31 July 2012

Egg tart review: Les Châteaux bakery

(I thought I had done this before, but it turns out I'm going senile.)

This will be the first in my series of egg tart reviews. As a self-professed egg-tart-aholic, I attribute some of my girth to my love of egg-tarts, and the rest of it, I blame my mother.

I start off with a review of a Portuguese egg tart (i.e. not a Canto-style plain egg tart, daan-taat 蛋撻). Portuguese egg tarts (called nata or pastel de nata in their native tongue, and bastardized by us Cantos as po-taat 葡挞) are the cream of the crop.

My auntie Kay from Tdot (also my personal Santa Claus*) always brings me egg tarts when she visits. This time, they were from some place called Les Châteaux (oooh c'est du faux français! [translation: the name is French so it must be fancy]).
[Deformed po-tat from Les Châteaux]
I've never been to this bakery, and frankly, I would probably not go out of my way to go there, especially because it's 5.5 hours away from my place. And also because my review leaves more to be desired...

Texture: Puff-pastry flaky
Flavour: Bland, and crisco-like

Texture: Good and perfectly eggy
Flavour: Unspectacular but not too sweet. Maybe good for diabetics, but I don't have any to test this theory on.

N/A. They arrived in a crushed carton, 6 hours after they were baked. The baker did make an effort to eliminate steam by cutting off two corners of the carton. Yay on him.

No clue. My auntie didn't accept any monetary compensation for them. I will presume she paid upwards of $1 brazillion dollars because she loves me that much.

Final grade
2.75/4. At least they were edible.

Les Chateaux Bakery
3229 Hwy 7
Markham, ON

* Only parents can love these kids singing so off-key. They would all have been fired otherwise.

22 July 2012

When life gives you basil, make lemonade

Lemon and basil are two flavours that, like Oscar and Felix, Balki and Larry, Harold and Kumar, stick to each other's craw, but complement each other despite their differences.

After all, lemon (c. limon) and basil (Ocimum basilicum) sing together on pasta, quinoa, chicken, vinaigrette, AND one can even grow lemon basil  even Mother Nature knew that the felicitous pair of flavours would be awesome.
[Basil lemonade. The floaties are edible: it is just basil and eyeballs. Or ice cubes.]
Gourmet magazine's basil lemonade recipe on, however, had me wondering whether or not this might be a palatable potable. I was (as I ever am) skeptical.

I had just pruned the unruly basil plants in my yard, and needed to do something with them. or they would be relegated to pesto again.
The result, ladies and gentlegerms, is one of the best lemonades this side of Canada. And it's only "one" of the best because I didn't put any vodka in it.

[Lemon, lemon, lemon, lemon, lime.]
Basil makes the lemonade fragrant and because it's infused rather than cooked, the herb's volatile oils are not destroyed.

(Few things I would edit in the recipe though: use slightly less sugar, and trying Thai basil for more punch in the teeth. Sweet basil still works amazors. Winner!)

[Lemon rind strips and basil, post-flavour seepage.]