Now We Can Have Nice Things?

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A couple weeks ago, we did a very old-person kind of thing: we picked up Trav and took him to Almonte for brunch at Heirloom (would highly recommend). Then we toodled across the street to the Almonte Antique Market and BOUGHT A CHINA CABINET. Because apparently this is what grown-ups do on weekends. We managed to get a remarkably fantastic deal on this puppy, no thanks in small part to the fact that Trav’s mother is one of the vendors at the market and hooked us up big time. And then we got unreasonably excited about it. Because we’ve been looking for a china cabinet for years (were we always old?).

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Seriously. Years. When we moved in together about ten years ago, at the tender age of 24, each one of us came with our own complete set of china and a silver tea set. HOW WEIRD IS THAT? In our first apartment there was a built-in display cabinet where we had it all laid out, but when we moved to Newfoundland, it all went into storage, where it has stayed for the past eight or so years.

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After giving the cabinet a thorough cleaning, I then unpacked all our boxes, starting with the silver. The definite plus of this was getting to see it all after eight years. The definite downside was that it hadn’t been polished in eight years …

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… several hours later, the tea sets were looking sparkly and badass on the bottom shelf (they’re on the bottom because I figure it’s harder for small children to break silverware – but I’m sure one of them will prove me wrong).

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Then I started unpacking the china. And then I remembered that not only did *I* have a set and *the Pie* had a set, but that we had also inherited YET ANOTHER set from my grandmother. So we actually have three sets of china. Let that be a lesson to you folks: if you leave china alone for eight years it multiplies.

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His …
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… hers …
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… ours?

I’m still moving things around in there as the mood strikes. And once we find a sideboard I’ll probably move some of the less showy pieces into that instead. But for now we’re really happy with it!

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Scoff and a Half: Cod Fish Cakes, Rock-style

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If you know anything about Newfoundland, you know that historically it has been home to one of the largest cod fisheries in the world.  So if you visit the Rock you can pretty much eat cod any which way you like.  Many here prefer to eat it salted (a traditional way to preserve it), and there’s a huge number of dishes surrounding this particular delicacy.  A favourite locally is fish ‘n’ brewis (pronounced like “bruise”), and is very popular amongst the hungover patrons of George Street.  It’s a breaded filet of salt cod, pan fried and topped with scruncheons, which you may remember from our toutons recipe.  It makes for a good “scoff,” or meal.

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You can get salt cod pretty much anywhere on the eastern coast of Canada and through much of New England.  It’s a pretty popular way of preserving fish, so you’re likely to find it as well in markets in Russia, China, huge chunks of Europe, and more or less wherever else cod is sold.  You can also get canned salted cod from specialty shops and online.  If you can’t get salt cod (or you can’t be bothered to get some) you can use fresh cod or haddock or any other white fish as a substitute.  Just don’t go through the soaking step, and add a bit of salt to the recipe.

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First you need about 1lb salt fish bits.  I don’t even question what the bits are, though it’s not all cod.  Just trust me on this one.

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Dump those bits in a pot. Okay so it doesn’t look that appetizing. Just wait for it.

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Fill the pot with cold water.  Bung that pot in the fridge overnight.

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Next day, drain that salty, salty water, and fill it again with fresh. Put the pot on the stove and bring the contents to a gentle simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

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While that’s on the go, peel and chop up about 1lb white potatoes (this was 4 large ones).  Huck them in a pot and boil the crap out of them as well.

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Drain the cooked fish.

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Use two forks (or a potato masher) to break the fish up into fine little bits.

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Drain the cooked potatoes and mash them as well.  Leave them aside to cool a bit.

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Finely chop up a small onion (or half a large one) and drop it in a pan with 1/4 cup butter.

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Cook on medium heat until soft. While I’ve got you moving, might as well do the hokey pokey.

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Crack 1 large egg and beat it up and put it aside, together with 2 tablespoons savoury, and some salt and pepper.

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Dump the onions in with the fish and give that a stir.

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Same-same with the potatoes and herbs.

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When the mixture has cooled enough that it won’t cook the egg on contact, dump that in as well and mix it in.

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Use a spoon to scoop up a generous helping of the mixture and form it with your hands into a little patty.

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Roll the finished patty in about 1/4 cup flour (I used buckwheat so I could give some to Fussellette) and set it aside.

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This particular recipe made 16 fish cakes for me.

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Now you can wrap them up in waxed paper and seal them in something airtight and chuck them in the fridge, or freeze them.

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To cook, heat a couple glugs of vegetable oil in a pan and fry on medium high for 3-4 minutes each side.

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Flip when you get some nice golden-brown crispies on the bottom.

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Serve with fresh chives or parsley and a side of strong condiment, like dijon mustard, relish, or chutney.  Save a couple for the magical creation we will be having on Friday.  Stay tuned!

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Final Voting for Canadian Blog Awards

Hi Folks,

Please take a second to vote for me and any of your other favourite Canadian bloggers at the Canadian Blog Awards site.  I made it to the final round in “Best Blog about Arts, Crafts, Cooking and other Creative Activities” and “Best Food and Drink Blog.”

You don’t have to live in Canada or be Canadian to vote, and voting ends 1 December 2012.  You can vote from any of your devices if you really want me to win.  Just click on the image below or at the right of your screen and VOTE!  Thanks!

Gren says thank you, too.

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