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If you have a favourite family recipe and would like it published in the April   issue, please send on or before April 15th. Please send to: The Shoreline Journal, Box 41, Bass River, NS B0M 1B0; Fax: 902-647-2194 or email: maurice@theshorelinejournal.com


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April 2021

We are almost out the nastiness of winter, although in April we get a couple of difficult days with wet snow which makes driving more dangerous than the dead of winter. Our salvation is we know the snow will not last long, as the sun is much stronger, and migratory birds are returning.

I haven’t seen any robins yet, but I am sure they are arriving in small numbers, or will very soon. The other positive note is tomorrow (Thursday) is a sure sign of spring. It will be "April Fool’s Day, so be careful how and to what you react to prior to noontime.

Now is the time to think about what vegetables or flowers you want for this summer’s garden as we continue to work our way out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Government officials and Health professionals are suggesting we soon will see more openness and perhaps the Atlantic Bubble will be restored soon. Last year there was an abundance of "new" or "renewed" gardeners as people were confined to their property. It is expected most will continue outdoor habits at home, but with less intensity as we will want to get out and around.

If gardening is still on your mind, seed packs are abundant in most retail outlets. If you choose not to plant seeds, you can wait for the garden centres to open, but now is the time to think about different varieties you wish to change things a bit.

The highlight in many communities for the past few weeks and will continue into the first three weeks of April has been the many maple syrup breakfasts, brunches and events. Now that we will be able to attend such events, it is hopeful many of the community groups will continue or resume to historic and enjoyable event. It’s always a great feast, lots of local entertainment and the opportunity to stock up on the quantities of locally produced maple syrup to get us through another year.

Regardless if you wish to confine yourself to staying at home or breaking up the time with some day-trips the hospitality industry participants will be glad to welcome you. Restaurants, pubs and local craft and antique shops will be most eager to welcome you.

If you are in a rush doing some of the things you traditionally do around the house this time of year, you might wish to try a different slow cooker recipe as you commence to tidy up the yard and prepare the garden for your invasion.

If you have a sweet tooth maybe the family would enjoy an easy to make fudge recipe. Both are presented below.

Cowboy Crockpot Stew

  • 1 sm package of stew meat
  • 1 pkg sausage or kielbasa
  • 1 med onion chopped
  • 1 med potato chopped
  • 1 can baked beans, your choice

Place ingredients into a crockpot in the order shown. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. If you are brave or have a desire for a particular spice, you can experiment to your own satisfaction. Preparation time: 10 minutes. Serves: 6 to 8.

Never Fail, Five Minute Fudge

  • 2/3 cup un-diluted evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • cup chopped nuts
  • tsp sale
  • 1 pkg (6 oz) chocolate chips
  • 1 cup diced marshmallows (16 med).

Mix evaporated milk, sugar and salt in saucepan over medium heat. Heat to boiling, then cook five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add marshmallows, chocolate chips, vanilla and nuts. Stir 1-2 minutes until marshmallows melt. Pour into buttered 8 inch square pan. Cool. Cut into squares.


March 2021

Occasionally, we get lucky. So far this winter, we have been extremely lucky in comparison to last winter. All along we feared, snow storms and accumulation might rival last year, but so far we have escaped its rage. Sure we’ve had a couple of storms and students have had been able to enjoy a few storm days.

Now that we are into March, as bad as it might get, there’s only about six weeks left and the sun will be so strong any amount of snowfall won’t last long. Maurice always says during the nine years he commuted daily from Maitland to Halifax-Dartmouth he always dreaded the storms in April, because more often than not, each storm was wet packy snow making driving treacherous.

Other than work, I haven’t done much since last writing and no, we’ve not had a stormy Sunday, so Maurice has not made the Dark Fruitcake yet, but assures me he will with or without a storm. I did get some very long intense chuckles from the Facebook posting from the radio personality in Cape Breton inviting those to become Trump-Dodgers to move to Cape Breton.

Apparently, he created the posting with tongue-in-cheek as a joke, but just as the Republican GOP presidential candidate campaign is equally amazing, so is the following on his posting. I didn’t catch all of it, but an interviewee on CBC Radio stated the reaction has been so strong, they had to bring back their summer staff to handle all the inquiries.

It seems a large number of Americans are serious that if Donald J. Trump wins the presidency in November, they are out of there. It’s even been a boom to Cape Breton realtors, as they have had many serious inquiries about purchasing property. Some of those who apparently are well heeled, have inquired about starting businesses.

Will that tongue-in-cheek Facebook posting contribute to an increase in tourism? It certainly has spread the word through advertising that no amount of money could buy. If Trump-Dodgers come to Nova Scotia this summer in large numbers maybe it will be a boom for Colchester business if they people use the Truro area as a "pit-stop" as they race to get to Cape Breton Island.

With the high cost of vegetables this winter, I noticed that cabbage is not too bad, so it made me think about a Cabbage and Macaroni Salad recipe, which Hazel Hill sent me over a year ago. In fact a nice home-made salad is a nice break during the winter.

Cabbage Macaroni Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 - 8 oz box of ring or small shell macaroni
  • 3 cups grated or chopped cabbage
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 1 red pepper, chopped, (Optional)

Cook macaroni to desired tenderness. Drain and let stand few minutes cool. Add cooked macaroni to other ingredients and let stand, while preparing the dressing.

Dressing:

  • 1 cup salad dressing
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • cup sugar

Mix these three ingredients together. Be sure to stir long enough to ensure all the sugar is absorbed into the fluid. This makes a very large salad. If you wish adjust recipe to make only half.

Even though you will have salad left over add the dressing to all the vegetable ingredients. This recipe keeps well in the refrigerator.


February 2021 - Ready for Dark Fruit Cake?

Although it is about six weeks away, we could say the luck of the Irish has been with us this winter, in that although we are mired in the Covid-19 pandemic, we have not had our normal winter storms. Basically no snow, and temperatures up to and above 10 on many days and nights. As I sit here on a Friday afternoon, CBC radio is reporting for about a 30 mile circle around HRM it is snowing heavenly and roads are treacherous with traffic creeping along on the margins, of Berwick, Shubenacadie and down to Bridgewater.

Those of us who detest snow have been in our glory, but those with snow sleds, skiers, and those who enjoy getting on snowshoes are lamenting the open winter. The pandemic has changed life, and the ways to get outdoors and fill our time with healthy outdoor activities, because we are restricted from visiting friends, or a day shopping at the mall.

Instead of spending much time over a hot stove, I decided to re-organize one of the cupboards. When I finished I realized we had almost all the ingredients to make Dark Fruit Cake. Yes, I know we are just finishing up the remainder from Christmas, but fruit cake is better when it has lots of time to season. 10 months n advance is not too long.

Here’s a cherished recipe from the Five Roses Cookbook.

Dark Fruit Cake

  • 3 cups sultana raisins
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup chopped figs
  • cup chopped candied fruit
  • cup glazed cherries, cut in halves
  • cup citron peel
  • cup lemon peel
  • cup orange peel
  • 1/3 cup cognac, brandy, rum or fruit juice
  • 1 cup sliced blanched almonds
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • cup flour
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • cup molasses
  • 1 cups flour
  • tsp salt
  • tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp allspice (Jamacian pepper)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • tsp nutmeg
  • tsp mace

Preheat oven. Combine fruits, add cognac and mix well. Cover and let soak overnight. Line a tube pan with heavy brown paper; grease well. (Maurice prefers loaf pans, prepared the same way). Add almonds and nuts to fruit mixture and mix well; sprinkle with cup flour and mix well. Cream shortening and gradually add brown sugar beating between additions. Add eggs one at at time, beating well after each. Add molasses, mix well. Combine flour, salt, soda and spices together. Gradually blend dry ingredients. Fold in fruit and nut mixture. Fill prepared pan.

Place a shallow pan of hot water on bottom rack of oven. Place cake pan(s) in centre of oven. Bake in slow oven (275 degrees) for 1 hours. Remove pan of water and bake about 1 hours longer or until toothpick inserted into centre of the cake come out clean. (Loaf pans may take less time so check regularly after second 45 minutes). Cool on wire rack before removing from pan(s).

STORING: If cake is to be used within a few weeks, do not remove brown paper. Wrap in two thicknesses of aluminum foil. If cakes are to ripen longer, remove brown paper and wrap cakes in cognac (or whatever flavour used) soaked two or three thicknesses of cheesecloth. Place cake in a tight container. Moisten cloth from time to time. To ripen cakes for a few weeks only, store in a cool dry place. If cakes are to ripen longer, store in a very cool place. (Ideal storage container is a metal cookie tin). If you wish you can wrap cakes in two thicknesses of aluminum foil and placed in chest freezer for up to 12 months. Thaw cakes in aluminum foil wrapper.


January 2021 - Thanks to Co-Vid, a different Christmas

It certainly has not seemed like a normal Christmas thanks mostly to CoVid-19, when we are encouraged to stay home and entertain only within our small family bubble. In November it was too warm to think about all the jingle bells and the pressure we put upon ourselves to get "just the right gift" for everyone on our list. Then of course if becomes a budgetary item.

Along with the warm weather in late November spreading on into December, all of us as grandparents or parents and even students were concerned about what was going to transpire in the education system. Students and parents then had to deal with the fact we’d have a Christmas without the school concerts and sporting activities, including the many tournaments that occur over the Christmas holidays. Disappointment among the students was the biggest stresser for parents. Oh, how to pacify the youngsters and appropriately explain what was happening.

After we settled into a different Christmas season, Atlantic Canada was thrown into the midst of severe cold weather for a few days. Snow and frigid temperatures in some areas dropped the thermometer to -19.

Wonder what’s ahead for us until mid-April. Surely, we won’t have an abundance of snow from frequent Nor-Easters, then a period of Nor’wester winds that howl for days upon end. If so, I’m not looking forward to it.

Like many of you, keeping an eye on the pandemic, we haven’t spent much time in the kitchen. However, realizing there are still a few more days to catch up on some Christmas baking here are a couple of recipes from my youthful days.

100 Good Cookies

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 egg – unbeaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 cup rice crispies
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 1;2 – 4 cups flour

Cream sugar with butter and oil. Add egg and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Roll into balls, press with fork. Bake in 350 oven for 10-15 minutes. Should make 100 cookies.

Christmas Cookies

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • cup brown sugar
  • tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup almonds (Pieces or slices) Optional
  • cup red cherries – cut into small pieces
  • cup green cherries – cut into small pieces

Cream butter, add sugar. Add vanilla, salt and flour. Add cherries and form into balls. Bake in 325 oven until golden brown. Do not grease cookie sheet.


 

 

Maurice Rees, Publisher
The Shoreline Journal
Box 41, Bass River, NS B0M 1B0
PH: 902-647-2968; Cell: 902-890-9850
E-mail: maurice@theshorelinejournal.com