Da worst ting about smokin fish….

Is keepin ’em lit!

I know I know, bad joke!  But was thinking about years back and how lots of fishermen’s stages had a smoker on the side of them.  I don’t recall any ever in use, but Roy’s stage back in Apsey Brook had one, and was often a good spot to hide when playing hide and seek. It was just a tin lined “chimney” with nails sticking out going up the sides.  Roy, and of course whoever else used them would hang caplin or herring up in them, light a fire at the bottom, generally with alder wood, and smoke them to make… well smoked caplin and kippers!

I love the taste of smoked fish of all varieties, and when we got a little older, Eric and I bought a little electric smoker between us.  Had a little element in the bottom with a small pan, and we’d add wood chips and let them smolder to smoke our own kippers, and lots of other things, but mostly trout and our own moose and beef jerky!

We could buy all kinds of chips, and of course get our own alder, and sometimes apple and others.  We’d experiment with making different brines to add different flavours (hmmm did I ever tell the story of “Who put the salt in the punch?”) and smoke lots of different things, including trying cheese on one or two occasions.

Junior Patey used to love trouting, but he was never really find of the trout, so he’d freeze a lot for his family, but one day he tried the smoked ones Eric and I made, and he loved them, and whats not to love? Its like fish bacon!  Anyway, over the next few weeks he emptied his freezer of trout and smoked them all!

I know Eric still smokes stuff now, and I do too, tho for me its smoking bought stuff as there’s not many trouting holes here in the city (plus I have no idea if half these weird fish up here are fit to eat anyway, I liked that we had trout and only trout back home).  Eric sent me up some jerky he made last year, and I think it lasted all of 20 minutes, cause I was sparing it along!

Anyway, keep yer fish lit, and have a smoky ole day!

Fish n Brewis

Purity Hard and Sweet Bread

I guess every culture/region has some of its own “weird” foods, and Newfoundland is no exception.  I guess being reliant so much on fish as a locale (and by fish I mean cod, to Newfoundlanders any other fish has a name), we came up with or borrowed many unique methods of preparation.  One of these is Fish n Brewis. The link provided is wrong in my opinion though.  It says that fish n brewis uses salt cod and fisherman’s brewis uses fresh.  I’ve always known it to be the opposite; we always use fresh, and I personally don’t care for the salt fish variety.

Even in the fresh there are different methods of serving, but first… what is it?  Well its basically hard tack (hard bread) soaked in water to soften, and boiled fish.  Sound appetizing right?  Well it is delicious! Even better when served with rendered pork fat and scruncheons drizzled over it!  Some people prefer to keep the bread and fish separate, I’ve actually never tried it that way, I prefer it mashed together, drizzled with pork, and blackened with pepper, mmmmm.

Some people serve it with drawn or drawing butter, another thing I’ve never been fond of, though all it is is butter, onion and flour thickened as a sauce.

I’m not really sure the origin of fish and brewis, but I like to think its probably from the offshore fishery or navy, where non-perishable foods like hard tack were prominent, and cooks needed to improvise meals as best they can.

In any event, today’s supper was a memory of home.  Hope you get to enjoy some soon!

Troutin’ with da byes

I’m not sure what year it was, or even many of the details now, but one summer many moons ago, there were tales of huge sea-trout coming up the brooks and rivers of southern Newfoundland.

Always up for trouting, and also for a chance to explore more of our great province, Eric and I decided to go have a look and see what we could find.  Another one of the gang, not necessarily a usual suspect in all our schemes, but a gang member all the same, Cory Avery took the trip with us.

We got up one morning, packed up our tackle and gear, and headed west out the highway, and then out around Bishop’s Falls, took the Bay D’Espoir highway south, driving down past Conne River and seeing places and sights that were all new to us.

This part of the province is pretty remote, but beautiful beyond belief, with gorgeous coves, beautiful ocean and beaches and rivers.

We really had no idea where to go, and I’m not really sure that mattered, but we made our way to Head of Bay D’Espoir and found some promising looking bridges and brooks, and tried our luck.

Unfortunately, no trout were to be had that day, but we did explore and see a lot, including a trip in what I believe was a power utility road to a lake that was dammed for power.   In there we also tried our luck, but again no trout.  Eric (I think it was Eric) did hook and bring ashore a ouananiche (landlocked salmon).

We farted around a bit more down in this area, and then packed up and made our way back home.  The packing up though will be something I’ll always remember, because I broke the tip off my prized rod closing the trunk.  I’m sure it was nothing fancy, but it was one I got during the closing sale of the old Chain Store, and I loved it, best rod I ever had.

Anyway, another story and trip to remember for a lifetime :).