Canada is known abroad for many things – great hockey players, amazing nature and really polite citizens for starters. It is not the first country you think about when “delicious cuisine” is mentioned, though. That is a shame! Canadian food dishes are definitely not known well enough and thus underrated by many. Have you ever heard about Canadian bacon or butter tarts? Read along for a quick ride through some of Canada’s staples and find out why Canadian cuisine is easy to love. First of all, if you ever find yourself in Quebec, be sure to try poutine. It’s a take on fries; that will change your way of thinking about potatoes forever. A portion of those yellow delicacies, covered with cheese and gravy. Yum! Another of the Canadian food dishes everyone must try at least once in their life are the aforementioned butter tarts. A crunchy and sweet pastry ideal for a dessert. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous and bored with your standard chicken stew, try one made from caribou meat. A caribou is a type of reindeer found in the Canadian mountains and very popular in the surrounding regions. So why not try the taste of Canada?
Does the thought of making meringues fill you with dread? If you follow a few simple techniques, they can be very simple to master, and you can impress everyone with gorgeous, mouth-watering desserts. Think chocolate meringue roulade, pavlova covered in strawberries, lemon meringue pie or Eton mess with thick cream and seasonal fruits. To start these cooking meringue tips, make sure that your bowl and equipment is absolutely clean. Use a lemon and then wipe dry with a paper towel to help ensure that the egg whites will whip well and reach their full volume. Do not attempt to whisk your egg whites by hand – always use a mixer and allow them to stand at room temperature beforehand for 20 minutes, this helps to produce lighter meringues. Use a low speed and keep whisking until the whites are foamy, then gradually increase the speed until the egg whites are in stiff peaks. If you are brave enough, you can turn the bowl upside down to check that the mixture is stiff enough. Add your sugar a tablespoon at a time and go slowly – if you add the sugar too quickly it can cause caramel bubbles during cooking. One of the best cooking meringue tips is to add half a teaspoon of white vinegar at this stage, to help produce wonderful chewy meringues with a crisp outside. Pipe or spoon the mixture onto parchment paper and put them in the oven immediately, baking for a minimum 30 minutes. Meringues are actually best slowly baked at a low temperature and once ready, left inside overnight, with the oven door slightly open. The best desserts are short and sweet, and I would be surprised if your meringues don’t disappear in one sitting! They really are easy so give them a whirl!
I love baking. Nothing beats the satisfaction of opening the oven door to reveal a steaming cake, pie or batch of cookies that you whipped up a little while earlier. Martha Stewart has some great easy recipes for beginners. One of the best things about baking is how easily you can vary your favourite recipes by using different spices, fruits, chocolates, nuts…. The varieties are endless. Like the best bakers, I love eating too!
On a rainy spring afternoon I enjoy curling up with a freshly baked goodie, a hot drink and a good book. At the moment, one of my favourite authors is Kelley Armstrong. A native of Ontario, she combines imaginative use of supernatural creatures with a backdrop of typical Canadian life, not to mention thrilling plots! A particular favourite of mine is the Women of the Otherworld Series. Although she is most famous for fantasy work, Kelley armstrong also writes non fantasy, particularly in the areas of crime, horror and romance. A word or warning: Kelley Armstrong writes some serious page turners. If you pick one up while you have something baking, make sure to set the alarm on your oven timer to full volume!