An Exquisite Lemongrass Panna Cotta

Looking for a new exotic and delicious dessert to serve at your next meal? Seek no further than this aromatic Lemongrass Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert with an Indonesian twist.

How is your summer going? OK technically summer the season just started but I bet your social calendar is already in full swing! I know mine is as I seem to not have a weekend in town until end of July and on that weekend I am hosting an out of town guest. So I had no choice but to go look in my old recipe archives. You know those recipes we made but never got around to posting (because of the pics, sorry not the best)? Well you are in luck because I have been holding out on a goodie with this Lemongrass Panna Cotta. It’s a perfect sunny light dessert with an exotic twist!

Lemongrass Panna Cotta

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Berries n Cream Turnover

A summer bowl of Berries n Cream Turnover, a much more food-truck friendly item one would love to order of the truck’s menu.

It’s Food ‘n Flix time again! In this monthly group a host picks a movie of their choice that pertains to food. Everyone watches the movie and then makes a recipe which the film inspired. It can be any recipe you want. This month’s pick is hosted by Canilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla and she challenged us to possibly make a food truck hit recipe inspired from the movie Chef!

Berries n Cream Turnover full

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Baked Peaches and Crème Brûlée

The Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge is all about baking and making sweets. Every month we are given two required ingredients to work with. This month it was Peaches and Cream. Two awesome ingredients that pair so well. This month I present you with one of my favorite classic desserts presented within one of my favorite fruits: Baked Peaches and Crème Brûlée.

peaches and cream 003

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Cheesepalooza: Farmhouse Cheddar

Here we are already at the 5th month of Cheesepalooza. Well I am actually a little late, this was the December installment where we had to make a Farmhouse Cheddar or a Caerphilly. This was our first pressed cheese. Oh boy a new challenge. You learn a lot making cheese and sometimes you need to be very creative…like when you do not own a cheese press, a cheese mold, or when you attempt to make you own milk. Yes you read that correctly. Read on for a palpitating story in cheese making.

farmhouse cheddar 4

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High Tea Afternoon + Contest 75$ gift certificate

EXTRA, EXTRA…we have a fabulous give away with CSN Stores: a $75.00 one-time use gift code to any of their sites. You can redecorate your entire house with their 200+ stores, from a dog bed, to a new dish set, an ottoman coffee table, or even a fountain for the garden . See bottom of post for details!

Please cast you vote for me to be the next food blog star! Just click to vote for my 3rd entry here. Thank you! Voting ends October 7th 6pm PST, hurry!

On the last dinner with the CEE dinner group I met a new member and we really hit it off on a possible friendship level. She also seemed to be quite the foodie and said she worked as a concierge in a hotel downtown. As a concierge she often gets free invites to restaurants or other cultural outings so she can then reference hotel guests if she likes the place. So when she sent me an email asking if I would like to accompany her at such an event I jumped at the chance.

We went for a complimentary High Tea service at Le Maitre Chocolatier at 3 o’clock. This place is centrally located on the elegant part of Sherbrooke Street close to the museums and shopping areas.

The small first floor is the shop. Here you can buy fine classic style chocolates and wonderful teas. All the chocolates are made in house by the owner, Nada, a young Moroccan lady. The staff was perfectly polite, perfect attentive service and very friendly without overstepping the personal boundaries. Shaun (I think) was the tea connoisseur and wonderful to chat with.

If you go up the stairs you will find the lovely English style tea room. There will be a new addition very shortly to the menu but there are several available services such as the breakfast tea, a scones and tea service, a full tea service as we had, and soon added a Moroccan version with that country’s specialties. I WILL have to go back for that one. Also there are sometimes small classical music concerts held here.

After being seated the waiter presented us with a box of all the teas being offered. All teas were in round canisters, labeled, that we could open them up to smell the tea. I really loved this concept. We had a good idea of what we wanted but if you are not familiar the staff will assist you in choosing the right teas for you. We chose 3 over the course of our afternoon: Anis Black Tea, Green tea with Orange Blossom and Roobos (a red tea). All were excellent.

Here is a our full service as a cup of tea is being poured for us. Never do we pour our own tea.

We started off with the bottom row of sandwiches. I have a sweet tooth and tea sandwiches are relatively simple so it was my least favorite yet all was excellent. The selection included a salmon rillettes toast, a tomato and pepper sandwich, my favorite one the Asian pear and blue cheese sandwich, and the quintessential cucumber sandwich. The bread used was lovely and dense, not flimsy white bread.

Next level was the scones. There were 4 in total: 2 plain, 1 blueberry and 1 raspberry. These were served with a beautiful selection of jams and a homemade crême fraiche which was divine. The scones were delicious and not too heavy but definitely filling. Thank god I did not have lunch and was starving. My tea companion and I split the fruit ones in two so we got to taste everything. I wish I could take home a bucket of that crême fraiche.

And finally, the pièce de résistence, the sweet top level. We each had 5 different sweets to try. Not sure what one cake was but had apricot in it I think, one was a chocolate marzipan combo, then 2 macarons each and a house chocolate truffle. What a great way to end this experience.

I am not sure how much this service goes for, I believe around 20 or 30$. If you have never had a tea service I highly recommend the experience, it is a great outing with the girls. I know of some expensive hotels that offer such a service but I really liked it here as it was small and quaint. Surprisingly there was a quiet but constant flow of customers. Oh and great for a different kind of date with your beau. Let me know if you go!

Le Maitre Chocolatier

1612, Sherbrooke Ouest
Montréal (Québec) H3H 1C9
(514) 544-9475


CSN Stores $75.00 gift code Contest, to enter

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Good luck! Giveaway ends Oct 12th 2010 at midnight EST!

Raspberry Heaven: Lazy Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Of course one of my favorite fruits would have a season that lasts about the length of a slow blink of the eye. Raspberries have always been a favorite of mine. I love their taste, their look, their feel. They compliment chocolate so well too. You can find them in jams, pies, puddings, cookies, ice creams, sorbets, coulis, cobblers and mousses.

And raspberries have become a yearly tradition at my parent’s cottage. A local farm opened shop on their raspberry production maybe 20 years ago. And they are  not 15 minutes away on foot. When in season, getting fresh from that morning berries at a much cheaper price is a normal treat. You can pick them yourself or call ahead to reserve a basket. Alas the last couple of years have cut down my visits to the cottage so I only get them from the Ferme Sarazin once a year (they also sell naturally raised pigs, the whole thing or the cuts you want).

This year I got a pint of them. That is a lot of raspberries so I decided to use half in a recipe. But I was feeling really lazy too so I used a cake mix. Please don’t shoot me! I know its bad, nothing beats a cake from scratch. I just succumbed and took the easy road out. But it was really good!

Lazy Chocolate Raspberry Cake

1 package chocolate cake mix
eggs as per cake mix (I needed 3)
oil as per cake mix (I needed 1/2 cup)
3 cups fresh raspberries (or mix of berries, I had a few blueberries)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F degrees and grease a 13×9 inch baking dish or pan.

Mix the cake mix as per directions on the box. Pour the cake batter into the baking dish or pan.

Sprinkle berries on top of the batter. Cover everything with the heavy cream.

Bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before serving.

And with the magic of the oven all your berries are now at the bottom of the dish. Yep I was surprised too. Make sure to keep a few extra raspberries for decoration and a bit of cream. I just poured a couple of table spoons on my plate before serving the cake portion. You could whip the cream too and put a dollop on top.

Please forgive my cake mix, it was hot, I was lazy! Of course you could do your favorite cake recipe instead. I also chose this pan format for convenience but for a fancier occasion you could divide the batter, berries and cream into 2 layer cake pans and make a 2 layer cake, perhaps with a raspberry whip cream frosting! Warning, it is extremely rich in taste with all the cream so go easy on it lol.

Roasted Black Sesame Ice Cream

As someone put it best earlier on twitter when I announced what was going on in my kitchen…

Really? That sounds like something outta Iron Chef Japan. Can’t imagine what that would tastes like?!

Two words on how it tastes: AWE and SOME

I came across this flavor at Atti during the dinner group’s Christmas dinner. They served green tea, red bean, ginger and this black as night sesame ice cream. This last one was the hit of the meal both in taste and sight. I made a mental note to find a recipe. Then winter came to Montreal and I mentally blocked the ice cream machine out of my mind. But spring like weather has come early to Quebec this year without a real trace of snow anywhere in a month. The ice cream machine was calling my name….

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