Two sisters just blogging about their passion: halal food!


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Zem One Revisited- May 2016

You may remember our 2013 post on Zem One. Since our last review, the restaurant has moved to a new location with new management (but the same owner). It is the same great halal Japanese food, but with a new sushi chef on board and everyone we know has been raving about his sushi. We were in for a pleasant surprise.

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Located at 51 Village Centre Place in Mississauga, Zem One is a hidden gem in the Square One area but away from the hustle and bustle. We loved the quaint nature of the location, which had a nice brick patio and water feature.

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The inside of the restaurant had a serene ambiance, which we quite enjoyed. We liked how it was not as crowded and loud as some of the other sushi restaurants. The simple and well maintained decor contributed to the ambiance. It a perfect place for dinner with your special someone.

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Since Zem One is located in an area surrounded by executive buildings, it is quite busy during breakfast and lunch hours. We visited the restaurant for an early dinner and went for the All You Can Eat menu. If you have read our 2013 post, you may remember that we were not huge fans of sushi back then. However, all that has changed in recent years, and we can be found munching on Dynamite Rolls.

We started with Chicken Corn Soup, Hot and Sour Soup, and Tom Yum Soup. The Chicken Corn Soup is our all time favourite, and always lifts our mood. The Hot and Sour Soup had a a generous serving of chicken in it, and we loved the spicy kick it had. The Tom Yum Soup was hot and tangy, just the way we like it. The soup servings for the AYCE menu were generous, and quite filling.

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Next up for appetizers were Shrimp and Sweet Potato Tempura along with Edamame. We love anything deep fried, so tempura is always in our good books. The crunchy panko coated seafood and vegetable tempura, dipped in sweet sauce is a match made in heaven.

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Pad Thai is by far our favourite carbohydrate-laden food. Stir fried rice noodles with shrimp and flavoured with tamarind and fish sauce, this Pad Thai did justice to our taste buds. We would order this again in a heartbeat. IMG_1871

We also tried the Szechuan Shrimp, which had a rich sauce and generous amount of vegetables and shrimp. The chili paste and the use of Sichuan peppers made this dish spicy.

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Next up was the star of the night, sushi! We started with California Roll, Red Tuna Sushi, Salmon Sushi, Shrimp Sushi and Sashimi pieces. We found the seafood to be fresh and flavourful, and the sushi was devoured within minutes.

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Our absolute favourite is the Spicy Dynamite Roll, which has shrimp tempura, cucumber, crab and avocado, topped with spicy mayo. The combination of the spicy sauce with the crunchy shrimp and cool cucumber is what elevates the Dynamite Roll. We highly recommend this dish.

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The Torched Mississauga Paradise was the best sushi we had that night. It had spicy salmon, avocado, cucumber, crab, cream cheese topped with spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce. The use of the blow torch allowed the spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce to melt right into the sushi, and created a heavenly roll. IMG_1883

Check out the video we made of how this roll was made.

And because we can never get enough of sushi, we ordered sushi to-go. Pictured below is the Rainbow Roll, which had cucumber, avocado and crab, topped with tuna, salmon, butterfish and shrimp. We enjoyed this thoroughly for lunch the next day.

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We also ordered the Crunch Roll, which had cucumber, avocado, crab, shrimp tempura and topped with tempura flakes. This, again, was munched away the next day. IMG_1887

Given our sweet tooth, we couldn’t leave without dessert (although we were already in food coma). We ordered Coconut and Mango Ice Cream. These were the classics we love and provided a sweet ending. IMG_1895

The Tempura Cheesecake was hands down the best dessert ever! We are HUGE cheesecake fans, so imagine our delight when we had this deep fried cheesecake. It was everything our sweet tooth could have asked for and more. It was creamy cheesecake, dipped in batter and coated with tempura, and fried to perfection . We can’t even begin to describe the epic-ness of this cheesecake. A definite must try if you visit Zem One. IMG_1896

Zem One is one of the few Japanese restaurants in the GTA offering halal food, so kudos to them for this. The friendly service, freshly prepared food, and the cozy atmosphere allowed us to wholly enjoy our dinner at Zem One. Do we recommend this restaurant? Yes (and please take us with you)!

Address: 

51 Village Centre Place

Mississauga, ON, L4Z 1V9

Phone: 

(905) 712-1615

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Coconut Poke Cake

Our little one enjoys watching Dora and Friends. In one episode, they were making a coconut cake and ever since then we had a major craving for it. So Pinterest came to the rescue. We found a super duper easy recipe for coconut poke cake.

The recipe is from mybakingaddiction‘s website. We loved how it used simple ingredients.

Here is the recipe from the website:

INGREDIENTS
1 package white cake mix, plus ingredients listed on box to prepare cake
1 (14 ounce) can cream of coconut  <– We used a can of coconut milk instead
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 ounce) container fozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup shredded coconut

DIRECTIONS
1. Prepare and bake white cake mix according to package directions for a 9×13 inch cake.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk.

3. Remove cake from oven and place on a cooling rack. While still hot, use a skewer to  poke holes all over the top of the cake.

3. Spoon the cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk mixture over the cake while the cake is still hot.

4. Let cake cool completely. Top with whipped topping and shredded coconut.

5. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Ok, so we know the pictures look unimpressive but we didn’t really think it would turn out all that great. But we were wrong. We LOVED it. It was so light and refreshing.

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Yum yum yum! IMG_5663

We hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we did 🙂


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Halal S’mores Kit by Blossom and Bean

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With Ramadan comes food cravings (at least for us). The other day we saw the Halal S’mores Kit by Blossom and Bean being promoted quite a bit on social media so decided to give it a try. This can purchased Modah in Mississauga for $10. Prior to purchasing the kit, we read on Blossom and Bean’s website that the s’mores can be made in the oven or even the microwave. That sounded very convenient. We were impressed by the packaging too.

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Pictured above are the contents of the kit. The bag of marshmallows was larger than we had expected.

So it was finally iftaar time and we decided to make the s’mores. We looked all around the box for the directions but they couldn’t be found. Hmm…we forgot to mention that we were making s’mores for the first time and it was also going to be our first time eating them. We were a bit disappointed that the box was missing the directions for cooking them in the oven/microwave. While we knew what s’mores were supposed to look like and had a rough idea of how to make them, what we were really looking for was the cooking temperature.

Google came to the rescue. We looked up a few websites, and the approximate temperatures were 350 F or 400 F for 3-5 minutes or broil for a few minutes. We found instructions from the Hershey’s S’mores Kit online, which had instructions for the toaster oven, microwave, grill and the campfire. We also looked up online how to assemble the s’mores.

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We put it in our toaster oven on 350 F for 5 minutes. The marshmallows didn’t brown and the chocolate didn’t melt. We ended up baking it for about 20 minutes for it to somewhat get the s’mores look. We were surprised because our toaster oven is heavy duty and usually cooks quickly.

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Pictured above is the final look of our s’mores. As you can see, the chocolate is not oozing out as the package had shown. We should have put more of the chocolate medallions that were provided in the kit. Google showed putting only one piece of chocolate on the bottom. This is where Google failed us…and this is where the missing directions on the box would have came in handy.

In terms of taste, the marshmallow was ooey gooey and the graham crackers were yum. We really missed having more chocolate in each bite though. If you are a fan of s’mores and have been looking for a halal version, give this a try but make sure you look up the cooking directions ahead of time. Don’t leave it last minute before iftaar time!

Website: http://www.blossomandbean.com/halal-smores-kit/ 


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Nana Ice Cream

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This ice cream recipe is so ridiculously easy that you will think that it probably doesn’t taste all that great. But, we challenge you to actually make it and taste how delicious it is. This ice cream is vegan friendly and can be topped with whatever your heart desires: chocolate syrup, caramel, brownie bits, etc. You can also mix in any other frozen fruit that you like. Frozen strawberries and chocolate chunks are a popular choice. It is a healthy alternative to store bought ice cream and definitely fulfills the craving.

Ingredients:

3-4 cups frozen bananas

2 tbsp almond milk (or regular milk if you are don’t want make it vegan)

Directions:

1) Cut up bananas and put them in the freezer to freeze. The more ripe the bananas are, the better.

2) Put the frozen bananas pieces in a food processor or a high quality blender and blend away. Blend until the consistency is that of ice cream. Add the milk as needed to keep the machine going. Blend, blend, blend.

3) Scoop, top with your favourite toppings and enjoy!


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Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake

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After months and months, we finally decided to wait in line at Uncle Tetsu’s for their famous Japanese cheesecake. Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake is the latest craze in downtown Toronto and it is located just minutes from Ryerson University on Bay and Dundas. There is always, and we mean always, a long line up outside the shop. Typical wait time is about 1.5-2 hours. We were lucky to get our goodies in about 45 minutes.

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When we were finally inside the store, we looked around in amazement. There were numerous staff members working diligently at producing the desserts. The staff and the service definitely lived up to the gold standard of the Japanese work ethic that most of us are aware of.

Currently, the Toronto location only sells the plain cheesecake ($10 including tax) and the Madelines (4 for $7). The Madelines are basically vanilla/honey cupcakes without frosting. They are buttery, soft and have a hint of honey flavour. These were good but not outstanding. We thought they were a bit overpriced.

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The main attraction, the cheesecake, can be eaten warm (i.e. fresh out of the oven) or cold. When we tried it warm it was spongy and had mousse-like texture, that was not really to our liking. A bit disappointed, we put the cake in the fridge and tried it again after a few hours. The texture was more firm and at this point, it was very light and fluffy and we enjoyed it this time around. It is not comparable to the regular cheesecake you may be used to. It is not as sweet, or as rich as the New York style cheesecake.

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So was it worth the wait? We think so. It is something that we think people should try at least once.

Have you tried Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake yet? If so, let us know if you liked it or not.


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Dunk ‘n Dip: Resto & Chocolate Lounge

One lazy Friday night we were in mood for dessert and wanted to try a new place. We remembered our friends telling us about Dunk ‘n Dip so we quickly google-d the location and decided to visit the Mississauga location. We had gotten mixed reviews about this place so we weren’t sure what to expect.

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Our first impression was positive. It was a bright and vibrant space buzzing with people and staffed with friendly servers. What caught our eye were the chocolate fountains. Mmm…

We took a look at the menu, which had lots of sweet and savoury options. We were torn between getting waffles or crepes. Although we wanted to try both things, we knew the portion sizes would be large and thankfully decided to share a dessert.

We ordered the Wonder Land Waffle, which had toasted waffles served with a layer of their signature cream garnished with sliced fresh strawberries, and topped with Belgium chocolate. There were four kinds of Belgium chocolate: milk, white, dark or caramel chocolate. We asked them to put all of them!


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If this picture looks scrumptious to you, we can assure you it tasted out of this world! The waffles were perfect, the cream was custard-like and the Belgium chocolate was SO good. We wish there was more of it! We also got a scoop of pistachio gelato, which is hidden behind the waffles in this picture. The pistachio gelato was not as good as we had expected.

We also tried the coconut gelato. It was also topped with Belgium chocolate. We enjoyed this flavour way more than the pistachio. Again, the chocolate just made everything finger licking good!

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We were told by the staff that the menu is fully halal. We loved the dessert at Dunk ‘n Dip and can’t wait to visit again, inshallah!

Address:

241 Lakeshore, Rd East,
Mississauga, Ontario, L5G 1G8, Canada

Phone:

905-990-5522

Website:

http://dunkndip.ca/


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Granola Bars

Most of us are regular consumers of granola bars and we generally resort to the ones sold at grocery stores. Believe it or not, we do make an attempt to eat as healthy as possible, with the occasional slip-ups (which happens more often than we’d like). Hence, we get tempted to make things at home that usually contain a high amount of preservatives (and other junk) that makes otherwise healthy food unhealthy.

The case in point is granola bars. As much as enjoy the boxed granola bars, we have noticed they frequently contain a few too many unhealthy and unwanted ingredients. So we decided to look up some recipes and since our family enjoys nuts, raisins and craisins, we decided to make Almond, Raisin & Craisin Granola Bars.

Almond, Raisin & Cranberry Granola Bars

We found a relatively healthy, super quick, easy & yummy recipe. Here’s the recipe we used; the only exception we made was to add raisins and craisins instead of chocolate chips:

Created By: Joanne and Adam Gallagher
Yield: 12
You Will Need
  • 2 1/2 cups (230 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) whole almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (113 grams) honey
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (67 grams) mini chocolate chips
Directions
Prepare Oven and Pan
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Line bottom and sides of a 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Then lightly oil or spray with cooking spray.
Toast Oats and Nuts
  1. Add oats and almonds to a small baking sheet then bake 5 minutes, stir and bake another 3 to 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.
Prepare Granola Bars
  1. Combine butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves.
  2. Pour butter mixture in to bowl with toasted oats and almonds. Mix well. Let cool about 5 minutes then add cranberries and a 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine. (The chocolate chips will most likely melt a little. This is fine, they turn into glue and help to hold the bars together).
  3. Transfer oat mixture to lined pan then use a rubber spatula or damp finger tips to firmly press the mixture into the pan. (Press hard here, this way the bars will stay together once cooled and cut — We press for about one minute to be extra safe).
  4. Scatter remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips over pressed granola mixture then use a rubber spatula to gently press them into the top. Cover then refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  5. Remove block of granola mixture from pan then peel away aluminum foil. Cut into 12 bars.

Simple, Soft & Chewy Granola Bars Recipe

Feel free to use your favourite nuts, berries and like. Hope it turns out just as good for you as it did for us!


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Momofuku Milk Bar

Momofuku Milk Bar is located on the second floor of Momofuku Noodle Bar beside Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Toronto. The Milk Bar is tiny. To give you guys an idea of how small it is, it can be best described as a walk-in fridge. A maximum of 5-6 people can fit in there at one time. You grab a basket outside the Milk Bar, pick your goodies, and go downstairs to pay for them.

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We tried the Compost Cookie, B’day Truffles and the Crack Pie. photo 3

The Compost Cookie had interesting ingredients such as pretzels, potato chips and coffee beans along with the regular ingredients such as oats, butterscotch and chocolate chips. One of us liked the cookie and the other one not so much. The cookie had a strong coffee flavour, which masked everything else.
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The B’day Truffles had rainbow cake, white chocolate and sprinkles. They were scrumptious and melted in our mouths. They are very similar to cookie dough based desserts.

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The Crack Pie was the most amazing treat ever! It is a toasted oat crust with butter filling. It sounds very simple and it is indeed simple, but the taste is out of this world. It is very sweet, so it may not be liked by everyone but it is definitely worth a try.

If you happen to be in the downtown Toronto area, drop by the Momofuku Milk Bar and give yourself a treat!

Address:

2nd Floor
190 University Avenue
Toronto, ONM5H 0A3


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Bamiyan’s Sheer Yakh

Our all time favourite dessert is Bamiyan’s Sheer Yakh (Afghan ice cream). It is not uncommon for us to go to Bamiyan just for this dessert. It is possibly the most incredible and unique ice cream we have ever tried. Rose water is a key ingredient in this ice cream, which makes this frozen dessert unique.

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The ice cream is not as creamy as traditional North American ice cream. It is refreshing and not heavy at all. It is so good that we usually have trouble stopping ourselves from devouring all of it. The serving size is generous and consists of roughly three scoops.

Over the years we have learned that only the Markham location offers this particular dessert. We have inquired in the past at the Thorncliffe and Mississauga locations but they did not offer it.

Have you tried Bamiyan’s Sheer Yakh?


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Dessert at Affy’s

Those who know us know that we love the food at Affy’s. Despite our many complaints with this restaurant, we continue to go back again and again for the food and especially the dessert. When it comes to dessert, we are a little bit picky because we want to indulge in a dessert that is truly worth the calories. Out of all the halal restaurants we have visited, we feel that Affy’s knocks it out of the park when it comes to their dessert menu.

Our all time favourite is their Tiramisu. It is heavenly to say the least! The cake is uber moist, the mascarpone cheese is creamy and fresh and the ladyfingers are drenched in just the perfect amount of mocha coffee. Drizzled with caramel sauce and garnished with whipped cream, this tiramisu is worth the trek to Affy’s.

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The Molten Lava Cake is another great dessert option. The warm chocolate cake is chocolaty enough to satisfy any chocolate lover’s sweet tooth (did we just use the word chocolate three times in one sentence?). It is topped with vanilla ice cream, and garnished with whipped cream and chocolate and caramel sauces. One bite, and you will not want to share this.

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The newest item on Affy’s dessert menu is their White Chocolate Bread Pudding. This was the most scrumptious dessert that we have had to date. It almost tied with the Tiramisu for being our favourite dessert. The warm bread pudding is served on chilled white chocolate sauce and it is absolutely decadent. We regret sharing this dessert. We spoon-fighted each other for the last bite.

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Have you tried any of these desserts? Do let us know!