Gluten-free bannock (fry bread)

Gluten-free bannockNo taste takes me back to childhood summers on the Canadian prairies like bannock. Bannock, for those not in the know, is a bread so simple, it can be made while camping. It doesn’t require much more than flour and water and can look like a big round loaf, like scones, or like pancakes. It can even be wrapped around sticks and toasted in the flames.

Although for me the classic bannock is scone-like and made in a skillet outdoors, another, slightly more decadent treat is fry bread. That’s the name for bannock that’s made big and flat and deep-fried. I used to always get it at the Aboriginal tent at Edmonton’s Heritage Festival, sometimes plain and sometimes in the form of Indian tacos. I hadn’t tried to make bannock since I went gluten-free, but bannock is so easy, it turned out fantastic even when switching flours and shallow-pan frying rather than deep frying.  Continue reading

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Tourtière

TourtiereHappy Canada Day! Bonne fête du Canada! To celebrate the motherland from way over here in England, we ate leftover tourtière for lunch.

Does that sound somehow disappointing? It wasn’t. Tourtière is, after all, a beautiful and truly Canadian dish, not to mention delicious as leftovers. I made the tourtière on Sunday because it takes a little more time than I figured I’d have today. For our actual Canada Day dinner, we had a simple picnic. Were we shirking our duties as Canucks? No! Most Canadians picnic or barbecue for Canada Day. Tourtière is actually more of a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve tradition, with some eating it on Christmas Day. But I couldn’t let a Canadian-themed week go by without making tourtière. It’s that good.

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Maple teriyaki salmon with cranberry wild rice

Maple teriyaki salmon with rice and saladTo me, nothing tastes of Western Canada (home!) like salmon does. Back home, I was super picky about which salmon I bought – I would only spend money on wild Pacific salmon, preferably sockeye or chinook; never pink, never farmed. That would still be my preference but here in the UK, it’s harder to get non-canned salmon that meets that description. (Not impossible, just harder and more expensive.) So when I saw a side of Scottish farmed Atlantic salmon on sale half price, I bought it.

You see, I’ve developed a recipe that makes any salmon taste divine. I used to think of it as semi-Canadian, semi-Japanese, but I’ve since realized it’s actually totally Canadian, since Canadian cuisine draws on all other cuisines. I like to serve it with a simple brown rice-wild rice mix with dried cranberries and fresh herbs, which is also very Canadian. So in honour of my Canada week, here’s a quick and simple midweek recipe.

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Peanut butter and banana Nanaimo bars

Nanaimo barsNanaimo bars are the quintessentially Canadian dessert, at least as far as English Canada is concerned. They’re a no-bake, three-layer affair: a biscuit layer on the bottom, a chocolate layer on top, and a soft middle layer that most often tastes custardy, though there are plenty of variations such as mint or peanut butter.

I like Nanaimo bars well enough but to be honest, I don’t love them. They’re a bit too sweet, a bit too rich, and the middle layer tends to be a bit too squooshy for me, too similar to buttercream icing, which is something I only like in small quantities. So I made up a healthier version: gluten-free, high-protein, low-lactose, low-sugar. Honestly, though, you won’t notice that it’s healthier than the standard Nanaimo bar. This version is still plenty rich, sweet and delicious. Continue reading