Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chocolate Surprise Cake

The surprise in this cake, which, for me, is a total surprise that I really like it, is not really new, I’ve heard of it before; it’s adding beets to a chocolate cake. This recipe comes from the book Better Food for Kids, from which we’ve made a few recipes. As you might have guessed, I find this cake to be quite delicious, moist, and, the best part, it does not taste like a beet cake with chocolate, rather it is a good-tasting moist chocolate cake. If the idea of beets doesn’t turn your fancy, you can always substitute the beets with 4 bananas and 1/2 cup of milk. But, try the beets! The decoration on this cake, done wonderfully by my beautiful Bride, is for my young daughter’s birthday. We used natural colours, beet red (how appropriate!), turmeric yellow and blue from red cabbage. They worked out well, though are not so bright as the artificial colours.

Chocolate Surprise Cake
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 19 oz can beets, drained and puréed
1 cup granulate sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Combine beets, both sugars, oil, butter, eggs and vanilla extract in a stand mixer. Beat on slow until blended, then on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until thoroughly mixed. Add flour-cocoa mixture in small batches and mix on low.

Pour batter into greased baking pan and bake for 40 minutes (check doneness by inserting a toothpick in the centre of the cake). Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dry Soda - Vanilla Bean

I found this soft drink in one of the health food stores I go to, I think Whole Foods. Dry Soda makes a number of interesting flavoured soft drinks. This one features vanilla bean, a flavour I enjoy very much, and it delivers on it. This is also a dry soda, which implies to me, that it is not so sweet, similar to dry, as opposed to sweet, wine; when you drink it, it does taste “dry”, ie. not sweet, which I think is a good thing. The ingredient listing is short, purified carbonated water, cane sugar, natural extracts and phosphoric acid. This last ingredient is the only problem I have. Phosphoric acid is there to help keep the bubbles of the carbonation, but it has effects on the body, including potentially leaching calcium out of your bones (to counteract the phosphorus). I will grant, that perhaps the amount of phosphoric acid in this product likely is lower than you might find in one of the commercial products, Coke or Tab, for example. Overall, I enjoyed the flavour, but don’t need the worry of what the phosphoric acid is doing.

Terra Sweet Potato Chips

I’ve tried Terra Chip’s Exotic Vegetable Chips - Original and Sweets and Beets, both of which contain sweet potato chips; this one contains only sweet potato chips. The chips look a little dark, perhaps overcooked a little, but taste very good, sweet and full of the good sweet potato flavour. We bought a second bag.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chicken Stir-Fried with Lemongrass and Chile

This dish I first tried in my favourite Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Hung in Mississauga, and it quickly became my favourite Vietnamese dish. This recipe comes from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors by Andrea Nguyen; I was excited to see how it compared to Pho Hung's dish. The key to this recipe is the curry; use the Madras curry if you can get it, I used something from Japan called Oriental curry, and, while it had similar ingredients, it wasn't spicy enough - at least, that is what I like about this dish. We also added too much coconut milk; you need to "dry it out" in order to get the right consistency. But, still, it tasted similar in a lot of ways, and I'm glad to have another dish I can prepare myself. The second time I tried making it, I used some Madras Curry, as I finally found some, at this Chinese supermarket, I also used a more reasonable amount of coconut milk, and it tasted very much better, more spicy but not hot. We also found out, in talking to one Vietnamese restaurant manager, that this recipe is Chinese-Vietnamese, you would not find it on a strictly Vietnamese menu.

Chicken Stir-Fried with Lemongrass and Chile
1-1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, well trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
2-1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 or 2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
1/2 cup coconut milk, canned or freshly made
3 or 4 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped, as garnish
Thai Jasmine rice

In a bowl, combine the chicken, salt, sugar, curry power, and fish sauce and turn several times to coat the chicken evenly. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes or for up to 1 hour.

In a wok or large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the shallots, chiles, and lemongrass and stir-fry for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the chicken and the bell pepper; stir quickly to mix. Stir-fry the chicken for about 2 minutes, until they are nicely browned on all sides.

Add the coconut milk, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking. Cook till the coconut milk is reduced and barely visible. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with Thai Jasmine rice.

Gluay Op Nam Puang - Banana Bake with Honey

I’ve talked about the superior flavour of Thai bananas, this is a snack that’s really healthy, just Thai bananas baked with honey (and only 1% of the total). Because these are fresh with little preservatives (honey is itself a natural preservative, and very little can grow in it), the shelf life is very short (compared to all the other snacks out there). The banana ends up being chewy with a honey flavour. Interesting, but I think I prefer the fresh banana.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Andrews Scenic Acres Rhubarb Strawberry Jam

Andrews Scenic Acres is a large farm with fruit orchards and other vegetables (a very large list); you can either buy from them or pick your own; they also have animals, wagon rides, playground and other fun things for a child to do. My beautiful Bride and daughter went there during the summer, to pick strawberries. When they were there, they also picked up for me some jams made with rhubarb. This one is rhubarb strawberry; they also bought one that has raspberry. The ingredients are just rhubarb, strawberry and sugar, so very little sugar, more fruit, and no added pectin, and I like that it is rhubarb first in the ingredients (normally it would be the other way). I thought, though, that they made these jams themselves, but I see on the label “Prepared For”; hopefully, they at least used fruit from the farm. The jam itself tasted okay, not really fresh, and not a strong rhubarb or strawberry flavour.

Ewenity Quark

Quark is a traditional unripened cheese in Germany, made by heating soured milk until the whey separates (the milk proteins are denatured), and then strained. It is a cheese that you can make at home. It is similar to ricotta, but is different, as ricotta is made from scalded milk. It is similar to cottage cheese, except that cottage cheese uses rennet to denature the protein. Most quarks are made from cow’s milk, this one is different in that it is made from sheep’s milk. Ewenity is a cooperative of farmers who raise sheep, they make many products, alongside just milk, from sheep’s milk, including yogurt (which my young daughter likes). This quark is quite good. I enjoy it spread on bread with a little jam, and have made other desserts from quark. The small tub cost $5, which I purchased at Riverdale Organic Farm.

Goldie's Premium Carob Bar - Plain

This is the third of the carob bars from Goldie’s that I tried, this one has no extra flavours or additions, a plain carob bar (and similar, to me, to a plain milk chocolate bar). Like all their other carob bars, it has no hydrogenated oils, no refined sugars, no preservatives, no chocolate, cocoa or caffeine. The ingredient listing is similar to their other bars, barley malt, fractionated palm kernel oil, carob powder, soy lecithin and milk.

How does it taste? Good, the carob is the center piece here, and I can see now what different flavour there was in the Hazelnut Praline (the hazelnuts). I don’t know how you can really make a dark carob version, whether that would work, adding more carob. Would be interesting, though. I think I would buy this bar again.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Traditional Medicinals Organic Lemon Yerba Maté

I’ve enjoyed this tea from Traditional Medicinals for a long while now, for the most part in order to get a jolt of caffeine on those mornings after late nights (and now with a toddler, there are more of those). Yerba Mate is similar to green tea in its range of antioxidants and health benefits, it also has theobromine (what is found in chocolate, what gives it its “kick”). I’ve read now that it has a darker side, down in South America, where they consume yerba mate in large quantities, more than a liter a day, there is a larger risk for certain cancers. The taste of yerba mate is supposed to be smoky, woody, bitter, but I find that the lemony flavour of this (which comes from West Indian lemongrass leaf and lemon myrtle leaf) combines and mutes the earthiness of the yerba mate. I quite enjoy the flavour of this tea (and they have a version that uses ginger, which I don’t like as much, which is odd, as I enjoy ginger), and find it does provide energy (given that it has about the same amount of caffeine as green tea), without any side effects of drinking too much coffee or soda. And, I only need to drink one large cup with one tea bag when I feel the need.

Traditional Medicinals Organic Rose Hips

Traditional Medicinals makes many different teas, mostly Organic, and, according to the box, they purchase and manufacture their herbs sustainably, buying from cooperatives of herb farmers, supporting Organic farmers, and using 100% Wind Power to offset their energy use. This one features rose hips, something that I see in many caffeine-free herbal teas, and in one of my favourite, but I have never tried them on their own (and the rosehip tea I like so much, I’ve discovered has the flavour of roselle). I must say, I like the flavour of this tea, fruity, tart and sweet at the same time, a pleasant tasting tea that tastes fresh too (some of the teas have been sitting on the shelf for a long while, and have lost a little, a lot, of their flavour). The tea itself is light red when brewed. This one cost $4, but I’ve seen it for much more.

Now I have another tea to enjoy.

Cote D'Or Passionfruit

I’ve tried the Belgian chocolatier ’s Pistachio, and didn’t really care for, but I do like passionfruit, and this bar was on sale. Cote D’Or uses cacao beans from West Africa and South American to make its bars. The ingredient listing indicates that it just meets the requirements of a dark chocolate bar; sugar, unsweetened chocolate, palm and/or coconut oil, cocoa butter, modified milk ingredients, passionfruit juice concentrate, cocoa powder, banana puree, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavours.

How does it taste? I was surprised that it was not a filled chocolate, like a jam, rather it was more like a dense mousse (likely the passionfruit-flavoured banana), though pleasantly surprised, as I find those types of bars too sweet. The passionfruit flavour was there but fairly subtle, and ultimately, I didn’t care for this bar, as there was some crunchy bits that I couldn’t identify as coming from the ingredients. I would not buy this bar again.

O.N.E. Acai Acerola Drink

This is the last of the O.N.E. drinks that I tried. Acai is a new fruit superfood that is finding its way into a number of drinks, both health-oriented and even commercial ones; these Acai berries are wild-crafted from the Amazon Rainforest. Acerola cherries are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Drinking it, the liquid has a fair amount of brownish-red pulp, a little off-putting, and the drink tasted somewhat sour (from the cherries, no doubt). Overall, I would say this was my least favourite of the O.N.E. drinks, my favourite being the Cashew Fruit.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Goldie's Premium Carob Bar - Hazelnut Praline

The second of three carob bars I tried (carob is made from the fruit of the locust tree) had hazelnut praline as its flavour. Goldie’s has been making carob bars for 25 years. Their bars contain no preservatives, refined sugars or hydrogenated oils. The ingredient listing looks like a milk chocolate bar, barley malt, fractionated palm kernel oil, carob powder, hazelnuts and soy lecithin.

How does it taste? Still good, I like carob in taste and smell, but the flavour of hazelnut was totally lost in this carob (it almost seems to me that I got a carob bar instead of one with hazelnuts). I liked their Banana better. I would buy this bar again.

Santa Cruz Organic Limeade

I’ve tried Santa Cruz’s Lemon Lime, Raspberry Lemonade and Mango Lemonade, this one features lime juice. Well, mostly lime, it also has white grape juice and lemon juice. It’s pleasant tasting, fairly good Organic with better ingredients drink, and around $2 for the near 1L bottle.

Goldie's Premium Carob Bar - Banana

Carob is a healthy alternative to chocolate; it’s lower in fat and calories and caffeine-free; it’s very nutritious, in some ways more than cacao. You can use carob powder 1:1 in place of cocoa powder in recipes. It has a different taste, chocolate-y but also sweeter (so you can cut down the amount of sugar). Carob comes from the bean of the Locust tree, commonly called Honey Locust (though, we have a honey locust in my Dad's front yard, been there forever, and occasionally it would have small fruit; never thought that it could be edible- likely not). I came across these bars in a health food store. Goldie’s has been making carob bars for 25 years. Their bars contain no preservatives, refined sugars or hydrogenated oils. This one is banana flavoured. The ingredient listing looks to me to be more reminiscent of a milk chocolate bar, barley malt (essentially sugar), fractionated palm kernel oil, carob powder, banana extract and milk.

How does it taste? I like the taste of carob, the smell of it, though it is by far a different experience to cacao, and is not a replacement. Though, you can still enjoy it on its own merits, and I did enjoy this bar, despite finding it a little chalky in texture, and also a little sweet (carob is naturally sweet, and you actually need less sugar in recipes than using cocoa). The banana is there, but not predominant (wonder what it would taste like with chewy banana pieces!). The bar cost about $4, and I don't have a ready source for it, but I would buy this bar again.

Whole Wheat Spaghettini with Scallops and Arugula

I had made this recipe long ago once, and had mostly forgotten about it, but we had some arugula, and it popped into my head again. This recipe actually calls for the larger sea scallops, which you sear until crispy and brown, but we had only bay scallops, and frozen ones at that, but the recipe didn’t suffer. We also omitted the capers that the original recipe called for; I think it’s an acquired taste. All together, even with these changes, the pasta tastes good, the pepperiness of the arugula comes out against the background of the lemon. Fairly easy to make.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Scallops and Arugula
Adapted from a recipe from Williams-Sonoma
1/2 lb. bay scallops, side muscle removed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon
handful of Italian basil
5 shallots, minced
1/2 package whole wheat spaghettini
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 large bunch arugula, preferably small leaved, stems removed

Rinse the scallops and dry well with paper towels. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy fry pan over high heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers. In batches without crowding, add the scallops and sear until nicely browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn the scallops over and brown the other side, about 1 minute more. Return all the scallops to the pan, add the lemon zest and basil, and cook for a moment. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the scallops to a bowl. Reduce the heat to low and add the shallots to the pan, adding more oil, if needed. Sauté until softened, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 3 to 4 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, add the lemon juice and stock to the fry pan and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. Simmer until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the pasta well and add it to the fry pan. Add the scallops and any juices that have accumulated, then add the pine nuts. Toss over low heat to finish cooking the scallops and mix the ingredients, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer to a warmed large, shallow bowl, add the arugula leaves and toss gently. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Rustic Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

We had a large number of cherry tomatoes we bought at Riverdale Organic Farmer’s Market, mostly from a momentary lapse of brain function (I forgot that I had bought some just five minutes earlier, but, in my defence, there are so many good looking and interesting fruits and vegetables at the Market, it’s hard not to take some of everything home). We also had some very nice basil, so we decided to make this pasta sauce. I call it rustic, because I left the cherry tomatoes mostly whole, only cut them in half, and did not blend them, so they have retained their shape. Not only are these cherry tomatoes good looking, but they are good tasting, and this pasta sauce was quite good. We enjoyed this on spaghettini with some vegetarian sausage.

Rustic Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce
1 medium onion
2 large cloves of garlic
1 tbsp oil
35-40 cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh basil, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Dice onion and mince garlic and add to pan; sautée until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, cut cherry tomatoes in half. Add them to the pan, along with the basil, salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are very tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Luna & Larry's Organic Coconut Bliss - Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge

I had heard about this new more-healthy ice cream before, but it was, apparently, mostly sold in the States. This past weekend we came across a Tasting at Organic Garage in Oakville, and decided to check it out. The idea of Coconut Bliss, is that, instead of cow’s milk cream, it uses coconut milk. Coconut milk is used to make ice cream in Thailand, so this is not a new concept, save for North America. Each of Coconut Bliss’s ice creams also contain other healthy ingredients; they use agave syrup as a sweetener, which is low glycemic; all of their ingredients are Organic. The one I selected was their Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge.

How does it taste?. Quite good, and not overwhelmingly like coconut (save for their Naked Coconut one). The fudge is a small strip of agave sweetened cocoa and not too sweet at all. The hazelnuts are quite large chunks, though soft, and not crunchy. This is a small container, similar to how Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s market their ice creams, so no large bowls. Overall, I would say I enjoyed this ice cream, and more so than Dark Chocolate one I sampled.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mesquite Pistachio Cocoa Nib Cookies

I’ve seen mesquite pod meal now in quite a few places, before it was really unknown in Canada. I like the smell of the mesquite baking, it gives kind of a smokiness to the cookie. This is a variation on a honey based chocolate chip cookie recipe that is one of my favourites. This is the second of two desserts I baked today, with pistachios and cocoa nibs. The raw cocoa powder kind of disappeared, it certainly didn’t turn the dough brown; perhaps I had to add more.

Mesquite Pistachio Cocoa Nib Cookies
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup mesquite pod meal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp raw cocoa powder
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup light muscovado sugar
1/4 cup butter, slightly softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp honey
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

Combine flours, soda, cocoa powder and salt and whisk together.

Cream together butter and sugars. Add egg and beat until fully incorporated. Stir in vanilla and honey.

Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture in two additions. Stir in cocoa nibs and pistachios.

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cookies all golden all over.

Cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a rack.

More "Adult" Carob-Quinoa Chews

I made a more traditional version of this recipe earlier, substituting carob for cocoa and quinoa puffs for millet puffs. The recipe I took this from is called Cocoa Millet Chews, from Health by Chocolate by Victoria Laine, which contains a number of more healthy recipes that are made from chocolate. I mean more adult, in the sense of, I think these would be less likely to be eaten by young children; the adult ingredients are pistachios, cocoa nibs and currants. Thinking about it now, I could even have added some Frangelico to it, to make it even more “adult”. Otherwise, they still taste good, a chewy, crunchy bite; the cashew butter is tasty too. They were well received at work.

More “Adult” Carob-Quinoa Chews
adapted from a recipe from Health by Chocolate by Victoria Laine
1 cup cashew butter (almond or other nut butter)
1 cup honey (pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup carob powder (cocoa powder)
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
1/4 cup dried currants
1 to 1-1/2 cups puffed quinoa cereal (millet)

Heat cashew butter and honey on medium heat or double boiler, stirring constantly, until mixture just begins to bubble (about 2-3 minutes).

Take off heat and stir in vanilla.

Mix in sifted carob powder and puffed cereal. Add nuts and cocoa nibs and mix well. Cool several minutes.

Mold into balls. Cool on counter or in refrigerator until firm.

Lindt Caffarel Fruit Jellies

Lindt along with their chocolate, apparently also makes these jellies, as I call them, with various fruits. I tried four of them; quince, apricot, cherry and plum. The jellies are surrounded with a coarse sugar coating.

The quince is good tasting, with a mild flavour and definite taste of quince. My favourite.

The apricot is good tasting, with a subtle apricot flavour.

The cherry has a strong cherry flavour. Good tasting.

The plum has a subtle plum flavour. Good tasting.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Perugina Baci Bar

I've not cared for the Baci chocolates from Perugina, these are similar, just flattened out. The ingredient listing actually looks worse than the individual chocolates; sugar, unsweetened chocolate, hazelnuts, vegetable fats (palmist, palm, babacu, saffron, cotton), cocoa butter, modified milk ingredients, soya lecithin and artificial flavour. There is also no love note; I guess this is for those who love Baci.

How does it taste? Sweet, but not too bad. The hazelnuts and filling are there in flavour, but should be paired with a better chocolate. The bar cost $2. I liked this better than the individual chocolates, though not enough to eat again.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Cheese Manjyu

These came from a colleague of mine, he lives and works in Singapore. The filling is like creamy ricotta cheese. Not to my taste, but I like the tagline on the package for the ingredients; “High quality ingredients whose taste has been nurtured by natural light and wind in the greenery section”.

President's Choice The Decadent Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I did like President's Choice The Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie, made with their The Decadent Semi-Sweet Chocolate, this is very similar to that cookie, but with chunks of chocolate rather than chips of chocolate. Or so their picture on the package shows, very large chunks of chocolate. The actual cookies don't seem to have very large chunks of bulging chocolate pieces. So, I don't see what the difference is between the two. Still good, but not as good as one I can make.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Durian Candy

At first glance, one would think that this durian candy came from Thailand, the Thai script is quite prominent. I suppose perhaps the Durian came from Thailand, if anything, this is a candy made in China. I liked that the first ingredient is durian, followed by sugar and flavour. It does taste like they used durian, I’m glad of that, and they’re not so sweet.

President's Choice Organic Sea Salt Potato Chips

I can’t really recommend these potato chips, though if you are a fan of plain potato chips, and I mean plain, then these are the ones for you! Made from Organic potatoes using Organic sunflower oil, and sea salt, it should at least be reasonably good for you (compared to the more commercial less expensive ones).

Pacari Manabi

This is the second of the four chocolate bars from the Ecuadorian chocolatier Pacari; each features single source organic Arriba Nacional cacao varietal beans from a different region of Ecuador. These cacao beans come from the region of Manabi region in southwest Ecuador. The cacao content is at 65%. The ingredient listing looks good, cacao beans, evaporated cane juice and sunflower lecithin.

How does it taste? Like the Esmeraldas chocolate bar, this bar snaps well, is very dark in colour, and smells fruity. The chocolate melts well in the mouth, has a good aftertaste, and tastes fairly good, though it suffers, like the Esmeraldas bar, from the taste of the cane sugar coming through the chocolate, though not as much. The bar cost me $3 (for a 50 g or half-size bar) at a health food store, and I enjoyed eating it (as I do most Ecuadoran chocolate).

Lindt Excellence Crunchy Caramel

Normally I wouldn't even consider buying this chocolate bar, as it is Milk chocolate, but it came as part of a four bar package; Lindt makes some good bars, but I don't like their Milk chocolate ones. The ingredient listing is typical for a Milk chocolate one, sugar, cocoa butter, caramel pieces (sugar, milk ingredients, lactose, canola lecithin), milk ingredients, cocoa mass, lactose, soya lecithin, barley malt extract and artificial flavour. The cacao content is at 30%.

How does it taste. The chocolate itself is smooth, and the Crunchy Caramel portion of it was, in 2 words, very crunchy (and stuck to my teeth). I would not buy this bar again.

Kombucha Wonder Drink Essence of Juniper Berry, Spearmint and Lemon Myrtle

I would say this has been my least favourite of the kombuchas from Wonder Drink. Juniper berries are the main flavouring for gin, which I don’t care for. The spearmint is not a strong flavour, less than the juniper berries; the lemon myrtle I missed its taste completely. The kombucha didn’t come across as being very strong in flavour either. I am disappointed in this one, and miss my Himalayan


Friday, July 23, 2010

Fresh Chickpeas

My beautiful Bride found this for sale at the Square One Farmer’s Market, it is fresh chickpeas, which I’ve never seen before. Really, never even though of it, having seen them only canned or dried. They have a pod like peas, and do have a “pea” taste to them when eaten raw. Quite interesting.

Sarotti No. 1 Mexico Dark Chocolate Chili

This is the second of two from Sarotti’s No. 1 line of chocolate bars, this one features cacao beans from Mexico, with chili as flavouring, and has a cacao content of 66%. The ingredient listing is good, cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, chili soya lecithin and natural vanilla.

How does it taste? The few I’ve eaten from Sarotti have been hit and miss, this one was not so good. The chili was not very strong (okay, only a little spicy aftertaste), and the dark chocolate could be more dark. I’ve never eaten chocolate made from cacao beans from Mexico, but they seem pretty okay. The chocolate itself is smooth but not so flavourful; it's definitely not the sugared chocolate I've seen labelled as Mexican chocolate. I doubt that I would eat this bar again.

Mississauga Rotary Ribfest

The Mississauga Rotary Ribfest was on this past weekend. Pretty much the same, though we went in the middle of the recent heat wave (feels like high 30's!) we were experiencing, so we didn't have much time to linger. This year, too, they blocked off Duke of York Boulevard next to the Living Arts Centre, which, along with the construction, caused major traffic grief getting in to Square One. All I got this year was a pulled pork sandwich, with beans and rice and corn bread.

Sarotti No. 1 Brazil Dark Chocolate Mint

I found a couple more of Sarotti's No. 1 line of chocolate bars, this one features cacao beans from Brazil, with mint oil as flavouring, and has a cacao content of 60%. The ingredient listing is good, cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin and mint oil.

How does it taste? The few I've eaten from Sarotti have been hit and miss, this one was fairly good. The mint was not too strong, though the dark chocolate could be more dark. I've never eaten chocolate made from cacao beans from Brazil, but they seem pretty good. The chocolate itself is smooth and flavourful. I would eat this bar again.