Crocus Pocus

 

Heeeey y’aaaaalll

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It’s been a pretty nice last couple of weeks here. I think it’s even safe to say spring has sprung! Yesterday it had to have gotten upwards of 20 degrees, I got a sunburn on my arm just driving home from work! I pulled up into the driveway and CB was puttering around in the shed, making a nice cozy spot in eager anticipation of the arrival of our motorcycles back from Newfoundland. The dog was racing around through the woods like a psycho, chasing rabbits, being happy. Coming home is the best feeling.

By the time we went into the house, the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees and the fog tumbled in eerily fast. It went from a beautiful sunny saturday afternoon to a scene from a gloomy horror movie in an instant. Complete with a crow sitting in a creaky old tree out front. The air was so thick with fog it was deathly silent, save for the occasional cawing of a crow. So we ate a dinner of very spicy beef rolled in lettuce leaves and pretended it was summer.

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Last weekend CB’s Nan Marie came out to stay for the weekend. We hung out, and ate nice meals, and shot BBs at beer cans, enjoyed the sunshine. It was the weekend of the Cod Fish Supper at the church in Gabarus, and she came down for that. That was SO GOOD. OH MAN. It is a salty fish fantasy.

We went out to the church about 4:30, and you buy your ticket which has a number and sit in the pews to wait for your number to be up. When they call you, you get to have your supper. The ladies had set up long tables with baskets of fresh buns, tea & coffee, chow and curds. They serve you a very generous plate of salt cod with baked potato, mashed turnip, and tons of scrunchions. I learned allllll about scrunchions in Newfoundland, and oh my lord, let me tell you about it. These are little nuggets of salt pork fried up golden until its fat is rendered out, cooked down all day with onions, and when you ladle (yes, I said ladle, do not judge me!) it over the salt cod and potato, it is what heaven tastes like. And then a little chow pickle to cut the richness, sopped up with buttery homemade bread… …. yeah…. oh yeah… YEEEEAHH!

And lemon cake for dessert. Hoo. Boy.

On a completely unrelated note, I went into the hospital this week because of my high blood pressure. BUT, it’s all sorted out now, and Im being very good and healthy. I will consider the Cod Fish Supper my last salty Hurrah before I knock it off and be good. Still going again next year though….

Also the ladies said I could come help for the Strawberry Festival at the church in July. It’s mostly to help hull thousands of strawberries but then I get to eat them with tea biscuits and cream, so I dont mind the cramped thumbs and red stains on my fingernails for the next few days afterwards.

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These are some cool bottles I found in the forest out back. Two of them are old Javex bleach bottles. I like old bottles.

Yesterday at work we made a few hundred macarons. They are going to be: chocolate mint, vanilla rolled in sprinkles, orange, blueberry, red velvet, cookies & cream, and strawberry. These are… very popular..

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This is some rickety old haunted house thats probably 100% full of bats. Sweet Pea and I walk past it very night around 7pm, and every time I stop out front and think about having a peek in the windows. But then I get scared about ghosts and hobos getting bent out of shape at me about it and we go on our way.

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This is the house next door. Its super cute, and also tempting for a little casual evening B&E action. CB says I should refrain from breaking into abandoned houses around here because of the law and whatever but I WANT TO SEE IF THERES COOL STUFF INSIDE. Not to steal– that would anger the spirits and I hate being haunted– just to look at and say “oh, cool!”

Is that too much to ask?

There’s an old house across the street from us that makes me hungry for law breaking. The paint has peeled away long ago, and the driveway has been eaten up by the forest. But its windows are intact and the roof is good, all the angles are straight. They say, like a lot of houses around here, it was built by shipwrights and that is why its still so straight. I bet there is some kind of cool pirate booty in there. I think thats where my fox friend lives. He comes out around the same time as we go for a walk every night and sits in the middle of the road having a look at us. Nosey bugger!

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AHhhhh.. thats that. There’s probably more to drone on about but I’m sitting at an awkward angle and my legs have gone numb so Im going to go eat .. some plain celery and.. I dunno, some other thing a healthy person pretends to love eating.

Sigh.

K BY E LOVE Yo U

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Chillywacker

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Taking some pictures around the house. This is out on the bridge, out looking across to the south side of town. Its bloody cold out today, so I didnt take many more pictures outside!

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The pretty girl, smiling.

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Coupla nice jugs! Ha-HAW!
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This duck givin’ me the ol stink eye.

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Christmas Town, lording over us, biding their time until they shine again..

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Some rocks and ropes and stuff.

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Turnips with tons of butter and pepper, daaaa-yum, so yum, in my tum!

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Pretty long beets, ready for pickling! I got 3 litres of pickled beets!

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My favourite cold weather activity. Cooking down a big pan of Way Too Many Onions in Way Too Much Butter until they are brown and delicious.

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Make a warm cup of tea.

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Butter melting in a cast iron pan, OOOOOU sexy sexy, too much, stop!

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CB’s awesome dinner of breaded lamb kidneys, thick cut bacon, onions and brussel sprouts. Because he is a 115 year old man. Although he did race around all week like a fucking superhero after eating this so I guess there’s something to it.

Alright Im going to go watch this Australian horror movie “the babadook”?? I’m not.. looking forward to it.. wish me luck!

Newfie Voodoo

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This is Fisherman’s Brewis, and it will make you very, very quiet, and very, very full, and very.. very.. happy.

We haven’t made this at home before, but we’ve had it at a couple of places around Newfoundland. It’s a traditional dish and comes from when the boys were out on the boat and they didnt have a whole lot of stuff to work with. Some hard bread, some salt fish, a couple potaters and fatback pork.. oh baby.

CB made this for us before he left for work this afternoon so that when we were done adventuring we just had to heat it up in the cast iron pan before dinner. We had it with scrunchions, and mustard cabbage pickles! WAAAAH!!

It was the perfect thing to eat tonight because the day is cold and foggy and the kind of damp that gets in your bones and makes you want to nap all day. Its going to be a go to winter meal I think. Oh by the way, this ain’t no health food.

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Fisherman’s Brewis & Scrunchions

4 cakes hard bread

4 potatoes

1 lb salt cod

6 slices salt pork

1 small onion

Soak salt fish in one container, and hard bread in another, in cold water overnight.

In the morning, boil the salt fish in clean water, and on top of the pot steam the hard bread for about 20 minutes until the bread is soft and the fish flakes.

Remove from heat and drain. Skin, bone and flake fish – set-aside.

Boil potatoes. Mix them with hard bread and salt fish until its all together, smashing the potatoes up a bit as you go.

Scrunchions:

In a pan on low heat, fry salt pork until all fat is rendered out. Add onions and cook until golden brown. Spoon fat and onions over fish and brewis like a beautiful, fatty gravy. Oh gawwwrrdd…

 

AND THEN THERE WAS PIE.

 

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This is a local speciality, a lassie tart, and I had never eaten it or even heard of it until I moved here. It is the stuff of legends, everyone’s mum makes it the best and one lady, Margaret, has become somewhat of a mythic, legendery pie hero to me. Everyone whispers in hushed tones “not as good as Margarets..” but thats ok because Margaret is obviously using some awesome Newfie voodoo pie magic and one day I will learn her dark arts! The crust is like a gingersnap cookie, made with molasses and black tea. Its rolled out thin and spread with funky, sour partridgeberry jam — not too sweet! And then a lattice crust is assembled on top and you back it for about 20 minutes until the jam starts to bubble. Serve it with ice cream, it’s SO GOOD! But not as good as Margarets……

 
‘Lassie Tart

Dough:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup molasses

2 cups flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp clove

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup strong brewed black tea

Partridge Berry Jam:

6 cups partridgeberries

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

To make the dough, cream the butter and molasses. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. In a small bowl or cup, stir the baking soda into the hot brewed tea, then add immediately to the butter-and-molasses mixture and stir well. Add dry ingredients to the same bowl and mix until just combined. Pat the dough into a ball and flatten, wrap in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours.

To make the partridgeberry jam, place the berries, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Set aside and let cool.

To assemble the tarts, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick and 10 inches round. Transfer to an 8-inch tart pan and trim the overhanging edges. Form a ball with the scraps, roll out the dough and cut out strips for the lattice top.

Fill tart with 1/2 inch of partridgeberry jam. Place the lattice overtop and use a fork to crimp the edges of the pastry.

Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes or until the top is dark brown and the jam is starting to bubble.

 

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Peacock Hunter

Look what I found this morning in our back yard! A PEACOCK! IN REAL LIFE! The biggest, most beautiful peacock ever! Hiding behind a bush! While CB was making me the worlds most delicious bacon & edam omelette he spotted him lurking, and I ran directly outside to catch him.  I tried to lure him with some toast crumbs CB shook furiously out of the toaster for me while I stood outside of the kitchen door yelling “Crumbs! Crumbs! QUICKLY MAN THE CRUMBS!”, but he wasn’t interested.

Awww peacock. Every morning should start with a peacock. After our amazing breakfast we went out to try to get some groceries and whatnot but failed. Instead of dealing with stores crammed with legions of screaming babies we bailed and just drove to a french bakery where I filled an entire cafeteria tray with treats. I sat down at our little table sheepishly, with a spread of caramel tarts and apricot croissants and this chubby little blonde girl at the table beside ours looked at me like I was her fucking hero, and I felt less embarrassed. Then we came home and had a nap for the rest of the cold, rainy afternoon.

This is a terrible picture, but this is a rainbow, happening, at sunset. AMAZEBALLS.

Tonight CB’s making us meatballs! And like all good things in life, they start with bacon. Yum. Half beef, half pork, full of spiciness and covered in sauce and parmesan cheese.

I bought myself a christmas mug at K-Mart today. It’s a fat, pissed off kitten in a photoshopped scarf saying “Meowy Christmas!” Currently it is filled with beer. I think she has kind of a Mona Lisa smile going on…

It was a real shitty week, so I’m appreciating the small things. Work is kind of INSANE lately, but our head chef has finally arrived from Germany and plopped promptly into the shit straight off the plane. She’s a wonderful lady and I’m really looking forward to learning lots from her. And on an upside, I got to feed Prince Charles and Camilla while they were visiting Auckland. All me, by myself! They had small lemon meringue tarts and truffles that I rolled myself with my grubby little hands. And shockingly, they ate 90% of it! Usually when I make food for VIP’s its more a gesture to make their room look nice, but now I’ve learned that Camilla can EAT man! I like her style.

So, working, being taken care of, finding peacocks and feeding a prince, but not much else to report on. I’m sleepy and full of beer and meatballs and going to retire now to lay on CB and make fun of this very tedious, despite the high number of explosions, Nic Cage movie. PEACE OUT Y’ALL!

‘Toe Leak Soup

What a good friday.

And damn it was sunny! CB packed us up a backpack full of snacks and we went for a wander. After jaunting around over hill, as well as dale, we stopped at a cliff top clearing just off the road overlooking a creek to crack open our snack pack. Wee tupperware containers of boiled eggs, crispy bacons, green apples and a couple of bananas, delicious. We stretched out in the long dry grass and had a nap in the warm sun while listening to Bill Baileys program on BBC about science type stuff. There were at least seven hawks flying around us while we laid there like meatloaves in the sun shine. It was.. very nice.

After a very brief attempt to surf on a large rock down the gravelly side of the cliff we trundled on home and I made a nice bit of soup. A couple of days ago I made a huge salad for lunch, and from that huge salad I used all the leftover veggie bits and a turkey neck from the freezer to make one mean buttkisser of a stock.

I got three large mason jars of golden, jiggly magic. I used 2 of them to make my very favourite, Potato Leek soup. I’ve added some spicy heat in the form of chili powder and a little bit of fish sauce for extra unctuous. Its thick, creamy, ultra smooth, and makes your kitchen smell so sexual. We ate this with hot sauce and big fat hot Italian sausages!

Potato Leek Soup

Yield: 12-16 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Cost: $3.90 or about 30 cents a bowl

3 slices of bacon
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter
3 large leeks
3 stalks of celery
3 medium onions
6 medium potatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
8 cups chicken or turkey stock
4 cups water
1/4 cup sherry or white wine
 
Salt and Pepper to taste
 

Like most good things in the world, I like to start it off with bacon. Chop bacon into cubes and cook on high heat in a large, heavy bottomed pot until the fat is bubbling and the bacon are little crispy nuggets of delicious.

Turn the heat down to medium-high.

Into the hot fat, add 2 tbsp of butter. When butter has melted, add in garlic, stir, and throw in your roughly chopped onions and celery. Sautee until soft. Deglaze with a little bit of white wine, beer, or stock.

Throw in your leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, 25-30 minutes until leeks have softened.

Add in your roughly chopped potatoes, water, stock, bay leaves, fish sauce and chili. Cook until potatoes are completely broken down.

Pick out your bay leaves and discard. Puree your soup with an immersion blender until it looks glossy and smooth (or a bit at a time in a blender, but that tends to be a hot wet mess).

Oregano & Parmesan Cheerios

2 cups plain Cheerios

1 tbsp butter

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp red chili flakes

2 tbsp parmesan cheese

Heat butter, oregano and chili flake in a small pan until butter browns. Add in cheerios and parmesan cheese. Croutons are done when the cheese has melted and the cheerios are toasted. Sprinkle all over your soup!


February Farm Times

So now it’s February.

Great.

That’s the worst one! Everything is exciting shades of white and brown.  It is all so very dry and cold and itchy. Blugh. February, more like PLEBruary! Am I right people? *HIGH FIVES*

Anyroad..

Im up in Thornton for my days off this week, visiting CB’s folks. Seeing as everyone else is working like a bunch of chumps during the day I am forced to spend all day lounging around the house by myself. I’m managing though. Yesterday when I got tired of watching Ice Road Truckers and shows about Cat Facts, I did a bit of cooking with my friends Slick Rick and Captain Morgan! Their cat, Pissa, also helped to keep me company. Also took some pictures so you can see that even in the armpittiest month of the year, its still so fucking beautiful here!  Be still, my farts.

Choux Choux


The cold weather is making me crave Nanny Food. Beef stew, meatballs, velveeta macaroni and cheese fried in a pan the next day with huge chunks of crusty french bread, corn beef dinner, rouladen with purple cabbage and little buttery potatoes.. oh god.

But! Most of all, right now, I am craving cabbage rolls like nobody’s bees. So I made some. I really am craving specifically my Nanny’s home made cabbage rolls but my mum is dogsitting in my Grams cottage and has frustratingly shite phone reception so only hearing every other word of what each other was saying, I’ve had to improvise. The verdict: fucking perfect.

Price: $13.50 or $.90 per roll

Time: 1 hour prep, 1 1/2 hours cook time

Healthiness: Cabbage, lean ground beef and tomatoes with the only fat coming from 3 tbsp olive oil and 2 pieces of bacon. Very healthy!

Cabbage Rolls

For the Rolls:

1 head cabbage (15 leaves)

2 lb ground beef

4 cups of long grain white rice, cooked and cooled

2 slices bacon

2 eggs

1 large onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, very finely diced

1 tbsp hot sauce

Sauce

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

6 roma tomatoes, chopped

6 beef steak tomatoes, chopped

3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped

3 bay leaves

1 tbsp oregano

2 tbsp honey

Splash of Red Wine

Boil the cabbage and remove the leaves when they fall away from the cabbage and turn translucent. Put them aside to cool.

Cook your rice according to package directions. Cool.

Cook your sauce by caramelizing your onions, then throwing in your tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Cook for 10-15 minutes on high until the sauce has thickened and reduced.

Prepare your meat filling by throwing everything in a bowl and mushing it together!

Roll your meat filling into the cabbage leaves. Place 1/2 inch apart into baking dish. Bake at 350 for an hour to an hour and a half.

Step by step photo tutorial to follow!

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