Taking food recycling to a whole new level

real junk food project 2

Figured this was a pretty neat piece of news to share with our readers.  Adam Smith is a trained UK chef who has come up with an interesting restaurant known as “The Real Junk Food Project”. He cooks up nutritious meals using volunteers and all food that is deemed “un-sellable” by supermarkets and restaurants. This is the food that has passed its arbitrary expiration date but is still usable. The restaurant is located in Leeds, West Yorkshire and it has grown to involve a team of 5 directors and about... Read The Rest →

A journey around Toronto’s pastry world (2)

So here we go again, more pastry talk from our epic journey around Toronto. Last post I talked about Frangipane Patisserie, Nadege, Patachou and La Bamboche. This post will bring us to the east side of Yonge and all the delicious treats that can be found around that side of town. Rahier Patisserie (Bayview and Manor Rd.) is a stone’s throw away from La Bomboche but it’s miles away in terms of quality.It is probably my favourite place in the city, based on the criteria of this little experiment! The... 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 →

Sugar, part 2

There are several different types of sugars, all with various qualities and sweetness levels. Different sugars give different impressions of sweetness with sucrose being the longest to be detected on the tongue and the most lingering of the bunch. By comparison, fructose registers quickly and strongly but it also fades very quickly. But before we talk more about the complexities of sugars, lets define all of of them: Glucose (aka Dextrose) It is a simple sugar, the most common sugar from which living cells directly extract chemical energy. It can... Read The Rest →

Sugar week, Part 1

I thought it would be neat to explore a new topic every week and learn something new, so this week we’re going to talk about sugar. We’ll get into history, uses, the nature of sugars and its varieties. Sugar is the generalised term used for a class of sweet flavoured substances composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (aka carbohydrates). It is formed naturally in the leaves of numerous plants but concentrated mainly in their roots, stems, or fruits. It can be extracted from maple trees, palm trees (toddy, coconut and... 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 →

History of the macaron

Their name comes from the Italian word “maccherone” which means to beat or crush, used here in reference to the nut (predominantly almond) flour that these desserts are made with. Although the history of the macaron is a little foggy, most sources agree that they date back to the early 1500′s when Caterine de Medici’s Italian pastry chefs were brought over to France after her marriage to Henry II. The chefs began creating cookies made of almonds, egg whites and sugar. It wasn’t until about 400 years later when chef... Read The Rest →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Final meal at Marben, Toronto

I am very disappointed to have to write this review but I think in light of the situation, I need to stand up for what I believe! Marben has a special place in my heart but all feelings aside, Notes on a Meal readers deserve my honesty. A few months ago, my fellow diner and myself received a meal that was a little off (a.k.a. expired to the point of stomach malfunction). It was a very unfortunate accident and it was forgiven and forgotten due to the numerous outstanding meals... Read The Rest →

Our culinary adventures in Rome (Part 2)

With my fellow blogger being so detailed while describing our Roman vacation I’d just like to talk about the pastry side of things. Unfortunately, it seems as though the Romans don’t really appreciate a fine pastry and will just settle for mediocre. The best looking pastries we’ve seen were at a French bakery and that’s not a joke. The bread as a whole is tasteless and generally pretty disappointing. Their “secret” is to avoid putting salt in their doughs in order to allow for the salty cured meats they put in... Read The Rest →

Professionalism Part: How Devoted Are You?

This post goes out to all the industry people that read this little blog of ours. I don’t really want replies but I’m just pondering an issue I’ve recently come across… How devoted are you to your kitchen?… We all (well most of us) chose to work in our specific kitchens due to a respect for either the food or the chef. However if that image is tainted one way or another, do we stay or do we go? Does our personal progression through the industry suffer because of this... Read The Rest →

Quote from Leon Kass, Ethicist, from his book The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfection of Our Nature

“…nature does everything in the operations of a beast, whereas man contributes to his operations by being a free agent. The former chooses or rejects by instinct and the latter by an act of freedom, so that a beast cannot deviate from the rule that is prescribed to it even when it would be advantageous to do so, and a man deviates from it often to his detriment. Thus a pigeon would die of hunger near a basin filled with the best meats, and a cat upon heaps of fruits... Read The Rest →

Pizzeria Libretto Revisited

After much deliberation and some very full stomachs, it has been officially decided that Pizzeria Libretto is my top restaurant of Toronto. Last night we returned for the second time, only to be enchanted once again by the warm and cozy atmosphere and unforgettable food. Similar to our first experience, the service was flawless, the staff knowledgeable and friendly (but not over the top) and the meal was outstanding. During dinner it really dawned on me how important it is to be true to your ingredients. Pizzeria Libretto does exactly... Read The Rest →

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