Welcome. I took a bit of a break from this blog, but now I’m back. For those who have stuck around, thank you. I really do appreciate your support. For those who are new, welcome. This little corner of the internet is my space to explore foods that I love and the culture and space I feel the most connected to: Newfoundland, Canada.
These are strange, somewhat scary, times. The world is changing rapidly with the introduction of this little virus called Covid-19 and I thought that a little baking happiness is needed. Baking is my happy place. I love to explore different foods as well as fall back on the comfort foods.
This potato thyme loaf is just that. Firstly, fresh bread has always been a weakness of mine. When I was in baking school we were allowed to take some of our bread and baked goods. The rest were sold in the school cafeteria. Nice win for them and the other students. But because I could eat what I made I gained at least 20 pounds eating everything I could. The intoxicating smell of fresh bread just calls out to me.
This potato thyme loaf has that wonderful aroma when it comes out of the oven. The thyme and garlic go well perfectly with a roast beef – hot beef sandwiches anyone? The mashed potato give the loaf a great fluffiness.
Give it a try. You won’t be dissappointed.
Potato Thyme Loaf
This wonderful loaf uses leftover mashed potato to give you a fluffy texture and dried thyme for a delicious aroma.
Add the ingredients in a bread machine as listed. Mix on dough setting. If the dough seems too dry add a tablespoon of water as its mixing.
Place dough on lightly floured surface and punch down into a 9 by 12 inch rectangle. Form into a loaf by tucking in the side and folding the top of the loaf towards you. Keep rolling the dough towards you until you form a tight loaf shape. Place into greased 9x5 loaf pan and let rest in a warm place for 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F (190C).
The dough is ready when the loaf is about one inch above the rim of the loaf pan. Place in the center rack of a preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes. When done, remove loaf immediately from pan and place on a rack to cool. To test for doneness, the loaf should sound hollow when tapped.
Moving house is interesting. We recently picked up sticks and moved to be closer to work. Now, instead of a thirty minute drive to work, it’s a couple minutes walk. There’s less wear and tear on the car, on the environment, and on our pocketbook. So it’s good all around. Because we had to pack up everything, I realised that there’s so much stuff we’ve collected over the years. This time moreso than other times we’ve moved because this time we did everything ourselves. The last time we have the benefit of a moving company, so it was a little harder to see all the crap stuff we’ve got. We’re slowly starting to declutter (again) and get rid of things we haven’t used in months, if not years.
One thing I did find, though, was a small bottle of syrup we were given a few years ago as a Christmas present: Squashberry sauce from the Dark Tickle Company. The Dark Tickle Company takes Newfoundland’s fresh berries and makes wonderful jams, jellies, syrups and spreads out of them. They even have tea, coffee, and chocolates. Perfect for any gift giving or as a treat for yourself. When we go back to visit, we always pick up a jar or two to savour later. They ship worldwide, so check them out. I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like. You get your own bottle of Squashberry sauce here.
Squashberries similar to high bush cranberries and are part of the honeysuckle family. Squashberries thrive in low to middle elevations in Newfoundland’s moist forests, rocky slopes, and along margins of wetlands. It is a decidous shrub which reaches heights ranging from 2 to 12 feet. The plant has smooth gray bark and shallowly lobed, sharply toothed leaves.The autumn frosts turn the reddish berries a glistening red. The tart, clustered berries are often picked in late summer and early fall as well as after the first frost. Squashberry bark was often chewed and juice swallowed to cure such ailments as lung colds. The Haida Indians considered these berries food for supernatural beings.
I found this recipe in one of my bread cookbooks and thought it would be perfect for using the sauce. The original recipe used a rum sauce to soak the sponge, but any sweet syrup will do. You could use lemon and add some zest to the batter for a tart dessert. As this is a yeast product, the end result comes out more like a soaked bread than cake. There’s only a little sugar in the recipe, so most of the sweetness comes from the sauce soaking in. Serve with a nice vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to compliment the cake nicely.
This yeast cake is closer to bread than cake, and is kept moist with delicious Squashberry sauce from the Dark Tickle Company.
Measure cake ingredients into your bread machine's baking pan in the order listed. Select Dough cycle.
Spray bundt pan with cooking spray. With floured hands or a rubber spatula, remove dough from baking pan and pour into a prepared bundt pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
Bake cake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Tip the cake onto a large plate and leave upside down. Immediately with a long skewer poke numerous holes in the cake. This is where the sauce will soak into the cake, making it moist. Slowly spoon the sauce over the warm cake, letting it soak in. I used a pastry brush to make sure all the cake was covered. Let cake sit for two hours before serving.
It may seem like a lot of sauce, but it gets soaked into the cake very quickly. If you like, warm the sauce slightly in the microwave. This will help it absorb faster.
Sorry for the lack of updates, but I’ve been working on some great new things. I’ll keep you posted.
One of these things is this – NEW SHIRTS
Check these out. Be the envy of all your friends (and maybe your enemies – I won’t judge)! Just click on the shirt you like and pick one up for yourself. There are many different colours too.
This is my favourite design so far. Simple outline of my home province with the saying “Loves It.” Show your Newfoundland pride with this shirt.
This wonderful shirt tells everyone what type of person you are – Saucy. According to the Newfoundland dictionary people who are saucy are understood to be skittish, belligerent; unpredictable, or dangerous. We’ve all been that some time or other right?
This phrase is most often said to young children or babies when you see them all dolled up. “That’s some sweet, luh,” one would say if you’re looking into a baby stroller and spying a wee one in the basket. Show everyone that you haven’t grown out of that phase yet with this “Some Sweet” tee.
Be the master of all with this “Skipper” tee. The skipper is the master of the house as well as the ship. It can also be used as a name for someone if you don’t recall their actual name.
All these wonderful shirts are perfect for sharing your love of Newfoundland and its culture with the world. Pick one up soon before they’re gone.
This week we went to an amazing show that shows the epitome of Newfoundland hospitality: Come From Away. For those who don’t know the show, it’s about the time when many planes were diverted to the Gander airport on Sept. 11, 2001, because of the attack on the towers in New York City. Thirty eight planes landed in the small town of Gander, population around 9000 people, that day and the show explores how the town stepped up to take care of thousands of people that week. We laughed, cried, and moreover, felt an incredible sense of pride. Pride in Newfoundland and they way people banded together to help.
There are so many memorable moments in the show, but there’s one small thing that stuck with me because I created this crazy food blog. It’s a knock-knock joke. There are two women who become friends. One is Beulah who’s in charge of all the stranded passengers when they are being roomed at the Elementary school. The other is Hannah, from New York, who’s is trying to contact her son, a firefighter. They form a friendship and keep in contact when Hannah goes back to the US.
In order to break the tension Hannah offers a knock-knock joke. She’s tells Beulah that Newfoundlander’s aren’t good at knock-knock jokes. Beulah asks why. She’s told by Hannah to set up the joke. “Knock, knock?” asks Beulah. “Come on in, my dear,” replies Hannah, “I’ll put the kettle on for ya.”
That little joke describes Newfoundland. We’ll always have the kettle on, no matter what time of day or night.
Nowadays, I’ve discovered a liking to a small shop you may of heard of: David’s Tea. There are many shops found around the country and I love all their flavours.
BUT tea is not just for drinking. You can bake with it as well. Or you can steep the tea and use the liquid in place of water or milk in your baking. You can even grind the tea and add it to your cookie or cake batters. The easiest way is to add it to my recipe for shortbread, just leave off the glace cherry.
Shortbread has a nice buttery flavour and takes well to some teas. You just need to add a couple of tablespoons to the batter just before you put it in the piping bag. Make sure to grind the tea though. If you have pieces which are too big, then it will clog the bag. Bake as directed and you’ve got a brand new cookie.
Some of my favourite flavours of tea to use: peppermint, vanilla, earl grey, or any fruit tea. Experiment and leave me a comment.
It’s the new year and you might have a few leftovers from your feastings. I’ve finally finished off the last of the Christmas turkey (except for the carcass) and have scoured the tubes and wires of the interweb for recipes. I found this one for turkey pizza and it is delish, I must say. Over the past week or so I’ve made turkey stuffin muffins, turkey chili, and even turkey sautéed with Brussels sprouts. Each and everyone tasted wonderful, but I particularly like the pizza. And who doesn’t like pizza?
So, I hauled out my breadmaker. Yes, I still use it fairly regularly, about once a month or so and got started on the pizza dough. What, you say? You didn’t buy it from the store? Do you know me? I’m cheap frugal. So I thought “Why buy it when I have the stuff to make it at home?” It’s the holidays and I have some time. Yes, you can get one of those pre-made crusts in the deli section of the store if you don’t have the time and I really won’t judge you for it. Much.
If you have some spare time before all the kids are going back to school or you have to get back to work then here’s a nice quick way to use up some of those holiday leftovers.
First, the pizza dough. This is easy. Just throw everything in the bread machine and walk away. Walk, I tell you! The lovely machine does all the work for you and you get nice, fluffy, risen dough to work with about 90 minutes later. Once the dough is ready, let it rest for a bit and then gently press and stretch the dough into a circle about 14 inches (35 cm for you metric folk) in diameter. You can use a rolling pin, if you prefer, but it goes fairly quickly by pressing the dough into a circle while reaching underneath to stretch it out.
PRO-TIP: When you are stretching your pizza dough, always reach underneath to pull the dough from the center to the outside. This cuts down on possible tears. And your fingers can feel where the dough is thicker, so it can be stretched more evenly.
Preheat your oven to 400F. You’re going to partially cook your dough. This will keep your ingredients from making the crust soggy later when you make the pizza. Place the dough on a pizza pan sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 10-12 minutes. It should be slightly browned. Once the pizza crust is done remove it from the pan and let it cool. Now, you can make the crust earlier in the day and then add the toppings just before supper. You can even make the pizza crust earlier in the week and freeze the crust for later. Crazy, huh? Just take the crust out about 30 minutes to thaw, then add your toppings and bake.
Now, on to make the pizza. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a small bowl combine about 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce with 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce. The combo is a nice blend of sweet and smoky. Spread that on the crust. Add a little cheese so things don’t slide around. I used a blend of cheddar and mozza. Add turkey, shredded or cubed. I sautéed some peppers and onions for colour and flavour. Then I added a little more cheese, a handful of stuffing (bread on bread action) and sprinkled some summer savoury on top. Bake for about 15 minutes and you’re done. I love the extra flavour from the savoury. Truth be told I could eat just stuffing for dinner sometimes.
The pizza I made was cut into eight pieces and was amazing. Sorry for the blurry photo.
Welcome to a new year and a new look to the blog. I wanted to change things up a bit, mostly for me because I’m the one looking at this thingy the most. Let me know how you like the new look.
A new year means new ideas and new recipes. I hope to bring you some great new, but familiar tastes of the island, plus some interesting tidbits I’ve found along the way.
I happened to come across this video by the Canadian Tenors. They traveled to Newfoundland earlier this year and did a bit of sightseeing. They went to Cape Spear, which is the most Easterly point of Canada. I’ve had the privilege of going to see the sunrise there a few years back. When we arrived it was a bit windy and the fog had come in. There’s a short path up to the lighthouse and as we were climbing the path we encountered a photographer coming back down. This would be about 6 o’clock in the morning and he looked as us and uttered, “Why are you guys here so early?” “We want to be the first to see the sunrise,” we replied. “Good luck. There’s nothing but fog this morning,” he countered.
Unperturbed we kept walking up the hill towards the lighthouse. Yes, the fog was still close to shore, but we didn’t mind. With the wind blowing a gale around us, we witnessed the first sunrise of the country, albeit through a bit of a haze. Nevertheless, Cape Spear is a beautiful spot and we’ve been back a few times when the weather was a bit better for sightseeing.
The Tenors also visited lovely Gros Morne National Park. This majestic park is filled with hiking trails and breathtaking vistas. You can hire a boat to take you into the fjords where you can take in the wildlife and awesome mountains.
The song they’re singing is why I chose to write about it now: Robert Burns’ Auld Lang Syne. Burns wrote his version of the poem in 1788 and was set to the tune of a fairly well known folk song (Roud Folk Song 6294). Burns claimed to have collected the poem from an old man, and there are similarities to a ballad by James Watson printed in 1711. The song begins by posing a rhetorical question: Is it right that old times be forgotten? The answer is generally interpreted as a call to remember long-standing friendships. As we face the new year I think it’s best to remember the past, but don’t dwell on it. The past is there to help us learn and grow, not to hold us back.
The Tenors version is a bit more haunting and cinematography of Newfoundland reflects that well. Enjoy.
If you know me then you know I love me a Rice Krispie treat. I’ve made so many over the years I can’t keep count. I love experimenting with different flavours. In the past I’ve made Cinnamon Bun Rice Krispies, as well as throwing in things like chocolate chips and marshmallows.
I’ve hit the jackpot with this one. I love the tartness of the cranberries mixed with the snowy white chocolate. Perfect for a treat after playing in the snow, or taking the dog for a winter walk.
I’ve used Kellogg’s Rice Krispies in this recipe because I love their taste and crunchiness. I haven’t been compensated by Kellogg’s in any way.
Another thing I like to use is the 1/2 cup squares of margarine. You can use butter if you like, but I can find margarine in convenient squares in the grocery. It’s fast and it’s one less thing I have to measure.
So, let’s tuck in and get started. Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large pan melt 1/2 cup of margarine or butter under medium/low heat. You don’t want to burn your fat before things get started. Then add about 400/450 grams of mini marshmallows. I think the bags come in 400 or 450 gram size. Whichever it is use the whole bag. If you get the 1 kg size, like I do, then eyeball about 1/2 the bag. Stir until all the marshmallows have melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla.
Now we’ll have to work quickly as the mixture sets up fast. Add the rice Krispies, cranberries, white chocolate chips and stir to combine. You’ll want to have a nice, even distribution of ingredients. Then add about a cup or so of mini marshmallows. Pour the mixture into the 9×13 pan and press down to make an even layer. I like to wet my hands with some cold water and then press down. That way the melted marshmallow won’t stick so much and you can work the corners better than with a spatula. Place the pan in the fridge to cool. About an hour or so. When done, remove from the pan and cut into squares.
This batch makes about 48 one inch squares, but you can cut them larger if you like. Another tip for making it a bit fancier is to drizzle some melted white chocolate on top before you cut the squares. Just take 1/2 cup of white chocolate and a teaspoon of butter and microwave for 30 seconds. Then stir until all the chips are melted. Use a fork and dip it in the melted chocolate and drizzle over the rice Krispies.
Creative a festive holiday treat with white chocolate chips, tart cranberries and mini marshmallows.
1/2 cupbutter or margarine
6cupsKelloggs Rice Krispies
1cupwhite chocolate chips
1 1/2cupdried cranberries
Spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray. Set aside.
In a large saucepan melt the 1/2 butter over medium/low heat. When melted add the 450 grams of mini marshmallows. Stir until melted.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Stir to blend. Quickly add the Kellogg's Rice Krispies, cranberries, and white chocolate chips. Stir to even distribute. Then add the mini marshmallows. Stir again.
Place the mixture into the prepared 9x13 pan and press down with a spatula. If desired wet your hands with cool water and press down the mixture to make a nice even layer. Place in the fridge to cool for about an hour.
When cooled and firm, remove from pan and cut into squares.
This week’s cookie is one that I personally like. While it can technically be made any time of the year (as are most cookies), I personally like cinnamon flavour around this time. It makes you feel warm and brings forth visions of sitting by the fire while sharing these cookies with your loved ones. Oatmeal cookies have always been a favourite of mine. I like the more chewy ones over the crisp cookie. So this cookie is perfect for that reason.
This is another drop cookie. It’s one of the easiest cookies to make. You can try other drop cookies, like my molasses drop cookies, or the Newfoundland classic, scrunchies.
I’m just going to dive right in with this one. You’ll need to mix your brown and white sugars with the oil in a bowl with the mixer on medium. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well. Then add the banana, coconut, and raisins. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. With your mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients until clear. Then add the oatmeal. I’ve used quick cooking oats for my cookie, but you could use regular oats for an even more chewy cookie. Mix until well combined.
I let my batter sit in the fridge to firm up a little. You want the batter to be a bit cooler for scooping. Just throw it in the fridge for 30-45 minutes. While that is happening, you can preheat your oven to 350F. The cooler batter will mean that the cookies won’t spread as much as a batter that is at room temperature. Because these cookies are only about a couple of inches across after baking, I though it was a good idea to chill the dough.
Scoop onto a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes. The cookies will be a nice brown colour when done, with slightly darker edges. Again these cookies freezer very well, so if you make them today, you can store them away until the holidays.
In a large bowl with the mixer on medium, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and oil.
Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.
Add the mashed banana, shredded coconut, and raisins. Combine.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix with a whisk until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Turn mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until clear.
Add the oatmeal and mix until combined. Transfer batter to fridge to cool for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F. Scoop batter onto parchment of Silpat lined baking sheets with a couple of inches between scoops.
Bake for 12-14 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned and the edges are a little darker. Let cool on sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to rack to cool completely.
The second week of the cookie countdown has begun and I can’t wait to share with you this wonderful recipe. One little confession though, it’s not really a cookie per se. For holiday baking I like to be a bit general in saying cookie, so it encompasses cookies, bars, rolled cookies, balls, and the like. I hope you will let me indulge. I may have to tweak these a little as they are a bit soft, but if you like that sort of thing, then don’t worry. These will be perfect for you.
When you mention snowballs in Newfoundland for baking purposes most people will think if the chocolate/coconut/oatmeal ball which is rolled in sweetened coconut. Those are the most common and are divine. I usually end up making at least 50-100 of them each year. They are so easy and quick to make. If you like I can post that recipe later.
These wonderful snowballs are closer to the real thing, but flecked with Christmas colours of red and green from the glace cherries. I like to keep them in my freezer and pull them out just before serving because they are a little on the softer side. You’ll want to make a few batches for the holidays. Some for yourself and some to give away to others.
This recipe requires a little preplanning. The batter has to sit to set up in the fridge so it’s best to do this at least a day before you actually need them to give you enough time to prepare. I’ve made that mistake too many times where I needed some baking right away. I’ve gone through about half of the recipe only to find that the batter needed to sit for a few hours or overnight. Leaving me stranded and trying to find something quick to whip up.
This is great one bowl mix too. Throw (almost) everything together and just roll them out. How easy is that? So, let’s get started.
Combine in a large bowl the marshmallows, graham crumbs, glace cherries, condensed milk, and chopped nuts. Stir the mixture until everything is combined well. Then wait. You’ll want to let this set overnight in the fridge so all the flavours mix together. The next day roll the mixture into balls about one inch in diameter. Then roll in sweetened coconut. Keep the snowballs in the freezer and pull out when needed. You can serve them almost directly from the freezer because they don’t really freeze completely. (There’s too much sugar!)
Well, the Christmas music is playing, I’ve got a nice hot cup of tea by my side so I’m ready to start giving you some of my favourite holiday cookies. I’m starting off with a drop cookie. Drop cookies are one of the easiest cookie to make. Cookies like my molasses drop cookie or chocolate chip are examples of a wonderfully easy cookie. You just scoop out the batter onto a cookie sheet and bake. You can be more precise with a cookie scoop so they all look the same and bake evenly. I like using a scoop for that reason. And it’s a little faster than using spoons. Not to worry though, if you don’t have a cookie scoop, just use you tablespoons and you’ll be fine.
While most wouldn’t think about using sour cream in a cookie, it works really well. It gives in a nice creamy texture with a hint of sourness. And this cookie keeps well too. You can make some and freeze them for the holidays and they’ll stay soft (after thawing, of course) and won’t crumble. Perfect for your holiday get-togethers when you have to bring a housewarming gift.
First preheat your oven to 375F. Now cream the butter. You’ll want to get your butter nice and fluffy, so whip the butter for at least a minute. Remember to have the butter at room temperature first. It will make this step so much easier to do. Add the sour cream to the mixture. You’ll want to use full fat sour cream for this recipe. It adds to the creaminess of the cookie. Don’t worry about the fat content. It’s not like you’re going to eat a dozen of them while watching a Christmas movie because you got home late and skipped supper. No, nothing like that ever happened. Ahem.
After you blended the sour cream and butter, add the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well to evenly distribute the ingredients. Put your mixer on low and slowly add the dry to the wet batter. Mix until clear. That means you shouldn’t see any specks of flour in the batter. Fold in the raisins.
Scoop by the tablespoon onto parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheets leaving about an inch between each scoop. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies will have a slight colour so don’t be tempted to keep them in longer. They will continue to cook as they sit on the cookie sheet. Let them cool for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
1cupraisinsCan substitute currants or Craisins if desired.
Preheat oven to 375F
Cream butter on medium until fluffy. Add sour cream. Blend well.
Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs to butter/sour cream mixture. Mix on medium until well combined.
In separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Blend together with a wire whisk to evenly distribute the ingredients. Turn mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until clear.
Slowly fold in raisins to batter.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch between scoops. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until set.
Let cool on pan for about 10 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Currants or Craisins can be substituted for the fruit.
Always have your ingredients at room temperature for baking unless specified.