Blog Archives

An Abundance of Fish n’ Brewis

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Newfoundland and Labrador cuisine has long roots in our history, as the meal of fish and brewis (pronounced “brews”) has been a traditional favourite since sailors came from Europe in the late 1400 and 1500’s.

Fish and Brewis consists of codfish and hard bread or hard tack. Sailors and fishers would spend months on board schooners and the salt cod and hard bread would last the journey. With the abundance of cod around the outports of Newfoundland and Labrador this meal became a staple at many homes. Our Purity Factories has been producing hard bread for nearly one hundred years!

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The basic recipe will have the hard bread broken into bite-size pieces and soaked in water overnight. Next day the fish and hard bread are boiled separately until tender then both are served together.

The traditional meal is served with “scrunchions” or salted pork fat which has been cut into small pieces and fried. Both the rendered fat and the liquid fat are then drizzled over the fish and hard bread.

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Here is a recipe for four servings:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cakes Purity hard bread
  • 1 lb salt cod
  • 6 slices salt pork (3” x ¼ “ thick)

In two separate bowls, soak salt fish and hard bread in cold water for approx 6-8 hours or overnight. In the morning drain and replace both with cold water.

Bring salt fish to a slow boil and let simmer for approx 20 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Skin, bone and flake fish – set-aside.

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Bring to a slow boil and simmer for approx 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Squeeze out excess water from the hard bread and mix in flaked fish.

In a frying pan, low heat, fry salt pork until all fat is extracted and cook until golden brown. Spoon fat over fish and brewis. Garnish with scrunchions (rendered salt pork).

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I enjoy this traditional meal best with a cup of steeped Tetley tea and fresh homemade bread with old-fashioned Crosby molasses. Truly authentic Newfoundland and Labrador cuisine.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

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Embroidered Bread & Conche Caplin

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The creative community of Conche is where I purchased this tapestry of embroidered bread and caplin. It sits in the public gallery at the Straits-White Bay North Constituency Office at 279 West Street, St. Anthony along with other art for anyone wish to view them.

Local artist and the local arts community is still budding on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. I get inspired each and every time I see new product, visit people’s homes and see them rug hooking, crafting, painting or making something by hand. The residents of the Great Northern Peninsula have been making things by hand since the beginning of their existence – it was essential for those Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Groswater Eskimo and recent Indians to make clothing, tools for hunting and history shows their use of chert and red ochre for face painting and design. This dates us back 5,000 years ago, as the Great Northern Peninsula is the authentic place where the World Came Full Circle. It happened more than 1,000 years ago when the first Europeans to re-discover North America were the Vikings. L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site, still have the remnants of the sod huts that would have been made by hand. They found many artifacts that are replicated today, including a whorl (or spindle). This is evidence that people on the Great Northern Peninsula have been making things by hand more thousands of years.

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The Basque, French & English settlers would come and reap the wealth of our natural fish, whale, seal and timber resources. During their stays they would leave some of their culture behind, such as the clothing, the French ovens and the way they prepared for their daily lives, from the boat making to the fish flakes.

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It likely wasn’t until Dr. Grenfell came that all the localized art making was formally commercialized with the industrial department as part of the Grenfell Mission (International Grenfell Association). People are familiar with Grenfell Handicrafts and the rug designs of Lady Grenfell. Under the leadership of Jessie Luther, the rug hooking and handicraft business had retail outlets in the United States and a network of local artist. This process flourished up until Dr. Grenfell’s death in 1940. Approaching 75 years later, the Grenfell rugs are still being made on a much smaller scale by a group of local woman and for sale at the Heritage Shoppe at the Grenfell Interpretation Centre, St. Anthony, NL.

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Local art is so important to our region, our culture and our heritage. Let’s embrace our legacies and also capitalize on new opportunities. Art is all around us and we should be quite proud of all the art forms that are part of landscapes, community or something that hangs on a wall.

Whether the Embroidered Bread & Conche caplin is hanging on your wall or at your dining table it surely makes for a wonderful memory – knowing a local person worked hard to present you with a piece of art by hand.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula & Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Picturesque St. Lunaire-Griquet & Gunner’s Cove, NL

The Town of St. Lunaire-Griquet  and Gunner’s Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula are completely picturesque and there is no wonder more than 30,000 visits during the summer season. This place is steeped in history from the Aboriginals, Vikings, French, English and other settlers given the presence of the mysterious markings at St. Brendan’s rock.

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The presence of traditional saltbox, biscuit box or two-story homes can be viewed along winding roads with ocean views and craggy coastlines. There are many unique pieces of vernacular architecture you will not want to miss on your visit.

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There will be root vegetable gardens near roadside and flakes of salt cod drying in the sizzling summer sun. A host of accommodations are available from motels, cottages, cabins, bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals and hotels to meet any travellers needs.

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There are unique attractions, a network of walking trails, eco-museums, craft and carving shops, boat tours, festivals and an array of activities in the surrounding areas from the Viking Settlement, Norstead Viking Village and Port of Trade, Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, Raleigh Historical Fishing Village, Grenfell Historic Properties, Radio Quirpon, Coffee Shops, Kitchen Parties at the Legion and Screech-ins at Skipper Hots with traditional music by the Skipper Hots band.

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People come and are wowed by the icebergs of the Great Northern Peninsula. They are much larger as they snuggle into our harbours and coves. Watch small boat fishers as they bring in their daily catch or have a yarn at the small wharves. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is truly about interaction with out people. The Great Northern Peninsula offers a truly unique and authentic experience.

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The culinary experiences are exceptional, with two of the restaurants ranking in the top 10 for the best fish n’ chips in Newfoundland & Labrador. The Daily Catch, Snow’s Take-out  and Dark Tickle Cafe are in St. Lunaire-Griquet, with Northern Delight in Gunner’s Cove. L’Anse aux Meadows is home to the Norseman Restaurant, Coffee in the Cove at Hay Cove and Burnt Cape Cafe in Raleigh.

Northern Peninsula eateries praised for their fish and chips

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The tip of the Great Northern Peninsula is the perfect get-a-way to be one with nature. Moreover, it has the distinction of being the one place in the world where humanity came full circle – an event more than 100,000 years in the making!

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Now that you know there are lots of places to stay, eat and experience – pack your camera and begin planning that trek up the Great Northern Peninsula and start snapping images of the picturesque communities of St. Lunaire-Griquet and Gunner’s Cove on Newfoundland’s tip.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Ocean Comes to Life at Bonne Bay Marine Station

IMG_20140831_135441The Bonne Bay Marine Station, a research arm of Memorial University is nestled in the quiet community of Norris Point aims to expand knowledge of marine ecology. I have been to the centre on a number of occasions, including an International Fisheries Symposium hosted by Community University Research and Recovery Alliance (CURRA). It is a great place for people of all ages to have fun and learn about ocean life! I took the visit from a water taxi departing Woody Point and returning later in the evening. A 20 minute water taxi saved an hour of driving and provided a great view of dolphins! Totally worth $14 return.

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One can get a guided tour, explaining sea anemones, lobsters, crabs, starfish, wolf fish, sand dollars, sea urchins and a variety of other creatures. One can truly experience the squishy-ness of the starfish and take up scallops and other items in the touch tank.

I was thoroughly impressed by our guide, as she expressed enthusiasm and also great knowledge as she opened shell of the female crab or engaged a colleague digging for worms. We spent some time in the upper level as well where there are digital learning areas, interpretative panels and displays. Additionally, there is a library, classrooms and laboratories that are part of the educational program.

The Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge the brainchild of Pam Hall, adorns the walls. It highlights local knowledge from the Great Northern Peninsula, many of it focused on the fishery and living rural.

After a visit to Bonne Bay Marine Station, one can take a Bon Tour on the Emm-Cat of the bay or drop by for a pint and some wonderful seafood chowder at the Cat Stop Pub.

Norris Point is home to the iconic “Trails, Tails and Tunes” festival, Voice of Bonne Bay Community Radio Station, Gros Morne Adventures and a number of local businesses that cater to tourists taking in beautiful Gros Morne National Park. There is much opportunity to promote and partner fisheries-tourism synergies and to also partner education with commerce as a means to enhance community and economic development.

Ocean comes to life at Bonne Bay Marine Station. Drop by and let me know what you think.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

SALT COD $5.50 lb

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Advertising in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Who doesn’t love a good feed of salt cod? I hope to get out on the water today to participate in the recreational cod fishery.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA
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