Tag Archives: halifax ns

Peach Pizza, Salted Caramel Tart and More at Morris East

26 Sep

I visited Morris East tonight because I wanted to make sure I participated in Yelp Eats – Halifax this week and I am so glad I did!

I had never been there before, but had always heard people rave about it –  so this was a great excuse for me to “need to go” this week (and also help support FEED NOVA SCOTIA).

We started with the Vinaigrette Caeser – it was one of the best salads I’ve ever had, and no – that’s not just because I don’t eat salads a whole lot! Fresh greens mixed with a very light vinaigrette, topped with house-made sour dough croutons and thick bacon pieces that were still hot! So good! I don’t normally gush about a salad this way, it’s got me all excited!

After salad – we had pizza, and not just your regular, 2am craving,  pizza corner pizza either!

We ordered Peach Pizza – a pizza with grilled peaches, goat cheese, shallots, prosciutto and rosemary aiol.

Ok – let me just say, right off the bat – peaches and goat cheese – why have I not been combining these two before?! Two of my favourite things on one pizza with the added bonus of prosciutto joining them!

They tell me it is only on the menu for the summer season – so if you’d like a taste – get in there this week!

And now for the desserts, last but certainly not least!

The Peanut Butter Tart with Honeysponge caught my eye, as a huge fan of combining peanut butter and chocolate! It is a chocolate tart filled with peanut butter ice cream, drizzled with ganache and housemade honeycomb.

The peanut butter ice cream was the highlight for me in this dessert.  While I really liked the chocolate tart too, the whole thing was frozen together, and by frozen, I mean – like a rock, you need to cut it with a knife, frozen. (yes, I know ice cream needs to be frozen) This was too bad because it took away from the overall taste of the dessert – it was just so cold and the frozen texture took away from the actual taste of the chocolate and peanut butter.

That said, it was still very tasty and I’m glad to have picked it.

Rating: 7 out of 10

We had a hard time with the lighting and getting pictures right, but here are a few shots of it…

Since it was important for me to fully review this restaurant, we decided to order two desserts! (Sound reasoning, I think!)

Our second choice was the Salted Caramel Tart – a lovely light crust filled with liquid caramel – a thick, sticky caramel that explodes with sweet and salty flavour in each bite!

We liked this very much, but I would highly recommend it it for sharing, definitely between 2 people, but you could even share between 4 because that’s how sweet this caramel is! This is the kind of dessert that a small taste of is just right, too much and you could be “over-sweetened”

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

I am so pleased with my first visit to Morris East, and it will certainly not be my last! Already looking forward to visiting again!

Have you been? – tell me about your experience!
Have you been to any of the other Yelp Eats- Halifax locations?

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Here’s to a Low Stress Baking Adventure!

23 Sep

Sugar Cookies, Turtle Cookies and Caramel Apple Slices

Ok – so you all remember the stress and exhaustion that was last week’s baking adventure? No? Enlighten yourself… The Great Carrot Cake Meltdown of 2012

Now that we’re all caught up, I can tell you about this weekend and you will understand how, on Friday afternoon, I was telling John, “Maybe I need to take a break from the baking for a week, I am really tired out, and we only just finished doing the dishes from last week.”

But I persevered, ever onward, toward the delicious taste of Turtle Cookies and Sugar Cookies, and I am happy to report that this weekend’s experience was, overall, so much better! (less burnt cakes, no tears, no fighting, less freaking out my friends – you get the picture)

I had a new baking assistant, Erin, (since last week’s is still out on stress leave – get well soon Niki), and she was fabulous!

So here goes explaining how we successfully made three delicious desserts in less than 3 hours!

Sugar Cookie Squares

We started with the sugar cookie base because I knew it would be easy and need to cool off for a while, allowing us to move onto the new recipe. *I should note that this is the second time I’ve made these bars – you know they’re good when you go back for a second taste!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 1/2 Tbsp sour cream (I just do 1 heaping Tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 recipe vanilla frosting, recipe follows

Vanilla Frosting
Ingredients:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp half and half
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
Several drop food coloring (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 13″ x 9″ baking dish, set aside. In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy about 3-4 minutes. Stir in egg and egg white. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until blended. Slowly add dry mixture and stir until well combine. With buttered hands, gently press (so gently almost patting) mixture into buttered baking dish. Bake 17 – 20 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and edges are lightly golden. Cool completely, then frost and cut into squares.
Taken from Cooking Classy

A few notes on the recipe – it will tell you to mix the sugar and butter with a mixer – maybe it’s my mixer or the butter isn’t soft enough, but I usually end up doing this with my hands to get the right consistency.

When spreading dough  over bottom of pan –  you might think there is no way there is enough dough to spread and cover the whole pan – but it works, just keep pressing and patting it out.

 Turtle Cookies

These were a little more involved than the sugar cookies, because there were a few steps to them. Taken from Pixelated Crumb

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped fine
14 soft caramel candies
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions:
  1. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
  2. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk egg whites in bowl until frothy. Place pecans in another bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using 1/2-teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each ball. Bake until set, about 12 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.
  3. Microwave caramels and cream in bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from oven, gently re-press existing indentations. Fill each with 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture. Cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Try not to devour them all at once.

Caramel Apple Slices

If you are like me, and made a lot of extra caramel  – cut up an apple and drizzle the sauce over it – yum!

Yelp Eats – Halifax!

21 Sep

Hi Everyone! This is a special post to let you all know about a very foodie-friendly fundraiser that will be happening in Halifax, NS all next week – Yelp Eats!

From Sept 23-29, seven local Halifax restaurants will be participating in Yelp Eats. If you go to any of them during this time and spend $30 or more (before tax and tip) you can put your bill in the official Yelp box at the counter – for each bill submitted, the restaurant will donate $10 to FEED NOVA SCOTIA.

Click Here for more info – Yelp Eats – Halifax

I’m very happy to share it with you and hope you can all make it out to show support to local Halifax restaurants as well as contribute to FEED NOVA SCOTIA. If you’d like to join me or organize a group to go – I’m all for that – leave me a comment!

I’ll certainly make an effort to get out to a few, and will, (as usual) post my dessert reviews for you to read!

Feel free to take pictures of your desserts or dishes this week and send them to me!

Another Day, Another Visit to Il Mercato – Chocolate Caramel Tart

14 Sep

Chocolate Caramel Tart

This is just a quick post – a rave really – of the chocolate caramel tart at Il Mercato.

It is full of the tasty, sweet goodness that is a soft crumb crust filled with  “mousse-like” chocolate, a caramel layer and topped with skor pieces!

Rich, smooth and creamy – I mean look at the caramel layer dripping out!

I enjoyed every bite as my friends looked on, unwilling to join in on my fun – something about being too full, after our, once again, fantastic meal. I always make the extra effort to save room for dessert, too bad they don’t have the same discipline, right?

Check it out yourself: Il Mercato, Bedford

My Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Remember – next time you eat dessert – take a picture of it and send it to me!

Weekend Baking Adventures – Complete Success!

12 Sep

Sorry for the delay in posting my photos of this past weekend’s adventure in baking!

I should say that neither of the recipes I made required actual baking, but I’m going to call it that anyway!

First up …

Pecan Pie Bites

Overall Rating (from myself and a few invested partners) – a solid 8 out of 10!

Would I make them again? You bet! I plan to this Christmas!

These were great – the perfect pairing of salty and sweet. Great for a dessert tray, potluck, party or just to have around the house!

Quick Notes on the Recipe:

  • It was easy and quick
  • No–bake
  • 1 bowl needed – so easy clean up
  • Don’t forget to toast the pecans

So you mix all the dry ingredients, then add the wet and it kind of looks like this… (which had me worried at first)

It was so sticky it made rolling them pretty much impossible because it just all sticks to your hands and doesn’t really form a shape!
(Imagine the scene: Me: ”Oh god John, what is happening? Did I miss something? This does not seem right! Something has happened, I must have forgotten an ingredient! Murmur murmur…
John: “How could you miss something, there’s like 4 ingredients, reads recipe, nope you’ve got it all.” Takes spoon and starts scooping. Me: “Oh, that works well, what a great idea!”)

*Try This* Use a melon baller or rounded tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop the mixture onto the pan and don’t even bother to try to roll it right away.

Once you’ve got them placed on the pan (or as your helpful assistant is scooping them), run your hands under water (which you’ll need to do to get the goog off of them from all the hand mixing earlier) and go back to the dollops with wet hands – this will help with actually making the balls round!
I promise, wet hands is key (also helps to wet the sugar which was still a bit grainy at that point)

Put them in the freezer for minimum two hours.

After two hours set up a double boiler and melt chocolate – please note – I used semi-sweet chocolate chips and they worked just fine. Also don’t be afraid to melt a lot of chocolate because the first few I did, got a generous amount of chocolate and the last few dips were lighter on chocolate because I was running out.

Sprinkle coarse salt and return bites to fridge or freezer.

Official Recipe and Directions

Ingredients

2 1/2 c pecans, toasted and chopped
1 c graham crackers, crushed
1 c brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 c bourbon, brandy or spiced rum
1 tsp vanilla
7 oz dark chocolate bark
1 tsp coarse sea salt (optional)

Directions

1

Combine first four ingredients in large bowl. Add maple syrup, bourbon, and vanilla. Use your hands to make sure all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly.

2

Form balls by scooping a tablespoon size amount of mixture and rolling in hands to form balls. Place balls on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Tip: After all balls are made, roll balls again with slightly water damped hands. This will make balls smooth before dipping in chocolate.
Place balls on cookie sheet in freezer for 2 hrs.

3

Melt chocolate bark in a double boiler or microwave per directions on package.
Dip frozen balls into chocolate, then place on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

4

Optional: Sprinkle a few grains of course sea salt on balls before the chocolate sets.

5

These freeze well. Take out of freezer and let sit for 15 minutes. They are also good frozen!

I’ll post part 2 tomorrow – Colourful Cake Bites
Enjoy! I hope you like them as much as I did!
Let me know if you’ve tried these and tell me what you think in the comments!

Il Mercato Review – Bounty Bar in Cheesecake Form? – Yes, please!

4 Sep

Il Mercato dessert special – Candy Bar Cheesecake

I was at Il Mercato, the other day (a family favourite) and was as usual, admiring the dessert case. With some help from the staff, I finally narrowed my choice down to one of the specials that day – Candy Bar Cheesecake.

If you like the Chocolate/Coconut combo then this will be your paradise!

It is exactly like eating a Bounty bar, only better because there is also cheesecake!

Highly recommended by my family… hope you enjoy!  (sorry the pic is grainy, but believe me the cake is not!)


My Rating: 7 out of 10

Where to find it: Il Mercato, Bedford or Halifax, NS

Have you tried this too? What did you think? – Leave a comment

A Fantastic Night at The Bicycle Thief!

28 Aug

Alright so, picture this… A beautiful Saturday evening on the Halifax waterfront, sun is setting, people smiling, boats docked at the wharf, the cutest dogs off on an evening walk and me and my family watching it all pass us by as we dine outside on the patio at The Bicycle Thief.

What a great way to spend a night in Halifax!

I can’t say enough great things about this place, the food, service and ambiance were all top notch in my books!

I had shrimp in white wine cream sauce, pork ribs, tomato basil salad, veal parmesan and seafood linguine. (ok, well I had a taste of it all but didn’t eat whole portions myself! We’re share-ers in my family, our waitress caught onto that too!)

Just when I didn’t think I could fit another bite after courses of delicious food – they came with the dessert menu’s…so let me tell you about the desserts!

Coconut Cream Pie

This is not your average coconut cream here people! It starts with a chocolate crust, which has a lovely saltiness to it, topped with ever so creamy coconut filling and another cream topping!

If you are looking for a twist on the traditional coconut cream pie – this is an excellent choice!
Highly recommended! Great for sharing!

My Rating: 8 out of 10 – a return favorite
*should also note that this is the second time I’ve ordered it – you know its good when you choose it again on a return visit!

But wait… there’s more!

Peanut Butter Gelato Fudge Sundae

Now this was a first try for me on several accounts.

I had never had peanut butter gelato before, chocolate and other kinds, of course, but never peanut butter. I am a huge fan of the peanut butter chocolate combo though.  Also, I had never really considered ordering a sundae for dessert at such a fine restaurant (you know, sundae’s are usually saved for Friendly’s, or Swiss Chalet etc.)

This sundae is several scoops of peanut butter gelato, layered with homemade peanut brittle, peanuts and hot fudge. Can I just  say…MIND BLOWN!

It is all kinds of awesome! I loved it, and it was a hit with everyone at the table. The peanut brittle was a sweet crunchy surprise, it added to the gourmet factor.

My Rating: 10 out of 10

A sure bet for those who love the peanut butter chocolate combo!