Tag Archives: desserts

Sweetery Toronto Food Festival

While Matchachoco was restaurant hopping in Vancouver, I was out in Toronto on a sweet escape (that was just a euphemism for “I had too much sweets!”).

Last August, I went with a friend to Sweetery, Toronto’s inaugural sweets food festival. It was a two-day event featuring various sweets from local food vendors and George Brown culinary students, as well as several fun activities involving sweet treats. Although Sweetery was a small food festival compared to other food festivals in Toronto, it didn’t stop us from getting our sweet tooth fix.

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Featured here are pastries made by George Brown students enrolled in the Advanced French Patisserie Program:

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I had one of the éclairs made by one of the George Brown students. It was an éclair cassis filled with a lemon mascarpone cream, topped with a black currant glaze and a lemon almond streusel. It had the perfect balance of sweetness, tanginess, and creaminess (though I might be a bit biased because I love lemon and mascarpone cheese!). I also loved finishing glitter touch to it. Having a personal preference for desserts with a bit of sourness, this was one of the sweets I really enjoyed that day.

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My friend and I shared the mille feuille with poached rhubarb, also made by one of the George Brown students. The presentation of this dessert stood out to me because I rarely see a mille feuille presented this way. It was a refreshing twist from the typical mille feuille.

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Going through the food truck selections at Sweetery, we decided to try The Original Chimney’s food
truck. We got the Holy Chimnnoli, which was their own spin of a cannoli. The Holy Chimnolis were filled with the typical ricotta cheese filling you’ll find in a cannoli, but instead of a cannoli shell, the Holy Chimnnolis were made with their signature Chimney cake

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The Chimney cakes were soft and tender on the inside with a very slight crisp on the outside. My friend and I both enjoyed them; however, midway through eating them, the sweetness suddenly caught on to us. We suddenly felt that it was too sweet, especially with the generous sprinkling of powdered sugar on the Chimney cakes.

Another dessert we had that day was the Vietnamese coffee mille crepe from Catering Diva, one of the vendors at Sweetery. It was made with 20 layers of crepe filled with layers of cream in-between. Although it was a bit smaller and limp compared to other mille crepes I’ve had before, this was one of the best desserts we had that day. The mille crepe was creamy and each bite melts in your mouth. It had a strong coffee flavour, but it wasn’t too overpowering, which I really liked. My friend particularly liked this one the most because it wasn’t overly sweet.

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We also had a lychee snow cone from Sweet Snow Shave Ice (I forgot to take a photo unfortunately). I was a bit impressed with their snow cones because they were flavourful, in contrast to the bland snow cones that I’ve been too familiar with. The ice was also light and finely crushed. Flavour-wise, however, I strangely found the lychee flavor almost had a cotton candy taste. I thought it was the right amount of sweetness, but my friend found it too sweet for his liking.

Overall, we had a good run of trying different desserts at Sweetery. I’m hoping next year’s will not only be sweeter, but bigger with more variety.

– Ricelessasian

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Jack-O’-Lantern Tangerines

And so the jack-o’-lantern food post continues 🙂

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Here’s a healthy Halloween treat that kids (and adults) would love! Of course, the chocolate portion of the face can be eliminated, but I wanted to add a little something extra because it’s Halloween after all 😛

This recipe is very simple. So simple that there aren’t any real instructions. Basically you’ll need some tangerines, melted chocolate chips, and a piece of celery. The photos are pretty self-explanatory. This is a fun and cost-effective activity for all ages!

Enjoy,

– Ricelessasian

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No-fuss Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Happy Autumn everyone! It was sad to give summer a farewell party a few weeks ago, but I quickly remembered that the best is yet to come this year. Yes, I’m talking about PUMPKIN SEASON.  The best part about the month of October is having the excuse to make all kinds of festive pumpkin desserts. When the amazing aromas of holiday spices like nutmeg and cinnamon fill your kitchen, you’ll start to realize that the end of summer ain’t all that bad.

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I wanted to make a lighter and healthier alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie. I did a little research online and found this lovely vegan recipe. This recipe is perfect for those who want to make a no-fuss, quick and simple recipe. Most of the ingredients are mixed together in a food processor – easy peasy! Though the recipe makes 6 mini sized pies, I made a large 9 inch pie instead, with some left over batter.

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I was surprised to see one special ingredient in this recipe which was tofu! Ricelessasian mentioned before that tofu can also be used in vegan brownies, which we may feature in a future post. Along with the added nutritional benefits of tofu, it added a creaminess to the pumpkin puree mixture, which was great!

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To even make this lower in calories or sugar, you can substitute the regular graham cracker crumbs with store-bought low-fat graham cracker crumbs or make your own homemade crumbs. You can also remove the pecans on the top if you wish to reduce calories; however, I think it looks much festive with them on – don’t you agree? 😉

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Enjoy the everything-pumpkin season!

– Matchachoco

High Tea for Two at Ruelo Patisserie

Matchachoco and I spent a pleasant afternoon tea and brunch at Ruelo Patisserie about a month ago (yes, this post is a little overdue). I initially told Matchachoco that I wasn’t thrilled about going to Ruelo because of their mixed reviews online, but after having a few bites of their selection for high tea, I just had to take back what I said.

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Being my first high tea experience at a patisserie, I was really pleased with it and I enjoyed most of their selections. Matchachoco, who has been to a couple of high tea places before, thought that it wasn’t the best high tea she had nor was it the worst.  Nevertheless, we generally both enjoyed our visit at Ruelo Patisserie. We had a great deal from an online offer, and it was amazing value for what we paid for and a fraction of the cost of high tea served at upscale downtown hotels.

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For tea, we were given a wide range of options from the typical tea flavours to the unconventional ones like the chocolate spicy tea. Matchachoco had the Earl Grey Tea, while I had the strawberry green tea. The strawberry green tea had an overpowering strawberry aroma at first, but once I got to take a sip of the tea, I found that the strawberry flavour wasn’t as overpowering as its aroma; it had the right balance of strawberry and green tea flavour.

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We were quite amused with the containers that were used serve the tea. We initially didn’t know how to use them and thought that we had to wait for most of the tea drippings to reach the bottom of the container before pouring the tea in our cups (that would’ve taken a long time!). We found out eventually that you had to press the button on top of the container to make the process faster. We felt a little silly for not knowing this new breakthrough in high tea technology 😛

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The high tea selections included raisin scones served with Devon cream and Kusmi jam, pain au choclat, mini Atlantic smoked salmon sandwich on scone, Italian prosciutto wrapped grilled pepper, mini shrimp salad sandwich on crouton, tuna quiche, lemon cake, French macaron, crème brûlée, and mango almond pudding. Matchachoco commented that the servings were just enough for two people; it wasn’t overwhelming but it didn’t leave you short.

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Ironically, I generally enjoyed the savoury selections more than the sweet selections. Of my top picks were the quiche, mini shrimp salad sandwich on crouton, and the French macarons. I liked the texture of their French macarons because they were on the slightly chewy side. Matchachoco also enjoyed the quiche and the French macarons. We think the purple macaron was cassis and the yellow macaron had a salty caramelized filling.

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One of the major flaws we found, however, was that the crème brûlée was liquid at the bottom. I thought that the mango portion of the mango almond pudding was sweeter than what I was used to, and Matchachoco thought that smoked salmon on scone was just the wrong pairing.

In conclusion, this was Matchachoco’s grading of Ruelo (I’m gonna let her grade it since she seems to be the high tea expert here):

Selection: 4/5
Food: 3.5/5
Service: 2.5/5
Presentation: 3/5

-Ricelessasian

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Address:

Ruelo Patisserie
Yonge & Eglinton, 4-6 Erskine Ave.
Toronto, ON

Carlo’s Bake Shop

I’m huge fan of Cake Boss, so imagine the hype and excitement I went through when I finally got the chance to visit the famous Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey.

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I went to the bake shop twice during my stay in New Jersey. I initially went on a Friday evening, but I decided to go back again on a Monday afternoon because they didn’t have the lobster tail pastries anymore when I went there on Friday. Weekends were to be avoided because I’ve read that the line-up can get really bad on the weekends. The bake shop was packed during both visits, but it wasn’t as bad as the 3-4 hour line up I’ve read online. Surprisingly, there was no line-up outside the bake shop when I went there on Friday, but there was a line up outside when I came there on Monday. I was lucky enough that I came earlier on Monday, because the line-up behind me got worse.

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Arriving inside Carlo’s Bake Shop, you’ll see an abundance of desserts and souvenir items. It’s a shame that the place was so crowded that you wouldn’t be able to marvel at the desserts in peace. It takes skills to be able to take photos of the desserts without anyone photobombing it.

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Pictured here are lobster tail pastries, vanilla cupcake with fudge frosting, and cannoli.

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Hands down to the cannoli! I’ve tasted a couple of cannoli before and I never really liked them, but the ones from Carlo’s Bake Shop were the best I’ve had. It was so good that it was my favourite out of the desserts I’ve sampled from the bake shop. The cannoli shells remained crispy and the filling was on the creamy side, rather than the ricotta cheese side. It was different from cannoli I’ve tried before. They also had cannoli shells covered in chocolate which were also really good, but I thought that it was too rich.

The lobster tail was also a noteworthy pastry that I tasted. It consists of a custard filling wrapped around a crisp pastry shell shaped like a lobster’s tail. It tasted like the crispy version of a cream puff. My parents said that the pastry shell stayed crisp even after eating it the day after. This was one of the pastries recommended by many to try when you visit Carlo’s Bake Shop (that’s why I went back on Monday), and they were right about it.

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Of course let’s not leave the cake part as this post is about Cake Boss’ bakery. We got a mini tiramisu cake and my parents really liked it. My brother and I shared a vanilla cupcake with fudge frosting and a chocolate cupcake with fudge frosting. We got fudge frosting because my brother loved their fudge frosting. I thought that the frosting tasted like the typical fudge frosting, but this one softens at room temperature. Both vanilla and chocolate cakes were very moist, just like how it’s supposed to be. I found that the cakes had a very distinct flavour that I just can’t seem to describe, though it’s not bad. At first I thought it was because of salt, but now I’m not sure.

I got a variety of Italian cookies to bring home to Canada to share with friends. I’m not really that familiar with Italian cookies, but it seems like most of the cookies had the same cookie base only differentiated by shape, garnish, filling, and colour.

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Next time, I hope to visit Carlo’s Bake Shop with Matchachoco and to actually see Buddy in person 😛

-Ricelessasian

Address:

Carlo’s Bake Shop
95 Washington St
Hoboken, NJ

Cupcakes for a Special Annual Event

This special Volunteer and Staff Appreciation event that we participated in called for 2 things: cupcakes and variety!!

It was our second time making cupcakes for this event – the first time, with the assistance of Ricelessasian and our mutual friend, we featured solely Matcha Cupcakes. We received a lot of amazing feedback and were motivated to do something different this time around. We wanted something summery. After a long deliberation, we mutually chose to offer not one…not two…but THREE flavours of cupcakes – Fresh Strawberry, Tangy Lemon, and Luscious Red Velvet!

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We chose to feature strawberries because they are in season and are very affordable this time of year. By adding fruit garnishes for decoration, it incorporated a more refined touch to the cupcakes. Red velvet cupcakes make a statement at any party and is great for anytime of the year. Of importance to us was to avoid using any artificial food colouring, which we managed to accomplish by using the red cherries in place of the standard red food colouring for the red velvet cupcakes.

We finished making them in the nick of time – whew! – to ensure freshness and to maintain the moistness of the cupcakes until a few hours later. Ricelessasian and I were ecstatic to see and hear that the cupcakes were a bit hit among the crowd of guests! People had a hard time choosing, so they ended up sampling 2 or 3 of them, which was gladly encouraged!

Stay tuned for the cupcake recipes. We will be featuring the recipes in future blog posts 🙂

Until my next sweet craving,

-Matchachoco

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
We used a white cake recipe with fresh strawberries cooked frosting.

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Tangy Lemon Cupcakes
We used the same white cake recipe, but this time with lemon cooked frosting.

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Luscious Red Velvet
We naturally coloured red velvet cupcakes with red cherries instead of beets. The cupcakes were topped with cream cheese frosting.

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