Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lipton Brisk Green Tea with Apple

The other new snack I had the opportunity to try was a new flavour from Lipton's Green Tea line, this one flavoured with Apple. It is actually Green Apple, and is far more strong than the Green Tea that it is supposed to be enhancing, so it overwhelmed the usually subtle flavour of green tea. I must say that I don't like the flavour of green apple, so this is one drink I will not be sampling again.

Sun Chips Garden Salsa Flavour

I had the opportunity to try a couple of new snacks at this year's RibFest by the Civic Centre in Mississauga, the first of these was a new flavour by Sun Chips. Now, I do like Sun Chips, their combination of corn, whole wheat, rice flour and oat flour makes for an unusual and tasty alternative to potato chips. This new flavour, however, was kind of bland for salsa, I guess it was supposed to invoke the flavour of tomatoes and basil and onions, but it didn't quite make it. So saying, perhaps it was because I enjoyed earlier some excellent pulled pork, and this paled in comparison.

Green Tea and Red Bean Buns

These ended up tasting pretty good, but when and if I make them again, I would up the amount of red bean paste and half the amount of green tea powder (I used 2 tablespoons), to better balance these two flavours, which work so well together. I used ricotta cheese instead of quark cheese, it works just as well.

Green Tea and Red Bean Buns
150 g Quark Cheese, liquid removed
6 tbsp Milk
6 tbsp Oil
75 g Sugar
3 tsp Vanilla Sugar
pinch salt
300 g Flour, sifted
3 tsp Baking Powder
1-2 Tbsp matcha green tea powder

Remove most of the liquid from the cheese (Note: weight of cheese is without liquid). Combine cheese, milk, oil, sugars and salt. Stir until smooth.

Combine flour and baking powder. Add half the flour mixture by tablespoonfuls to the cheese mixture. Knead in the rest of the flour mixture.

1/2-2/3 cup sweet red bean paste (from a Chinese supermarket, or make your own using adzuki beans)
milk to brush on

Roll out the dough to a size of 45 X 35 cm; brush on milk. Spread out the red bean paste on the dough to a thin layer. Roll up the dough into log form by the short side. Cut the log into 1/2 inch circles. Place onto greased sheet and press down slightly to flatten. Bake at 350F for 18 - 20 minutes.

President's Choice Naan Chicken Pizza

I must admit, that the Naan Chicken Pizza that I made earlier, tasted much better than this new entry from President's Choice of Loblaws. On top of an Indian naan bread, it comes with tandoori chicken, PC Butter Chicken sauce (to replace the normal tomato sauce), cottage cheese, diced red onions and spinach, with dollops of yogurt and sprinkled with part skim mozzarella cheese (not very tasty). The whole combination was fairly tasty, not great though, and I would say, that if you assembled one of these pizzas yourself from the individual components that you could purchase in any Loblaws, it too would taste better.

Cadbury Hazelnut Milk Chocolate

The third of the Cadbury chocolate bars I bought, and the one I liked second best, was the Milk Chocolate and Hazelnuts. Its ingredient listing is fairly short, milk chocolate (consisting of sugar, milk ingredients, cocoa butter, unsweetened chocolate, soy lecithin and natural and artificial flavours) and chopped hazelnuts. The hazelnuts are not tiny pieces, you can get a good crunch from them, but fairly small. I don't think that I would buy this chocolate bar again.

President's Choice Sea Salt Tortilla with Flax Seeds

At the same time that I bought the Spicy version of the Flax Seed and Corn Tortillas, I bought these Sea Salt ones. I much preferred the spicy ones, as these are not very salty, and a little bland in flavour.

Sheila's Pudding

This recipe, from Jamie Oliver, tasted fantastic, one of the best desserts I have had in a long while (and it has no hazelnuts in it)! You can use almost any fruit that you have at hand, strawberries or other berries, plums, nectarines or rhubarb. Serve hot from the oven with something cold like ice cream.

Sheila's Pudding
6 ripe peaches, halved and pits removed
4 heaped teaspoons demerara or brown granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, scored lengthwise and seeds removed
4 Tbsp water
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup self-rising flour

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour an ovenproof dish or bowl.

Put the peaches in a saucepan with the demerara sugar, the vanilla seeds and 4 Tbsp of water. Simmer for 5 minutes and then place into the dish or bowl.

Beat together the butter, superfine sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the flour, mix thoroughly and spread over the peaches.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Kras Dorina Hazelnut Milk Chocolate

It was back to so-so chocolate bars again, this entry from Hungary's Kras was likely too long on the shelf, as it was beginning to separate, the cocoa butter leaving a white sheen on the outside. The hazelnuts were far smaller than the picture on the wrapper indicates (when is that ever different). The ingredient listing is not so good, sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, hazelnuts (at 15%), cocoa mass (cacao content was 29%), powdered whey, lecithin and vanillin. I doubt that I would buy this bar again.

Valor Dark with Toffee

Having eaten a couple of not as good chocolate bars, I though that I would cleanse my palate with some good dark chocolate. This offering from Valor in Spain, one of several that I purchased, contains pieces of toffee. I would think that the very sweet flavour of toffee would not pair with the bitterness of good chocolate, but this one seemed to work, or at least I was in the mood for it, as I consumed the whole bar in one day at work. The ingredient listing looks good, with 70% cacao content with beans from Ghana, Panama and Ecuador (I like Ecuadorian beans), chocolate processed with alkali, sugar, cocoa, cocoa butter, glucose syrup, butterfat, soy lecithin, salt and honey natural flavour. I would likely buy this bar again.

President's Choice Spicy Tortilla with Flax Seeds

As you know, I'm always keen to try something, especially if it is healthy snack alternative. President's Choice recently came out with this new version of the tortilla chip, filled with flax seeds, boosting its fibre content. They are made, with the flax seed, from ground yellow corn, and are spiced to a mild heat. I found them to be pretty tasty, though some of the tortilla chips were unevenly spiced, thick in some spots.

Kohlrabi With Honey Butter

I had wanted to try this recipe for a while, having liked the unusual taste of kohlrabi since I was a child, this cousin of the cabbage (kohl is German for cabbage; rabi is German for turnip). Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked. I liked this recipe, as I like honey and melted butter. It tasted pretty good, though the honey sauce was too watery, perhaps if I had removed the cooked kohlrabi and carrots from the vegetable stock before I added the other ingredients, I'll try next time.

Kohlrabi with Honey Butter
8 small kohlrabis (about 2 lbs.), peeled & cut into 1/4" x 1/4" x 1" sticks
2 med. size carrots, peeled & cut into 1/8" x 1/8" x 1" strips
2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp shredded lemon peel
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp butter

In a medium saucepan cook kohlrabi and carrots with chicken broth, covered, for 6 to 8 minutes until crisp tender. Add parsley, lemon peel, lemon juice, honey, pepper and butter. Toss lightly and serve.

Garlic Pepper Prawns

This marinade is very versatile, it can be used to flavour most meats and seafoods. Normally, there is a higher ratio of garlic to coriander root, but we like the taste of coriander and wanted that to be more of the dominant flavour in this marinade. Feel free to play with the amounts of each.

Garlic Pepper Prawns
6-8 coriander roots
2-3 garlic cloves
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
10-12 medium prawns

Grind coriander roots and garlic cloves in a mortar until they make a rough paste. Add pepper, oyster sauce and soy sauce and mix to combine. Pour over prawns and marinade for 5-10 minutes. Stir-fry the prawns with the marinade until they turn pink, about 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately.

Yellow Curry Prawns

I needed to use the last of leaves of the basil plant, and decided to make a yellow curry with prawns instead of chicken (though it would work just as well). The prawns cook very fast, and would be very overcooked if left in when the potatoes are cooking, so I took them out and added them back at the end. If using chicken or pork, you can leave the meat in.

Yellow Curry Prawns
50 g of Mae Ploy (or other brand) Yellow Curry Paste
2 cups coconut milk, separated
15-20 medium prawns, shelled and deveined, tails intact
100 g of potatoes, cubed in small pieces
50 g of onion, diced
100 g of carrots, cubed in small pieces
1/2 cup water
handful of basil leaves

Stir-fry yellow curry paste with 1 cup of coconut milk, until dissolved, then add the additional 1 cup of coconut milk, and heat until boiling. Add the prawns, and continue cooking until done, about 3-4 minutes. Remove prawns and keep aside. Add potatoes, onion and carrots and the 1/2 cup water, and cook until the potato, carrots and onion soften, about fifteen minutes. Add back the prawns and the basil, and cook till heated and the basil leaves are soft

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cadbury Mint Milk Chocolate

This is really just milk chocolate that has been flavoured, and not really well, with mint. Not very good.

Cadbury Fruit and Nut Dark

I've liked this chocolate bar off and on for years, at least the milk chocolate version, as they have now released a Dark version. I like the combination of chewy raisins, chocolate and nuts, though it would be good if they were hazelnuts rather than almonds, but that's nit-picking. It puts me in mind to create a cookie version of this, mostly chocolate with raisins and nuts.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Cocon Fruit Puddings

Of the different varieties of fruit puddings with coconut jelly chunks that came in these two packages, I liked the passion fruit the best, followed by the mango. The lychee one was pretty good, while the orange and the strawberry ones were just okay.

Dark Kit Kat

There is a trend for most chocolate manufacturers, to come out with a Dark version of their candy bars, and this Kit Kat version was one of the first to appear, I had seen it more than a year ago. In all reality, though, it is just a Kit Kat bar (much like the white chocolate or the maple or the orange versions I have seen), and, if you like Kit Kat chocolate bars and dark chocolate, you will like this bar.

Mango Nectarines

I don't know whether this is supposed to be a hybrid between a mango and a nectarine, which I think would be difficult if not impossible, or it's just a nectarine that has been bred to look and taste like a mango, but these are pretty tasty, sweet and different than normal nectarines.

President's Choice Lime Chili Salsa

Having enjoyed their Black bean and corn salsa, I wanted to try this new entry in their salsa line, having enjoyed the pairing of lime and chili in other dishes, mostly Asian, before. This salsa is much thicker than the black bean one, with less chunks, and is definitely spicier, it is labelled medium with 2 chillies, while the black bean one is mild. The lime flavour is present throughout, at a level that complements the spiciness of the chili. Try it on burgers or sandwiches as a condiment, or as a dip for tortilla chips.

Meiji Chocolate

This tiny sampler of the Japanese chocolate company Meiji comes in different cacao levels, and, to be honest, the only one I liked was the lowest percentage, 63%, as I think that cacao needs at least a little bit of sugar to be palatable. If there is little or no sugar, then the cacao needs to be really good and flavourful, if it is neither of these, then it is fairly inedible. The 99% was too chalky and just plain bitter. The 86% was still a little too chalky and still a little too bitter. The 72% was not bad, though again the cacao was not great cacao. The percentage of sugar in the 63% masked the low quality of cacao, so it became palatable. Fortunately, all the bars were quite small.

Hollandia Honey Graham Cookies

These tiny bear-shaped cookies are quite tasty, the pairing of honey and graham makes a very tasty cookie.

Tastes of Thailand Festival

Also on that Saturday downtown Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square was the Tastes of Thailand Festival. Unfortunately, an unwanted visitor to this festival was the rain that came down in the afternoon, spoiling most everyone's afternoon. There were quite a few brave people wandering around, looking at the many booths from Thai restaurants and stores with samples. There were also crafts and Thai DVDs for sale. And a booth that detailed the King of Thailand's upcoming 80th Birthday. One of the interesting booths showcased this Thai lady who intricately carved fruits and vegetables. Here are some pictures.

Restaurant Review - Wasabi

It was my beautiful Thai Bride's brother's birthday on Saturday, and he decided to celebrate it in one of his favourite restaurants, the Japanese Buffet Wasabi, located at West Beaver Creek Rd, just west of Leslie on Highway 7 in Richmond Hill. There is another location near Pacific Mall in Markham, but this one is better, in that it is a buffet, the other location you have to order off a menu. The good thing about buffets, is that you get to try a lot of different and interesting things; the bad thing about a buffet, is that there is a lot of interesting things to try, you end up eating too much trying everything. The trick, of course, is to try a little bit of each thing. There are themed stations, one whole section with freshly made sushi such as California rolls and with seafood and without, one with steamed buns and the tasty assemble yourself vegetable and noodle soup, a couple of sections with meat dishes such as teriyaki chicken, a long salad bar with some interesting offerings such as seaweed, a fried section with sesame balls (my favourite) and tempura shrimp and vegetables, and various desserts including green tea and red bean ice creams and various cakes and fruits. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Japanese and to those who are wanting to try this food for the first time.

Update: We went again to Wasabi at the end of January, and we must say, that it's gone down in quality. I've read, too, that others have complained about the restaurant as well.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dare Maxi Fruits Dare

These new date cookies, part of Dare Food's new line of real fruit cookies, which include field berries, raspberry and strawberry, taste to me like how date squares would taste, thought the ingredient listing is not what I would put into squares of any kind. They taste pretty good, despite the long list. They are also part of the new trans fat free trend a lot of companies are jumping on the bandwagon with, similar to its position as a nut free/peanut free baker, and that it is proudly Canadian.

Pink Chocolate Almonds

You can't go wrong with its light pink colour coating, that within is a little bit of chocolate and a whole almond; these captured my beautiful Thai Bride's eye.

Banana Coconut Honey Cake

Later that same day, my beautiful Thai Bride asked me to make for her brother's birthday a cake, and seeing as I had said that I would use up some bananas which had ripened and gone brown, and that her brother likes coconut, we thought that this combination of banana and coconut with the honey would work well. To finish it off, I sprinkled some coconut over the honey glaze. It certainly smells wonderful coming out of the oven, and sitting there cooling.

Banana Coconut Honey Cake
225 g sweet butter
250 g runny honey
100 g dark muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
300 g (2-1/4 cups) self-rising flour
1 cup desiccated shredded coconut
2 large ripe bananas (3/4 cup)
2 Tbsp honey
desiccated shredded coconut, as garnish

Preheat oven to 300F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line bottom with parchment paper.

Melt butter, honey, and sugar slowly in a saucepan. Boil for one minute. Leave to cool (caramel will thicken).

Beat in eggs one at a time in the saucepan. Whisk in flour into egg caramel mixture in two batches. Whisk coconut into batter. Mash ripe bananas; mix well into the flour mixture with a whisk.

Pour into the greased pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until cake is golden brown and spring back when pressed.

Turn out the cake onto a wire rack. Warm 2 Tbsp honey in a small saucepan and brush over the top of the cake to glaze. Sprinkle coconut over cake. Leave to cool.

Carrot Honey Cake

My beautiful Thai Bride expressed a desire to have carrot cake sometime, so of course I dusted off my standard honey cake recipe, which I have not used for several weeks, and made this new variation on the theme, with cinnamon and shredded carrots. And she liked it very much 8-), as did the people at work.

Carrot Honey Cake
225 g sweet butter
250 g runny honey
100 g dark muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
300 g (2-1/4 cups) self-rising flour
2-1/4 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 300F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line bottom with parchment paper.

Melt butter, honey, and sugar slowly in a saucepan. Boil for one minute. Leave to cool (caramel will thicken).

Whisk self-rising flour and cinnamon together.

Beat in eggs one at a time in the saucepan. Whisk in flour into egg caramel mixture in two batches. Lastly, whisk shredded carrots into batter.

Pour into the greased pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until cake is golden brown and spring back when pressed.

Turn out the cake onto a wire rack. Warm 2 Tbsp honey in a small saucepan and brush over the top of the cake to glaze. Leave to cool.

Kinder Bueno

This chocolate bar, made by Kinder known more for their egg-shaped chocolate Kinder Surprise with a toy within, I did not like for several reasons. Despite the sexy commercial with the romance novel, I do not find these bars sexy, or even tasty. Too, I do not like the fact that upon opening the outer wrapper, each of the two bars is again wrapped with clear plastic, there is already too much waste packaging filling the garbage dumps now. As I have implied, I did not like the taste of these bars either, they tasted less like hazelnut and more like white chocolate, more milk than hazelnut. The ingredient listing is far too long, milk chocolate (made of sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, skim milk powder, anhydrous milk fat (that sounds appetizing!), soy lecithin and vanillin), sugar, modified palm oil, wheat flour, hazelnuts, skim milk powder, dark chocolate (made of sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, soy lecithin and vanillin), cocoa powder, soy lecithin, sodium bicarbonate, salt, vanillin and ammonium carbonate. Whew, that was a long list! I will wrap this up by saying that I highly doubt I would ever buy this bar again.

Purple Sweet Potato Snack

My beautiful Thai Bride brought this snack home for us to try, it is an unusual snack from China, its ingredient listing is just sweet potato and sugar. This is not coloured sweet potato either, it is actually and naturally this purple colour. They are quite tasty, if you like sweet potato.

Lindt Wafer

This Lindt chocolate bar is not as good as the Nocciolatte I reviewed earlier, it features, within the milk chocolate bar, a crispy wafer filled with smooth hazelnut creme. Again, it is prohibitively expensive, $1.50, much more than the more readily available and cheaper candy bars, and not so tasty. I found the wafer to be not so crispy, and the overall flavours, while combining well, the hazelnut was lost in the sweetness. The ingredient listing too is much longer, sugar, milk ingredients, cocoa butter, hazelnuts, cocoa mass, palm oil, lactose, wheat flour, soya lecithin, barley malt extract, artificial flavour (likely vanilla), peanut oil (watch this if you allergic), whey powder, coconut oil, gluten and dextrose. I would not buy this again, for its price and its taste.


I discovered this unique service, based in Toronto on 1210 Eglinton Avenue West, called

ChocoTelegram, they can send almost any message, holiday or event-themed, or personalized up to 60 characters, in Belgian chocolate blocks. They even provide suitable packaging for warm weather shipping, and discounts for bulk orders. The chocolate, however, looks to be only milk chocolate, it would be nice to have a darker version available.

Donut Peach

I see these more and more in grocery stores, donut or saucer peaches are becoming popular, mostly because of their unusual and unique shape, like a flattened peach, because I found the one that I tried to be not so sweet. Perhaps if they grew in Ontario, they would taste better.

Lindt Nocciolatte

I must say I like most Lindt chocolate, and this is no exception. This chocolate bar, while fairly expensive, $1.50, is elevated above normal candy bars with its superior chocolate and taste. Three whole hazelnuts are surrounded by a cocoa truffle filling in this milk chocolate bar. The ingredient listing looks a little long, but not too bad, sugar, cocoa butter, milk ingredients, hazelnuts, cocoa mass, lactose, cocoa powder, soya lecithin, barley malt extract and artificial flavour (likely vanilla). Overall, a good bar, if prohibitively expensive.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Thai Sweet Potato with Ginger

My beautiful Thai Bride also made this delicious dessert for me late one evening. You can add more or less ginger, depending on how much you like the taste. It is best served hot, so bring any leftovers back to boil before serving.

Thai Sweet Potato with Ginger
1 large sweet potato, cubed
6-12" piece ginger, peeled and sliced into thick pieces, to taste
1/4 cup palm sugar (or other dark sugar), to taste

Place all ingredients in medium pot, cover with water and bring to boil. Simmer on medium heat until sweet potato is cooked through.

Thai Carrot Salad

My beautiful Thai Bride introduced me to this simple and delicious salad. It is quite easy to make. If you like it hot, add more chili flakes. Too, if you like it sweet, add more sugar.

Thai Carrot Salad
2 medium carrots, shredded
3" length cucumber, shredded
3-4 very small or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1-2 tsp brown sugar, to taste
2-3 Tbsp Thai fish sauce, to taste
1 Tbsp chili flakes, to taste
juice of 1/2 lime

Combine all ingredients and serve.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


I came across this new service called ChocoMap which uses the power of Google Maps to detail the location of chocolate shops, mostly in North America, but there are entries for various other countries. It is only at the beginning stages, it only has one entry in Mississauga (Godiva's in Square One), but there is the facility to add your own favourite chocolate location.

Ginger Vegetables with Green Tea Soba Noodles

At the same time that I made the previous recipe, I made this one that I got from Donna Hay's latest magazine. I changed it slightly, not having the 750 g of bok choy that it asked for, though I think that it would work with Chinese broccoli or any leafy vegetable. This was quite delicious tasting and fairly easy to make.

Ginger Vegetables and Green Tea Soba Noodles
Adapted from a recipe from Donna Hay Magazine
100 g dried green tea soba noodles
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp finely grated ginger
100 g shitake mushrooms, sliced
300 g green beans
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
300 g firm tofu, chopped
2 green onions, sliced (as garnish) (optional)

Place the noodles in a medium saucepan of boiling water and cook for 5-6 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large non-stick wok over high heat. Add the oil, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. Add the noodles, bok choy, stock, oyster sauce and soy sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the bok choy is tender. Stir in the tofu.

Stir-fried Peas with Prawns and Garlic

This recipe comes from a book on authentic Malaysian recipes. Odd, in that, just before my beautiful Thai friend had let me borrow this book, I had gone to an authentic Malaysian restaurant and had some of the dishes represented, but not this one. This is easy to make and tastes very delicious.

Stir-fried Peas with Prawns and Garlic
From Authentic Recipes from Malaysia
1 tsp rice wine
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp oil
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled and slightly bruised
150 g medium fresh prawns, peeled and deveined
250 g sugar snap peas, blanched in boiling water for 5 seconds
1/4 cup water or chicken stock
1/2 tsp cornstarch blended in 2 tsp water
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar

Combine the rice wine, soy sauce and oyster sauce; set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok until very hot and stir-fry the garlic for a few seconds. Add the prawns and stir-fry briskly until they change colour. Add the peas and oyster sauce mixture, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds, then add the water and bring to a boil. Thicken the broth with the cornstarch and season with salt and sugar.

Coconut Pancakes

I had been meaning to make these for a while, since flipping through the many recipes from Thai and South-East Asian Cooking that I got last September at Word on the Street in Toronto. I decided to make them for my beautiful Thai Bride the other day. They turned out pretty tasty, we had them with maple syrup. The recipe book recommended drizzling lime juice over them, but lime and coconut is not really a combination of flavours that is used in Thailand, so we passed. I wonder if they would taste even better with freshly grated coconut.

Coconut Pancakes
From Thai & South-East Asian Cooking
75 g all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp rice flour
3 Tbsp superfine sugar
2/3 cup desiccated (dry unsweetened shredded) coconut
1 egg
275 mL coconut milk
vegetable oil, for frying

Place the flour, rice flour, sugar and coconut in a bowl, stir to mix and then make a small well in the centre. Break the egg in the well and pour in the coconut milk.

With a whisk or fork, beat the egg into the coconut milk and then gradually incorporate the surrounding dry ingredients, whisking constantly until the mixture forms a batter with no large lumps.

Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan. Pour in about 3 Tbsp of the batter and quickly spread to a thin layer with the back of the spoon. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until bubbles begin to appear on the surface of the pancake, and the edges begin to brown, then turn it over with a spaluta and cook the other side until golden, 1-2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

Cocon Fruit Puddings

These particular fruit puddings, from Cocon, seem to be a better quality fruit pudding. So I could try as many flavours as possible of the 10 or so varieties, I decided to get the variety pack. These included mango, jackfruit, honey melon, pineapple and papaya. They were all interesting and similar tasting, flavoured puddings with coconut jelly chunks. I had never tried jackfruit before, but I will reserve my judgement on how the fruit tastes until I try the real fruit. I liked the mango one the best, though the papaya and honey melon were also good.

Dare Ultimate Banana Cookies

These creme-filled cookies, part of Dare's Ultimate line of creme cookies, were fairly good, though I find them too sweet and not very banana-y.

Orphée Hazelnut Oil

Having finished one of my favourite toasted hazelnut oil containers, I decided to try the hazelnut oil from Orphée in France. This oil is too made from a traditional recipe. While it does not have the same intense toasted flavour, but it does smell and taste very good. Like all specialty oils, this is expensive, 250 mL was $15.

Philippine Mango Powder

I came across this product in my local Chinese supermarket, essentially it is dried mango that can be used as a reconstituted juice by adding water, or you can add it to shakes or smoothies to give it a nice mango flavour. What I thought I could do with it, is to use it to make mango shortbread cookies.

Fruit Puddings

These fruit puddings are fairly popular in Asia, they are essentially flavoured puddings with coconut jelly chunks. The mango was the better tasting of the two, the other being taro, though neither really tasted like I imagined they should.

Vivani Organic Dark Chocolate with Green Tea

I came across this new vegan store in Kitchener the other week, it has lots of interesting products, and I came across this German company, Vivani, which has several Organic chocolate products. The range of products sold in Germany is much more extensive than those sold in North America, but there are some interesting chocolate bars, including this one, made with 70% cacao content, and flavoured with real matcha green tea powder. The ingredient listing looks good, cocoa mass, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa powder and green tea, all certified Organic under German laws. I always think that cane sugar leaves an odd taste in my mouth, but I didn't find this one to have that, though it could be that I was rather tasting the oddness of the matcha green tea, an unusual combination that I had not tried before. I'm still not quite sure that I like the flavour. My beautiful Thai friend told me that she didn't really taste the green tea; I definitely did. I don't know that I would buy this chocolate bar again.

Thai Green Tangerines

The tangerines that I had seen and bought, and enjoyed, before, all have had orange skins, though I have seen and tasted oranges with green skins. When I came across these green tangerines from Thailand in the local Chinese supermarket, I had to try and see if they tasted different, for one, and whether they lived up to their label of being sweet, for another. My beautiful Thai friend told me, when I asked her about them, that the tangerines with green skin in Thailand were not sweet, and to try them myself, and I would see. Well, I found them to be about as sweet as other tangerines that I have tasted before, there was nothing really special about them that I could see, other than being unusual.

President's Choice Pineapple Juice

My brother especially likes pineapple juice, often when we go out for a meal, he will order it. I was intrigued then to find this new product by President's choice, that contained the juice of three Costa Rican pineapples, and purported to taste freshly squeezed. I am always leery of claims like that, it rarely lives up to the hype. I have tried juicing pineapples before, it tastes great that way, but you need to drink it fairly quickly, as it will begin to go brown. The container of juice is priced at just under four dollars, which is far less than what it would cost to buy three pineapples and juice them, let alone getting rid of the pulp and waste. Did it live up to its marketing hype? I would say yes! Quite fresh tasting, very sweet, without the underlying slight bitterness you can get from juice that is old.