Thursday, May 31, 2012

Too much rhubarb? Make rhubarb curry

The Bay of Fundy rhubarb harvest is bounteous again this year - seems we've always got the right conditions for these stalks to 'go crazy'. Good time to drag out my recipe for ...

Rhubarb Curry

1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground fennel
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp red pepper flakes

Mix all spices.

2 Tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
Sea salt or kosher slat
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 c coarsely chopped green cabbage
2 cups diced (½ inch) potatoes
1½ cups thinly sliced rhubarb
1 cup French lentils, soaked 4-6 hours and drained
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 c fresh or thawed frozen peas

1. In a large saucepan, melt the ghee or butter over medium heat.

2. Add the onion, shallots, ginger, and a large pinch of salt, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover, stir in the garlic and the spice blend, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

3. Add the cabbage, potatoes, rhubarb, lentils, brown sugar, and bay leaf, along with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes (cooking time may vary depending on the age of the lentils). Stir occasionally and add more water as necessary to kept the dish fairly soupy.

4. When the lentils are tender, season with salt to taste, stir in the peas, and simmer until the peas are just tender, about 4 minutes. Serve.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fiddlehead cashew stir-fry

Here's a great tasting fiddlehead recipe I came across recently on a fun website: These folks (located on the west coast of Canada) sell fiddles, bows, books about fiddling, violin lessons, etc., and they've posted a few great fiddlehead recipes. This one is quick & easy!

Fiddlehead cashew stir-fry

2 cups fresh or frozen fiddleheads
1 cup snow peas
1 cup diced carrots (coins)
1 cup fresh beansprouts
1/2 cup chopped brown mushrooms
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 Tbsp butter or oil (butter is richer)
1 tsp fresh ground ginger root
Garlic & tamari soy sauce to taste
Wash and prepare the fiddleheads by removing the fuzzy fronds and cutting off any dry ends. Prepare other vegetables and ginger. Preheat butter or oil in wok or sautee pan, medium heat. Stir-fry the fiddleheads for 10-12 minutes (longer for frozen) until the fiddleheads take on a vibrant green shade and are soft (fully cooked, not crunchy!).
Cook longer if the fiddleheads are at all crunchy. Add carrots, peas, mushrooms, cashews, ginger garlic and soy sauce. Add beansprouts last. Cook another 1-2 minutes until all veggies are cooked but not too soft. Serve with rice or fine rice stick noodles. Enjoy while listening to classical violin music

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's maple season on Bay of Fundy

Well, so much for winter! The last couple weeks of warm winds and melting snow have heralded the arrival of "Sugar Season" on the Bay of Fundy....maple sugar season! Many families like ours have been tapping sugar maples for generations.

Our family has been making maple products here in the upper part of the Bay of Fundy for over 100 years. We only tap about 4000 trees (fairly small amount compared with other farms) but that's enought to keep our family, our town, our visitors and quite a few restaurants elsewhere in the province supplied with real maple syrup.

By the way, we jokingly call imitation table syrup telephone pole syrup since it compares that unfavourably with the real stuff!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Exploring Fundy "icefalls" - don't try this at home!

It's a matter of some debate as to whether Fundyites are more or less inclined to be cautious around our tidal coasts than visitors. Really, with all the experience we've had with close calls and, sadly, sometimes misses, you'd think....

But sometimes familiarity breeds excess confidence - such as a few years ago when a Fundy high school teacher & students ended up making a 'human chain' through chest-high tidal waters. Seems they got trapped by the incoming tides in a cove after taking a badly perceived short-cut along the beach from a coastal cliff hike!

I got goofing around this weekend at low tide beach with the enchanting 'icefalls' spurting off the, in this instance, with 1000s of lbs of ice over my head, I may fairly be voted as one of the 'not so bright' locals. Still, I lived to tell the tale but I wouldn't suggest trying this!!

(and drinking from the melting ice? not so swift!)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Veggie Haggis for Rabbie Burns day!

Time to dig out my kilted skirt and haggis recipe in preparation for one of the many Burn's night celebrations around the Bay of Fundy. As you may have figured out by now, I'm pretty much a pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats fish) so the prospect of partaking in the "chieftan o' the puddin' race" at our annual event is challenging. Luckily, the Vegetarian Society of Scotland offers this fine organ-free alternative:

Vegetarian Haggis Recipe

  • 100g/4oz onion, peeled & finely chopped
  • 15ml/1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 50g/2oz carrots, very finely
  • chopped
  • 35g/11/2 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 50g/2oz red lentils
  • 600ml/1pint vegetable stock
  • 25g/1oz mashed, tinned red kidney beans
  • 35g/11/2 oz ground peanuts
  • 25g/1oz ground hazelnuts
  • 30ml/2tbsp shoyu ( soy sauce)
  • 15ml/1tbsp lemon juice
  • 7.5ml/11/2tsp dried thyme
  • 5ml/1tsp dried rosemary
  • generous pinch cayenne pepper
  • 7.5ml/11/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 200g/8oz fine oatmeal
  • Freshly ground black pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C, 375°F or Gas Mark 5

2. Sauté the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, then add the carrot and mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.

3. Now add the lentils and three quarters of the stock.

4. Blend the mashed red kidney beans in the remaining stock, add these to the pan with the nuts, shoyu, lemon juice and seasonings.
Cook everything, well mixed together, for a further 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Then add the oatmeal, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, adding a little extra liquid if necessary.

6. Turn the mixture into a lightly oiled 1lb loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes.

7. Serve with mashed neeps and tatties.

If you plan to celebrate this Scottish poet's birthday on January 25 but don't feel up to making haggis from scratch you can always order it canned (both original & veg) from MacSween's in the U.K. For last year's musings on Burn's Night, see my post Time and Tide.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Oat Cakes & Ice Cakes

Ice cakes in the harbour make me think of oat cakes in the cupboard, so I thought this was the perfect time to share my grandmother's secret Scottish Oat Cake recipe from the 'old country'. If you live down here by the Bay you'll automatically know that oat cakes are not actually 'cakes' but rather a type of cookie.

Scottish Oat Cakes

3 c. unbleached white flour or whole wheat flour
3 c. rolled oats
1 c. sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 c. cold butter
about 3/4 c. cold water

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter to fine crumbs. Add enough water to moisten. Roll to the depth of a woolen blanket. Cut in traditional diamond shapes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes. Longer time = crisper cookie. Enjoy a chunk of cheddar cheese with this heritage recipe. Makes lots so share some with a friend!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Strange weather phenoms in Fundy Bay

If you're a weather watcher you'd probably get a kick out of living on the Bay of Fundy. If you're not a weather watcher, you'd probably become a keen one if you did live here. The daily sloshing of 100 billion tonnes of seawater as well as our topography and edge-of-the-ocean perch here on the east coast of Canada makes for some quirky climatological effects.

Take this roll cloud, for example, captured by Nova Scotia Webcams in the pretty hamlet of Halls Harbour. Roll clouds are low, horizontal, tube-shaped and somewhat rare clouds. They often appear to be rolling about a horizontal access and are not attached to any other cloud formations. Sea breezes combined with humidity often near peninsulas to create this effect. Quite intriguing to see and no, they're not a sign of impending disaster or space aliens...beam me up!