2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE – Taste The Wild: Recipes And Stories From Canada with Nanaimo Bars Recipe

by Valerie Gray, From Val's Kitchen

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FROM VAL'S KITCHEN 2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE - Taste The Wild: Recipes And Stories From Canada

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I have been to Canada twice in my life. I don’t really recall much from the first trip as I was a very young teen that didn’t pay much attention to food. My second trip was only a couple of years ago. I remember the food well as it was fantastic. I love the idea of having a cookbook from a region you’ve either visited and enjoyed or hope to visit. The recipe for Nanaimo Bars that I’ve shared with the permission of the publisher is perfect for the upcoming holiday season. These rich bites will thrill your guests and leave them wowwed with your cooking skills.

The book’s chapter titles evoke visions of travel and a way of life – In Search Of Space, Limitless Freedom, Go Your Own Way, and Blissful Solitude.

FROM VAL'S KITCHEN 2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE - Taste The Wild: Recipes And Stories From Canada

Taste the Wild: Recipes And Stories From Canada

  • Author: Lisa Nieschlag, Lars Wentrup
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Murdoch Books (September 10, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911632329
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911632320
  • Purchase on Amazon

Taste the Wild is a cookbook that reflects Canada’s heart and soul, bringing a sense of adventure into our kitchens.

Canada has always been shaped by its unique nature. This is where one of the world’s first national parks was created, and the country’s seemingly limitless expanses of untouched wilderness still allow visitors to experience nature at its most pristine. In Canada, the snow seems whiter, the water clearer and the animals less disturbed than anywhere else in the world. It is the ultimate dream destination!

Who wouldn’t want to set out into new, vast spaces, explore a wide and wild country, leave everyday life behind, venture into the unknown carrying nothing but a backpack, experience nature up close and immerse oneself in a wilderness adventure… Whenever we talk and dream about nature-based travel, Canada is usually right at the top of people’s lists, because it’s the perfect place for treating yourself to a true sense of freedom.

But why limit yourself to words and dreams, why not actually do it? Canada means meandering through vast forests in a campervan, going bear-watching, sitting next to a campfire and savouring every minute of every day. It’s putting on a lumberjack shirt, tying up one’s hiking boots, packing a bag of camping gear and heading off.

We have put together the recipes and photos in a cookbook that reflects Canada’s heart and soul, expresses its expansive nature and brings its sense of adventure into our kitchens.

Who doesn’t dream of leaving everyday life behind and really experiencing nature with an adventure in the wilderness… and a delicious campfire supper to round off a perfect day? The awe-inspiring photographs in Taste the Wild are a stunning backdrop for the moreish recipes within the pages. Split into four chapters, Lisa and Lars start with In Search of Space, which urges you to live your day offline, reconnecting with nature and your everyday actions – after all, the best experiences are when you live in the moment, sipping a Berry latte and tucking into some French toast with lemon sugar. The chapter Limitless Freedom is all about the exploration: share a Pan-baked Bannock pizza with friends over dinner and snack on some Beaver Bites during the day, which are dusted in cinnamon sugar after frying. Go Your Own Way is for recipes on the road: Lobster rolls, Ink-black halibut burgers and Iced tea with cranberries. Lastly, Blissful Solitude is all about recipes that you can eat under the stars, from Warm grilled vegetable salad and Onion campfire bread with Cajun spice butter, to Roast beef with smashed potatoes Maple cheesecake with strawberries.

This book leaves space for dreams. It celebrates simple pleasures and is inspired by a yearning for freedom and space. We hope that its recipes will flavour your home with a taste of wilderness. Go your own way. Feel free, even if you don’t have the time to travel – have this book deliver the essence of Canada to you.

Have fun exploring!

About the Author

Lisa Nieschlag and co-author, Lars Wentrup, co-own a successful design agency in Munster, Germany. Lisa, who has family roots in New York, is a designer and photographer who loves spending her time in the kitchen, cooking, baking, styling and photographing delicious food. Lisa also runs the prize-winning food blog lizandjules.com with Julia Cawley.

Lars is a designer and illustrator. Watching each page of a book being filled with text, images, and life has never lost its magic for Lars. Together with Lisa, they are the perfect team.

You can learn more about these titles and others on the Quarto Murdoch Books website. You can also keep up with Quarto on social media, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Here’s a recipe from the cookbook, excerpted with permission from the publisher.

Nanaimo Bars Recipe From Taste The Wild Cookbook

Nanaimo Bars

This recipe from Taste The Wild has been excerpted with permission from the publisher.

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 milkand 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.

FROM VAL'S KITCHEN 2019 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE - Taste The Wild: Recipes And Stories From Canada

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Taylor September 23, 2019 - 9:08 am

Those Nanaimo Bars look incredible! Love the crunch from the walnuts in the base layer!

valmg September 24, 2019 - 7:47 am

Yes I think my Dad would especially love that!

paige September 23, 2019 - 9:27 am

Well this is a helpful guide, great idea. And the nanaimo bars? They look OFF the CHARTS good. Nice job!

valmg September 24, 2019 - 7:46 am

They look like something my family would devour!

Aimee Shugarman September 23, 2019 - 9:29 am

Nanaimo Bars are a family favorite. can’t wait to try this version!

valmg September 24, 2019 - 7:47 am

I’d never heard of them before!

Toni September 23, 2019 - 9:42 am

These Nanaimo Bars were so good! My kids can’t get enough of them! I wish I could grab a copy of that cookbook!

valmg September 24, 2019 - 7:48 am

Get it for yourself for the holidays! 😉


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