Mmmmm Canada Birthday dinner

Last night, we had Blee over for a Canada Day celebratory dinner and to welcome her back from the wilds of Dreadmunston (aka Edmonton), where she’s been working this past month (poor lass).

On the menu was:

  • O Canada martinis;
  • Peking duck terrine;
  • Alberta beef tenderloin with Ontario sweet pea risotto; and,
  • Rhubarb and cranberry crisp with marmalade cream.

Oh, and in a nod to our American friends we also – on the spur of the moment – made homemade Liberty pretzels to serve with the martinis. Hey, if you drink enough martinis, anything will go with them as an appetizer! I’ll post the wonderful adventure of making homemade pretzels from scratch later as I’m strapped for time and must dash to London for a couple days.

The martinis also took effect to the point that I forgot to check my email and hence neglected the email from Cousin Richard to join us. Me bad! … with apologies Cousin Richard!

O Canada Martinis
These are simply a mix of 1 oz of Tanqueray Number 10 Gin, a half-ounce of Triple Sec, the juice of 1/8 of a lime and 2 ounces of cranberry juice, shaken not stirred, and then served with Ontario blueberries.

1) O Canada martini with Liberty pretzels (celebrating Canada Day and Independence Day)

Peking Duck Terrine
They say the real test of a good chef is his ability to pull off a terrine. This was my and G’s second attempt at a terrine (the first being a beet terrine a couple years ago) and it’s clear we still have some training to do. Case in point: we actually prepared the terrine, and, as I was putting it in the fridge, G shouted “we forgot the duck skin!”.

Grrr, yes, after carefully skinning the duck, ridding the skin of fat and laying it out, we forgot to line the mold with the skin after putting the onion wrapper pancake in. So, take two.

To make matters worse, after completing the terrine (Sunday afternoon) and refrigerating it, it was on Monday morning while shopping at a Dominions in Agincourt, that G announced “we forgot the hoisin!”. Which, of course, we had! Grrrr. The hoisin was supposed to go between the pancake and the duck skin to help adhere the skin to the wrapper.

Ok, so sure the whole thing eventually worked out wonderfully but still, grrrr.

The filling

2) G heads to T&T to get a bbq-ed duck; 3) reduce 1 cup of duck consomme down to 2 tablespoons (you will mix this into the duck just before pureeing

4) one bbq-ed duck; 5) remove head and wings

6) carefully skin the duck (ideally in one piece … this does take practice); 7) remove any excess fat and leave to dry a wee bit

8) meanwhile, heat 2 cups of rendered duck fat; 9) remove all useable meat from the duck

10) add meet to the fat and 11) add in star anise, cinnamon, garlic and Szechwan peppercorns and bring to a boil

12) bake in a hot oven for 50 minutes, reserve a half cup of the fat to incorporate into the meat when you get to the puree stage; 13) blend the neat with a paddle to break it up


14) add meat, reduced duck consomme and duck fat into a cuisinart and mix till; 15) a fine consistency

The wrapper

16) mix spring onion, salt and flour together; 17) add to a mixer and add water till a dough forms


18) roll to 1/16-inch thick; and, 19) fry on a large skillet until brown (cover with parchment and steam)

Putting it all together

20) blanch spring onions and thinly slice water chestnuts; 21) grease and line your terrine mould

22) carefully line the mould with the wrapper and duck skin; 23) add in layer of onion, duck meat, chestnuts and more duck meat, tamping down the whole time (we used an expresso tamper)


24) cover with plenty of plastic wrap and weight down in fridge for 24 hours; 25) unmold and slice 1/2-inch slices

Voila, the final product, served with an accompaniment of diced Asian pear dressed in a little sesame seed oil (and the blessed hoisin!)

Peking Duck Terrine
26) the final product … OMG fabulous!

Sweet Pea Risotto
Blee took charge of this fabulous accompaniment. The secret to this recipe lies in pureeing the peas, basil, mint, spinach, oregano and thyme before adding it into the rice.

27) shell the peas; 28) prepare mint, spinach, basil, thyme and oregano

29)  pan fry the greens for about 2 minutes; 30) add to cuisinart and blend to a rough paste

31) the paste ready to be added into the risotto

32) layout risotto ingredients (rice, parmesan, celery, the paste, vermouth, onion and more mint); 33) warm your chicken broth and prepare to cook the risotto

34) saute the onion and celery; 35) add the rice and vermouth

36) gradually and slowly add broth till rice is cooked through, then add in the paste; 37) stir and finish with more cheese and you’re ready to serve

Green Pea Risotto

38) beef tenderloin with sweet pea risotto

We served all this with two wines: a 2004 Cremant de Bourgongne brut from Dufouleur pere & Fils (France) and an outstanding British Columbia wine, 2005 Inkameep (NkiMIP) Syrah.

39) the wines

Rhubarb and Cranberry Crisp with Marmalade Cream
With our food share we received some fresh Ontario rhubarb. Rhubarb is a funny fruit with – I feel – limited uses (I’ve  made pies and a spicy rhubarb jelly with it). This time out I found a recipe for a crisp and seeing that I had a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer, a crisp it was going to be. The addition of the marmalade cream (which is so damn good) makes this easy dessert simple and tasty.

40) mix brown sugar, rolled oats, hazelnuts and graham cracker crumbs with 3tbsp of butter and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla; 41) add rhubarb, cranberries and brown sugar to pot and cook on medium until cranberries pop

42)  once cooked, add in a tbsp of grated orange peel; 43) add to a pan and top with crumble top and bake at 350° for 30 minutes

Rhubarb Crisp

44) turn out into a glass and top with whipping cream to which you’ve added 1/4 cup of marmalade

Oh yeah, and Happy Canada Day!

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7 Responses to Mmmmm Canada Birthday dinner

  1. Oh wow … that looks like Peking Duck Wellington or something.

  2. christao408 says:

    Wow, that’s a pretty amazing meal.  Can’t believe you went to all the trouble of making the terrine.

  3. orchidgrass says:

    peking duck terrine? i have never tried that! good chef!

  4. CurryPuffy says:

    Happy Canada Day! That’s a great feast fit for celebration!

  5. ElusiveWords says:

    I can always count on you and G (and Blee too) to set off some fireworks in the kitchen. Well done!!

  6. Fatcat723 says:

    Happy Canada Day! I enjoy your food porn. I know you will cook for me sometime!!!

  7. kunhuo42 says:

    that terrine (and everything else) still looks wonderful! mmm… want to cook for me sometime? =D

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