Liège Waffles

Belgian waffles are universal. You can find them in your local cafe, at the hotel restaurant when travelling, and they are very easy to recreate at home. It’s fair to say that one need not be in Belgium to experience a good Belgian waffle.

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However, if you do happen to make your way to this European destination, this sweet treat is plentiful and come in more variations than you can count on your fingers. Nutella, honey, strawberries, chocolate, bananas, whipped cream…you name it, and it’s on it.

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They are light, crispy, and just melt in your mouth. A small dollop of chantilly cream and some macerated strawberries just take the entire experience to a whole other level. Their simplicity is such that you can easily recreate them at home.

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The Gelato Series- Hollywood Gelato

I  am determined to find the best gelato in Toronto. After my trip to Italy in the fall, I  instantly became enamoured with this dense, rich, creamy treat and was consuming it consistently, knowing that it would soon disappear from my daily diet. The best that I found was in Florence. Unlike it’s Roman and Venetian counterparts whose gelato often was laced with artificial flavours and too much sugar, this regional gelato boasted authentic flavours, generous portions, and overall a more consistent product. I still dream of that gelato to this day.

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Although taking up permanent residency in Florence has not completely slipped my mind, I had to search for a suitable alternative in my native Toronto. I drew up a list of all the gelaterias around the city, and started visiting them one by one. As of this blog post I have visited the majority of them, and only have a few more to go.

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Snack of the Day- May Edition

When I was in grade 7, I had this fantastic teacher named Mrs. Malandrino (First name Lynne, for those of you who had other Malandrinos in your life). She was a really cool teacher that I had known since grade 3 who wore jumpsuits to school and had a laid back approach that every kid could relate to. So much so that she would let me eat during class and once offered me a pasta lunch. She was the first and last teacher that ever gave me that privilege.  I am pretty certain that this was done for one of two reasons:

1. She recognized the look in my eye that said don’t get between me and my snack when I am hungry. (By the way, that look still exists)

2. I had “foodie” plastered on my forehead and she was intrigued by the snacks I brought to class.

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Indulgences

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I have an inherent fear of consuming a “whole” something. A whole bag of chips, a whole cake, a whole tub of ice cream, a whole pizza. When I go out grocery shopping, rarely do I ever pick up a snack or sweet treat unless I know that it is going to be shared. The only exception is when they come in small packets or portions that I can label “reasonable”. Reasonably fit to consume, reasonably in my range of caloric intake, reasonably nutritious.

A few days ago I found myself in an unreasonable situation when I decided to make a favourite standby crepe recipe. Did I have anyone to share with? No. Was it within my range of caloric intake? No, given that it served 4 people not 1. Was it nutritious? Sure, if you call white flour, sugar and eggs nutritious.

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I hadn’t made this recipe in a long time, and craved the bittersweet edge of homemade caramel. Moreover, I don’t divulge quite often, so a little slip off the wagon wouldn’t be too bad.

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This crepe recipe is from the banks of the wonderful Alton Brown. It is a tender, delicious crepe that is scented with vanilla.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/crepes-recipe/index.html

You can find the recipe for caramel anywhere online, because they are all prepared the same way. Heat sugar until it caramelizes (never stir the pot to avoid crystallization) and pour in some heavy cream. Instant caramel.

Snack of the Day

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Foodcapades in oriental grocery stores are awesome. Growing up, it was a tradition that every Saturday morning we would head out to Dragon Centre to purchase fresh fish and items not found in typical grocery stores. I became a pro at telling good fish from bad; checking the gills of the fish to ensure that they were ruby red, observing their eyes for clarity, and poking them to see if their skin was taut and bounced back.

However my favourite part of the entire expedition was running up and down the candy/snack aisle. There was so much magic and mystery surrounding the items in this aisle, and the only way to dismiss that curiosity was to try everything. I always got some sort of treat during our expeditions whether it be haw flakes, pocky sticks, tamarind balls, shrimp chips, or preserved prunes (I was a kid with a wild palate).

One item that has recently become a household favourite once again are these Bin Bin rice crackers. I used to take these to school with me for recess in elementary school. I rediscovered how addictive these crackers were recently when I found myself replacing my whole grain cereal breakfast with four individual packages of these crackers every morning. Eek…I know. They’re just that good folks!

They have a very subtle flavouring of soy, and are the perfect balance between salty, savoury and sweet. Their texture is in between styrofoam and cardboard, but don’t let that turn you off. They are as addictive as snacks can get, and retailing at about $1.50 a package, a perfect snack in this wavering economic climate.

Can I interest you in a Bin Bin cracker?