It has been a busy summer. For the past month I have turned my attention from the wood cook stoves to the open hearth. Through research into the types of food 19th century Upper Canadians would have cooked, I have prepared a selection of main courses and desserts.
Last weekend I made a Cottage Pie (similar to Shepherds Pie but made with beef instead of mutton). What I liked about this recipe was that it allowed me to use several types of cooking techniques, boiling, frying, and baking. The end result was a dish full of delicious comfort food. I also had the opportunity to use a product called Mushroom Ketchup in the preparation of this dish. It used to be popular condiment, and I was surprised by the deep earthy mushroom flavor it gave to the dish.
Today I played around with some bannock recipes and think I found a winner. The bannock griddled up golden brown and easily cooked all the way through, something some bannock recipes don’t do very well.
Finally, I turned my attention to my sweet tooth and made a boiled plumb pudding. The pudding cooked for 3 hours, and came out great, made even more perfect with the addition of a rum hard sauce. For this recipe I tried using a pudding bag with a draw string, and found it very difficult to remove the cooked pudding from the bag. In the future I will go back to using a large square of cloth that can be tied with string and easily opened once the pudding is cooked.
I am going to be co-teaching a hearth cooking workshop in Pickering Ontario in October, and some of these recipes are going to be featured in the program. It will be wonderful sharing this form of cooking with folks who are eager to learn about it and I anticipate that it is going to be a great time. Until then, I will continue to research and test recipes. More to come….