to bother with sitting in the restaurant. Their menu is quite diverse and features so many great dishes and drinks. They feature some vegan and gluten free items when they can. They’ve chosen dishes that have lots of spices and herbs to bring out the most flavour from their ingredients. There are hints of indian, mexican and mediterranean to their meals.  It was actually very difficult for me to decide since it all sounded so appetizing. Their menu is separated by all day selections, lunch meals and dinner meals. They also have a brunch menu for the weekends. Check their site for hours.

It was lunch time when I decided to get something so I decided to opt for their meatloaf meal or “Neatloaf” as they call it, lunch portion. I love meatloaf but I can’t seem to bring myself to make one from scratch. I was intriguied in what a vegetarian version would taste like. They describe the meal as “A loaf baked with rice, grains, eggs, ricotta cheese & tofu served with mashed potatoes and rich mushroom gravy.” After reading that, how could I resist? I also decided to get a strawberry milkshake because I knew their version would probably delicious and healthy as opposed to the version you could pick up at a fast food chain. I adore strawberry or berry milkshakes. As I’m writing this, I’m craving one. :)

When I picked up my meal, I got the opportunity to see the interior of the restaurant myself. It’s an experience for sure. There wasn’t too many people in the restaurant when I went to pick up mainly because it was later in the afternoon so the place was rather quiet and calm. The lady who gave me my meal was very friendly and sweet looking. The whole place had a relaxing aura, very colourful and warm. It definitely doesn’t give off this eat and run vibe to it that some other restaurants can give off. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos inside since it was a quick visit but the website does show a few.

This is how the meal looked like upon pick up. I thought the writing was a cute touch :)

Let’s have a look inside!

Although you could definitely eat it from the very sturdy box, I opted to transfer my whole meal onto a plate for easier photo taking and easier eating. I don’t know about you but I don’t normally eat out of a box. (hehe)

First thing I noted was that it was quite a lot of food for a lunch time portion. I remember having to finish off the rest another time. The neatloaf was definitely hearty. You could taste all the ingredients that went into the neatloaf, especially the tofu. You could also see the bits of rice. It was definitely delicious and filling. The neatloaf was covered with the gravy so you definitely tasted the mushroom gravy sauce first. My piece of meatloaf seemed to have been a corner so some of the edges were a bit more tough that I would have preferred. The bottom was also a bit more crisp that I really would have liked. The whole thing held well together and had a meaty taste so I definitely didn’t miss any of the flavours.

As mentioned it comes with mash potatoes and a salad. The mash potatoes were nicely seasoned. I normally eat the boxed mixed version of mash potatoes for convenience sake so this was a nice change. and the gravy went really well with the potatoes although I would like more gravy to cut the thickness of it. The salad was really tasty. It had a lot of fresh vegetables which included mixed greens, sprouts, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, red onions; all yummy things! The salad dressing that came with it was unique and had an interesting taste. I was testing it for the longest time trying to figure it out but my palate just isn’t good enough to determine the ingredients. It’s not my favourite dressing but I was willing to eat it, although next time I’ll probably opt for my own dressing. It did go well with the vegetables though.

As for the milkshake, it was super light and full of strawberry flavour. They didn’t overdo it with the ice cream so you could definitely drink it through a straw but not so thin that it was a smoothie. There were specks of the strawberries while I was drinking which made me wonder if it was made with actual strawberries. My questions were answered when I found a chunk of a strawberry at the bottom of my cup. I have a sneaking suspicion that they were frozen strawberries as opposed to completely fresh but for milkshakes, frozen strawberries will do. It was a beautiful pink colour and very well blended. Delish!

In total my whole meal was approx $15 with tax included and it was definitely worth it for all that I got. Had it not been the fact that I live so close to the place, I wouldn’t have come across it which would have been a shame. Its definitely an experience, meat fan or not and I highly recommend it. Happy eating!

Lotus Hearts Blossom Restaurant
185 Sydenham Street, Kingston, ON
613-549-7777
website

Lotus-Heart-Blossoms Vegetarian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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