WEEK 19 – Canada
A long history with various European colonies, second-biggest country in the world has an endless variety in landscapes. Sky-high mountains, ancient glaciers, lush rainforests, tens of thousands of freshwater lakes and the longest coastline on earth, all spread across six times zones, Canada
Canada is safe to say one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Its landscapes are so vast and wild it just makes you want to explore and have adventures. Boasting over 40 national parks and reserves Canada is a natural wonderland. Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, is often overlooked as it is not as widely known about as other Canadian cities. It is situated on the south side of the Ottawa River in the south-eastern Ontario. The city also contains a UNSECO World Heritage Site, The Rideau Canal, it was built between two cities, Ottawa & Kensington in 1832 as a precaution in case of war.
The other major cities in Canada include Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton & Calgary, all these with over 1 million residents.
National favourites include: Poutine, a dish consisting of potato chips topped with curd cheese and gravy, Maple syrup, Canada produces about 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup, Montreal- style bagels, Nanaimo bar, Bannock, ketchup flavoured chips, Tim Hortons doughnuts and Kraft Dinner ( instant macaroni & cheese)
With a total of 10 provinces and 3 territories in Canada the cuisine varies from each area, with local produce and flavours.
- British Columbia: Traditionally influenced by British cuisine, the province produces a wide variety a seafood & fruit and vegetables from The Okanagan Valley which also is renowned for their world class wineries.
- Alberta: World famous for it’s succulent grain-fed beef, with over 60% of the beef in Canada being from this region, its is a significant part of Alberta’s food industry. Other products include; honey made from clover and alfalfa nectar, wild berries and nuts. Alberta’s has famous cocktail as well The Caesar.
- Ontario: Also was heavily influenced by Britain’s cuisine from the early days, Ontario now boasts a very multicultural cuisine especially in the main cities. Some specialities include; Beavertails – a doughnut flavoured with the maple syrup locally made, deep filled apple pies and huge pancakes, also just outside Ottawa large orchards and wineries produce fruit, vegetables and wine.
- Quebec: Food in Quebec is strongly influenced by French, Irish and traditional native foods. Quebec is the world’s largest maple syrup producer, and is used in various desserts and breakfasts. Many of their famous dishes are in a French style of cookery.
- Saskatchewan: Origins in Europeans cuisines, you can find very typical European dishes and products in Saskatchewan. Local products include; bison, Bannock (a fried flat bread) and wild berries such as Saskatoon berries, chokecherries and blueberries, these are all used in traditional meals.
- Northern Canada; Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut: All three territories predominately eat Inuit foods, which are prepared using traditional methods. A typical foods eaten are; wild game, caribou, squirrel, hare, fish, wild plant greens and berries. Specialities include boiled seal, frozen raw Arctic char and whale.
- Maritime Regions; New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador: Famous for their seafood; lobster, scallops and mussels, salmon and cod they are world wide exporters. Also fiddlehead greens (fern-like) and dulse, which is a kind of seaweed, are widely eaten. In New Brunswick their famous dish is poutine râpée, in Nova Scotia their Annapolis Valley is famous for apples, in Prince Edward Island their famous for oysters, mussels, potatoes and delicious icecream and in Newfoundland and Labrador their famous for beer, water and spirits made from the charcoal-filtered and triple-distilled water of iceberg growlers and bergy bits.
WHAT I MADE
The Nanaimo Bar is a bar dessert which requires no baking and is named after the west coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia. The earliest copy of a recipe using the name “Nanaimo Bars” appears in the Edith Adams’ cookbook from 1953. Nanaimo bars can also be found in Australian coffee shops in large cities, although I’ve never seen them! The bar has three layers, the bottom layer is coconutty and chocolaty, the second layer is smooth and slightly vanilla custard flavoured and the top layer is a sweet melted chocolate. I source my recipe from → cookingclassy/nanaimo-bars which adapted lightly from Joy of Baking
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Makes: 16 Servings
- 1/2 cup salted butter, diced into pieces
- 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or almonds
- 1/3 cup salted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp custard powder or vanilla/white chocolate instant pudding mix
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 Tbsp salted butter
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, add in brown sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until well combine. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in beaten egg. Return mixture to heat and cook for 1 – 2 minutes until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Add in graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans and toss until evenly coated. Press mixture into a buttered 8 by 8-inch or 9 by 9-inch baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap, place in freezer for 20 minutes or refrigerate for 40 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, using and electric hand mixer set on medium speed, whip together butter, heavy cream and custard powder until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in powdered sugar and blend until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute (mixture may seem dry at first but should start to come together). Spread mixture into an even layer over chilled graham cracker base. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Melt semi-sweet chocolate along with butter in a heat proof bowl, set over a pot of simmering water. Spread mixture into an even layer over filling layer, cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes until chocolate has set. Cut into squares, store in an airtight container.
The bars didn’t go as well as planned when I made them, in the recipe it calls for 2 cups of powdered sugar in the filling, so I made it and it was so hard it was like a rock to mix and I couldn’t spread that over the base so I added heaps more cream, probably not wise either as the filling then did not set. So I’m not a 100% what would have made it better probably less sugar, looking at the original recipe on Joy Of Baking it uses different quantities so if you wan to make these I might suggest using the Joy Of Baking recipe or using this recipe but JOB’s filling recipe!
Apart from the lack of setting in the fillings behalf, the bars were quite nice they were very very sweet, chocolaty and had a bit of crunch from the almonds in the base. I would have them again but with a few major changes! Score 5/10