A journey around Toronto’s pastry world (1)

So it’s Saturday afternoon, the sky is grey and depressing, our stomachs are growling so what are we to do?!?! Well, most people would make lunch, but here at Notes On a Meal, we don’t find that to be enough so we embark on a French pastry shop journey. Equipped with a sneaky camera (well, a cell phone), three hungry bellies and a car (last item on the list is very important since the distances between them quite large) we set out to visit the “Great Ones”. In order to... Read The Rest →

Sugar, part 3

From a culinary perspective, sugar is a very important ingredient so understanding how it reacts while being heated, melted, dissolved, etc is very crucial. One of the most integral parts of this is an understanding of what happens in a simple sugar and water solution. In this case, the sugar molecules have a tendency to bond to each other in orderly arrays and form dense solid masses (crystals). When sugar crystals are dissolved in water, H2O molecules have a tendency to overcome this bond between sugar molecules and form their... Read The Rest →

What is a macaron?

So all week I’ve been posting about these wonderful little desserts but I haven’t even answered the most basic of questions: What is a macaron? Before I get into details, I would like to point out that we are talking about French macarons as opposed to the North American coconut counterparts…. those are spelled with an extra “o” (as in macaroons) and they’re slighly less exciting and diverse. So, what is a macaron? By definition, it is a¬†confectionery¬†sandwich made up of 2 parts almond and meringue cookie with one part... Read The Rest →

MMM (Ma Maison Macarons), Spring 2012

Here’s the new macaron line-up for the 2012 Spring season: Dark Chocolate – Valrhona’s Nyangbo dark chocolate ganache Wild Strawberry – White chocolate and wild strawberry ganache Carrot Cake – Cinnamon cream cheese with a carrot and cinnamon curd Lemon Basil – Lemon and Basil infused white chocolate ganache Salted Caramel – Smooth and silky caramel filling with a salty and crunchy feuilletine crisp Pistachio – Ghana milk chocolate and pistachio ganache

Macaron Day 2012, Toronto

What is macaron day? It’s very simple: top pastry shops in Toronto team up for a good cause and give out these amazing little pastries to everyone who walks through the door. This year 25% of all the proceeds of macaron day will be donated to the Red Door Family Shelter (http://www.reddoorshelter.ca/). When is it? Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 Who is participating? Ma Maison – 4243 Dundas St. West La Bamboche -4 Manor Rd. East & 1712 Avenue Rd Petite Thuet -1 King St. West & 1162 Yonge St. La... Read The Rest →

Whole wheat, banana berry muffins

Simple and very very healthy, possibly also somewhat tasty, these muffins are a great way to start the day. Should mention that they are egg free and can very easily become dairy free or gluten free. I made mine with wheat germ, blueberries, dried currants and coconut but the possibilities are endless as long as you remember to balance out flavors. Another good combination would be carrot, orange and ginger. So here goes, the recipe is super easy: - 1 cup of sugar (I used brown. If you do the... Read The Rest →

New Loblaws – Queen and Portland, Toronto

I must say that, in my opinion, Loblaws really tops all the other grocery stores in Toronto for the quality of products offered and their variety. Although it may be pricier than others, freshness is always guatanteed and the customer service is definitely admirable. I had the pleasure to inaugurate their new location in the heart of Toronto just east of Queen St west and Portland and was more than impressed. It has the feel and attention to detail of competing high end grocery stores with the reliability I count... Read The Rest →

Ma Maison enters a gingerbread competition

Just in time for the holidays, the Ma Maison team decided to enter a fierce but fun gingerbread competition. The rules were simple, make “something” out of gingerbread was basically all we were told. The construction had to be 2x2x2 feet and everything except the base had to be edible. Ma Maison came up with the idea of a bakery and although our results didn’t win the prize, a few great lessons were learned in the process. Here is what was created and some of the competitiors

Sugar flowers

Since baking in general is not dangerous enough, I’ve taken on a new challenge…. sugar pulling. For those not familiar with this concept, well, it’s pretty much what it sounds like, hot sugar being shaped and pulled into diverse “artistic” shapes. The sugar is warmed, dyed (any colour of the rainbow) and once it’s the right temperature, it is pulled to aerate the surface and add a phenomenal sheen. Afterwards, under a heat lamp in order to keep it hot, the sugar is formed into whatever shape you want and... Read The Rest →

Ma Maison’s Macarons, Toronto

If you’re not familiar with French Macarons, well, you should head out there and definitely try them. Two crispy yet chewy almond cookies sandwiched together with a velvety ganache, or a delightful jam or even better a smooth and subtle buttercream…. what’s not to love?!!? There’s plenty of places around Toronto doing them well but here’s my favourite (I may be a little biased)

Tasty European Travels – Part 1

I know it sounds very silly to consider a place like the Amsterdam Airport a worthwhile point on our European culinary journey but it was definitely an eye opening experience. It was our first encounter with the food culture present on this continent and how different it is from what we’re used to in Canada. North American fast food chains were present but they were hidden in far corners of the building while local sandwich shops were taking culinary center stage in the main food courts. Fresh fare and organic... Read The Rest →

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