An easy sauce to lift your pancake game, a fresh blueberry maple sauce. Ready in under 5 minutes.…
Living outside my native Nova Scotia, there come times when frankly I miss it. Short of hopping on board a flight, usually turn to the kitchen to cook up something that will take me back to the land of bluenosers. Last week, it when I opened the fridge I took out the some homemade maple hot smoked salmon fillets to indulge in a bit of Nova Scotian cuisine.
How the salmon got in my fridge is actually due to my recent oak smoked chicken sandwich, after which I ponied up the cash and bought a stove top smoker. I’ve craved a smoker for years, and have been very jealous of my family in Canada who own them (at much cheaper prices than the UK). While I would never have gotten permission to buy a Bradley or, dare I dream, a Green Egg, I could justify a stove top.
Hot smoking salmon is very easy to make, and takes only a few minutes. This dish was actually made with day old hot male smoked salmon, however fresh out the smoker it almost tastes like butter basted salmon. Just delicious. I shamelessly used some of my supplies of imported Nova Scotian maple syrup to add some sweetness to the dish… Well that and because I can.
Anyway, I took this maple hot smoked salmon, and topped some bread with cream cheese and cucumber. It is a creamy, savoury and fresh dish that reminded me of breakfasts in Nova Scotia, satisfying my homesickness for another few weeks.
I’m used to having this type of salmon for breakfast, so a good tea or coffee (Pact Coffee click the link to get £3 off) would hit the spot.
Well, I’m being nostalgic, so might as well be some East Coast music. Actually I’m being really nostalgic, so I’m going with Joel Plaskett’s A Million Dollars. True local guy, saw him play with his Dad once, amazing.
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Maple Hot Smoked Salmon
- 2 debonned salmon fillets
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons maple smoking chips
- 10 tablespoons cream cheese
- 24 slices of cucumber
- 4 slices of German Rye Bread
- Using a stovetop smoker, such as Cameron's|http://amzn.to/2cbavxi, smoke the salmon fillets for 10-20minutes. This will depend heavily on your type of smoker. Meanwhile combine the maple syrup and mustard. When salmon is full cooked, take out and lightly brush with the maple mustard then chill (you can serve hot if you would prefer). Pinch to break up the fillets into pieces.
- Spread each piece of bread with some of the cream cheese, then top with the cucumber, and finally salmon. If you have some chives, you can sprinkle these over top.
It’s official, I’m on holiday. Which means I all up for the relaxed morning breakfast. My partner, not so much. Either way, it has been some beautiful mornings so far, and not wanting to enjoy the early sun by myself I have resorted to a trick of my parents. I bake something.
Specifically I turned to my family favorite of oat scones, which while meant for breakfast actually go well at all times of the day. It is a thoroughly Nova Scotian recipe, largely thanks to an influx of Scottish immigrants in the 1700-1800s. They brought with them a love of oats, and adapted quickly to the local surroundings.
They key to these is to adjust as you make, and not overwork. The ingredients are mixed together until just mixed and then cut, baked, cooled and eaten. If I am eating them for breakfast I’ll usually have a bit of butter and jam, if lunch or an afternoon snack I’ll usually switch to cheddar and some apple pepper herb jelly.
They are also pretty versatile, in the fall/winter and christmas I add cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for more warming notes. When visiting markets I keep an eye out for blueberries to toss in, or sometimes dried raisins or cranberries.
Our oat scones are my go to baked good, I just love the chewy interior and slightly crispy bits near the edges. That, and they work wonders in waking up everyone in the house.
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- 225 g flour
- 160 g oats
- 1 Tb baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 60 g sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 90 ml milk
- 125 g melted butter
- 60 g dried fruit optional
- 60 g blueberries optional
- 2 TB Cinnamon/cloves/nutmeg optional
- Melt the butter in and mix with milk and set aside.
- Combine all dry ingredients, including adding any dried fruits or other spices that you might want.
- Whisk one egg and mix this and the wet ingredients with the dry. Combine until all is combined.
- Flatten the mixture out into a disk, roughly 1inch thick. Cut this into triangles and place onto a parchment lined baking tray.
- Brush scones with remaining egg (whisked) and bake in pre-heated oven (190C -fan) for 10-12min, until browned.
As a purveyor of local markets, I’ve come expect that some markets are far superior to others. Some have plenty of local produce and are truly special. Too many, however, are filled with trend followers. My beloved borough market often falls victim to this, as many stands take over with the latest trend (cheese, charcuterie, argentine steaks, cronuts etc). Outside of London, every market (and I mean EVERY market) will have at least one or two stands selling their own ‘unique’ jam or chutney.
Here’s the reality, they are all pretty similar. Only once in the UK did I ever come across a chutney I viewed as ‘unique’ and it was actually from a local chili farm (Edible Ornamentals in Bedfordshire) which I have now purchased multiple tongue spinning jars.
In one of my favorite areas of Nova Scotia, the Valley, is one of my favorite little shops – Tangled Gardens. For years my family has relied on them for a rotating selection of jams and jellies to match our food. They have a gorgeous herb garden, and really take their ethos of food and art to heart. Every bottle looks like a work of art.[imagebox maintitle=”More Nova Scotian Food links” subtitle=”Bluenoser Notes” image=”http://rougheats.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/8100626083_824ec0b91c_z.jpg” color=”white” space=”30″ link=”http://www.rougheats.com/bluenoser”]
Being in the UK, I can’t always get my fix or jams or jellies, so I had to make my own. After experimentations I finally came up with Apple Pepper Herb Jelly. Now, Tangled Gardens does make a pepper herb jelly, which I must admit is better than mine. Although I chalk this up to the produce of the valley. This does require attention, so you monitor the liquid reduction and adjust your sugar etc.
After it’s created you need to let it rest in sealed jars for a day+ to let the jelly come together. The use of fresh herbs make this jelly both visually stunning, but also a great flavour. It goes well with oat scones and cheddar, but equally good as a glaze on chicken and with soft/cream cheese on a bagel. Plus it looks lovely in the sunlight!
Apple pepper herb jelly
- 2 KG of apples of your choice
- Juice of one lemon
- 5 L of water
- 2 KG of sugar
- 3 chillies chopped with most seeds removed to taste
- 1 cup of lightly packed cilantro and parsley chopped including stems.
- (Recipe adapted from the Good Food Channel) Roughly chop the apples and place into a LARGE pot.
- Add the lemon juice and cover the contents with water. Bring this to the boil and then reduce the heat so the whole mixture simmers for just shy of two hours. The apples will look puffy, but avoid the temptation to stir this mixture. Doing so will only make your final product cloudy.
- You need to strain the mixture, I use a jelly bag but muslin (with a sieve) will work too. Ensure this is sterilized by scalding it in boiling water. Suspend this strainer above a large bowl, capable of holding all the liquid. Slowly pour the contents of your pot into the strainer, again don’t squeeze or push the pulp. This will take awhile, probably all day or night.
- When the liquid is done, measure the final liquid. For each 600ml, you will be adding 450g of sugar. You will also need your chopped herbs and chili. Add these to your liquid and place in a pan. Place several small plates into the freezer.
- Slowly warm up the liquid until sugar dissolves, then boil. Depending on how the liquid looks, I occasionally use this opportunity to add a prepared gelatin sheet or pectin, but it is not always needed. Either way, boiling the liquid for 10-30min will help you achieve a jelly like consistency. To test this, you use you those frozen plates. Take a small spoon of liquid and place onto the frozen plate. If it starts to solidify, then you have reached the proper state. This is because the jelly will thicken when cooled.
- When finished, you need to skim off the foam that has risen to the top of the liquid. This then needs to be portioned out into sterilized jars (see some tips for that here). Just before you place the lid, give the mixture a stir to distribute the chili and herb pieces. Let lidded jars rest for at least a day if not more to have the jelly set.
The summers of 2007 and 2008 were some of my favorite. Essentially they were the summers before I had to actually find a proper job. So these summers I was running one of my local rowing clubs as a coach. If you ever get into rowing, you discover that it is a very early morning sport, as well as a afternoon evening sport. So I had a need for a quick, cheap and filling lunch. By fluke one day walking through my local Sobeys (grocery store) bought a sandwich.
A ‘sandwich??!!’ I hear you say ‘so what??’.
Well, if you’ve ever visited the UK you know that they spoiled for choice in terms of prepared sandwiches. Light years ahead of most other countries. The first ‘restaurant’ I ordered food in from the UK just specialises in ready sandwiches (hello PRET).
In Nova Scotia, if you go to a grocery store to buy a sandwich you will discover they are both barren in their selection and at an eye-watering price point. Pushing the culinary envelope they are not, just some meat (ham or beef) in an overly soft roll layered with mayo and iceberg lettuce. Unsurprisingly, there just isn’t a big culture of buying sandwiches to eat later. If you want a sandwich you make it yourself or go sit down in a restaurant.
So, that fateful day as I walked into Sobeys I discovered what would become my summer work lunch of choice. A Dagwood sandwich. Made popular by the cartoon strip Blondie, it is essentially a sandwich which aspires vertically. Layers of cheese, meat, tomatoes, lettuce and anything else you might want to add.
As luck would have it, we are having a minor heatwave here in the UK, and it seemed like an ideal time to recreate some memories of my summers of years gone past. I ventured to the deli counter, and received a bemused look from the counter attendance and my clear excitement in coldcuts. Some wafer thin smoked ham, chicken breast, roast beef, mortadella and slices of lovely nutty emmental. Plus a few sundried tomatoes to mix with a mayo.
Back home a loaf of bread was hollowed out and spread with sundried tomato mayo. Then the layers are added: cheese followed by the meats, slices of tomato and some crunchy lettuce. Finally its all topped some more mayo (now with added mustard) and the top of the loaf. In the fridge for 30min to cool the whole thing down, and it’s ready to eat.
That is my summer Dagwood sandwich.
- Large loaf of bread a bloomer
- 3 TB Mayo
- 2-3 Sun-dried tomatoes minced
- 5 sliced of water thin smoked ham
- 5 slices of roast beef
- 5 slices of roast chicken
- 5 slices wafer thin mortadella
- 3 slices of emmental
- 1 TB american mustard
- 1 large tomato
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce
- Mix the mayo with the sun-dried tomatoes and mustard.
- Slice the loaf in half, possibly hollowing out part of the loaf to reduce the amount of bread. Spread both sides with the mayo mix.
- Starting with the cheese, layer the meats and cheese, evenly covering the hole loaf.
- Top with tomato slices, and then the lettuce.
- Complete the sandwich and place in the fridge for 30min to chill.