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! :)


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…)

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 cannot believe that merely a year ago I started my blogging journey with the creation of this food blog. Inspired by Thanksgiving cooking and the many other food blogs  I came across, I created this to share my cooking experiences both in my kitchen as well as out in the world. Since then, I’ve enjoyed pockets of my own defined ‘success’ and have enjoyed every minute of this.

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Whether this if your first time stopping by or you’re a continued reader, I thank you for your time. I appreciate your efforts to drop by, have a read and hopefully enjoy what I have to say. I’ve heard from many lovely people in the past year, been exposed to many new opportunities and discovered two big passions of mine in life; food and writing. It is through this particular experience that I have pursued further writing opportunities  and hope someday that more success will follow. It surprises me every day as my readership continues to grow that anyone comes here at all. I remember the days when even having 5 people (which I assumed were just family or friends) come by my page gave me so much joy. Now, my posts featured on other sites, people trying my recipes or asking me cooking advice, taking my restaurant reviews into consideration and belonging to an amazing food blogging community are even bigger joys that have been added to my life because of this opportunity.

Funding hasn’t always come easy. I’ve been fortunate to have supportive friends and family who have chipped in when they can. I want to continue to enforce the concept that I do this purely out of love for the craft. I always question whether adding ads or sponsored posts would be appropriate and beneficial to me but I don’t want to detract from the focus of my blog which is the food and my writing. I want to thank those who have contributed financially, whether buying me my domain, cookbooks, tools or the ingredients to make the food or trips to favourite restaurants. Without you loving people, I certainly wouldn’t have a site.

Unfortunately due to the expansion of my writing endeavours and the normal stresses of life, I’ve come to neglect this blog a bit but I promise that in due time I will return to my original love with full force. There’s many yummy features to come in the near future.

In the meantime I wanted to mark the top 3 posts of the last year.

1. Nutella Stuffed French Toast


This post is where most of my readership comes from. Directed from the world nutella day page which someone kindly submitted me for, I’ve received a lot of great feedback for this recipe. This is probably one of the things I’ve cooked the most in the past few years and a definite favourite of mine. It’s simple and delicious.

2. Rainforest Cafe Review

I was initially surprised at the success of this post. I guess a lot of people are interested in knowing what the quality of service and food there is at the Rainforest. I don’t blame them considering the amount of money you might inevitably be spending at this place. I hope it has been useful to many and that I captured the restaurant accurately.

3. Rainbow Birthday Cake

Probably my personal favourite post of the past year, this too has found its own popularity. Often stumbled upon by those looking for birthday cakes for kids, this fun cake is great for all ages. Marking my leave from the teenage years, I was inspired to create this cute cake for my birthday and it seems like everyone enjoyed the idea also.

I simply cannot express the gratitude and joy that I have for everyone who supports this and any of my other blogging adventures. I cannot wait to see what a new year will bring especially as I continue to work on my dedication and blog post quality. Please continue to support me and visit by often. I promise to keep this adventure going.

As always, Happy Eating! :)

I apologize for the lack of posts going on for this blog. It is certainly not from a lack of material. I’ve just gotten so backlogged on my photo editing that I just haven’t gotten around to posting anything on here. Also, I’ve tried to focus my attention to my other blogs which for the majority of them, post on a regular basis (every other day). So as not to leave you out in the dark, please check out those other sites of mine in the Blog Roll on the side as well as conveniently collected on my main site Jara Mae. From there you can be updated on all my blogs, my twitter and various social media sites. Please also support my site by joining the Facebook page (Jara Mae Inc) to receive updates on everything that I’m working on.

In the meantime, I decided to start up a new series called Meal of the Day. Often times I cook/make simple meals at home consisting of leftovers or food that I have around the house. Food that I wouldn’t necessarily devote a whole blog to as it normally wasn’t created by me. I think it would give some insight about what I was eating every day, maybe record some memorable meals. I will try to do them as often as possible, though don’t hold your breath on getting it on  daily basis but I’ll work towards it. If you have meals that you’d like to share feel free to leave a link so I can take a look. It’s always interesting to see what people eat regularly besides all the creative recipes/dishes that you see on food blogs.

This is what I had for dinner last night. A fairly well-balanced meal if you ask me. It consisted of:

  • Half a plate of salad: mixed greens, dried cranberries, feta, almonds, red onion, fresh button mushrooms, lemon citrus dressing
  • quarter plate of white rice: I normally eat brown but this is what I had on hand at the time
  • a few slices of smoked salmon
  • 2-3 tbsp of giniling: Filipino dish of ground meat with potatoes, tomatoes and peppers
  • for dessert: 2 yogurts, vanilla & mixed berry

A very filling meal. I ended up eating a banana as well later in the evening to tide me over for the night. Not bad for student eating :)

I came across this while reading someone else’s blog and was instantly intrigued with the idea. Energy usage doesn’t always come immediately to mind when you think about blogs. After all, we’re saving paper by keeping it vitural right? Yes, but you do use up a significant amount of energy via your laptops which can lead to carbon emissions and a steep carbon footprint at the end of the year. This awesome website (don’t be thrown off by the German words, there is English on there) is helping to reduce the carbon footprint of blogs by planting a tree for each blog submitted. (more…)