A Fruit Mousse your Hips Will Love plus misc food stuff

This is just a quicky weird post for you today.

I am blessed with many friendships from food bloggers around the word but I am even more blessed to know so many from real life right in my city. A few have become very good friends, even if we do not see each other to regularly. Today I will share my version of a dessert my dear friend Claudia posted on her blog Foodessa.

Please go to her site and check out her complete recipe and how to make this treat…of course I adapted it to my taste. Hers is more heavy on the fruit while mine is heavy on light fluffiness. Both make great sorbets IF you have leftovers.

Just so you know my adaptations I used 1/3 of her fruit quantity…the rest I kept the same. I tried it with blueberries. Is was so succulent and perfectly glossy. I got 4 servings out of it and trust me you won’t feel guilty eating this mousse all summer long. Go check out her recipe now and WHIP IT real good…after reading the rest of this post of course.

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I have accumulated a few random pictures that I want to show you. They are more like quick blurbs with a pic or two. Here we go:

Blurb no. 1

Breakfast at the Burgundy Lion Pub includes many British classic I have never heard of, like the Bubble n’ Squeak ??? I had to go for it. So apparently this is ‘the leftovers’ breaky of steak, eggs, and a mash-up of potatoes and cabbage and I chose crumpets to go along with it. Love the concept and all was delicious except for the hard roasted potatoes.

Blurb no. 2

Remember when I had a huge water damage problem in my apartment in May 2010 and then AGAIN in November 2011 which at least finally lead to the demolition and installation of a new kitchen (2 weeks without a kitchen)….to the taste and like of the landlord of course. Well I never did that post about the process but you deserve a before and after pic. I am very happy to say the least with the new kitchen. As you can see it is a tiny lab kitchen yet very functional and now feels a bit bigger.

Out with the fugly Old

In with the new, the walls are now a pastel sunny sky blue

Blurb no. 3

Camellia Sinensis in the Quartier Latin. Wonderful large selecting with top teas from around the world and many little treats to accompany your tea perfectly, such as this Matcha Cheesecake. Really sublime and a calm place. Just go!

Blurb no. 4

Indulge me in 1 cat story from my 2 cats. Most of you loved seeing Mickey sniff out the Terrine. Well 2 days later I saw for the first time, in the 4 years I own him, his hunter instinct…when he saw a pigeon on the balcony. Pigeons don’t come often so this was a unique moment. I was afraid he may jump the 18 floors down if he went for it when the pigeon flew away.

cat foodie turned into a hunter

Another Claudiadventure Jujube Style

Happy Chinese New Year and welcome to the rabbit!

On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone (wiki). The celebrations actually last 15 days which begin on the day of the New Moon.

The year of the rabbit, which starts Feb 3rd 2011, predicts a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves, a time to focus on home, family, friends and security. By surrounding yourself with a peaceful environment you will be able to deal calmly with issues or problems that may cross your path. Sounds good?

I am symbolically celebrating with friends in Chinatown this coming Saturday night. I can’t wait it should be a really fun night. Now for this post I wanted to stay with the theme and one of my ‘should have blogged a WAY long time ago’ ideas fits perfectly as I will introduce you to an exotic fruit which claims its origins in China: the Jujube.

I first discovered this fruit on a trip to Chinatown with my fellow food blogger and friend Claudia. I was the lead this time for our foodie day and I chose lunch and a bit of shopping in Chinatown to start. I took Claudia to Mon Nam for the 3 service duck special, then a bit of Chinese grocery shopping, followed by a trip to Monkland village for candies, cupcakes and the awesome Monkland Gourmet Cuisine cooking store. Please read Claudia’s post of our outing over at her blog Foodessa, she writes beautifully and I cannot top her description of our wonderful day.

But I digress, let’s get back to topic here, the Jujube. I love going to ethnic groceries store, buying an unknown produce and then researching it. The jujube was my victim this time around. I found them at this time in their fresh state but they go bad very quick unless you dry them properly. Fresh, the jujube has a bit of an apple look and taste, dried it resembles more a date. The jujube is actually nicknamed the Chinese Date and it is often marked as a date in the Asian grocery store.

Chinese traditional medicine claims this fruit has the power to alleviate stress and can help sore throats. As a food this fruit has been served as a sweet snack or in teas. Wine can even be made from jujubes. Finally jujubes is claimed to help people fall in love and is a sign of fertility.

The jujube originates from China and has been cultivated for over 4,000 years. Of course today it is grown in various parts of the world. When ripe the fruit is about the size of a plum and is yellowish green with mahogany spots. The pictures above indicate prime fresh ripeness, late summer to early fall. The flesh is crisp and white and tastes a little like an apple. In the middle you will mind a single hard stone. As mentioned before, they remains fresh a week max and then turn to mush.

In there dried state (see pics below) they will last indefinitely. I bought these again in Chinatown about a month later. You will find two forms or dried jujubes: dried on the tree or picked fresh and treated with sulfur as a preservative. Obviously this is not indicated when you buy it, but good to know. I did find a recipe here on how to dry them yourself naturally.

Since I had a bag full of these dried beauties I wanted to make them the star of a recipe…no small feat to find let me tell you. Finally I settled on this Jujube Cake recipe. A really easy and quick recipe to prepare, the result is a nice dense and chewy cake, like a date cake a bit, but lighter and fruitier.

Jujube Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups dried, minced jujube
  • 1 cup water

Bring these to a boil then set aside to cool

  • 2 cups wheat flour (I used white AP flour)
  • 1 teaspoonful baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoonful salt

Sift these together then add to the above mixture. Bake at 325° F until toothpick comes out clean (sorry don’t remember how long it took, 20 ish min?)

Foodie Trails with Foodie Friend: Blackberry Ricotta Filling

Funny how a simple comment on a blog can start a long conversation and eventually turn into a fabulous outing.

Towards the end of 2009 a new member joined the dinner group and she quickly took a liking to my blog and left many great comments. We actually started chatting a bit by email and looked forward to meeting in person soon at a dinner event. This day finally arrived during the group’s Christmas dinner. Unfortunately when you host you cannot spend much time with one person. But emails kept flying between us. One series of comments following the Canolli Daring Bakers Challenge got very heated on my blog…with this lady leading the pack!

Controversy over Canolli! Well that started another set of email exchanges between Claudia and myself. The result: we promised to go on the Foodie outing together that would include canolli! of course life got in the way and it took about 6 months, June 5th 2010, to finally spend the day eating! The day was planned by Claudia (who incidentally started her own food blog since then) and I met her at a subway at noon on that Saturday morning.

I stepped into her car and was quickly given…a canolli lol. What better way to start our adventure. We wolfed them down right in the car in no time. She had another gift for me that we will take a look at later in the post. Canolli are from…

Boulangerie Patisserie Lasalle, 2 locations
8591 Maurice Duplessis, RDP
1550, boulevard Daniel-Johnson, Laval

Next stop was a place Claudia had hear of. This lovely lady opened a stored specializing in stuffed dates. we really stayed quite some time and had a great chat with the owner. She uses two different dates: medjool and deglet nour that come from Tunisia or Algeria. A great tip: she quickly dips the dates in a mix of water and Orange blossom water. It adds a hint of a citrus scent and leaves the date glossy. She swears by Tunisian Orange blossom water alone. There are so many date confections: popular ones are cranberry, lemon, ginger, almond past, etc. Some are dipped ion chocolate (73% cacao exclusively).

Although not sold in the store you can make special savory (very salty is best) orders. Dates stuffed with blue cheese or salmon for example are delicious.

The owner also specializes in unique cookies and other pastries. She offered us scones made with soya flour, cranberries and Musk-mallow flowers. Really unique, I love it. This place is definitely worth the foodie detour.

La confiserie Thamar
168 rue Fleury Ouest, coin Esplanade

Now this next stop was a run in and run out. Claudia normally gets bread here on a weekly basis and we just picked up bread. She pre-ordered their amazing Olive bread. Since there was no more left she gave me one of her two loaves. THANK YOU! it was excellent and the bakery was impressive over all. Lovely huge olives all over the inside….so yummy.

La Petite Boulangerie
1412, Rue Fleury Est Montreal

Next on the tour? Lunch!

We went to a little hidden place in the Ile-de-la-Visitaiton park. Somewhere in the park are the ruins of the old mill that has been converted into a General Store museum up stairs and café-restaurant and adjoining terrace on the bottom floor. The terrace is set up along the small rushing river. You really feel like you are in the country almost. We even saw some local habitants: a few herons. Food is average OK but the location makes up for it. Really great choice.

Claudia: smile! you are on camera!

We made sure to keep room for dessert as Claudia had another surprise in store: gelato! I blog enough about ice cream so she new this would be a guaranteed success stop wise. We went to a traditional Italian place which is a restaurant, a gourmet shop and has a gelato counter.

Great gelato bars but not earth shattering unusual flavors. But it was good. Front cup is mine: Gianducia, Cantaloupe and English Custard flavors. The cantaloupe gelato was phenomenal. Gianducia was a new discovery for me. Gianducia is a sweet chocolate containing about 30% hazelnut paste invented in Turin. basically its natural real Nutella before it was commercialized.

Gelateria Roberto’s
2227 Rue Bélanger

Last stop was La Baia de Fromaggi, a last minute decision. It was not suppose to be an Italian outing, just mostly turned out that way. What a shop! Look at all the cheeses hanging from the ceiling!

Turns out the owner served us and took a liking to us (and is a camera exhibitionist lol). Now most of the conversation was in Italian with Claudia and the owner. I caught on a lot but missed a lot too.  It really added also to the experience. The owner is very proud of his store’s quality, its food…and right fully so! Love this pic of him showing cheeses to Claudia!

I did make a few purchases here which I’ll describe just below as they became my light dinner.

La Baia de Formaggi
1715, Jean-Talon St. E

So I bought some of the best proscuito I ever had (the one the owner held in the picture above) called Proscuito Originale de Parma. Then I told Claudia to pick an Italian cheese I never tasted before for me to try. She chose a Torta al Mascarpone. OMG, its a ‘layered cake’ if you will of gorgonzola and mascarpone. Can you even imagine how divine and rich that was! I served up a slice of each on that olive bread we bought earlier for dinner. It was orgasmic!

So what was my 2nd surprise from Claudia? Shells for canolli…12 of them! She said they were for me to fill will my unique touch. Thank you so much again, Claudia; I was just so touched.

So on my way home I got some ricotta and my inspiration of the moment: blackberries.  See my recipe below.

Blackberry Ricotta Filling

for canolli or what ever you fancy
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
about 1 cup of blackberries

  1. Put everything in a blender and puree.
  2. Place mixture in a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Fold cheesecloth over the top.
  3. Let drain overnight in the fridge.
  4. Pipe your filling into the cannolli shells with a party bag or a large zip-lock with a corner tip cut off.

You can read her interpretation of our outing too.  Thank you Claudia for a fabulous day and letting me get to know you one on one…my new friend! To our next outing!

Repairs: Day 1 and a Tease

A little update for my regular readers. As you know 10 days ago my apartment was flooded by a broken pool pipe which is 2 floors above me.

Today the repairs (done by the building owner) began. The parquet floor in my bedroom was removed and my carpets were cleaned professionally.  I had to remove everything from my bedroom (except the bed). So now I am sleeping on my mattress on the floor of the living room. There is furniture everywhere. Its not easy feeling so cramped but I am actually really excited…feels like a free renovation. Here is a pic of the floor today…

So life is a bit crazy right now. I also bought yesterday my plane ticket for my summer holiday…in 3 weeks I am out of here. And lots of exciting things are coming shortly here on the blog.

  • Wednesday I will have an exclusive review of a very special new store opening on the same day I will post.
  • Keep an eye out at the end of the week for an article I am writing for the Daring Kitchen.
  • A really great review of a restaurant in Toronto.
  • Reviews…great stuff: a ceramic knife, an expresso machine and nice ethnic flavored vinaigrettes.
  • And a tease picture below about a really amazing outing I had with a fellow Montreal food blogger, Foodessa.

canolli stuffed with homemade blackberry ricotta