Archive | September, 2010

St Jacobs Farmers’ Market

25 Sep

St Jacobs Farmers' Market, located North of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

St Jacobs Farmers’ Market located just north of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada is a popular destination for tourists and locals. There are dozens of vendors selling produce, cheeses, meats, breads and pastries, ice cream, popcorn, nuts, jams, ciders, pickled vegetables, jewellery, quilts, clothes, books and much more.

Pickled Vegetables, approximately $3.50 per jar

If you are hungry, there are a few food court areas at the market. Personally, I like the butter chicken from “Spices of India Cuisine”.  The butter chicken with its creamy and flavourful sauce is served on top of Basmati rice and also comes with a garden salad.

Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice and Garden Salad, $5.99

A popular food vendor is “The Fritter Co.” which often has a long line of people waiting for apple fritters and on one particular day, the line was out the door and it was raining.

The Fritter Company

The market also has a petting barn and horse drawn tours available and across the street is an Outlet Mall.  The farmers market is opened every Thursdays and Saturdays, and also on Tuesdays in the summer.  If you can, try to go on a weekday because on Saturdays the market can become quite crowded.


Spinach Ricotta Pasta

20 Sep

Spinach and Ricotta Sauce with Cherry Tomatoes

  • 1 package of your favourite pasta, cook as directed
  • 1 large bag of baby spinach, julienned
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 container (about 475 grams) of ricotta
  • 1 pint of cherry tomaotes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1.5 to 2 cups of milk
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large sauce pan on hot.   Once the pan becomes hot, add in the olive oil and garlic. When the garlic has browned (about 1 minute), sprinkle flour evenly and thinly over the pan.  Add in half the spinach and milk.  Once the spinach has wilted, add in the remaining spinach and turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the spinach mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, adding more milk if required and add salt and pepper to taste.  When the spinach is finished cooking, add in the ricotta and parmesan cheese. Stir until the mixture is thick and smooth.  Right before serving, add in the cherry tomatoes to warm them through (this will only take a minute). Do not overcook the cherry tomatoes.

Spinach and Ricotta with Cherry Tomaotes and Whole Wheat Penne

Mix the spinach and ricotta sauce with the pasta.  Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top if desired. Serve immediately. This dish makes four sides or two generous dinner portions.

Symposium Cafe

19 Sep

Symposium Cafe located at 4 King Street North, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Symposium Cafe is a restaurant located at the corner of Erb and King Street  in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.  They have sandwiches, burgers, pasta, an all day breakfast menu and a wide variety of desserts and specialty drinks. It’s a large space with lots of tables and comfy chairs suitable for sit down meals; or it can be a cozy place for a dessert and/or drinks after dinner.   Throughout the week, there are drink specials and on Sundays, they have two for one slices of cake.  In fact, the centerpiece of Symposium is a colourful dessert bar.

Dessert Bar

Yesterday, I tried their spinach and feta omelette which comes with your choice of white, whole wheat or rye bread and a (small) side of what they call “breakfast potatoes”.  There was a generous amount of spinach and feta in my omelette and the potatoes were soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.

Spinach and Feta Omelette with Rye Bread and Breakfast Potatoes, $8.95

Another item that was ordered from Symposium’s breakfast menu was the eggs benedict with spinach added to it.  Normally, the eggs benedict is poached eggs and pea meal bacon topped with Hollandiase sauce served on a toasted English muffin and breakfast potatoes.  They also have an eggs florentine which is the eggs benedict but with spinach instead of pea meal bacon.

Eggs Benedict served with Breakfast Potatoes ($9.95) and Spinach (an additional $1.99)

The classic breakfast meal (eggs, ham or bacon, potatoes and toast) is called the Breakfast of Champions at Symposium but instead of toast, their meal is accompanied with banana waffles (that is, the actual waffle batter is infused with bananas).  They give you the option of ham or bacon and your choice of three poached, fried or scrambled eggs.

Breakfast of Champions (Bacon, Three Scrambled Eggs, Breakfast Potaoes and Banana Waffles), $10.95

Symposium also has wraps; in particular, the crispy chicken wrap was tried yesterday.  The wrap comes with your choice of salad or fries.

Crispy Chicken Wrap with Fries, $10.95

Overall, my experience at Symposium Cafe was pleasant.  The atmosphere is warm and  the decor is quite pleasing on the eye. The food came out after a reasonable wait, the portions though not large were enough for lunch and the food although not superb was still tasty on the palette.


6 Sep

Ennio's Pasta House, located at 384 King Street North, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Ennio’s is a casual fine dining Italian restaurant with delicious pasta entrees and unique pizzas. I have only been there for dinner but they are also opened for lunch. It is located at 384 King Street North in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. There is a second location in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada which I have not been to.

Some of the items I have tried are their assortment of medium sized (8 slices) thin crust pizzas all approximately $15 each.  They provide the option of whole wheat dough.

Mangia Cake Pizza with Bacon, Pepperoni and Mushrooms on Whole Wheat Dough, $13.53

Other entries I have tried are their pasta dishes and in particular, their lasagna, bolognese and carbonara.  Of the three pasta dishes, the carbonara is my favourite.  It is served with crispy bacon, sliced mushrooms and bow tie pasta in a light but flavourful cream sauce.  All pasta dishes are served with garden salad and bread.

Carbonara with Bacon and Mushrooms served on Bow Tie Pasta, $15.99

Ennio’s also has a variety of other entries.  Last night, my friend tried the veal scallopini and he enjoyed it very much.

Veal Scallopini, $22.99

Ennio’s also has a small selection of desserts and coffees, which I have never tried.  However, last night, for the first time, I did try one of their appetizers.  It was the brushcetta which was only okay in comparison to their delicious entrees. My complaint was that there was too little tomato topping in comparison with the thick bread it was served on.

Bruschetta, $9.44

Beef Stir Fry

1 Sep

Beef Stir Fry with Brown Rice

  • 1 lb of beef (which ever type you prefer), sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp of chili pepper flakes (more if you like it rather spicy)
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • water
  • soya sauce
  • worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup of low sodium beef or chicken broth (or water is good, too!)
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon
  • 1/4 of peanuts or cashews (optional)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 of a small onion, quartered
  • a handful of green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces

Try to cut all the vegetables to approximately the same size.  This will ensure the vegetables finish cooking at approximately the same time. As well, feel free to add in your favourite vegetables and/or omit any you don’t like.

Heat a large frying pan on high.  Add in the oil, garlic, ginger and chili flakes and cook until the garlic is brown.  Then add in the carrots, onions and green beans. Sprinkle the sugar over the vegetables and add some salt and pepper to taste. Pour about 1/3 cup of beef stock to help the vegetables soften (about 2 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix the beef, corn starch, 2 tbsp of water, 1 tbsp of soya sauce, 1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Once the vegetables have softened, add in the beef, another 1 to 2 tbsp each of the soya and worcestershire sauces. Stir well.  The beef only requires a couple of minutes to cook and the corn starch from the beef should thicken all the liquids in the pan.  When the beef is cooked, squeeze half a lemon over the dish, sprinkle some peanuts on top (optional) and the stir fry is ready to be eaten. Serve with rice or noodles.