Recipes from Taste the Wild



In many countries, chips are eaten with tomato sauce or vinegar. Try a different, authentically Canadian version of everyone’s favourite fast food with gravy and haloumi cheese. You’ll be hooked in no time!

Serves 4

For the gravy:
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) soup vegetables (carrot, onion, celeriac, leek)
1 garlic bulb
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) beef bones or 4 cups (1 litre) beef stock
2 tbsp tomato paste (concentrated purée)
1 tbsp canola oil
2 bay leaves
4 juniper berries
3–5 tbsp cornflour
For the chips:
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) floury potatoes
1 tbsp plain flour
8 cups (2 litres) canola oil

For the topping:
225 g (8 oz) haloumi
2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). For the gravy, wash and coarsely dice the soup vegetables. Place the vegetables, garlic and beef bones on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes.

Heat the tomato paste and canola oil in a large saucepan. Deglaze with a little water. Transfer the roast vegetables, beef bones, bay leaves and juniper berries to the saucepan and add 8 cups (2 litres) water. Simmer for 2 hours to reduce the liquid by half. (If using beef stock, simply pour over the roast vegetables –you won’t need the beef bones in this case.)

Strain the liquid into another saucepan through a fine sieve. Bring to the boil. Dissolve the cornflour in 3 tablespoons cold water and slowly whisk into the gravy until it reaches the desired consistency. Set aside.

Thoroughly wash the potatoes and cut them into chips. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the flour. Heat the oil to 180°C (350°F) in a large saucepan. Deep-fry the chips in two batches, stirring occasionally. Cook until golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Divide the chips among serving plates and crumble the haloumi over the top. Pour the warm gravy over the chips and serve immediately, garnished with a little parsley.

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Waffles with salted butterscotch sauce

Whether with afternoon tea or as an indulgently sweet breakfast, waffles make a delightful treat at any time of the day. This recipe makes particularly fluffy waffles, which are served drizzled with a home-made butterscotch sauce. 

Serves 4

1 vanilla bean
450 ml (16 fl oz) milk
1 tbsp sugar
200 g (7 oz) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
8 eggs, separated
1⅔ cups (250 g) plain flour
1 pinch salt
For the butterscotch sauce:
400 g (14 oz) brown sugar
1.2 litres (42 fl oz) single (pure) cream
1 tsp salt

Raspberries, for serving

For the butterscotch sauce, caramelise the brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, without stirring. Deglaze with the cream (be careful, the caramel will be very hot!) and simmer for about 5 minutes until you have a creamy caramel sauce (it will thicken further as it cools). Stir in the salt.

Preheat the waffle iron for the waffles. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.

Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla seeds and melted butter. Whisk in the egg yolks. Sift the flour over the mixture and whisk until all lumps have dissolved. Beat the egg whites and salt in a large bowl until stiff.

Gently fold into the batter.

Grease the waffle iron. Add one ladleful of batter at a time and cook the waffles until golden brown. Serve the waffles with the warm butterscotch sauce and fresh raspberries.

Download printable recipe (PDF)


Maple cheesecake with strawberries

A North American classic with a Canadian twist, this cheese cake is made with maple syrup for a delectably distinctive flavour. If you prefer a milder maple flavour, use light-coloured syrup. Dark maple syrup has a much stronger taste, which gives the cake a slightly tart flavour that harmonises well with the sweet strawberries.

Makes one 26 cm (10½ inch) cheesecake

150 g (5½ oz) oatcakes
⅔ cup (75 g) walnuts
90 g (3¼ oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
1 pinch sea salt
750 g (1 lb 10 oz) cream cheese, softened
115 ml (3¾ fl oz) maple syrup, plus extra for serving
3 eggs

1⅔ cups (250 g) strawberries
2 tbsp lemon juice
1–2 tsp icing (confectioners) sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line the base of a 26 cm (101⁄2 inch) springform tin with baking paper and lightly butter the side of the tin. Coarsely crush the biscuits. Transfer to a food processor with the walnuts and chop finely. Add the biscuits, nuts, butter and salt to a bowl and mix well. Press the mixture firmly into the tin.

Whisk the cream cheese. Stir in the maple syrup. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into the base and level the top.

Bake the cheesecake for 45–50 minutes. Remove from the oven, slide a knife around the side to loosen and leave to cool in the tin. Refrigerate the cooled cheesecake for 4 hours.

Wash, trim and quarter the strawberries. Gently toss with the lemon juice and icing sugar in a bowl and set aside to marinate briefly. Serve the cake with the strawberries and maple syrup.

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Nanaimo bars

There’s no dessert that’s more typically Canadian than Nanaimo bars, which are named after the Canadian city of Nanaimo. With three layers consisting of a biscuit crumble and nut base, a cream filling and chocolate topping, they are a little like a layered custard cake but require no baking.

Makes about 24 pieces

For the base:
½ cup (125 g) butter, plus extra for greasing
120 g (4¼ oz) dark chocolate
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp raw cocoa powder
120 g (4¼ oz) digestive biscuits
1 cup (120 g) walnuts
½ cup (50 g) desiccated coconut
For the filling:
700 ml (24 fl oz) full-cream milk
1 vanilla bean
50 g (1¾ oz) cornflour
100 g (3½ oz) sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup (250 g) butter, softened

For the topping:
100 g (3½ oz) milk chocolate
100 g (3½ oz) dark chocolate
2 tbsp canola oil
4 tbsp desiccated coconut, for sprinkling

Butter a 22 cm (81⁄2 inch) square cake tin and line with baking paper. For the base, grate the chocolate and transfer to a small saucepan along with the butter, brown sugar and cocoa. Gently heat to melt, stirring continuously.

Place the biscuits inside a resealable plastic bag and pound them to fine crumbs with a rolling pin. Chop the walnuts. Thoroughly combine the chocolate mixture, biscuit crumbs, chopped walnuts and coconut in a large mixing bowl. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin. Press down firmly with your hands and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For the filling, heat the milk in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add to the milk. Stir briefly and set aside for 15 minutes to infuse with the flavour. Whisk the cornflour, sugar, eggs and egg yolks together in a large bowl. Bring the milk to the boil briefly. Add about 100 ml (31⁄2 fl oz) of the hot milk to the egg mixture and whisk to combine.

Pour the egg mixture into the hot milk, stirring continuously for another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the custard to cool. Beat the butter until light and creamy, then gradually whisk into the cooled custard. Spread the custard evenly over the chocolate base and refrigerate for 2 hours.

For the topping, finely chop the milk and dark chocolate. Melt in the microwave together with the canola oil. Quickly spread the topping over the chilled custard layer and sprinkle with coconut.

Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Lift out of the tin with the baking paper and cut into small pieces to serve.

Download printable recipe (PDF)