Review



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…)

The eating habits of a student can turn for the worse really easily and soon enough, you realize that you’ve spent the last few weeks chowing down on some seriously unhealthy food: pizzas, wings, chips, chocolate, baked goods. Even when you have the best intentions, you find yourself slipping back into those reliable favourites and that freshman 15 turns into a yearly 15 (yikes!). I try to combat it whenever I can by making something simple, delicious and fairly healthy (certainly a lot healthier than a bag of chips)

Cravings come often for me and some are fleeting while others stick around for a while. Eating corn was one of those lasting cravings. While grocery shopping one day I decided to pick up a can of corn just to add it to my pantry and from there got hooked. Generally speaking I’m a big fan of corn but it’s not easy to come by past the summer months hence the reliance for canned or frozen. But hey, the stomach wants what it wants and I ain’t about to start denying it the deliciousness of life.

Tilapia is another star of this dish. This fish is sweet, flaky and filling. I get the frozen filets from Costco at the beginning of every school year so I can stock up on fish in my fridge. One of my favourite ways to cook it is lightly breading it in seasoned panko crumbs and then pan-friend until golden brown. Balanced out with the corn and tomato salsa this was an extremely delicious dish.

Ingredients:

  • Filets of tilapia
  • panko crumbs
  • cooked corn niblets, room temperature (fresh, frozen or canned variety)
  • ripe tomato, chopped into cubes roughly the same size as the corn
  • spring onion, chopped
  • oil for frying
  • Ziploc bag for mixing
  • salt, pepper , taco seasoning mix

Recipe:

This is the method I went through to create this exact dish as plated in the picture. Substitutions and alternatives will be mentioned in the review section.

  • In a skillet, turn it to a medium heat and put enough oil to evenly coat the pan
  • In a large ziploc bag, fill it up with about 1/2 cup to a cup of panko crumbs. Season with salt and pepper and taco seasoning to crumbs according to tastes. Close and shake bag well to properly incorporate the spices into the crumbs.
  • Take a fillet of tilapia and place inside of bag. Shake to coat fish with panko crumbs evenly. (Essentially the shake-n-bake concept)
  • Once the oil has heated, place the fish gently into the pan. Turn over after a couple of minutes. Ensure that fish is cooked completely through and that it has turned opaque.
  • While that’s cooking, combine the corn, tomatoes and spring onions into a bowl. Season with pepper and some salt.
  • Plate together once the fish has finished cooking.

Review:

As you can see this is a totally simple recipe that I made on the fly one lunchtime. Variations come in every shape and form. Use whatever fish you’d like and season it however you’d want.  A lemon & pepper seasoning would go great with this as well. As for the salsa, use red onions if that’s what you’ve got on hand or opt out of them altogether. Chickpeas (another fav of mine) would be a nice addition to the salsa. Mix it up however you want with whatever you’d got on hand. Let me know what you decide to add to it or any other suggestions you think would go well with this. Also to clarify, the corn in my cooking prep was room temperature as I had bought already cooked canned corn so it was just a matter of adding it to the mix. However you can definitely opt to have warm corn with the tomatoes as that would work as well.

As for my opinion on my own creation, I adored it. Frying tilapia this way had already become a standard for me so the real novelty of this dish was the salsa. It only heightened my love for corn. A great balance of (semi) freshness to counteract the lightly fried fish. This would make for a great lunch or dinner for the family as it involves minimal cooking but great flavour. Try it out when you get the chance and as always, Happy Eating! :)

For those in Canada, you may have seen the new ad’s for McDonald’s latest McMini sandwich, the Zesty Mango McMini. This is the 3rd sandwich in the line, the other two being pesto and Thai. You get either grilled or breaded chicken. Upon first glance, it’s a rather strange flavour combination for a fast food chain like Mcdonald”s. Their efforts to briefly step away from mainstream burgers and fries to adapt to the diverse palette most people have these days is admirable. I want to first state that I have not eaten this sandwich or any of the other McMini sandwiches simply because McDonald’s is not a common item in my diet. In fact, other than a quick breakfast while moving into town, I can easily count on one hand my visits to McDonald’s in the last few years. It’s not just McDonald’s that I’ve stepped away from, but most fast food chains out there. But back to what I was saying.

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I haven’t eaten this but my mother has and she’s strongly encouraged me never to eat it. A simple question turned into a very heated review of her disappointing experience with the sandwich. I suppose she was hoping for something more flavourful. Instead she remarked that the bread was soggy, the chicken rubbery and the sauce of little taste. All in all a bad sandwich and one that should be avoided. She doesn’t have a total hate for McDonald’s so please don’t consider this her latest disapproval of the entire menu; she just really disliked this one. And since she and I have fairly similar tastes, I suppose I shall take her up on her advice and keep my $2.00 or so for something more appetizing (every cent counts as a broke student lol). However don’t take her word for it or mine. Go out and try it for yourself and if you do, please report back. I’d be interested in hearing other people’s reviews!

I seldom visit the Pickle Barrel restaurant, not because a lack of decent food or a dislike with the atmosphere but simply because it never springs as a go-to option when hunger strikes. I’ve gone a total of 3 or 4 times in the past, mostly to this exact location since it is the closest to my home.

My sister had just gotten another acceptance letter from another university so our family decided to celebrate by going out for the night and getting some food. After much deliberation as to where we could get what my sister was craving, we decided to head  down to Markville Shopping Centre and visit the Pickle Barrel for some dinner.It had been a long time since our last visit but we were excited.

The Pickle Barrel has a wide range of menu items for any meal of the day. Breakfast until late at night, there are many options to choose from. Although we had gone for dinnertime, my sister and I were drawn to their breakfast and brunch items (who could resist pancakes smothered in sweet goodness?) but we went the traditional route and stuck to dinner entrees. Pickle Barrel was also featuring new items on the menu as seen in the above photo. An adaption to the summer season, this menu has lighter, fresher options. I’m sure there’s something on the menu that would entice you. (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…)

*Update* I’ve had some personal struggles lately and with the transition from the school environment to back home, I’ve been unable to update this page at all. For those who constantly remind me and support me in this, I thank you and appreciate you. It makes me so happy knowing that I have readers out there whether you come on a regular basis or have dropped by just once. Also, through the kindness of a great friend of mine, he purchased my domain for me so the plan is to get the site running and eventually redirect you guys to my own personally owned site (though I will always love wordpress for giving me a place to start this up) Can’t wait! :)

I’ve eaten short ribs in many variations in the past. When I came across this recipe  and saw the delicious photo, I put it into my ever-growing list of recipes that I want to try. While on a grocery run with the family, I encountered some short ribs and instantly remembered this recipe and decided it was time to give it a try. I hadn’t really mentioned to anyone in my family that I was making it they didn’t get excited for it until make later into the cooking process.

The experience was an interesting one as I don’t often ‘braise’ any type of meat, new cooking method for me to try out but of course I love experimenting. I luckily had all the other ingredients at home waiting for me and I set out one weekend to make this long but tasty meal. (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…)

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