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Nova Scotia’s Traditional Foods


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Fresh Cod

Fresh cod is delicious and versatile. This 770g (<2 lbs) piece was without a head, tail and innards for under three dollars, a better than normal price.

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You could make "Newfoundland turkey" by stuffing it with savory bread crumbs and baking it. You could cut some steaks for the pan, or make fillets for battered fish and chips. Cod au gratin is pretty popular. Today I went with the easiest and most virtuous preparation -- poached in nothing but water. This way I can lift out the cooked flesh without the bones or other unwanted bits which makes it much easier for little kids to eat. When the fish itself is low-cal and unadulterated, the other stuff seams even more luxurious.

Poached cod with roasted red pepper sauce and avocado on colcannon (mashed potato, cabbage, carrot):

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And for the under four crowd:

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Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I can get fresh cod in Kingston (although it's uniformly awful), but I can't usually get a straight answer on provenance (other than, "from the box in came in"). Would this be from Iceland? Given the moraturium, I'm amazed cod is still so cheap.

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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I can get fresh cod in Kingston (although it's uniformly awful), but I can't usually get a straight answer on provenance (other than, "from the box in came in"). Would this be from Iceland? Given the moraturium, I'm amazed cod is still so cheap.

From The Salt Cod Thread:

For 500 years cod has been the most important food for Newfoundlanders. The cod fishery collapsed abruptly in the early 1990's and a moratorium was imposed to drastically reduce the level of harvesting and save the species. In 2004 cod fishing was banned outright. Now there's the 2008 Northern Cod Stewardship Fishery, so at least you can get some cod at the store -- fresh, frozen or salted.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Potato Dishes

I've a friend and occasional co-worker who's also an opinionated foodie and before that -- a hurler from Wexford, Ireland.

"Peter," says he, "what in The Almighty's Name are those red spots in your colcannon?"

"The red pepper sauce?" says I.

"Don't be daft," says he, "are those . . . carrots?"

And then came the elongated discussion about which potato dishes are debased by which frivolities. The long and the short of, we agreed, is that Nova Scotia's a province with many culinary cross-pollinations.

I wrote down a whole bunch of potato-based dishes that are not uncommon here. I'd be interested to hear if these descriptions make sense to others, at least from an ingredient point of view. All have potato, most have cabbage, and the other key players are turnip, onion, carrot, scallion, garlic, beef and dairy. Plus the butter, salt and pepper don't hurt.

1. Irish colcannon: potato, kale or cabbage, onion

2. Scottish colcannon: potato, cabbage, carrot

3. German kohl cannon: potato, turnip, cabbage

4. Stovies: potato, onion

5. Champ: potato, scallions

6. Chappit tatties: same as 5.

7. Clapshot: potato, turnips

8. Tatties & neeps: same as 7.

9. Scouse: potato, onion, beef

10. Rumbly thumps: potato, cabbage

11. Mash pot: potato, carrot, onion (aka stamp pot, hut's pot)

12. Bubble: potato, cabbage, sausage (aka bubble and squeak)

13. Boxty: potato

14. Hash browns: potato

15. Creamed cabbage and spuds: potato, cabbage

Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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From the list I would say that 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10 are Scottish, which makes sense given the region.

That sounds right to me. 1, 5, 13 seem fairly Irish and 9, 12 more English or Welsh. 11 has Dutch relatives while 14 is widespread. 15 is a Cape Breton thing.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I made a soup version of Hodge Podge today, since I had some leftover vegetables and a lonely scrap on pancetta in the freezer. I simply boiled leeks, potatoes, carrots in a little water, then poured out some of the water and replaced it with cream, simmering for ~10min and adding some fried pancetta at then end. It felt more winter-y, which I suppose is appropriate.

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Silver Dart Party

Who needs the 81st Oscars when you can celebrate the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada? Read the CBC story Silver Dart replica takes flight in Nova Scotia.

It was a few years after the famous Wright Brothers achievement. It took place in Cape Breton on the frozen Bras d'Or Lake overseen by Alexander Graham Bell -- telephone inventor, part-time Nova Scotian, Helen Keller's teacher, hydrofoil and aeronautics scientist. He also dabbled in eugenics, but hey, nobody's perfect. :biggrin:

There was a party, I made some finger food.

Local shrimp on parsnip chips with roasted bell pepper mayo:

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Roast beef sirloin on rye toast with horseradish mayo and sea salt:

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Maple-seared scallops and bacon in potato baskets:

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I tried to include capers wherever possible because a person from Cape Breton is also known as a Caper. Although born in Scotland, Bell himself became a Caper and spent much of his later life overlooking the Bras d'Or Lake. He's been interred there atop Beinn Bhreagh mountain since his death in 1922.

For these appies I was in part inspired by the good book below from the lovely chef and fellow Queen's University alumni Trish Magwood.

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Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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From the list I would say that 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10 are Scottish, which makes sense given the region.

That sounds right to me. 1, 5, 13 seem fairly Irish and 9, 12 more English or Welsh. 11 has Dutch relatives while 14 is widespread. 15 is a Cape Breton thing.

Yep, Scouse (or Lobscouse) was the dish of Liverpool, hence "Scouser". But as a sailor's dish it pretty widespread under various similar names.

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Those apps look yummy. Nice bit of history too. When we were in CB last year, we took a little boat cruise tour thing of Bras d'Or Lake. We saw Alexander's house, et al. It was really cool.

How is that Trish Magwood cookbook? You like?

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How is that Trish Magwood cookbook?  You like?

I like her as a person so I like the book by extension. There's nothing earth-shattering about it, just a lot of good ideas for entertaining, and the photography is excellent. There are a few practical ideas about catering as well.

She did turn me on to green peppercorns from Madagascar.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Dulse

Dulse is an edible seaweed found in the intertidal zones of coastal Nova Scotia. Harvesters collect the plant by hand then lay them out to dry in the sun. It gets cleaned and bagged and sold around the world as a ready-to-eat snack loaded with nutritional virtues. Dulse is high in protein, vitamins B6 and B12, iron and fluoride.

People here have been eating the stuff for thousands of years. It's taken me a long time and several kitchen experiments, but I now consider myself a fan of dulse. Straight from the bag it's purple, a bit chewy and certainly tastes of the ocean. I've never been too clear on how the intact plant looks -- it's like trying to visualize the shape of a tobacco leaf by pulling apart a cigar.

Dulse can be toasted by the campfire, in an iron skillet, directly on a stove burner, or in a microwave. I tried this last way yesterday for the first time following a recipe that called for a "handful of dulse, microwaved on high for forty-five seconds". At the eighth second my seaweed exploded in a ball of flames behind the glass door. The center bits were black and inedible, but the outer bits were toasty brown and nutty. I got much better results from the toaster oven, and a 100% usable yield.

I've found plenty of local recipes for dulse soup, dulse chowder and dulse salad. If I had to go with a favorite way to enjoy this weird sea vegetable, I'd say as a condiment, like toasted flakes of dulse on a baked fish fillet.

Maybe there are some love or hate dulse stories out there?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Maybe there are some love or hate dulse stories out there?

My ex-husband's mother is from Grand Manan. When we visited there he and his mom would buy a huge paper bag of dulce and sit in the living room and consume it. I allowed myself a small taste - but found it didn't appeal - particularly after noting the small dried star fish and the seagull shit attached.

Then the two of them would produce copious sulfur emanations that would surround the rest of us and cause our eyes to water!

I'm in the hate dulse camp! Enjoyed the lobster and the scenery though.

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My ex-husband's mother is from Grand Manan.  When we visited there he and his mom would buy a huge paper bag of dulce and sit in the living room and consume it.  I allowed myself a small taste - but found it didn't appeal - particularly after noting the small dried star fish and the seagull shit attached.

Kerry, I'd forgot about your ex (post #35)!

Grand Manan is the Mecca of the dulse world, so at least you took one for the team on holy ground. I recommend washing or at least inspecting the dulse, then toasting it, then crumbling it onto mashed potatoes or something.

I agree that shit-encrusted starfish doesn't exactly make me drool.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Dulse on the left, toasted dulse on the right:

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Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Peter - I was going to google pictures of dulse. Thank you for posting the pictures. I think I can get that here in Korea. Tomorrow is street market day and there are always dried and wet seaweed being sold in stalls.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Peter - I was going to google pictures of dulse. Thank you for posting the pictures. I think I can get that here in Korea. Tomorrow is street market day and there are always dried and wet seaweed being sold in stalls.

I know this kind of dulse can also be found in the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. It's a red alge, unlike kelp. I've wondered if it could be used like dashi or nori, or as a sub for other excellent Asian ingredients. It seems inevitable that people will be eating more and more veggies from the ocean, most of us North Americans are oblivious.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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  • 4 weeks later...

Pate a la Rapure or Rappie Pie

I have a summery Prince Edward Island memory from 1989 where I ordered, ate, and loved rappie pie from a delightful rural diner somewhere in King's County. Maybe it was the company, or maybe the fact we were traveling by bicycle, but I'm struggling to get back to my happy rappie place.

I tried a frozen rapure pie from the Sobey's Grocery Store . . . it was a four out of ten. I've done some recent experimenting at home, here's what I came up with:

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My ham-fisted approach to Chicken and Grated Potato Pie tasted fine, but the traditional texture I desired was nowhere in sight. My alabaster potatoes turned amber, which I'm pretty sure means "proceed with caution". I'm thinking the key to this proud National Dish of Acadia lies in potato manipulation.

So if you have, or if you are, a qualified Grandmother to set the record straight -- please do.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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  • 2 weeks later...

Despite being Acadian, I can offer no help here, as Rappie pie is not native to my cultural region (North-East NB). Another mystery to me is Poutine rapée. I've never had one, but I tried to make them once and the potatoes completely dissolved and turned the entire stockpot into a disgusting gray good with suspended chunks of pork.

As I'm writing this, it just occured to me that I could probably make these sous-vide (cogs turning...).

Edited by Mallet (log)

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Despite being Acadian, I can offer no help here, as Rappie pie is not native to my cultural region (North-East NB). Another mystery to me is Poutine rapée. I've never had one, but I tried to make them once and the potatoes completely dissolved and turned the entire stockpot into a disgusting gray good with suspended chunks of pork.

As I'm writing this, it just occured to me that I could probably make these sous-vide (cogs turning...).

The thought of poutine rapee prepared sous vide just makes me smile. Thanks for that! Could you let us know how it works if you try it?

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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. . . . it just occured to me that I could probably make these sous-vide (cogs turning...).

The thought of poutine rapee prepared sous vide just makes me smile. Thanks for that!

It's all about the searching and experimenting.

I want to know how poutine rapee and the common poutine are related. I'll bet Bernard St-Laurent could find out -- his radio show answers these kinds of questions.

Below is a rare home made version of the more contemporary poutine featuring french fries, cheese curds and gravy:

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Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Despite being Acadian, I can offer no help here, as Rappie pie is not native to my cultural region (North-East NB). Another mystery to me is Poutine rapée. I've never had one, but I tried to make them once and the potatoes completely dissolved and turned the entire stockpot into a disgusting gray good with suspended chunks of pork.

As I'm writing this, it just occured to me that I could probably make these sous-vide (cogs turning...).

I had poutine rapée on the coast not too far from Moncton and really liked it. I am surprised it is not better known outside NB.

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  • 1 month later...

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Mackerel

Atlantic mackerel run twice a year in the bay where I live, first in May when they're small "tinkers" and then again in August as mature fish. The school is usually very large -- easily seen from shore as they are pursued by birds, seals, whales and other fish. To catch them I use a mackerel jig -- six unbaited hooks on light weight line and rod. If your cast passes through the school, you get to land up to six mackerels simultaneously. It's very easy to collect several dozen in a half hour.

These fish are delicious, high in vitamin B12, loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, and virtually free of mercury. Even easier than the catching is the cleaning:

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Slit the belly from vent to head:

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Scoop out innards and rinse the empty cavity:

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Remove the head and both fillets with a sharp bendy knife:

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Keep the head and guts for the raccoon trap:

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Raccoons are total omnivores and can't resist fresh fish guts. This female moved into my garage so we trapped and relocated her to a better place:

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ETA spelling

Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Do you keep the bodies for anything?

I didn't use the spine and tail this time. I usually cook the fish on the bone with only the head and guts removed. Grilled, poached or baked are all good ways to cook mackerel.

These particular fillets were cured with salt and rice vinegar to make Japanese style shime saba.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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