October 23, 2009
First things first. If we caught up with you in Nova Scotia and you are missing from our photos, be assured, dearhearts, that it's not because we don't love you, it's because we (mostly I) forgot to catch the moments in the camera.
Let's set you in the setting.
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia was settled in 1753 by settlers from Germany, Switzerland and France, though Mikmaq and Acadians denizens inhabited the area long before. Settlers relied on farming, fishing, boatbuilding and sea-related 'businesses' for their livelihood. Nowadays tourism buoys Lunenburg's economy. "Old Town Lunenburg is the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America." and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
A few views from our 4th floor room at the Lunenburg Arms hotel:
That's schooner Theresa E Connor docked on the right. She was built in 1928 in Lunenburg and fished the banks with dory fishermen for 25 years. The green across the way belongs to Bluenose Golf Club:
Source: Terry G. Conrad
I think the black hulled boat, neighbour to Theresa E. Connor, might be Chockle Cap, a scallop dragger and one of the last wooden fishing vessels in Eastern Canada. Way to the left is the stinkplant, High Liner Foods, "one of the largest fish processing plants in North America".
The steel-hulled, steel-masted barque to the right is Picton Castle. She's registered in the Cook Islands but her North American homeport is Lunenburg. Picton Castle's mission "is deep-ocean sail training and long-distance education. Also, she carries supplies and educational materials to far-flung islands in the South Pacific." She has berths for 40 trainees and 12 crew. In May 2010 she will set sail on her 5th voyage around the world. You could join her.
Lunenburg is also home to the Bluenose II (not pictured), a sleek, sexy, black hulled wooden schooner. The Canadian dime has featured the original Bluenose since 1937. She was launched in 1921, a working schooner and a voracious - and undefeated - racer in her day.
Click here for three theories about the term "Bluenose".
To the right:
Cape Sable and Cape North hide behind mint-green Grand Banker Seafood Bar & Grill, where you might find a boatbuilder or Picton Castle crew member at the bar. Cravings?
Acadian Seafood Stew
(Serves 8 - 10 people)
|Stew Base: 2 lb. fish bones
½ lb. shrimp shells
10 cups water
¼ lb. butter
¼ lb. flour
2 carrots, diced
2 green onion stalks, diced
|| 1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery
½ oz. Cajun Spice
¼ oz. garlic, chopped
9 oz. fish bouillon
2 oz. tomato paste
In large pot, put water, fish bones and shrimp shells. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1½ hours. Using a strainer, reserve liquid into another large pot using a strainer to remove the fish bones and shells, pressing out all the juices with a large spoon.
Return empty pot to stove. In it make a roux using the butter and flour, cooking it slowly for 5-10 minutes. Do not allow to burn. Gradually add the reserved liquid, stirring constantly, and allowing it to thicken before adding more.
Once all the liquid has been added to the pot, add remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a slow boil. Adjust seasoning to your own taste by adding more Cajun spice and fish base.
This is the base from which you may add a wide variety of seafood. This base will last, refrigerated, for up to 1½ weeks.
To prepare the actual stew, add your raw seafood to the base and cook until the seafood is done. Top off with a dollop of heavy cream and serve steaming hot.
We recommend using 8-10 ounces of stew base, 2 ounces of scallops, 3 ounces of haddock, 3 mussels, and 3 large shrimp, per person. We leave the mussels in the shells and the tails on the shrimp for an appealing presentation.
Grand Banker Fish Cakes
(Serves 10 - 12 people Two 5-oz. Fish Cakes)
|5 lb. potatoes, diced
2¼ lb. salt cod fish
1½ lb. haddock
¼ lb. butter
||½ lb. onions, chopped
1½ oz. salt pork, diced, rind removed
pepper to taste
Soak codfish over night if heavily salted, 4-5 hours if lightly salted. Cook potatoes until almost done. Add soaked codfish and haddock and cook until fish and potatoes are done. Strain water off, using colander. During the cooking of the above mixture, saute onions in butter until soft. Also fry-out salt pork until browned, discard fat.
In a large pan or bowl, combine the fish/potato mixture with the onions, butter and salt pork. Add pepper to taste and mash well. Form in patties. Flour and fry in hot oil in a frying pan, until both sides are browned and crispy.
Suggested accompaniments: chutneys, relishes, baked beans, cucumber salad.
A glaze of frost in the morning. Theresa E Connor wears her winter jacket.
Much more to come...