Separated at Birth?

Alison Redford (Premier-designate of Alberta)

Laura Calder (French Cooking at Home)

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Steamy kitchen nights

The windows of our Newfoundland vacation rental home have been steamed up pretty much every night lately. Yep, you guessed it, The Man With Whom I Keep Company and I have been making jam. This is our first attempt at jam making, and it has been highly successful. After a couple of tries that produced “sauce”, we landed on a formula that has produced beautiful, tasty, healthful blueberry jam. That’s not to say that the sauce isn’t pretty amazing too.

The Man With Whom I Keep Company caught Blueberry Madness soon after we arrived in Newfoundland, and has been picking buckets of blueberries from our property at Bacon Cove. It is an obsession that I have encouraged. Newfoundland’s acidic soil creates blueberry-growing heaven. You can sit in one spot and fill a bucket without having to do much more than turn around. There is a Newfoundland saying about blueberry picking: “Don’t pick the red ones – they’re green”.

Newfoundland blueberries hug the ground, so picking them can be a bit of a back-breaker. But if you get tired, you can just have a rest and take in the ocean views and fresh salt air.

We’ve had big bowls of blueberries in the fridge at all times and have eaten them fresh every day on cereal and ice cream, in yogurt, salads, sauces, muffins, pancakes, crumbles, you name it. I’m afraid that we may have developed an expensive habit that we will not be able to support when we get back to Edmonton, but we’ve been reveling in the free berries in Newfoundland while we have them.

We have also picked some partridge berries, but they are harder to find and tend to hide under club mosses and junipers. They are known elsewhere as lingonberries. They are a more tart tasting berry and are not so good raw, but make great jam.

While we’re at it, we’ve been picking a few rose hips too, and making tea out of those. The ones pictured below are pretty close in size to Alberta rose hips, but we have seen some that are as big as grapes. Earlier, the rose bushes were all heavy with rose blooms. Roses seem to love the salt air here too.

Unfortunately, we cannot haul fresh blueberries back with us, so jam seemed to be one way to bring home some of that goodness, anyway. The Man With Whom I Keep Company has been primarily involved in the Harvesting and Production Departments of our jam making enterprise. The house that we are staying at didn’t have any pots big enough for what we needed, so we borrowed some from friendly neighbors.

I have been primarily involved in the Quality Control Department: removing stems, leaves and insects from the berries (The Man With Whom I Keep Company advocates the catch-and-release program for live bugs, but I favour the down-the-drain program) and I also comprise the Design Department: high-art hand-made labels.

M&M Jams – a satisfying and yummy cottage industry.

Posted by Truly Scrumptious

Minor Miracle – One Pot Bread

Since I retired, I have been wanting to bake bread, but my first experience years ago was so discouraging that I hadn’t worked up the courage to give it another go. (I had attempted a loaf of bread and some buns but what I produced was a door stop and some paper weights). All of that punching and kneading doesn’t appeal either, and yet the smell of bread baking in the oven appeals greatly. So I decided to do some research on the good old internet and I came across a no-knead one-pot bread by none other than a man who I greatly trust – Jacques Pepin. (The recipe comes after the Cheesy Breadsticks on the YouTube video).

The house that The Man With Whom I Keep Company and I are staying at in Harbour Main Newfoundland has a beautiful cast iron pot that I used. The bread is mixed, proofed and baked in the same pot. Easy clean-up! No kneading – just a bit of stirring after the first rise. Easy method! I used whole wheat flour for 1/3 of the flour in the recipe. I get the first part done in the evening and then bake the bread when I get up the next morning. Here is the bread after it has risen the second time in the fridge for 12 hours.

And here it is after baking at 425 degrees for 40 minutes.

After it cools, just loosen it around the edges with a knife and out it pops.

It makes a nice moist loaf with a good crunchy crust.

And here it is toasted with some home-made blueberry jam (watch for the blueberry jam post coming soon!)

A true  minor miracle. Thanks Jacques!

Posted by Truly Scrumptious

Newfoundland home away from home

The Man With Whom I Keep Company and I have been staying in a beautiful heritage vacation house, Terry’s Bayside Getaway, in Harbour Main, Newfoundland for the month of September. The house was built in 1927 and is attached to what was the family’s store (on the right in the photo) which is now closed.

The kitchen here is huge. Especially compared to our cute little kitchen back in Edmonton. This photo shows the main part of the kitchen with a view of the pantry (door on the left) and a separate room with the sink, dishwasher &  prep space (door on the right). 

Here is a view of the sink/prep area. The counter goes farther to the right. Those are some rose hips that I am drying on the counter.

And here is a view of the cooking area. We’ve been getting our exercise walking back and forth between the kitchen areas. At home we can be sitting at the kitchen table and we can pretty much reach the oven, fridge and kitchen drawers without even having to get up. Advantages can be found in every situation.

Upcoming posts will show what we have produced in this kitchen!

Posted by Truly Scrumptious.

The Real Black Gold

In Alberta when they refer to “Black Gold” they are referring to oil, but here in BC this is what I call “Black Gold,”

Blackberries! And they grow free everywhere. They are my favourite invasive weed. These are in my sister’s backyard. I stopped by to drop some things off at her house the other day and she wasn’t home. I decided to wait in the backyard and within minutes I started picking the berries.

Within a few more minutes I had picked an entire container.

These would’ve cost me a fortune in Alberta. Husband was also there, but he only picked enough to fill his belly. The only downside to blackberry picking is…

 

the black, sticky hand. A small price to pay for my favourite berries. On another note you may remember my interest in mushroom picking. This last weekend I was too zonked after the wedding to go with my parents, but they managed to pick 10 pounds of chanterelles in 20 minutes at our secret mushroom spot. Here is a sample of one:

The rest is already in my belly.

Posted by King Crabby

 

King Crabby Kitchen Nightmares

Greetings Friends,

It’s a very rainy west coast day. I am sitting on the couch with Goucha and sipping a cup of my favourite Silk Road Tea, Philosopher’s Brew. Although the west coast might seem like it is all sunshine and lollipops, I must warn you that what you are about to see is very disturbing. The Husband had the task of finding us our new home in Victoria while I was wrapping things up in Edmonton. He told me rented a two bedroom located in Oak Bay. It was close to bus routes and walking distance from shops and the beach. It sounded wonderful, and then I saw the kitchen. It is the dreaded apartment, galley kitchen despised by home cooks.

There is no dishwasher… not true… king crabby is the dishwasher. There is no counter space, there is only a single sink and the appliances are apartment sized.

I am sorry for the crappy pictures, but due to the small kitchen it was difficult to take photos. I thought the oven/stove was regular sized at first because it had four burners, but then I went to put things in the oven. I was wrong, oh was I wrong. The first time I went to use the oven the temperature knob broke off in my hand. Now we have a new knob, but the oven has only one temperature, smoking hot.

Those are two small baking dishes in the oven. One is an 8 by 8 and the other is a 8 by 10. I can not fit them into the oven at the same time. Half of my baking sheets are too large to fit in the oven.

At first I didn’t mind the size of the fridge, but on day two of my new west coast life I went to put a bottle of wine in the fridge (standing up) and gasp… it didn’t fit. And you know how crabby, king crabby gets when she can’t get her wine on.

Also the freezer is tiny. It is a good thing I didn’t put my freezer in storage. Instead I put it in the dinning area.

It has been great. I use it as extra counter space and I have it half full with west coast food goodness. The good news is this place is temporary until we sell the place in Edmonton and find a permanent place to live in Victoria. Until then I will solider on and try not to lose my temper too many times.

Posted by King Crabby

Jiggs Dinner

The Man With Whom I Keep Company and I had just settled into the house that we are renting in Harbour Main, Newfoundland for the month of September (more on the house and especially its kitchen in future posts) when one of our neighbors dropped by to invite us over for a Jiggs Dinner the next day. That is very typical of friendly outport Newfoundlanders. They are a very warm and hospitable people. Our niece and nephew-in-law were visiting with us from Alberta at the time and had never had a Jiggs Dinner, so we jumped at the chance.

Here are our hosts, Rose and Hugh, hard at work. That’s a big bag of local turnip greens on the counter. Those bags are ubiquitous in Newfoundland this time of year.

A Jiggs Dinner is a traditional Newfoundland meal served mid-day on Sundays. Its main focus is salt beef, which has a taste similar to both corned beef and ham. A turkey is also often roasted to go with the meal, because you might not have enough food, you know.  Turkey seems to be the second most popular food on the Island after cod.

Salt beef and cabbage, and roasted turkey.

After soaking the salt beef to remove some of the salt, it is boiled with cabbage and root vegetables such as potatoes, turnips and carrots. Sometimes a pease pudding is cooked in a cloth bag in the broth. Turnip greens are added in the last few minutes before serving. A Jiggs Dinner is made with local meats and local produce that can be bought at road side stands this time of year and at pretty much all local grocery stores, including the big supermarkets.

Turnip greens, potatoes and turnips.

A Jiggs Dinner is a very hearty and delicious comfort meal, and one of my favorite Newfoundland dinners.

After dinner, we went up to the top floor deck at Hugh and Rose’s house for a beautiful view of Conception Bay. A lovely day all around.

Posted by Truly Scrumptious.