International Dinner Project: Canada (Ryan’s Choice eh!)

 Sunday, 29 April 2012

Finding out about Canadian food was interesting, lots of desserts, and snacks, so I made a couple of each to bookend the main course, we don’t rarely, if ever, have pies, so I was hoping the boys would be up for it.

My brother and sister-in-law lived in Canada for a year or two while they were both working for the same company, so we invited them along, for their inside knowledge. I was telling Sam that the national sport of Canada was Ice Hockey, and he said, “hang on Dad, I’ve got just the thing”, ran off and came back grinning with a Lego minifigure Ice Hockey player, complete with puck.

Then Uncle Greg turned up wearing a Hockey Jersey, so we were ready to go!

Maple Glazed Bacon
Poutine (Fries with gravy and curds)

Woah nelly! Now exactly the healthiest of snacks, but popular! I had prepared the crispy maple bacon earlier so put that out first, the adults got a piece each at most, and the boys took care of the rest – so that one was a hit.

Now the poutine, Ryan helped me make the curds and we put them in the fridge, wrapped in cheese cloth under weight overnight. While I was cooking the oven french fries, Sam came and looked in the oven (he was hungry) “Ryan”, he said “Dad’s cooking McDonalds Fries!” That was the excitement for them for the evening, shoestring fires!

I wasn’t too sure that they’d like them with the gravy and curds, Jocelyn even suggested doing a bowl without the gravy, but that’s not really the point of International Dinner – so out of the kitchen came two bowls of poutine. Ryan was a little hesitant at first, but then, bam, Uncle Greg and Ryan, took ownership of one bowl, and after Sam had gotten a taste for it, he took guardianship of the other bowl, even complaining loudly when Jocelyn managed to get a forkful of about five fries, that was her last lot – the rest were Sam’s, although I managed to charm a few out of him.

Sam and Ryan’s rating: 10/10

Tourtiere (Herbed Pork Pie)
Sweet Chilli Sauce, Ketchup

I don’t think I’ve ever made a proper pie before. This one was replete with breadcrumbs to soak up the fat coming out of the pork mince, so I was hoping it all went smoothly.

It smelled great, and the pastry wasn’t too difficult to work with – crumbly pastry can really get me grumpy at times! 😉

The pie cut up well, held together coming out of the pan, Sam, Ryan and “Me Too!” Ethan took the pie onto their plates, Sam added ketchup, Ryan has discovered a love of Sweet Chilli Sauce. Apparently it was a success, Tina and Greg were all compliments, Sam’s disappeared, Ethan made an honest attempt, Ryan liked it, but was pretty full from bacon and fries – his favourite part was the pastry! But that’s okay, that’s my favourite part as well – especially where the meat makes the pastry all soggy. Zero pie, and veggies left.

Sam and Ryan’s rating: 10/10 (That leaves only dessert to leave me with a clean sheet – it’s looking good)

Beaver Tails (Flat, long doughnuts)
Maple Mousse (Maple sweetened strained yoghurt) 


Ryan was feeling quite tired so he asked to go to bed before dessert, and we promised we’d save him some.

I’ve had success on previous dinners with deep-frying in a saucepan, and there’s nothing more iconic that Canada’s Beaver Tails Doughnuts – so I thought I may as well give it a go, mine were mini versions of the real thing, but they were still big enough. The dough smelt great, and when it called for vanilla, I thought I may as well use the real Madagascan Extract left over from Madagascar night, rather than the normal essence, good choice, that extract is top-notch.

Once the oil got hot enough, those Beaver tails were coming out faster than we could eat them. So once they were all cooked I brought out the Maple mousse as well. It was beautiful and fluffy, mildly sweet with a lemon zing from the lemon rind. Sam’s was gone in an instant, and I lost count but I think he had at least two Beaver Tails, and then took half of one to school for morning tea today, and had the other half when he came home – he’s definitely got the sweet tooth!

We’ve been doing really well lately, no leftovers for anything!

Sam and Ryan’s rating: 10/10

Nanaimo Bars (Cocoa, Graham Cracker slice with butter icing and chocolate topping)
Coffee (no sugar, the bars had enough!) 


Uncle Greg and Auntie Tina knew all about the Nanaimo bars, we even gave them a doggie bag to take home with them, as their was no way we’d finish of the 8″ x 8″ tray full. So we had a few helpings and coffee to counter the sweetness as supper, all in all a good night. The boys had gone to bed, but they got to have their bars today after school and for dessert tonight.

All in all a very good night, thanks to Greg and Tina for their company, and bringing the Canada Club for the cook! The boys were great trying and enjoying everything without any complaining – they enjoyed it all – Yay Canada!


9 thoughts on “International Dinner Project: Canada (Ryan’s Choice eh!)

  1. that menu looks awesome! I think I’ve got to try the supper recipe 🙂 I don’t think I’ll be having it for supper though. The food looks excellently presented and the photography is great. I’m enjoying following this blog.

  2. Thanks for the invite Bren … we had a great time and the food was awesome! I’m eyeing up a piece of that leftover Nanaimo bar for breakfast as we speak! 10 outta 10, eh? :o)

  3. A fantastic idea I have been using on my own family. With all due respect, however, I have to level a bit of criticism at your Canadian menu. Far too Francophone and Ontarian. I’m a Canuck and would never limit a menu to these items. Where are the ethically diverse and Aboriginal dishes? Great idea, but I’m afraid I’ll shy away from your other suggestions based on your selection of Canadian dishes (and the ‘eh remark at the end).

    • Thanks for your thoughts.. but with only a couple of courses to sample an entire nation’s cuisine it’s fairly difficult to encompass everything.
      It’s a bit of fun for the family, and for visitors to your country things like nanimo bars, beaver tails and poutine are iconic colloquial canadian dishes. My brother and sister-in-law lived there for a while and these were a few of the thing that stood out to them.
      I appreciate your point of view, but this isn’t a doctorate thesis on colloquial cuisine, it’s fun and education for my kids about how different people eat differently…
      Feel free to fire me some ‘ethically (sic) diverse and Aboriginal’ recipes and I’ll append this blog once we cook them – I had to work with what my research came up with and what I thought my kids would actually eat…

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