here and there

Monday, January 28, 2019

Fish Aspic

This is a dish that my Mom always had on the table for Christmas Eve.   

Fish was delivered before Christmas to our village by a fisherman in the area.  I remember people picking out whole frozen fish from the back of his truck, ie Jack Fish, Pickerel and White Fish.   
White Fish

The fish was cleaned and cut into pieces.  The whole fish was used for the broth including the head.  The stock pot was filled with water and to this was added chopped celery, onion, chopped parsley, a bay leaf, salt and peppercorns.  Although, Jack Fish has lots of bones, it was the best for the broth to gel.   Once the fish was cooked, the fish was taken out, the bones and skin were removed and the cooked fish was placed in a dish or mold  The broth was then strained through muslin to assure a very clear broth.  Adjust the seasonings before pouring into the mold.

My Mom liked to add julienne carrots and celery to the mold.  The fish is chilled, then flipped over on to a bed of lettuce, decorated with lemon slices. Truly a beautiful dish!

The recipe I share is my memory of my Mom making this dish for Christmas Eve. 

A mixture of vegetables were chopped up and added first to the stock pot
  • Carrot
  • parsley chopped
  • chopped onion
  • bay leave
  • peppercorn
After preparing this dish this year,  I realized that my Mom used carrots only a garnish.  As I have found out in making turkey gravy, carrots add sweetness that I do not like.  Also the carrots take away from the clarity of the broth. Something that my Mom was most particular about!  

Wash you fish well inside and outside with cold water.  Remove the fish scales with a serrated knife.  Make sure that you check carefully to remove all the scales.  Give another wash to remove any scales.

Cut into smaller pieces for the pot.  I was surprised how tough the fish was.

Place the Fish pieces on the vegetables

Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Skim the foam.  Reduce to simmer as soon as it comes to boil and simmer until fish fork tender. 

Carefully lift the pieces of fish from the broth.  Remove the the bones and  place in a mould. Strain the broth through a cheesecloth so that it is clear.  Taste for seasoning.   There should be enough gelatine from  the fish bones but; 
1-2 packages of plain gelatine* can be soaked in 1/3c cold water.  
Mix gelatine with hot broth
Pour over fish and chill. 

*gelatine is collagen in the skin, bones, and connective tissue of an animal which breaks down into gelatine.  For the purists at heart, skip this step but if you use fish pieces, it will not jell!  On the plus side, it does make a delicious fish soup aka bouillabaisse.

I did make two dishes and did freeze both for Christmas Eve.  

Friday, January 25, 2019

APPLE CROW’S NEST, vintage recipe


I came across this vintage recipe that uses apples, but since I had a bag of pears from Christmas, I decided to use them instead and reduce the sugar.  

Not only did the name catch my attention but so did the presentation of the dessert.  Basically it is like the Blueberry Grunt made in the Maritimes but not flipped over.  How creative!  
This recipe is a keeper and showstopper for brunches

  • 4 med. tart apples* I used pears
  • 1 c. flour
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder* I used only 1 Tbsp
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. shortening* I used about 4 T butter
  • 1/3 c. milk* I used more milk about 3/4c 

Melt butter in cast iron skillet

Slice apples, arrange apple slices 
Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  Since Pears are so sweet, I did not use sugar.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  
Cut in the shortening/butter. 
Add milk to make a soft dough and spread over apples.(wet back of spoon to promote better spreading of dough.)  I did use more milk so as to be able to spread it better

I did take care to bring the dumpling batter to the edge to aid in flipping the dessert over. 

Bake 400 for 25 to 30 minutes. 
Make sure apples/pears are cooked well. 

When cooked completely, invert on plate. 

Dust dessert with icing sugar.. Also did drizzle Maple Syrup when served.

Or serve with ice cream or sweet and sour sauce.  

Sweet and Sour sauce

  • 2 large tbsp. flour 
  • 2/3 c. sugar 
  • large piece butter 

Mix together in a sauce pan; Add

  • 2 1/2 tbsp. vinegar, 
  • 2 1/2 cups hot water 
  • cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Cook until thickened and serve over crow's nest.