If you can’t beat them, join them – and if you can’t join them, eat them. This was meant to be the day that we landed in Quebec City and began, what was set to be, an amazing two weeks in the great nation of Canada. Alas, it was not to be so I thought that it would only make sense to have them as my next food nation. Planning to have a vaguely Canadian day helped take some of the sting out.
When looking at what to make for Canada, I really wanted to make sure I made things that were quintessentially Canadian whilst not just languishing in one area. After all, this is a vast nation with major food influences from the indigenous populations as well as the British and French colonisers that invaded and took over. This is also a country with an established enough East Asian population that California rolls are included as top tier Canadian fare.
Since I can’t exactly get my hands on seal meat to make flipper pie (although, I am now super curious to see what those taste like) I wanted to go for something found on both sides of the country. This means that I looked to Quebecois cuisine to provide me with the iconic main dish of poutine and then to British Columbia in the west to give me a dessert that was truly delicious.
There was not a chance in hell that, when I came around to Canada, I was not going to make poutine. I have had poutine a few times before (when there used to be a monthly visit from the Poutinerie at a nearby food market) and I fell in love with it in a big way. The idea of chips with gravy and cheese curds is a bit of a weird one at first blush, but then again most chip shops in the UK offer chips and gravy and cheesy chips – poutine is just the next step.
First I had to actually get my hand on cheese curds – through a special order from a dairy over the internet where I also ordered four wedges of cheese. Once I had those, it was time to find a good recipe for poutine gravy (from Seasons and Suppers) and then perfect making chips in the air fryer. I know that chips would be better if I fried them in oil, but this is rich enough as it is so why not cut the calories where I can.
So glad that I have enough potatoes, cheese curds and butter to make another batch of this tomorrow. This was glorious to eat whilst watching a Canadian movie where the dialogue would occasionally be interrupted by some squeaks from the cheese curds as I chewed them with my back teeth.
I know I’m having time off when it’s midnight and I want to make sweets. It helps that these sweet treats, named after the Canadian city of Nanaimo, are no bake and just need time to set in the fridge between layers. The base is a glorious coconut-biscuit-walnut-cocoa crust, the middle is a very rich custard and then the top is dark chocolate. I used a whole stick of butter making these… so of course they are bloody gorgeous.
Looking at mine and those from The Endless Meal, I can tell that I got some timings wrong because of it being 1:30 am and me being a mix of tired and very high on sugar from all the taste tests. The custard wasn’t entirely set when I poured the chocolate on the custard, then the chocolate was too set for when I cut them into pieces. Doesn’t change the taste though because these are rich and delicious. I am having to ration these because of how much butter is in them and how I would probably feel sick if I went with my poor impulse control.
Since I am now off for two weeks, I am going to try and fit in two extra food countries to be cooked for a weekday lunch. Both are countries where I found it hard to find specific recipes and ended up with just one – the first extra county being Uganda where I found a cool recipe for some street food.