On our second day at Bon Echo we decided to rent a canoe and explore the lakes around Mazinaw Rock. We started the morning off with a protein rich breakfast – dairy free eggs Florentine over peameal bacon on a whole wheat English muffin. I threw together a camp friendly version of this breakfast classic and it turned out better than I thought. While this may not look like a traditional Florentine, the spinach and eggs were creamy, buttery and a nice compliment to the salty bacon – a hearty start to our active day.
We headed out around Mazinaw Rock, a very impressive rock formation that towered above our heads. The canoe rental sent us out with a small hand drawn map detailing what appeared to be a simple route through a few lakes and ending in a 1.5 km portage, which at the time, we didn’t think much of.
We took our time paddling through each lake, stopping to fish here and there. The day was perfect for canoeing with a cloudless blue sky overhead, sparkling water dripping from our oars, with nothing but bird calls echoing across the lake.
By late afternoon, after passing through what we thought was the last lake, we still hadn’t come across this 1.5km portage. The sun was getting low in the sky, and both of us grew quiet. We soon realized that we weren’t in the right lake and that we still had a whole other lake to go, as the map had no scale and we underestimated the first body of water we went through. When we finally arrived at the portage site, we knew we had to work as quickly as possible. The route was rocky, and full of tree roots – not optimal especially carrying a regular, heavy canoe. We had to do two trips, chasing the last rays of sunlight along the path. Once we were back in Mazinaw Lake we were much further out than we thought, and by the time we finally found the canoe rental dock, the lake was dark except for the dancing lights from bonfires and the emerging stars overhead.
Needless to say, by the time we returned to our campsite, we were starving out of our minds. During the portage we motivated each other by discussing what toppings we would be having on our fajitas, so our mouths were watering. We used the leftover smoked pork and topped it with pico de gallo, guacamole, lettuce and sautéed red onion and red pepper. These fajitas were probably the most magnificent fajitas I have ever had – between starvation and the smoked pork, they were devoured so fast that I didn’t even take a photo. Once we were stabilized, we moved onto dinner. That’s right – after you’ve been canoeing for 6 hours including 1.5 hours of portaging with only a handful of snacks to hold you over – one is fully entitled to a double meal “bang bang!”. We roasted corn over the fire and rubbed them with butter, lime and garam masala – my boyfriend’s favourite. We had a beautiful ribeye steak from The Healthy Butcher and seared it in butter and garlic over the fire to medium rare perfection. Paired with a glass of Sandbanks Pinot Noir, the steak was divine.
We collapsed into bed that night, our bodies aching from paddling and portaging. Our bellies full, we lapsed into a wonderful steak coma and dreamed of endless lakes and golden skies.
Dairy-Free Eggs Florentine
- 4 large free range eggs
- 4 thick slices of Canadian peameal bacon
- 1 x 255g bag fresh organic pre-washed spinach
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ a small yellow onion finely diced
- 1 garlic clove peeled and finely minced
- ¼ cup unsalted butter + 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon
- 1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- pinch of hot pepper flakes
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- dash of paprika
- 2 whole wheat English muffins
Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside.
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high. Fry the peameal bacon until the edges are lightly golden and set aside.
To poach the eggs, heat four cups of water and the apple cider vinegar over medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Crack eggs into a small bowl. Using the end of a wooden spoon, stir the simmering water in one direction to create a whirlpool. As the water spins, gently drop the eggs into the center of the whirlpool. Turn down heat to medium low. Once the eggs start to float to the surface (approx. five minutes), remove and drain with a slotted spoon.
To make the hollandaise sauce, in a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks along with the lemon juice, mustard, and season with salt and pepper. Slowly incorporate the melted butter. Set aside.
Toast the English muffins.
Heat the olive oil and one tablespoon of unsalted butter in a large skillet of medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent and add the hot pepper flakes. Carefully add the spinach one handful at a time, tossing until wilted. Add the hollandaise sauce and stir well to combine.
Place one slice of peameal bacon on each half of an English muffin. Gently place the poached egg over top of the bacon, and top with a generous spoonful of the spinach mixture.
Sprinkle paprika over top and serve immediately.