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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Pork Roast + Sunsets = Romance

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The sky was so pretty tonight it looked like a painted back drop.

I’ve had the better part of 4 days off with my precious bearded one and it has been lovely. But, as he growled off  into the sunset to work on his little suzuki, sweater all warm from hugs and backpack full of donuts for the guys, I felt like it really wasn’t enough. We made the most of it though! Spent lots of time farting about in the sun, curdled up on the couch watching David Attenborough tell us all about how totally nasty spiders are, or cooking together. That was my favourite bit because we haven’t done that in a long time. We made some proper warm up your guts winter food and ate it while making noises.

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This morning we got a nice big old roll of pork tenderloin from the butchers. It was beautiful. I gave it a sensual oil massage and rubbed rock salt into the skin. Then we roasted it up until it was golden brown and crispy. The smell in the house was intense and I was literally jumping up and down in front of the oven with excitement like goddamn Santa Claus was going to come out.

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Dummmmm dummm DUMMMM! Seriously.. it was even better than it looks.

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Skin so crunchy it klinked like pork glass when CB gave it a tap with the knife.

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Hog heaven.

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It also made the best gravy of my LIFE! (Sorry mom, but you would have been jealous)

As we ate CB commented that he wishes he could take credit for this masterpiece, but the credit is entirely due to whatever awesome little pig friend made this with his porky bod. The crackling was amazing, but no human being should eat that much crispy pig skin so the bulk of it, sadly enough, went into a soup stock for later this week. I know, sacrilege, but we are trying to be healthy and aside from all the pictures of donuts and gravy on here lately it’s working pretty well!

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I don’t know why, but I thought I would take a picture of our chair. Its really comfy and good for drinking tea in and flipping through seed catalogues like an old cat lady.

Once CB left for work I took the opportunity to go buy a new pair of pants. I’m down to just the one, and its kind of embarrassing. I feel like if I wear them with cuffs one day and none the next people will be fooled into thinking I have two pairs of the same pants… I doubt it’s fooling anybody, but I also doubt anyone is paying any attention to my pants anyway so its all good in the hood. Anyway, I took my sad booty to the mall, which is so tedious I like to spare CB from the indignity of watching me try on pants and proceed to then spend 85 minutes staring into the depressing department store mirror adjusting the crotch area trying to find that sweet spot where it doesnt bunch or billow weird.. I can do that on my own. Success! I came out with a pair of jeans that actually fit so VICTORY IS MINE! In the spirit of buying jeans that fit I also managed to avoid going to Yoghurt Story and eating tiramisu frozen yoghurt covered in gummi bears by myself in the food court. So, also, small victory there. Things are looking up, for this gal! Self control, you shall be mine some day! Christ this is sounding like Bridget Jones started working for the Pork Board of Canada or something.

Oh! On the way into Henderson I have to come down through the ranges and at one point I was driving on a ridge between two valleys. On one side was the city, with it’s millions of sparkling gold and pink lights under the turquoise sky and on the other side was the sunset that almost identically matched the colours. It was so striking I almost crashed into a mail box.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with Mr. Attenborough and some bug that wears the carcasses of its dead prey as a costume. Sounds like a romantic evening continues..

Ponkballs

I started this post this afternoon and am now finishing it at 9:59pm. CB likes to give me the most squeezing hugs and squished my poor tube too hard, and I just passed right out until now. He gives me such proper squeezing we even have a hug safe word, “pants”. At least once a day I scream “PANTS!!” to avoid dying… anyway I’m lying, we just had a super long nap. And now its passed my usual bedtime and I’m WIDE AWAAAKE eating a peanut butter chocolate bar and watching a particularly brutal cowboy movie with CB. Well mostly Im making a blog.

Last night I was in charge of supper so I decided to clear out the fridge. My ingredients: 300g pork mince, 2 onions, a small hunk of edam, a real wobbly carrot and a little bit of chopped bacon. Combined with a zook from the garden, and some fresh thyme and our first jalapeno from our Bucket Garden, we had MEATBALLS! Meatballs.. is there anything more that needs to be said that the name doesnt say? C’est parfait. But you know what is totally unecessary but even better? Stuffing each meatball with a chunk of cheese. Yeah, that’ll do.

Cheesy Pork Meatballs

Yield: 16 medium sized meatballs
Cost: <$10
Time: 30 minutes

Chunky Sauce:

1 can of diced tomato
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, fine dice
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
1/2 cube chicken bouillon
2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt

In a large pan on medium high heat, warm some olive oil. Add onions and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add in carrot, jalapeno and thyme and cook until carrots are tender. Add in your diced tomato, vinegar, bouillon, brown sugar and salt. Simmer on medium low heat until sauce thickens and starts to look a bit shiny and deep red.

Balls o’Meat:

300g pork
150g bacon, chopped fine
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
Salt, pepper, hot sauce

16 1 cm cubes of cheese

Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F.

Put everything in a large bowl and mash together. I like to use a balloon whisk and whip the crap out of my meat because I like the texture better. Take 2 tbsp of porky goodness and flatten it into a small patty shape in your hand. Place a cube of cheese in the middle, form the meat around it and give it a quick roll to round it up. Set aside on a tray.

On a hot nonstick pan, sear off the meatballs until nice and crispy brown on both sides. Put on a tinfoil or parchment lined baking pan and bake in the oven 15-20 minutes to finish. Depending on the size of your meatballs, it may take a little less or little more time, but you’ll know they are done when the cheese erupts out of the middle like little meat volcanoes!

Add sauce and eat’em up!

Patty Pan Pandemoniumum

Look at these weird little babies! Aren’t they adorable? John is growing all kinds of zucchinis in his garden and this is one of them, Patty Pan Squash! They are really large, so we picked a couple to have for lunch! I’ve never tried these before, and John heard that you shouldn’t eat them when they are large like these ones. So I was excited to see how they tasted.

This is a wee baby patty pan being born. Awwww…

The garden is out of control. The sunflowers are taller than me, and there’s a half dozen zooks at least a foot long! Green giants and long yellow ones.. They look particularly phallic thrusting out of the foliage, flowers curled around their tips.. ahem. See what I mean?

Then there’s my little pickle… not nearly as impressive…..

Here I have dissected the cute little frilly squash thing to show you it’s seedy guts! It’s soft and white and just like a zucchini inside.

Lettuce is my favourite colour, I think.

CB frying up the patty pan with some butter, salt and pepper.

Lunch is ready! Pork tacos in lettuce leaf shells. The patty pans are BLOODY DELICIOUS! Soft and buttery, with a nutty taste like toasted pumpkin seeds. Super delicious, I wish we had cooked up more. So you definitely can eat these buggers when they are big as your head.

After lunch I watched from the deck as John climbed the neighbors fence to pillage their plums. CB defended him from prickly tall weeds with a pair of wire snips. We got a million! PLUMMMS!

Turo Turo!

Amazing Egg Pie at Turo Turo. Photo by Turo Turo.

Tonight I stole CB away from work and took him to a secret locale for dinner! A small Filipino restaurant in Glen Innes, that was amazing. I work with a Filipino girl and she and I talked about food from her country for about an hour while I was waiting for desserts to be plated up. She recommended 2 places to me, but this one had the nicest website!

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We shared a plate of the best, crunchiest, fried chicken of our LIFE! I ordered a delicious meat stew called Beef Caldereta that reminded me a lot of my Gram’s swiss steak, only spicy. CB had a crispy pork dish that came on sizzling hot platter with a raw egg on top that slowly cooked while we ate our chicken. We each had a frosty glass of mango smoothie with dinner, so good.

Our waitress was super nice and suggested a whole bunch of food to us. CB and I have a problem with getting overly excited trying new foods and wanting to order every single thing, forgetting we can always come back. But we managed to do well. There were a few families having dinner in the small restaurant, and a little baby was racing around like a maniac and all the other diners were keeping an eye out to make sure she didnt run out the door.

Dessert was what I was waiting for though! It was so hard to choose, they had 5 or 6 things that caught my eye and were all home made. Unfortunately I was so full from dinner I had to be choosey and not a greedy fat girl eating every dessert at the restaurant. We shared an egg custard pie that was perfectly smooth and caramelized inside and crunchy and dark on top, so gooood. Our waitress was so nice and when I told her I was a pastry chef and that was one amazing pie, she brought out the adorable lady who made it! I offered to come work for her for free if she taught me her mad skills and bowed to her as I am not worthy. She said it would be her pleasure! We left, stuffed to the gills, but we will be back to try everything else soon. And I will definitely try to get into that kitchen and see that old lady work her magic!

On our way out I caved and got a piece of purple Ube cake to go. It was impossible to resist. BRIGHT purple, with blue icing! That photo does’nt really do it justice. It was soft, moist purple sponge and creamy icing.. it had a light sweet taste, that was kind of imperceptible, but delicious.

I had never had Filipino food before, but it seems to me to be a fantastic mix of spanish, american, and asian cooking. Its hearty and tasty comfort food for sure. Mmm.

Pulled Pork & Tamarillo BBQ sauce, Yeehaw!

Meat is best when it’s either pulled or jerked!

Last night we did the former, and made a big old pork shoulder roast. Marinaded it in a brine of vinegar, brown sugar, peppercorns and bay leaves and in the morning pulled it out, dried it off and rubbed it down with some random mix of BBQ-esque tasting spices. Whatever I could find in the cupboard really. Lots of cumin, smokey paprika, blended into a base of brown sugar and then I squirted some Sriracha sauce all over it for some nice spicey spice.

My recipe for it can be found here.

I served it shredded in its own juices, with some sweet creamy coleslaw, the caramelized onions from the bottom of the pan, tamarillo BBQ sauce and home made rhubarb lemonade.

I love this meal because for a $23 pork shoulder, half a cabbage, a carrot, some tamarillos from the garden and a whack of spices and condiments from the fridge I got so many tasty things. And it really only took about 20 minutes of effort.

– 750ml BBQ sauce
– Enough pulled Pork meat for 6 hungry people
– 3L dark brown pork broth
– 1 cup of pork fat
– 2 cups of amazing caramelized onions
– enough coleslaw for the rest of our lives
– crackling if we hadnt burnt it all up
So much damn thriftiness!

I filled the roasting pan with onions that came out beautiful, black and caramelized to the point they hardly even existed. I got an awesome new BBQ steak sauce. One we pulled the pork off the bone I chucked the bone and the ends of the carrots and some caggabe leaves from the coleslaw into the slow cooker overnight and got a whole bunch of amazing dark brown broth that will be perfect for french onion soup or keeping in the fridge to add taste to things. We burnt the crackling which is too bad, but we also managed to simultaneously render out all the fat and then strain it and keep it for cooking in the fridge.

There’s a tree behind where Ive been hanging the laundry that has a few last-of-the-season tamarillos dangling off it so I thought they would be a great base for a BBQ sauce. They are orange inside with seeds and taste like a mix between a tomato and a kiwi or passion fruit. They made a great BBQ sauce!

However after I pureed it I kept tasting it and thinking it’s missing  something.. so I added a bit more brown sugar. Almost… I added some splashes of worchestershire sauce. Allllmost. Then I stirred some molasses into the leftovers of our morning coffee and added it in. BINGO. Wait a second that was super familiar… yeah, it’s HP sauce. I made HP sauce. DAMN IT! Still, delicious, but probably better on steak.

So I think the next time I make this, I’ll just cook down onions, tamarillos and some garlic and ginger, would be even nicer.

Tamarillo BBQ Sauce

6 tamarillos

2 onions

1 apple

4 tbsp brown sugar

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic

1  tsp fresh chopped ginger

Squeeze of lemon

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp hot pepper

1 tsp mustard powder, or prepared mustard

1/2 cup water or apple juice, lemonade, whatever

Caramelize your onions with the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Add everything else and cook on medium heat until things break down and soften. Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

In my dreams I serve this on Pani Popo (a Samoan treat, soft white buns that are covered in coconut milk before baking) or with tons of sharp old cheddar and sour dill pickles, but alas we are trying not to be so much a fat. The meat on its own is really rich and fatty anyway. Maybe next time..

Ponk Chomp Poetry

Shady forest creaks
Lightning felled
monster trees
cedar stumps
blanket of moss
chews the wet wood
with the softest noms

Sneak peeking
in the holes of moles
Trails by mucky muskrat tums
slipping under brush
to munch frog’s polliwogs
Water striders skitter
nervously along

Little drunken creek
Pond scum & rotten leaves
beer bottle babbling
over bones and stones
March through marshy marsh
Bog burps, a hippy’s herbal farts
Bloody, muddy, boot thief

LOOK! I found a caterpillar! CB and I went for a trudge today. Merrily I skipped, taking pictures of every single flower I found; trillium, purple trillium, yellow dogswood, forget-me-nots, tiny wild pansies, and a variety of thorny berry-growing things. CB stomped along throwing knives into every dead tree along the way, and peeing on things. We saw a red tailed hawk, a rabble of butterflies and this little caterpillar, but no turtles. Oh, but I dream of turtles! Why can’t we just find one damned turtle! So many perfect little pond spots for them. BAH. One day.

Two hours of tromping through muddy farm fields and bits of forest led us to our favourite sunny spot on a hill. We tenderly nibbled on honey almonds, green apples and each other before having a nice sunny nap. This spring sun has become to feel like food to me, Im always so hungry for it and can’t seem to get enough. At sundown I have an overwhelming compulsion to go outside and get the last of the sun on my arms, just in case. I’m greedy for those vitamin Ds!!

We finally made it back. With blisters on callusses on blisters. I had much-too-hot bath and a much-too-big glass of beer with lemonade in it. CB BBQ’d us up some Flinstone sized pork chops and some green beans. I feel so nice. Goodnight!