Canadian National favourite – The Nanaimo Bar

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

Hungabee Lake, Opabin Highland, Yoho National Park, British Colombia

Hungabee Lake, Opabin Highland, Yoho National Park, British Colombia

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.

Rideau Canal, Ottawa

Rideau Canal, Ottawa

CANADIAN CUISINE

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.
The Caesar or Bloody Caesar. It typically contains vodka, Clamato (a proprietary blend of tomato juice and clam broth), hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, and is served with ice in a large, celery salt-rimmed glass, typically garnished with a stalk of celery and wedge of lime. It was invented in Calgary, Alberta in 1969 by restaurant manager Walter Chell of the Calgary Inn (today the Westin Hotel) to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant in the city.

The Caesar or Bloody Caesar. It typically contains vodka, Clamato (a proprietary blend of tomato juice and clam broth), hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, and is served with ice in a large, celery salt-rimmed glass, typically garnished with a stalk of celery and wedge of lime. It was invented in Calgary, Alberta in 1969 by restaurant manager Walter Chell of the Calgary Inn (today the Westin Hotel) to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant in the city.

 

  • 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.

beavertails-1-728

 

  • 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.
saskatoon-berries

Saskatoon berries. With a sweet, nutty taste, the fruits have long been eaten by Canada’s aboriginal people, fresh or dried. They are well known as an ingredient in pemmican, a preparation of dried meat to which saskatoon berries are added as flavour and preservative

 

  • 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

RECIPE

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Makes: 16 Servings

Ingredients

Bottom Layer:

  • 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

Filling

  • 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

Top Layer

  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter

 

Method

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

These sadly are not what mine ended looking like. Because the filling didn't set it didn't make for the most appealing picture. So this wonderful picture is sourced from http://bakeeatrepeat.ca/

These sadly are not what mine ended looking like. Because the filling didn’t set it didn’t make for the most appealing picture. So this wonderful picture is sourced from http://bakeeatrepeat.ca/

Amazing Hot Cross Bun recipe (for all of those people who don’t like raisins and sultanas, like me)

Happy Easter everybody hope your having a great day with your families! I thought I’d take some time out of my Easter Sunday to share with you the Hot Cross Bun recipe I made today because let me say one thing they were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Mimsey even said they were the best ones she’s ever had or made herself!

A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top, traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, United States, India, and Canada. I guess I was a little late making them.

THE TRADITION

In many historically Christian countries, plain buns made without dairy products are traditionally eaten hot or toasted during Lent, beginning with the evening of Shrove Tuesday  to midday Good Friday. But saying that the Ancient Greeks also made cakes marked with crosses. And through the ages people like Elizabeth I of England and James I of England/James VI of Scotland have banned hot cross buns except for certain days of the year.

An 1884 advertisement announcing the sale of hot cross buns for Good Friday in a Hawaiian newspaper.

A 1884 advertisement announcing the sale of hot cross buns for Good Friday in a Hawaiian newspaper.

There are also many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. Such as if you hang a hot cross bun in your kitchen will protect against fires and ensure all the bread you make will be perfect. Another one says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or grow mouldy during the coming year. One superstition even thinks the hot cross buns are to be used for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone ill is said to help them recover.

hot-cross-buns

A poem about Hot Cross Buns

Sharing a hot cross bun with friend is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time. One of the most out the most peculiar superstitions is that if taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck.

Hot Cross Bun Seller in 18th century London

Hot Cross Bun Seller in 18th century London

THE FLAVOURS

Around the world new flavours of hot cross buns have been popping up for the last 10 years including: chocolate, choc chip, apple & cinnamon, orange & cranberry, coffee, toffee, sticky date, caramel, fruitless and many many more.

Most recently Heston Blumenthal has created a range for both Coles here in Australia and a range for England’s Waitrose with flavours including: Lemon Myrtle, Earl Grey and Mandarin, Ginger and Acacia Honey.

Heston-For-Coles-Lemon-Myrtle-Hot-Cross-Buns-Lifestyle12            LN_463904_BP_11

APRICOT,CRANBERRY & CARDAMOM HOT CROSS BUNS

I found this recipe online searching for alternate hot cross buns. Recipe is from fellow blogger at The Culinary Life her website is here  → www.theculinarylife.com  and the link to the recipe for the hot cross buns is here → hot-cross-buns-recipe

RECIPE

Total Time: 2hr 15min       Makes: 12 buns

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour (or use another cup of all purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 cup warm water, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup golden cranberries (I just used normal cranberries)
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons apricot jam
  • Additional cardamom for wash
Instructions
  1. Combine all purpose flour, spelt flour, cinnamon, and cardamom in a bowl and mix well. Add water, milk, yeast, salt, sugar, beating just until combined. Add egg and butter, mixing until the dough is sticky. Add the cranberries, apricots and lemon zest. Knead dough until smooth – feel free to use a stand mixer or good, old fashioned elbow grease. Cover the bowl of dough loosely with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm area until doubled in size, between 60 and 70 minutes.
  2. Punch down the dough and divide in half. Divide each half in half, and then each lump of dough into thirds. You should have 12 equally-sized buns. Dust your hands with flour and lightly roll each bun into a ball. Set on a floured piece of parchment and cover loosely with a kitchen towel. Allow to double in size again, about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is. While the buns are rising, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  3. Once the buns have risen, arrange them on a parchment-covered baking sheet, leaving 3-inches of space between then. Gently make a 1/4-inch deep cross-shaped indentation in each bun with the back of a butter knife, making sure not to cut the surface of the dough.
  4. Make the icing for crosses: mix the pastry flour, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water in a small bowl, then slowly trickle in the vegetable oil while beating quickly. You should have a spreadable but not runny consistency. Scoop the icing into a pastry bag and, using a flat, 1/4-inch wide tip, make a cross-shape on each bun, piping into the indentation you created with the butter knife. Wipe up any icing that falls on the parchment, where it will smoke and burn.
  5. Slide the baking sheet into the oven, baking the buns for 15 minutes. While they are baking, combine the apricot jam with an equal amount of very hot water and a pinch of cardamom, mixing until you have a thin wash. When the buns are done take them out of the oven and using a pastry brush, lightly brush a small amount of thinned jam onto the top of each bun while they are still hot, making sure not to smear the icing. Be judicious! No one likes soggy buns. Transfer buns to a cooling rack. Serve warm with butter and more jam, if you like.
Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

My hot cross buns! Think I did pretty good

My hot cross buns! Think I did pretty good

The Hot Cross buns were so yummy! I can’t believe how good they were; light and fluffy and full of fruit and spicy flavours. What more could you want from a Hot Cross bun.

Let’s get this started

Hi everyone. I’d like to introduce myself –  I’m Bunny and I started this blog with my mum a.k.a mimsey. We both haven’t known how to start this off but on this tuesday night I decided I might as well get going.
The idea for this blog started 4 months ago I’d say already, when I thought it would be a great thing to do with my mum and what would we be doing? Cooking a dish from each country in the world. Guess how many we’ve done already? 12… yeah we kept putting this off. And guess how many there are? Too many!  Last count 196!
So a little bit about who we are: I’m 15 and go to high school and mimsey at the moment is a stay at home mum. Mimsey grew up in New Zealand and moved to Australia in her twenties and has worked in many restaurants and cafes she has even done a course at Le Cordon Bleu. Now quite a few years later we live the beautiful Blue Mountains, an hour drive out of Sydney in Australia. Mimsey is the best cook, she almost already cooks meals from all around the world, well almost!

The rules: randomly choose one slip from the box (which has a country name on it), research the cuisine and decide if your making sweet or savoury, both of us have to cook the dish in that week. By the way, half of the slips are written in blue and the other half in pink, and if we get our colour (I’m blue and mimsey’s pink) we get one point, so far mimsey is winning with 3 points I’m on 2 and the other aspect to win is to get the highest ratings for your dish. I’m winning so far with 10/10 for my Taiwanese dish I did last night.

We also with be putting up some of our favourite recipes and maybe some reviews.
So hopefully people will read this and enjoy it.

For now love from Bunny, enjoy your dinner tonight xxx