Bananarama

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Since moving into our new wee house all I have wanted to do is stay home and bake and paint. Our house is so fun! Theres a lawn and so much space in the kitchen and its easy to clean up! Our first week here we felt like we were on vacation and we’d have to go back to the trailer at any minute. I love this little place.

Anyway, the two things I have been wanting to bake the most is blueberry pie (donezo) and my favourite banana bread. Its not exactly the healthiest version of the after school snack but it is so quick, super moist and gets even better the longer it sits. It is an absolute assassin with some salty butter on top.

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My Favourite Banana Bread

Yield: 1 8×8 pan or 1 large loaf
Time: 45 minutes start to finish
Cost: <$5

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
salt

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup oil
dash of vanilla
8 ripe bananas
2 tbsps sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350F and line your pan with parchment paper.

Mash bananas and sour cream together.

Mix dry ingredients together.

Beat sugar and eggs together for 10 minutes on medium speed. Drizzle in oil. Mix in walnuts, banana and creme fraiche. Fold in dry ingredients. Pour into pan.

Bake about 30 minutes. Longer if you are baking in a loaf pan.

Wait til it cools completely and eat with salty butter!

 

 

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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Sauering the Kraut

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Sauerkraut dinner is my favourite dinner. But something happened..

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There I was making a nice cabbagey dinner..

IMG_7387And eating it all up with beets and sour cream and sausages and bacon and onions and sweet potatoes, when I noticed..

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THERE’S NO MORE IN THE JAR! It’s all gone.. we ate it all.. 5 Litres of sauerkraut… and I savoured every litre. But now I have a big ass jar, what to do.. what to do.. FILL IT WITH MORE SAUERKRAUT! It’s like so easy y’all. CHECK IT, 2, 3..

How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut in a Jar

From TheKitchn.com

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 quarts

What You Need

Ingredients
1 medium head green cabbage (about 3 pounds)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional, for flavor)

Equipment
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Mixing bowl
2-quart widemouth canning jar (or two quart mason jars)
Canning funnel (optional)
Smaller jelly jar that fits inside the larger mason jar
Clean stones, marbles, or other weights for weighing the jelly jar
Cloth for covering the jar
Rubber band or twine for securing the cloth

Instructions

  1. Clean everything: When fermenting anything, it’s best to give the good, beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Make sure your mason jar and jelly jar are washed and rinsed of all soap residue. You’ll be using your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage, so give those a good wash, too.
  2. Slice the cabbage: Discard the wilted, limp outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters and trim out the core. Slice each quarter down its length, making 8 wedges. Slice each wedge crosswise into very thin ribbons.
  3. Combine the cabbage and salt: Transfer the cabbage to a big mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. At first, it may not seem like enough salt, but gradually, the cabbage will become watery and limp — more like coleslaw than raw cabbage. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. If you’d like to flavor your sauerkraut with caraway seeds, mix them in now.
  4. Pack the cabbage into the jar: Grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into the canning jar. If you have a canning funnel, this will make the job easier. Every so often, tamp down the cabbage in the jar with your fist. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into the jar.→ Optional: Place one of the larger outer leaves of the cabbage over the surface of the sliced cabbage. This will help keep the cabbage submerged in its liquid.
  5. Weigh the cabbage down: Once all the cabbage is packed into the mason jar, slip the smaller jelly jar into the mouth of the jar and weigh it down with clean stones or marbles. This will help keep the cabbage weighed down, and eventually, submerged beneath its liquid.
  6. Cover the jar: Cover the mouth of the mason jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band or twine. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but prevent dust or insects from getting in the jar.
  7. Press the cabbage every few hours: Over the next 24 hours, press down on the cabbage every so often with the jelly jar. As the cabbage releases its liquid, it will become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise over the top of the cabbage.
  8. Add extra liquid, if needed: If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and add enough to submerge the cabbage.
  9. Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days: As it’s fermenting, keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature — ideally 65°F to 75°F. Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.Because this is a small batch of sauerkraut, it will ferment more quickly than larger batches. Start tasting it after 3 days — when the sauerkraut tastes good to you, remove the weight, screw on the cap, and refrigerate. You can also allow the sauerkraut to continue fermenting for 10 days or even longer. There’s no hard and fast rule for when the sauerkraut is “done” — go by how it tastes.While it’s fermenting, you may see bubbles coming through the cabbage, foam on the top, or white scum. These are all signs of a healthy, happy fermentation process. The scum can be skimmed off the top either during fermentation or before refrigerating. If you see any mold, skim it off immediately and make sure your cabbage is fully submerged; don’t eat moldy parts close to the surface, but the rest of the sauerkraut is fine.
  10. Store sauerkraut for several months: This sauerkraut is a fermented product so it will keep for at least two months and often longer if kept refrigerated. As long as it still tastes and smells good to eat, it will be. If you like, you can transfer the sauerkraut to a smaller container for longer storage.

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VOILA! Presto! Magico! Yum yum time! It’s been in the dark room temp cupboard for 4 days now. I think I could probably leave it out but just to be safe I’ve put it in the fridge. But it totally tastes like sauerkraut. Amazing!

Goodnight!

Kumera Doughnuts

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Remember my promise to be healthy.. well.. ignore it for the next few minutes, because we did something bad…

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DOUGHNUTTTTTTTTTTTSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

And then.. we made it worse..

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It all started off with one of my favourite lazy morning day off activities, a brainstorming session over coffee about fine french desserts. We talked about beignets. Then we talked about kumera beignets. And then I bought a kumera.. and then I made doughnuts with it.. and CB made pork patties with garlic, salt & pepper, smoked paprika and marjoram like a breakfast sausage burger. And we put on the doughnut… with cheese.. and an apple.. and we ate it.. and we ate another one.. and another one.. we ate 6 of them… and then, we gave eachother fat greasy high fives while crying.

And then, while CB was on the couch with doughnut burger induced paralysis, I snuck into the kitchen and made the worlds fastest doughnut glaze, glazed the rest, and had a couple more for good measure.

In America, a cheeseburger made on a Krispy Creme doughnut is called a Luther Vandross. In New Zealand, I think it should be called a Che Fu. CB knows Che Fu, so maybe this weekend he’ll ask him if that’s okay. He’s a White Lady regular, soooo I have a feeling, he’ll be cool with it.

These little bad boys are soft, tender and sexy inside and crispy outside. They aren’t greasy at all, and have a gorgeous kumera flavour with a soft background flavour of coconut. Kumera is like a sweet potato, the only difference I can see is that its not as sweet and cooks much faster. So you can eat your doughnuts and still get in a serving of veg!

Kumera Doughnuts

Time: 30 minutes prep, 2-4 hours rising time, 30 minutes frying

Yield: 2 dozen 3″ doughnuts

Cost: < $5

1 medium kumera, or sweet potato, or about 2 cups of mash

1/2 cup brown sugar

Squirt of lemon juice

1 cup coconut cream

1 egg

3 tbsp butter

1 tbsp yeast

6 cups flour

2 cups of canola oil for frying

Chop the kumera into pieces about 2cm large and put them into a little saucepan. Cook them on medium along with the brown sugar and lemon juice until soft and squishable, about 10 minutes. At the point either puree or mash them up real well with the back of a fork. Transfer to a large bowl and pour on the coconut cream. This should cool the mixture down to about blood temperature. If its still quite warm, leave it sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until its about 90-98 degrees.

Sprinkle the yeast over the kumera mash mix and stir well. Add a beaten egg and room temperature butter and stir. Sprinkle your flour over, about a cup at a time, while mixing with your hand. Once all the flour is mixed in, you can start kneading your dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface for at least 10 minutes.

Transfer to a well oiled or buttered bowl, cover with a tea towel, plastic wrap or in my case, Avengers t-shirt and place in a nice warm place to rise. My house is freezing right now so Ive found a spot of sun for it to sit in. Let it double in size.

Punch it down, give it a couple of good kneads to redistribute the yeast. Roll it out about 3/4 of an inch thick, and cut out ya ‘nuts. Put them in a warm spot, covered with a clean tea towel and let rise about 30 minutes until fat and fluffy. Meanwhile, heat your oil to 180 degrees. If you dont have a thermometer, you know its ready when you drop a wee drop of water in it and it sizzles instantly. I always make a few rough little balls of leftover dough to test the temperature of the oil. You want it to start to brown and bubble around the edges of dough almost instantly, but not to get too dark. Usually the first one is too light or too dark but good for snacks.

Quick Coconut Glaze

2 cups icing sugar

4 tbsp hot melted butter

All of your leftover coconut cream– you want to add just enough to make it thin enough to dip, but stay thick enough to stick to the doughnut.

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Chowda Head

The other night, CB and I found an awesome seafood shop. We came home with 2kg of mussels for about six bucks and made the nicest dinner. CB steamed them in a pot over a sliced onion, and boiled up some corn and cooked up some shrimp in garlic butter while I made us some very strong rye & cokes and whisked up some garlic aoli. 15 minutes later we were out on the deck with John enjoying the summer and gorging ourselves on tasty bivalves! I saved the yummy mussel juice from the pot they were steamed in and tonight we made some CHOWDAAAAAA!

Mussel Chowder

1 kg mussels
4 filets fresh fish
2 cups leftover mussel potlicker, or chicken stock
1 onion, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
1 red pepper, small dice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 medium potatoes
2 bay leaves
Thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 pieces of bacon, chopped
1/2 cup butter
2 cups milk

Boil up yer taters. Wash with cool water, until they stop being so damn hot!

Then, in another pot, or the same one sans potatoes, whatever, brown your bacon bits up. Add in your onion, garlic, carrots, red pepper, bay leaves and thyme. Cook until soft and tender.

Add in your fish bits, mussels, and potlicker/stock, and simmer for 10 minutes. Get your butter in there. Pour in milk, add potatoes. Eat it UP!

VERGERTERBLUHSSSS

Bacon and poh-tay-tohzz

Some nice fush.

Mussels.. not looking very sexy, but tasting so nice!

Don’t even think about it, catface

Look at those steamy bacony veggies

Fish chunks

Oh soupy

Jarmalarm

Hi fart knockers!

I’m finally writing a blog! Yayyyy! CB and I did a shit ton of x-mas baking, and I took pictures along the way so I have a few to put up, but I thought I’d start with.. the thing we started with. Makes sense. Just some nice, plain old strawberry jam, cooked the old fashioned way, just boiled slowly away with some sugar until its a nice sticky mess.

Step 1: Pour yourself a jam making rye & coke. Jam is a slow, relaxed process so its okay if you’re blind drunk for it, as long as you sober up a bit when it comes to pouring the boiling hot liquid into small jar openings bit.

Strawberry Jam
Yield: 4 litres of jam
Time: 2 hours
Cost: < $10

6 cups sliced strawberries
4 cups white sugar

Optionals: vanilla bean, lemon juice, orange zest, black pepper, basil, whiskey, cinnamon, balsamic vinegar, whatever your heart desires..

Step 2: Cut ya berries, son.

Some people leave them whole, some cut in half, some mash them unceremoniously with a potato masher.. I myself, am partial to a quarter segmentation of the fruit, which is best achieved with a small, sharp paring knife and a thumb with thick skin.

Step 3: Sweeten the pot. I use half as much sugar as berries, but you can use all the way up to equal parts.

Step 4: Bring it to a boil, and turn it down to a simmer. Let it do it’s thang for an hour or two. It will smell like the freshly squeezed armpits of an angel in your kitchen. NOT A SINGLE THING ON PLANET EARTH SMELLS BETTER. Bold statement, but I stand by it.

Now, it’s almost done, so this is where you can get a bit fancy. Add in things like.. vanilla, or lemon juice, or a couple glogs of whiskey. We added a blob of balsamic vinegar, and instantly the jam seemed to thicken up, the fruit broke down and darkened, and the taste got.. well, just “more”. Yum.

Mom, I can FEEL you rolling your eyes at my super precarious lemon curd double boiler here… yeah I know 8 pounds of lemon curd in a ceramic bowl perched on a small pot sitting on a thin piece of metal over an open flame.. not ideal.. but it’s my biggest bowl!

Your jam is ready when its nice and thick. If you want to be a nerd about it, you can keep a plate in the freezer, and blob some jam on it to test. If its still runny, let it keep going, if it holds up nice and stiff and you can fantasize easily about spreading it on a warm, buttery biscuit you’re good to go.

Last Step: Carefully ladle or pour it into clean, sterilized jars. You can put the sealed jars into some boiling water for 5-10 minutes to make sure everything is kosher in there, but I’m lazy and this isnt going to last more than a week or two anyway so I just poured it into clean jars.

Set them on a windowsill and look at them lovingly for a while..

Yeah, I put jam on my shortbread, what of it!

We put some ribbon on them and gave them, and lemon curd out as x-mas presents. I miss it..

Popcorn Creme Brulee

Sweet, salty, creamy, buttery, smooth, crunchy.. need I go on?

Infusing cream with the taste of freshly popped, salty, buttered popcorn makes a particularly delicious creme brulee. Your spoon cracks through the layer of crunchy caramel into a silky custard below. The combination of caramel and butter popcorn makes this taste like candy corn. Only way sexier.

I had an item on the menu at the hotel that was a butterscotch tart, shortbread, a scoop of butter popcorn ice cream. Pretty much as much butter and salt and sugar as I could get onto one plate. It was kind of meh, however the Popcorn ice cream was addictive. I found myself craving it today, and alas without an ice cream maker. Creme Brulee is basically ice cream but you chuck it in the oven instead of the freezer! This definitely satisfied my craving.

You can use this method to flavour your cream with any number of things before hand, and then strain them out just like the popcorn. Its a nice way to coax the flavour out of something like tea, peach pits, flower if you’re into it..

For more details or to download a PDF version, check it out on Instructables.

Butter Popcorn Creme Brulee

Yield: 2 large or 4 small ramekins
Time: 6 hours
Cost: <$10

Hardware:

– 2 medium, heavy bottomed pots
– 4 cup measuring cup, with spout
– tinfoil
– fine mesh strainer
– whisk
– 2 large ramekins, or 4 small ramekins
– dish large and deep enough for ramekins
– kettle
– tinfoil
– butane torch

Software:

1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup canola or peanut oil
2 tbsp butter

OR 2 1/2 cups of freshly popped microwave popcorn

1 cup heavy cream (+ an extra 1 cup  handy in case of absorbent kernels!)
1 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp salt (may need more or less)

1/2 cup sugar for the brulee bit

Instructions:

Heat milk + cream in a pot, just until its hot to the touch, not boiling.

Meanwhile..

Pour 4 tsp of oil into the pot, dump in popcorn kernels and swirl to coat with oil. Cover with lid or tinfoil. Place over medium-high heat and watch carefully. When your kernels start popping, shake your pot so that popcorn rises to the top and the unpopped kernels shake back into the hot oil at the bottom. Continue popping until most of your kernels have popped.

Be VERY careful not to burn any kernels. Any hit of burnt popcorn and that’s all you will taste in your creme brulee! Its better to leave some kernels unpopped then try to pop it all and burn some.

When your popcorn is done, take it off the heat. Throw your butter into the bare bottom of the pot, so that it melts quickly in the residual heat. Put the lid back on once its melted, and shake.

Add buttery popcorn into cream & milk. Stir, and let sit at least 1 hour to steep all the flavour out. For maximum popcorn flavour, leave in the fridge over night.

When your mixture has finished steeping, pour through a fine mesh strainer into a measuring cup with a spout. Make sure to press the popcorn in the strainer to squeeze out all the cream. Some may have been absorbed by the popcorn, just add as much more fresh cream as you need to measure 2 cups.

Have your egg yolks in a large round bowl and whisk at the ready.

Pour into a medium pot with the sugar + salt, and bring to a simmer. Do not boil, you just want the cream to be hot! Taste the mixture, and and more salt if needed. I find the more salt I add, the more it brings out that movie theatre flavour.

Rinse out your measuring cup.

Preheat your oven to 300F.

Switch on your kettle, with 4 cups of water inside.

Carefully pour the hot cream into the yolks, in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Once all the cream is added, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the measuring cup.

Place ramekins into the large baking dish.  Divide the mix evenly into each ramekin.

If there’s a lot of bubbles on the surface you can get rid of them by quickly passing your torch over the top to break them. That will make the top smooth as glass when they come out of the oven.

Pour in enough hot water to reach the middle of each ramekin. Cover the baking dish with tinfoil.

Bake at 300F for 30-45 minutes. If your ramekins are larger, they will take longer. Your creme brulee’s are done when you shake the ramekin and there is a slight jiggle, a shimmy, if you will. Like this:

Refridgerate for atleast 2 hours before you brulee the tops.

To Brulee:

Sprinkle a tbsp of sugar over the top of the creme brulee, turning it to distribute the sugar in a nice even layer. With your kitchen torch lit in one hand, and your brulee on a slight angle in the other, begin to melt and burn the sugar, while turning your ramekin. You want the sugar to get quite dark, but BLACK is never good. Let cool 5-10 minutes before cracking the top and eating all the soft goodness underneath!