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Our Culinary Treats

In rural Newfoundland & Labrador “Sunday Dinner”, “Hot Dinner”, “Cooked Dinner” and “Boiled Dinner” are common terms used in reference to a meal at noon on Sunday.

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I will share with you how to prepare Sunday’s Dinner, since it is my favorite traditional Newfoundland meal. It is chicken or turkey with stuffing, potatoes, carrots, turnips, greens, cabbage, potatoes, gravy, peas pudding and our famous salt beef. We also have a selection of other puddings that may be served with the meal: bread pudding, raisin pudding (locally referred to as “figgy duff”), molasses pudding, blackberry, partridge berry and there are many others! My grandmother makes the best raisin puddings and molasses puddings. Yum!

SUNDAY DINNER

  • 1 Whole Chicken, Turkey, Moose Roast or other meat product
  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 6-8 medium potatoes
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 medium turnip (peel and slice)
  • 1 medium cabbage (cut in wedges)
  • Slices of slightly stale bread
  • Onion
  • Ground Pepper
  • Salt
  • Spices (thyme, basil or rosemary)
  • Butter
  1. Prepare stuffing by soaking slightly stale bread in water. Squeeze to remove excess water. Add melted butter, salt, black pepper and seasoning (basil, rosemary or thyme).
  2. Prepare chicken or meat, lightly salt. Place stuffing inside chicken, excess can be wrapped in foil. In a roasting pan, place chicken and add water. Cook on 350 F, lightly baste and add an onion for flavour.
  3. Soak salt meat overnight, drain and place in large cooking pot. Tie peas in cloth bag (locally referred to as “peas pudding bag”); however, a mason jar with a few holes punched at the top will also be sufficient. Put peas in pot with salt beef. Cover beef and peas with water. Heat to boiling, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  4. Prepare vegetables. Small carrots and potatoes may be left whole, larger ones are to be cut in half. Slice turnip and cut cabbage into wedges. After meat and peas have cooked for 2-2.5 hours add vegetables and cook until tender, adding the cabbage last.
  5. Remove peas from bag, place in bowl and mash with butter and black pepper to make peas pudding.
  6. Remove salt meat and slice. Remove vegetables and place on platter and serve.

FIGGIE DUFF

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk or water
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • Pinch of salt

Combine dry ingredients, add milk and egg. Put in a cloth or spring container and boil for two hours.

MOLASSES PUDDING

  • 1 cup of molasses
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 cups flour

Mix together molasses, sugar and spices in a bowl. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to first mixture, then add melted butter and raisins. Mix well. Add sifted flour a little at a time. Put in greased pudding mould and steam 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Many great talks or yarns happen around the kitchen table in rural Newfoundland, both in the past and still today.

Hope you enjoy!

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Christmas Traditions

The Holiday season is to be spent with loved ones. Sometimes they are not always with us in a physical sense, but are in our hearts.

This Christmas will be the 12th on celebrated without my father. He is still present and ever remembered. I will not forget all the times we would spend together searching for that freshly cut Christmas tree. My father would take extra care in trimming some of the branches. Not to mention drilling holes and filling spaces it branches. Our tree had to be very full of life! As a family we all had a part in the decorating. It was tradition. Over time that has changed as we have an artificial tree, which certainly does not have the same appeal but does the job. It is now my time to string the lights (something I never wanted to do as a child, guess it is part of growing).

I remember hanging lights outside. My father would give me the task of organizing all the lights, creating a pattern of red, green, yellow, blue. It was a challenge with all the bulbs that needed replacing and having to use a potatoe or vaseline sometimes to remove them. My father trusted me and as a team we would get those lights up all around the house. Last year I gave up on the old strings and started buying some LED lights (still multi-coloured, of course) and have added again this year. They are up hanging with plastic clips. I smile as there are remains of staples on some shingles (reminding me of assisting dad) :).

We always delivered presents on Christmas Eve, ate pizza at my aunt and uncle’s house and went to church late at night before leaving milk and cookies for Santa and some carrots for his reindeer. Christmas morning after opening our presents would be spent with grandma and grandpa opening their gifts.

Times have changed as my mom usually works Christmas Eve, so I am typically tasked with delivering presents (sometimes with my sister). This year my aunt and uncle will spend Christmas Eve with their kids and grandkids away, so no pizza with them. It has been several years since we all attended church service or even spent Christmas together as a family. As well, my grandpa passed away this year.

This year 2010, my sister and her husband will be home for the holidays. For me it is my first time since 2006 and long overdue. We will create new traditions, while hanging on to some old ones, which include the lunch for Santa!

Think about your Christmas times with friends and families, old traditions and new ones! It is just two weeks and change away….so enjoy! Make new memories today, tomorrow and always.

From Live Rural NL – CCM

Partridge Berry Picking….A Family Affair

Lingonberry or Patridgeberry

It is that time of year again, when a lot of rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians gear up with jugs, buckets and other containers to the barren fields in search of the red ruby berries, known to us as the “partridge-berry” and internationally as the “Lingonberry”.

The following information has been taken directly from the Dark Tickle Company’s, St. Lunaire-Griquet, NL website. Partridge berry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). Internationally known as the lingonberry this relative of the cranberry family is a low mat forming evergreen shrub with tiny rounded leaves. These berries grow in the dry, acidic soils of Newfoundland and Labrador’s barrens and coastal headlands. Their twin flowers have a pinkish hue in bud then turn white as they bloom in mid-June to mid-July. The fusing of the two flower ovaries gives rise to a single dark red berry ripening through September’s frost. Tart in flavour they are high in vitamin C, tannin, anthocyanin, and antioxidants. These agents are attributed to the prevention of high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, slowing such aging processes as memory loss and the deterioration of motor skill, improving circulation, as well as the prevention of certain forms of cancer.

Well, we have experienced the first September’s frost this past Saturday on the Northern Peninsula making it the opportune time to get your berries. I remember picking with my family near the barrens near the St. Anthony airport. There would be patches of red, where you could pick to your heart’s delight. I’m not the biggest fan of this berry, it is a little tart for my taste. I prefer the bakeapple (cloudberry), however this was a fun activity for the whole family to participate and enjoy.

Partridge berry’s are loved by many people. The berries find themselves in many jams, jellies, fillings of pies, side dishes or garnishes. However, there is an opportunity to diversify these agri-food products and add greater value. The Dark Tickle Company has done an exceptional job of creating chocolates and teas using these berry products.

Rodriguez Winery in the province produces many speciality wines and liqueurs from fruit and berry products. Check them out at: http://www.rodrigueswinery.com.

While visiting the Norsemen Restaurant & Gaia Art Gallery, L’Anse Aux Meadows (http://www.valhalla-lodge.com/restaurant.htm) I had the opportunity to sample a drink called the “Partridgrini”. I don’t know the recipe, but did find one from “Occasions Magazine”, which is distributed by the Newfoundland & Labrador Liquor Corporation.

PARTRIDGE & APPLE MARTINI

  • 1/2 ounce of partridge berries
  • 1 oz Pulukka lingonberry Lapponia
  • 1 oz Phillips Butterscotch Ripple Schnapps
  • 3 oz apple juice
  • Apple wedges

Preparation:

  1. Drop the partridge berries in the bottom of the martini glass
  2. Shake apple juice, schnapps and lingonberry lapponia with ice and strain over berries using cocktail shaker
  3. Garnish with partridge berries and apple wedges

Opportunities exist to diversify as consumer tastes broadened in rural communities to appeal to both locals and tourists. We are not limited to local markets, as exporting is readily available. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a special place in our hearts for Grandma’s Partridge berry pie or Mom’s jam. However, we can be creative and find additional uses for this renewable natural resource that grows in abundance on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland & Labrador.

Enjoy your experience with the Partidge-tini!

Live Rural NL – CCM

Figgy Duff

Figgy Duff

Figgy Duff had its origins since the first settlers came to Newfoundland & Labrador. Simply put, figgy duff is a raisin pudding which is traditionally boiled in a cloth bag and served steaming hot.

A “figgy” refers to the raisins in the mixture. The “duff” refers to the dough mixture Most families enjoy this special tasty treat on special days known as “duff days” in many parts of the island.

I enjoy having a Sunday dinner, especially at grandma’s when she makes her own figgy duff. I’ve tasted none that can compare.

FIGGY DUFF

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk or water
  • 1 cup of raisins (I’d probably put in more)
  • Pinch of salt

Combine dry ingredients and add milk and egg. Place in cloth bag and broil for 1 hour in a pot of water. Ingredients can be steamed in a pudding mold. To make a plain duff, follow the same recipe but omit raisins.

Live Rural NL - Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Island Adventures to Miquelon-Langlade…(Part II)

Traversing through the sea caves

The tour began at 8:30 AM at the docks in St. Pierre. We previously purchased our tickets at the Tourist Information Office the previous day for just 60.50 Euro (~$80.00 CDN). At the docks we were greeted by the “tour opérateur” Monsieur Jean Cloony and handed life preservers; then took our seats on a large zodiac with two powerful motors. The sky was a little grey, but the rain held and we had a very nice ride to a sea cave formation, where we crept inside and once beyond we saw a group of harp seals resting on the rocks of the island. It was quite a treat, to see these white coats watch as we passed on. Some decided to plunge into the ocean, maybe they were startled by the sound of our engines or just hungry. It has been a long time since I’ve been so close to such an animal.

Seals on rocks

The Great Seal Hunt has historical significance and plays a role even today as we continue to live our rural heritage. In winter I proudly wear a pair of seal skin boots. The leather was prepared, barked and tanned by my father. They are the last pair I will ever own that have his talent and craftsmanship. Although they are more than 11 years old, I hope to have them for the rest of my days. A future article will be dedicated to the Great Seal Hunt.

The zodiac ride was 40 minutes. We passed a few fisherman’s camps that were strategically placed between the cliffs, well sheltered from weather and perfect for launching a boat. We landed in Langlade to be met by friendly locals ready to pull our boat to shore. It was time for breakfast at “Chez Janot”, the only restaurant in town!

Chez Janot

After a cup of coffee and croissant we boarded an air-conditioned bus with seating capacity for 20 and bilingual audio. We visited Langlade, which has beautiful sites and is basically untouched and uninhabited (excepted during summer months). The population goes from 0 – 200 people. Some of these people have summer houses, but most are like Newfoundlander‘s, they enjoy camping! Our first stop was a lovely French garden. My grandmother certainly would have smiled seeing all the love gone into caring for the variety of flowers. We continued to view l’Anse du Gouvernement, the Bellai Bridge (which crosses the Belle-Riviere), the Ste Therese Chapel, the Belle-Croix, the Debon brook and a lovely view from the Petit-Barachois.

French Garden

We returned to Chez Janot for a French-style meal, which included wine and a dessert with coffee. Tres Bon! We continued the afternoon on the bus, we drove on a sandy beach and stopped by the campground. One of the proprietors invited us all to stop for an aperitif. This alcoholic beverage was mixed with sparkling water and had hints of licorice. It was quite pleasant! The people on this quaint island we incredibly hospitable to their guests. We continued on our way to pass several wild horses. The children on the bus stopped to feed them some bread. Even the older people were smiling and in love with these animals. A little further up the road, one horse spotted “Chez Janot” bus and decided he would come visit.

Sorry...I don't have fare...

This horse was either well-trained or just curious, because none of the others decided to come near. He received some treats and we continued on our merry way to Miquelon.

Miquelon and Langlade were once two separate islands. Since the end of the 18th century, they have been reunited by a sand isthmus on which a road was built. The drive from the beach in Langlade to the village of Miquelon is about 24 kms. Upon arrival to Miquelon, which has a population of about 600 people we stopped and viewed the church, craftshop and harbour. We walked the streets and saw the Cap Blanc lighthouse. There is a museum for those that are interested.

Church

After a day of discovery, we returned to the zodiac. We arrived in St. Pierre at 5:30 PM. This enabled us to relax and returned to our friend’s house before we would dine for the evening over some delicious French-style cuisine and good wine!

If you want a memorable visit to the French Islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon you must consider this tour, if you wish to really experience the entirety of their adventurous archipelago.

For more photos of my trip, visit my Facebook Group at: “Live Rural NL”.

From Live Rural NL – CCM

terre de France: Fortune leads to French Islands (Part 1)

St. Pierre

St. Pierre

 

 It was nearly a decade ago, during a high school French trip in May 2001, since my feet touched the soil of St. Pierre. I reflect on fond memories with my former classmates to enjoy the unique characteristics of this place – the cuisine, language, architecture and the Franc as the mainstay currency.  

Heritage Run, the route on the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland & Labrador leads to the St. Pierre Ferry which leaves port from Fortune. As you drive this route you will be captivated by the landscape with your imagination leading you to believe dinosaurs, dragons or some other creature will appear.  On August 16, 2010 myself and a friend of a friend from Vienna, Austria had visited beautiful Burin. We had stopped by historic homes in Grand Bank and attempted to stay at Grannie’s Motor Inn, but it was filled. Although, the owner was quite helpful in securing a place at one of his other accommodations in Fortune. We stayed at Fortune Inn B&B for a short rest as we caught the 7:30 AM ferry.  

La Poste

 

 The Ferry Arethusa only takes passengers and is $107.00 return for the 1 hour 30 minute run. You have the option of sitting on deck or below. We started on deck, but after a mist of salt spray, I decided I was better off heading down under. Upon arrival I moved my watch 30 minutes ahead to match the timezone. We dropped by the tourist office to get information and decided to walk the streets to familiarize ourselves with the local boutiques, restaurants, bakeries and bars. After several photos of the architecture and a sweet patisserie, we were greeted by our host Gilles.  

After lunch we opted to take a van tour, which lasted for 1 hour and 15 minutes for 12.50 Euro (~$16.50). Our guide, Jean-Claude provided us with his take on the island’s economy, history, geography and culture. He started with the post office, which is still in operation, the salt sheds (no longer used for salt due to the moratorium on cod), the old fish plant, views of Ile aux Marins, the news station. Saint-Pierre Cathedral, the cemetery (17th century holding more than 1,000 graves, monuments and vaults), the Fronton (many traditional Basque games are played on site), Point aux Canons and its lighthouse, horses, former fishing rooms, a seabird on the rocks, freshwater swimming holes and saltwater sandy beaches and more. It was certainly worth the price paid.  

The Pointe aux Canons and its Lighthouse

 

 At 4:15 we boarded the ferryboat that would take us to Ile aux Marins, which is just 10 minutes from St. Pierre by boat (1 KM). There is a low and narrow strip of land laying across the harbour to the East, which once was populated by some 700 fisherfolk and family. Now, the former fishing village is a museum island with no year round residents. Despite the few inhabitants, the island does not lack charm and appeal. There are many homes that are well maintained, others more rustic. Many of the buildings have been restored to their original state including the Archipelitude museum (former school), Mason Jezequel, Notre Dame des Marins (church), city hall, other buildings, cemetery and shipwreck are all for viewing. One can definitely understand the hardship of living on such an island without electricity, running water, indoor plumbing and exposed to the environmental elements more than a century ago.  

Ile aux Marins

We arrived just prior to 7:00 PM and decided it was time to get some French cuisine. I certainly recommend a reservation, since the good places fill up, even on a Tuesday evening. We were turned away from Ile de France. La Feu de Braise was the second choice and I was delighted to have a half-liter of Bordeaux with lamb, rice and vegetables and for dessert, my always favourite, Creme Brulé. After dinner, it was off to the bar for a couple of beers before returning to our host. I chatted with him for several hours over wine while he played a traditional instrument before I retired for the night.  

Certainly my first day on the island was off to a great start! The following day, I took a zodiac, saw seals and explored Langlade and Miquelon. Check out Part II as it should be posted tomorrow. If you are interested in viewing more photos of these French Islands join the Facebook Group “Live Rural NL”.  

Live Rural NL (from a distance) -  

CCM  

HAVE A SCOFF – Gourmet Cooking, Newfoundland Style

A recent vacation, led me to visit the pristine oasis of Main Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. If you ever have the opportunity, visit and stay awhile.
Tuckamore Lodge

 I decided to stop by the Tuckamore Lodge, a wilderness retreat located in the centre of a vast region of exceptional natural beauty. Upon stopping, I was greeted by the proprietor, Barb Genge and instantly invited into her home. She is a visionary.  I enjoy every conversation we are able to have with respect to  marketing, packaging, the industry and the great outdoors.  Yes, this woman is a titan for the Viking Trail and its remarkable tourism and outfitting offering. 

While at the Tuckamore Lodge, I was privileged to enjoy a great lunch, what a “scoff”. You see the cuisine of Newfoundland and Labrador is as diverse as the heritage. We have Jigg’s Dinner, Toutons, Mug-ups and various wild game and seafood dishes that have been passed on from generation to generation. Tuckamore staff strive to provide an experience to its customers and not just a nights accommodation, with the food being a big part of the experience. 

Juicy scallops, seared with hollandaise sauce

The Scandinavian Decor, placement setting and experienced staff set the mood and  atmosphere. Lunch was served; on thick slices of freshly baked homemade bread was a gourmet sandwich and  side salad so fresh, you would think the vegetables came from a backyard garden. Yes, this lunch was an unexpected treat and so was the dessert that followed. A bakeapple square with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice-cream. This was incredible, as I found my way into dessert heaven. It was so enjoyable to the tastebuds I asked the chef for the recipe. She provided it instantly, despite being very busy with a number of other tasks. Now that is exceptional customer service. I’ve since prepared the dessert, not really comparable to the first, but I will keep trying. If you would like to eat at Tuckamore, it would be best to make a reservation in advance. You will certainly not be disappointed. 

I wish, there was more time to inhale the natural beauty of the lake, the sights and sounds of nature and the great outdoors. The countryside teams with wildlife: moose, caribou, black bears, salmon, trout, birds and other animals. Truly, something for everyone – the nature enthusiast, photographer, eco-tourist, hunter and anyone who would like to get-a-way from it all without having to “rough it” since there is a sauna, billiards room, hot tub, library, fitness equipment and more… 

Check out their website and see it for yourself: http://www.tuckamorelodge.com/ 

A Recommended Rural Retreat - 

CCM

Live Rural NL: Boyhood Fishing

Yesterday I began reading The Lure of the The Labrador WildThe classic story of Leonidas Hubbard, written by Dillon Wallace, which is an account of an expedition undertaken by these two into the unchartered interior of Labrador in 1903.

As I thumbed the pages, my youthful sense of adventure spurred. Leonidas Hubbard was co-editor of an Outdoor Magazine, Explorer, Adventurer and Enthusiast. I felt similar traits as I took stock of myself, after scribing several articles, traversing 27 countries and yearning for new experiences both near and far.

As Hubbard and Wallace trekked the rivers, Hubbard cast his rod and caught many trout. It brought back memories as a teen when I would walked with my comrads to a friend’s cabin in the wilderness. We were 5 and spent a weekend fishing during July. It was salmon season and two of our party spent their day on the river, while the rest of us cast our rods for trout from our little rowboat on the brook. The lucent sun was warm, nature was all around us – a beaver was swimming to his home, birds chirped, wild geese flew overhead and how can I forget the swarms of flies. Yes it was a sure sign of summer!

On one occasion I remember catching a fair size trout, one of my first. I was quite ecstatic! A sense of accomplishment overcomes a person when they are able to provide for themselves. I think it is a part of a person’s coming of age. Later that day, the trout was gutted and fried in the pan and it was delicious! My mouth waters for the flavourful fish. Can you reflect on a fishing experience, one of your first? Share with us, by posting a comment.

Brook Trout

Fried Trout 

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 5-10 fresh trout
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4-5 slices of salt pork (optional)

Wash trout well. Remove entrails and wash again. Dry trout and dip in a mixture of flour and salt. Fry trout in hot pan on fried-out salt pork until golden.

We were truly with mother earth -no internet, television or cellphones and content with our lack of ammenities.  We were not far from civilization, but for those days in the wilderness, the rest of the world could have been a million miles away. I certainly yearn for those boyhood days of summer where we fished, boated, built fires, camped and had fun; a time when we were carefree, spirited and daring. Those days are no more, as I have grown into a man, my friends too.  As well, we have since went our seperate ways. Although, times and situations change, the experiences can remain. I look forward to more days of summer when I take to the water and paddle my canoe. Freely flowing down a river and back again, exploring Rural NL. I post pictures when I do again.

Live in the moment, experience earth and all her beauty -

CCM

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