Two sisters just blogging about their passion: halal food!


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Zabiha Halal Iftaar Party

IMG_2434The blessed month of Ramadan is the busiest month of the year for Muslims, with all of us trying to juggle fasting and night prayers with our family and work commitments. This is where Zabiha Halal comes in with their new line of frozen products. When you are in a time crunch in Ramadan, what better to save time than to prepare and serve your family a delicious meal from Zabiha Halal’s range of products. We believe that Ramadan is not the time to spend in the kitchen, as we should be using our time wisely to increase our acts of worship. The best part about all of this is that Zabiha Halal has partnered up with Islamic Relief Canada for the ‘Do Good, Eat Good, Feel, Good’ campaign and proceeds for selected products go towards helping the needy.

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We had the opportunity to try out Zabiha Halal products for our Iftaar Party, which included the Puff Pastry Hors D’oeuvre’s Collection, Chicken Fries, Homestyle Hawaiian Pizza, Homestyle Pepperoni Pizza, and the Chicken Lasagna. We were pleased with how easy it was to prepare all of these products; just stick them in the oven, put the timer, and they were ready!

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The Chicken Fries were the perfect finger food and were a hit with all the kids at our party. We saw our two year old nephew with chicken fries in both hands and he was happily munching away on them. The crunch on the Chicken Fingers also made them a popular iftaar item with the adults. We served ours with ketchup and chipotle mayo and these made for ideal dipping sauces.

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The Puff Pastry Hors D’oeuvres Collection was our personal favourite. Each box consisted of 40 pieces in total, with individually wrapped packages inside with the four different flavours. The Fresh style puff pastry comes in four varieties: Buffalo Chicken (our favourite), Chicken Sausage, Cheese & Spinach, and Sweet Potato & Goat Cheese. These appetizers were ready in 15 minutes and were devoured by our guests in minutes! They were so light and flaky, and were the perfect size for appetizers. We highly recommend these. IMG_2435

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For the entrees, we served Chicken Lasagna and the Homestyle Pizzas. We absolutely loved the Chicken Lasagna. It had the perfect ratio of sauce, to minced chicken meat, to cheese, to noodles, and it was perfectly seasoned. The lasagna came out very easily from the container to serve: just flip it over from the container onto a plate and it came out clean.

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The Homestyle Hawaiian Pizza had smoked chicken strips and pineapple, and it was a combination that our guests found different, yet exciting. The Homestyle Pepperoni Pizza was a classic, and a kid favourite. Both pizzas had a generous amount of cheese and toppings, and were crowd pleasers.

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Overall, we found that Zabiha Halal’s frozen products were not only incredibly easy to prepare, but they were delicious and filling. The portion sizes were generous and justified the price. We salute Zabiha Halal for taking part in the ‘Do Good, Eat Good, Feel Good’ campaign, as consumers can feel good about their purchases as the donation will add to their good deeds.

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Haze Lounge – May 2016

Haze Lounge seems to be a popular place to chill in the Mississauga area. We heard good things about their food for awhile now, so we decided to check it out for lunch recently. What held us back from visiting this restaurant was the fact that it is primarily a shisha lounge, and hence, we were a bit uncomfortable of how the ambiance would be.

The restaurant has a nice patio, which we would have preferred but the day we visited was a bit chilly. Inside the restaurant, it was a bit dark. While we did like the antique lamps and the the lattice separating the booths, the ambiance really wasn’t for us (even in the afternoon time) and the smell of shisha was everywhere (second hand smoke alert). However, we were there for the food, so we proceeded with ordering our meal.

We started with BBQ chicken wings ($11.50). The chicken wings were exceptional and had the perfect crunch to sauce ratio.

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For the entrees, we ordered the Philly Cheese Steak ($11), Portobello Chicken ($16.50), and the Half Rack of Lamb ($19). The Philly Cheese Steak lacked the wow factor. We wished it had more cheese and more seasoning. There was a generous amount of steak, which we did like. img_6532

The Portobello Chicken was our favourite. It was a juicy piece of chicken on a bed of buttery mashed potatoes, topped with roasted mushrooms and asparagus with a generous serving of sauce. We were in love with this dish and highly recommend it. img_6533

Next up was the Half Rack of Lamb with mashed potatoes and vegetables. There were four lamb chops around a bed of mashed potatoes, and drizzled with gravy. While we enjoyed the mashed potatoes and the gravy, the overall dish did not impress us. img_6534

We were given complimentary dessert (two plates of them) because one of our entrees came a bit late. We appreciated this gesture by the staff. We were presented with Sticky Toffee Date Cake with Ice Cream. My oh my, this cake was a piece of heaven. The date cake was warm and the toffee sauce on top was incredible, and paired with vanilla ice cream, this dessert suddenly turned our lunch into a pleasant experience. img_6535

All the food at Haze Lounge is made from scratch, and there are definitely delicious options on their menu. While we would want to go back for the food, the ambiance of the restaurant is not really for us. Perhaps, opting for the patio in the summer would be a good option for us.

Please note: Haze Lounge is open to Families every day until 6pm. They have a strict 19+ policy after 6pm.

Address:

4230 Sherwoodtowne Blvd

Mississauga, ON, L4Z 2G6

Website:

Hazelounge.ca


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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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Bismillah Sweets (BM Sweets)

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If you know us, you know that we are die hard mithai fans. Ever since we moved to the west end of the city, we have been on the lookout for a good mithai shop.

We heard of BM Sweets through a relative and they were raving about their sweets. Since BM Sweets doesn’t have a website, Facebook group or any sort of presence online, it was a bit of challenge to find. But we did find it eventually in the Heartland area of Mississauga.

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It’s a small takeout shop with friendly customer service. On our first visit, we got a small box of assorted mithai. The mithai at BM Sweets is pretty darn good. We particularly enjoyed the barfi and the gulab jamuns. On a subsequent visit, we tried their jalebi and also found that to be delicious.

Whenever we go with our little one, they have always given us a free piece of mithai. Someone sure knows how to win our hearts.

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Our family enjoys their samosas a lot. We tried the chicken and veggie samosas that came with free chutney (yes, free). Our favourite are the chicken samosas. Being South Asians, we have a never ending love affair with samosas and chutney.

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So the next time you’re in the mood for mithai or need to take mithai to that someone special’s house or you’re obliged to be fed mithai for your special occasion, we recommend giving BM Sweets a try.

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Address: 

812 Britannia Road West

Unit 103

Mississauga, ON

L5V 2W1

Phone: 

905-821-8321


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Black Ox Bistro

We made the much awaited trip to Scarborough recently to finally try Black Ox Bistro. We went around lunch time and found the restaurant to surprisingly quiet. We were greeted by a very enthusiastic (yet professional) server who escorted us to table. He raved about the ribs, the stuffed chicken and the chicken fettuccine. By the way he described the dishes we were super excited. He definitely knew how do his job well.

For our little one, we ordered the Chicken Nuggets ($7) with fries that came with ketchup and plum sauce. These weren’t your run-of-the-mill breaded nuggets. These were batter dipped and fried. We thought the nuggets could have used a bit of extra seasoning. They did taste good with the plum sauce, however. The portion size was appropriate for our toddler.

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Our favourite thing at Black Ox Bistro was definitely their drinks. We tried the Pina Colada and the Mango Lychee drinks. Both were bursting with flavour and were blended to perfection. We highly recommend trying items from their drinks menu.

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The first entrée we tried was the Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Chicken Breast ($19). The chicken was stuffed with fire-roasted vegetables, goat cheese and thyme/rosemary sauce. It came with two sides, so we got mashed potatoes and fries. Unfortunately, this was our least favourite dish. It was definitely edible but just wasn’t for us. We did enjoy the fries though.

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We have heard people raving about the ribs from Black Ox Bistro for quite some time now so decided to take the plunge (we say that because we rarely order beef) and ordered the half rack Classic Beef Short Ribs ($22). The ribs were smothered with Korean Bulgogi BBQ sauce. We believe the sauce served on the side was a different kind but we don’t know the name. For sides, again we got fries and mashed potatoes. The ribs were tender and juicy and the sauce was the definitely the saviour. While we thought the ribs were good, we didn’t understand the hype around it.

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For dessert we ordered the Lemon Zest Cheesecake ($7) with dulche de leche sauce. Dulche de leche is one of our favourite dessert sauces so when we read that we imagined a slice of cheesecake covered with the sauce. It was actually just a drizzle. The first bite was quite lemony but the flavour grew on us after a few more bites.

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We have to say that the service was commendable and the professionalism was impressive (given that no other halal restaurant has professional servers). However, when it came to the food we were a bit underwhelmed. It is possible that we didn’t make very good choices for the entrées. Have you visited Black Ox Bistro? What did you think of their food?

Address: 

1780 Markham Road

Toronto, ON

Phone:

416-297-5777

Website: 

http://www.blackoxbistro.com/


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Muslim Fest 2015

We had an amazing time at Muslim Fest this year. Since we went on both days, we got to try food from most of the food vendors. Please excuse us for the horrible pictures; we didn’t plan on blogging about this event and so we had just taken casual pictures of the food we ate.

We had the Lahmacun from Pasha’s, which was a thin bread topped with minced beef, vegetables and herbs. The giant bread was cooked fresh and wrapped with salad. It was quite filling but we thought it was dry. A bit of sauce would have been great. We took a really cool video of it being cooked for Snapchat but…it’s gone now.

We heard a lot of the BBQ Brothers at the Halal Food Fest and had been looking forward to trying their meat lovers poutine. As we lined up, the idea of tandoori chicken, kabob and jerk chicken on poutine just didn’t sound so appetizing. We ended up just getting regular poutine, which was average.

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Aside from Pasha’s, there was another Turkish vendor that had interesting things on the menu. One of us got the Doner Shawarma, which was delicious. We had asked for extra sauce, but it still wasn’t enough for us. We also tried their Spinach and Feta Cheese Borek. This was light and fluffy and for $1.50 we didn’t mind trying it. We also got their Baklawa.

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Our favourite vendor, by far, was the Chill Out booth. Their mango bubble tea with lychee jelly was the most incredible drink ever. It was so good that we went back three times. The third time, they actually gave us a discount. This drink alone was worth going to the Muslim Fest on both days. We also tried their lychee bubble tea, which was also good, but couldn’t beat the mango one.

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East Meats West sandwiches are our weakness. We got the Pastrami sandwich and it was worth every single ounce of saturated fat and every milligram of sodium. Yumm!

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Our mom tried the falooda flavour Kulfi and we also tried fries from the Popeyes booth. Both items were priced well but not really worth the calories in our opinion.

Overall, the beautiful weather, the great food and atmosphere really made Muslim Fest 2015 a great event.


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T-Buds


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One of our absolute favourite spots in Toronto is the T-Buds tea lounge in the uptown part of the city. We have visited this crêperie numerous times and our experience has always been delightful. 

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We have tried a variety of items from their menu over the years and every item is delicious and so thoughtfully assembled that it warms the heart. IMG_5551
We love their high-tea offering and find the scones and sandwiches to be heavenly. 

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We find T-Buds to be one of the most unique restaurants in the halal food community in Toronto. Many Muslims are aware of this cozy tea lounge, but many are not. We highly recommend you check this place out with your girlfriends and if you are guy, treat that special lady in your life to a nice afternoon brunch.
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For this post we thought we’d let the pictures do the talking.
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Address: 3343 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4N 2M4

Phone: (647) 352-3624


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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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Cake Couture

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One of our best friends got engaged recently so a few of us friends decided to gift her a cake for the engagement party. We wanted the cake to be perfect because it was a gift. We went through vendors and vendors and spent a good few weeks discussing this with our friends. We came across Humaira Shah of Cake Couture on Facebook and fell in love with her cakes. It turned out that Humaira had a mutual friend, so we messaged this friend of ours to ask her opinion. Our friend was all praises about Humaira’s desserts.

After deciding on Humaira as the vendor, us friends went through another few weeks of negotiations with the design we wanted. The friend who was getting engaged had a turquoise and silver theme so we wanted a cake that went with that. After hours and hours of searing pictures on Google, we found a design which that matched the theme. We sent it to Humaira and she was able to execute it with perfection.

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Deciding on the flavours was the easy part, mostly because we were running out of time so one of us just picked the flavours and placed the order. Each tier had a different flavour. These were the flavours from bottom to top:

Black Tie: Chocolate cake with Vanilla pastry cream and Chocolate truffle filling

Coconut Dream: Vanilla cake with Coconut pastry cream and toasted coconut buttercream

Italian Love: Chocolate cake with hazelnut mousse and Chocolate truffle filling

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On the day of the engagement one of the friends picked up the cake from Humaira’s house in Markham, and boy, was it ever a challenge to transport the cake to the venue without damaging it! The cake made it to the venue safe and sound, thankfully and looked stunning. We were still nervous though about how it would taste, especially because we were the ones who had pushed for Humaira to be the cake vendor.

The time finally came when the cake was cut and served. We tried the Black Tie first and it was an absolute dream! It was truly a chocolate lover’s dream come true. Next, we tried the Coconut Dream and that too was scrumptious. It cake was moist and the filling was creamy yet fluffy. We didn’t get to try the Italian Love (the top tier) because that was packed for the couple to take home with them. We asked them a few days later and they said they very much enjoyed the cake.

Overall, we were very pleased with Humaira’s cake and service and can’t wait to order another cake from her, inshallah.

*Note* The cake topper was ordered separately from the vendor “Handmade Decor” on Facebook.

Website: http://www.c2cakes.ca