Two cookbooks caught our eye for our first summer issue. Former The Coast restaurant reviewer Liz Feltham recently published her latest collection, A Real Newfoundland Scoff: Using Traditional Ingredients in Today’s Kitchens. And Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard, a well-known member of Nova Scotia’s African-Canadian community published Creating Good Food. Both authors understand and appreciate the importance of basic, fresh, healthy meals to one’s community and heritage. They honour traditional recipes while providing a modern twist. These two books provide irresistible recipes to try this summer.
Creating Good Food
edited by Dr.Wanda Thomas Bernard
$19.95, paperback, 154 pp.
Four East Publications, September 2014
What a great idea to collect recipes celebrating the African-Canadian community while encouraging people to eat healthily. A project of the Nova Scotia Association of Black Social Workers, Creating Good Food offers recipes for every course – snacks, sauces and breads – plus cooking tips and ideas for keeping well.
The recipes are easily explained and use healthy ingredients. (I’ll close my eyes to that Kraft Dinner Casserole.) There’s a bit of the exotic here with recipes such as African Groundnut Soup, and Unripe Plantain with Vegetable Potage and Jollof Rice from Nigeria. The wonderful flavours of Jamaica are encouraged with Jerk Chicken and Ackee and Salt Fish, while there’s a tempt- ing recipe from Guyana called Cookup Rice with Black-eyed Peas. The book has a nice local feel and foods suitable for a crowd. We’re told Fish Cakes with Zesty Tomato Sauce are a huge hit at the annual Taste East Preston event.
The editor provides a detailed chart on each page so you can measure the good stuff, like vitamins and other nutrients, as well as sugars and fat. Unfortunately, the book’s design, while accessible, is plain, and the photos don’t make you drool. But the recipes are the cooks’ favourites and were submitted with love and a sense of sharing. “I never make it for myself,” writes contributor Evelina Upshaw. “It is my gift to the community.”
Sweet Potato Salad from Creating Good Food
I first made this salad for our pastor’s anniversary luncheon, which was primarily a salad feast. It was a big hit. I prefer to garnish it with cilantro as it adds a bountiful flavour.
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 large celery stalks, coarsely chopped 1⁄2 cup thinly sliced red pepper
- 1⁄2 cup thinly sliced orange pepper
- 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped fresh pineapple 1⁄4 cup pecans, toasted and
- coarsely chopped
- 1 small green onion, thinly sliced
- for garnish: chopped chives, cilantro or mint
- Prick the sweet potatoes in several places. Wash well.
- Microwave them on high for about 10 minutes, turning at 5 minutes. Let them cool, then peel and cut into chunks.
- Mix mayonnaise, mustard and seasonings in large bowl. Add sweet potato chunks and all other ingredients.Toss gently until evenly coated. Add garnish.
Yield: 8 servings
A Real Newfoundland Scoff Using Traditional Ingredients in Today’s Kitchens
by Liz Feltham
$19.95, paperback, 98 pp.
Nimbus Publishing, May 2015
There aren’t too many cookbooks with a “From the Air” chapter, but where else would you put recipes for grouse, ptarmigan and turr? Little did I know that you could sear grouse breast in a port sauce, cook wild mushrooms with ptarmigan or concoct a blueberry glaze for turr. Feltham, a trained chef, treats popular traditional Newfoundland foods with respect and imagination – whether from the sea, land, ground or the all-important bakeshop. It’s a book that Newfoundlanders in particular should appreciate.
As expected, there are many seafood recipes including Lobster Risotto with Spring Peas and Saffron, Scallop Ceviche and the ever-popular cod tongues presented in the fashion of Louisiana’s Po’ Boy Sandwiches. And she doesn’t shy away from seal, showcasing it in Seal Rillettes and Blueberry Braised Seal Flipper.
There’s a nice international touch with Asian Squid Stir-fry and Tandoori Barbecued Leg of Lamb. For game lovers, how about Molasses Marinated Moose Steak and Caribou Roast? Even desserts have a Newfoundland edge – Chocolate Screech Cake with Chocolate Coconut Icing, anyone?
A Real Newfoundland Scoff is quite a tasty treat, replete with anecdotes from the author’s childhood and lots of culinary history and Newfoundland foodways. Feltham writes with a warm and friendly spirit in this attractive book with lovely photographs by Halifax’s Scott Munn. You’ll never look at Newfoundland cuisine the same again.
Blueberry Lemon Tart from A Real Newfoundland Scoff
For this tart, you can use your favourite tart dough recipe or, if like me you despise making tart dough, just buy one.The filling will cover any sins brought on by commercial shells. Raspberries work well too, but if you want to use partridgeberries you may find that combining them with lemon dials up the pucker factor a bit too high. In that case, orange juice and zest can step in to replace the lemon.
- 3 eggs
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons heavy (35%) cream 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped lemon zest 3 ounces cream cheese
- 2 ounces mascarpone
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 (9-inch) tart shell, pre-baked
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1⁄4 cup blueberry or cassis liqueur
- Preheat oven to 325oF.
- Using an electric mixer, combine eggs, lemon juice, cream, salt, lemon zest, cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar and whisk on medium until smooth. Pour into tart shell and bake until set, about 20–25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 1⁄2–1 hour.
- Combine berries with liqueur and arrange over tart.
- Serve chilled, or at room temperature, if you can’t wait for it to chill.
Makes one 9-inch tart