Blog Archives

A Feed of Fish n’ Brewis

Fish & Brewis is a traditional Newfoundland Specialty. I enjoyed this meal of fish, brewis and boiled potatoes on January 5th, 2012.

I’ll share with you the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cakes Purity Hard Bread
  • 2 lb salt cod fish
  • 1 cup of salt pork (finely diced)
  • Drawn Butter: 1/4 Cup Butter, 2 Med. Onions (chopped), 2 tbsp Water, 1 Cup Water (Optional)

Soak Hard Bread overnight. Use lots of water. Soak cod-fish in a separate bowl overnight. In the morning change water and cook cod-fish for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Put hard bread in saucepan with water to cover and bring to a boil. Remove Hard Bread from heat and drain. Optional Add cooked flaked fish and mix if you would like what is called Fisherman’s Brewis. Keep hot. Fry pork until golden brown and crisp, serve with fish and brews.).

Drawn butter: melt butter in saucepan, add onions  and  fry until golden and soft. Do not brown. Sprinkle flour over mixture and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat. Stir in half water. Place on heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Beat until shiny and smooth. Slowly add remaining water, cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes. Serve over fish and brewis.

My friends from Europe certainly enjoyed our traditional Newfoundland & Labrador cuisine.

Love Rural NL –

Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

The House of the Original Fairmount Bagel – Montreal, QC

There are certain things you must do where you visit certain places – like having a Beaver Tail on the Rideau Canal, drinking a Mojito in Cuba and tasting a crepe in Paris. In Newfoundland & Labrador we have many traditional dishes you should try while here, including:

  1. Split peas soup & dumplings
  2. Lassie Bread
  3. Toutons
  4. Fisherman’s Brewis
  5. Baked beans & hash
  6. Jigg’s Dinner
  7. Fish & Potatoe w/ Pork scrunchions
  8. Rabbit & Paste
  9. Moose Burgers
  10. Caribou Steak
  11. Moose Stew
  12. Fish Cakes
  13. Figgy Duff

During a visit in late-June to Montreal, I was introduced to a traditional taste enjoyed by many Montrealers – the bagel. The overpowering aromas filled the air of freshly baked bagels. There were racks upon racks – several being loaded on a truck to go to market. It was great to be able to purchase directly from the producer at “La Maison De L’Original Fairmount Bagel”.

My friend who lives in Montreal introduced me to this place and also to Smoked Salmon Spread, which we was delightful to the taste buds. Although, I must admit that I was skeptical at first.

It just goes to show sometimes we need to be open-minded. You may realize that by giving something chance you may find a new joy.

Consuming culture can be as simple as eating the sesame seed bagel with salmon dip from a local bagel shop. When you visit a new place, I encourage you to try local foods. As I try to  prepare often local dishes for myself and those who come and visit me in Rural NL.

Bon A petit!

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Twitter/LiveRuralNL

 

Grandmother Mitchelmore….How does your garden grow?

Planted beds of small seed in Grandma's Garden

My Grandmother Mitchelmore has been planting a garden for a lifetime. At 79 years young she knows that around the end of May, there is a flurry of activity to attend to the ground. She plants potatoes, turnip, carrot, onions and cabbage to ensure that she can prepare her traditional Jigg’s Dinner throughout the year. She also maintains a strawberry patch, which at times I am tempted to raid.

I grew up helping my grandparents in the garden and always enjoyed the harvest. I remember Grandmother and I were digging all the potatoes and she got a supersize tater. I dug frantically trying to match her giant spud. I did dig up a larger potato, but it definitely would not win a beauty contest.

Today she helped me continue to attempts to grow a variety of vegetables locally. We planted onion, red onion, green onion and baby carrots. Tomorrow, I will plant lettuce plants in addition to my already planted tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers and asparagus.

Grandmother planting onions with me today

There seems to have been a generational gap among those of my parents age, as many did not adapt the skills required to maintain a garden. However, there is hope as younger generations appear to have a strong interest in growing vegetables. Rural communities have an opportunity to utilize this interest as a means to share space and offer community gardens. Experienced elders can teach those younger the necessary skills to have a successful growing season.

Get your garden growing this season. It is not to late to start on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Fish Chowder with Hard Bread

  • 1 small cod-fish
  • 3 or 4 potatoes
  • salt pork, diced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cakes of hard bread
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp mixed herbs
  • salt & pepper

Wash and dry fish and cut into small pieces. Place the fish, potatoes and pork in stewing pan in alternate layers, sprinkling each layer with onion, herbs, salt and pepper. Add the water, cover closely and cook for about 40 minutes. Then add the hard bread which has been soaking in water for about 3 or 4 hours, or until soft. Strain off water, add warm milk. Cook 10 minutes after adding hard bread. Serve with a fresh roll.

Harvest Time – Big Spuds

The summer may be just about behind us, as tomorrow marks the first official day of Fall. A flurry of activity centers around the summer season for most parts of rural Newfoundland & Labrador. This included many early mornings and late evenings spent on  water – fishing, or on land – processing fish species or harvesting our forest products. Not to mention the fun and frolicking of summer vacations, festivals, Come Home Year Celebrations, weddings and other special activities that illuminate the liveliness of summer!

A "Viking Garden" - Norstead

 Well…Fall is a time not only for moose hunters, but for those who in late Spring planted seeds. Only to be rewarded with an array of fresh vegetables in their gardens. The mainstay crop has traditionally and still is the potato. However, the tastes of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have diversified to include turnip, carrot, cabbage, onion, radishes, beets, greens, pumpkins, squash, and peppers to name a few.

As I look into my backyard, I see two big plots of land that serve as gardens for subsistence living. I remember as a youth with my grandmother spending many hours tilling the land, marking the locations for potato beds, placing the small seeded potatoes (they had to be just so for my grandmother), adding kelp (seaweed) for natural fertilizer and then covering the bed with mud. I think I somehow always found an excuse never to help with the weeding of the garden. However, I would always enjoy pulling up a ripe carrot, brushing the mud away from it and eating it right there on the spot. It was so delicious, with no harmful pesticides. The food we grow always tasted good and nutritious!

Garden by Roadside

I loved digging up the potatoes in the fall of the year. I remember this one year, my grandmother and I were digging side-by-side. She had struck a marvellous, well-rounded potato. This started a competition to see if I was able to find one bigger. Well, I managed to get a very large potato. It was a little deformed. I would say now it was a mutated family of potatoes, but not then as I argued it was the bigger one! After holding each potato in our respective hands, we were unable to determine a winner. It is like those moments in a close curling match, when the teams call on a third-party to measure. Well we had to get my father to be that third-party in this scenario and weigh each potato. Well, “I was victorious by just an ounze, maybe two”, but it certainly would not have won a beauty pageant. That prize would have to go to grandmother.

For the traveller in the know, if you drive around rural Newfoundland & Labrador you will have the opportunity to see many gardens planted at roadside. They are basically planted there because of the good soil for growing crops, without as many pesky weeds. These gardens are planted on Crown land. Most of Newfoundland & Labrador’s land is considered Crown (more than 90%).
 

Garden near St. Anthony

The Government is now  instituting stricter regulations on road signage. I only hope they do not consider repatriating or expropriating our rights of residents to till the grounds our ancestors did as a means to subsist of the land!

 
These gardens are part of our heritage and culture that add to the uniqueness of our province. The curiosities it gives to tourists, is plentiful as many stop to pull out their Canon or Nikon‘s to take a snap or two and wonder for a while.  
 
There is opportunity in growing agri-culture and agri-foods on the peninsula on commercial scales. Where are our local Farmer’s Market?
 
Live Rural NL – Christopher Mitchelmore 
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