Meatless Monday – Kitchen Party

Singing, drinking and dancing, all huddled around the stove in the warmest room in the house – this is the quintessential Newfoundland kitchen party. This week’s Meatless Monday is my very own kitchen party with vegetarian Newfoundland fare.

~A ‘mug up‘ is a snack with a cup/mug of tea. It usually occurs between main meals.~

In Search of Figgy Duff – the elusive Figgy Duff.
Figgy Duff is a pudding baked in a pudding steamer or boiled in a pudding bag. It is often prepared with a Jiggs dinner, a traditional Newfoundland dinner served on Sundays which involves meat.
I sought out restaurants and cafes that could possibly prepare vegetarian Figgy Duff. I had no luck with different places and ran out of time in my search. And so I am still a Figgy Duff virgin.
Figgy Duff doesn’t actually have figs in it. Rather, it has raisins and from the recipes I was able to find, seems to be a basic sweet quick bread.
I bought a Newfoundland pudding bag as a souvenir but still have yet to use it. Due to unexpected work on some pipes, my kitchen is out of commission for a good part of the day for the next 2 weeks so Figgy Duff making has been postponed.
The tasting of this pudding eludes me once again!

Sprout is a vegetarian restaurant in downtown St. John’s. It is Newfoundland’s first vegetarian restaurant. I heard about this place from Happy Cow and put it on my itinerary of must-see places in St. John’s. My experience, however, did not live up to the hype. The night I was there I found the staff to be inattentive and not very friendly. Though it was a popular place and a busy night, the staff could have still made the effort to do a rudimentary¬† greeting upon arrival and departure and asked in mid-meal munching how my food was and whether I needed more water. I got seated in a dark table in the corner and someone only appeared to take my order and deliver the food. I felt invisible. The dish I had, though, was good. It was ‘Poutine with a twist’ and had a nice mix of salty taste, carbs (rice and potatoes!) with some veggies thrown in for colour. I had a much better dining experience at another place.
Check out my review on Trip Advisor: The Happy Hummus Hut.

The barren and northern landscape of Newfoundland is a ‘b’eritable wonderland of fruit. Who knew? Local jams make great souvenirs and are ideal for independent travel. It allows you to experience a destination through your taste buds. The Dark Tickle Company whose motto is “A Unique Wild Berry Experience” is the place that manufactured all of the jams pictured below. They also produce vinegar, chocolates, sauces and teas from these local wild berries.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2013.
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013.
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013.
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013.
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013.
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013.
Squashberry Jam Photo by Kimberley (c)2013.
Squashberry Jam
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013.
Crowberry Jam. Photo by Kimberley (c)2013.
Crowberry Jam.
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013.

More info:
Guide to Edible Berries of Newfoundland

Partridgeberry aka lingon berry is a relative of the cranberry. The jam had a mild tartness and sweet taste.

Bakeapple aka cloudberry is said to have an apricot-honey taste. I found the jam to have no distinct taste. Another sweet berry tasting jam.

Squashberry is similar to a cranberry. Again, a mildly tart yet sweet taste.

Crowberry is considered a blackberry in Newfoundland.







These are the toutons I bought.  Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
These are the toutons I bought.
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

No matter how you slice it, fried bread is just fried bread. Toutons are basically fried bread (I believe pan-fried not deep-fried as the ones pictured here are.) We all know that frying is not the healthiest way to prepare food. My go-to solution? Bake in the oven either in a cast-iron pan with a little oil or on parchment paper where no added oil is needed.

Traditional toutons are a white-bread dough flattened into little rounds then pan-fried. My recipe alchemy? Use a multi-grain bread dough and bake in the oven. When freshly baked and still warm, dip into melted butter or coconut oil to approximate that fried look and taste. Serve with warmed molasses ‘syrup’. May I suggest date molasses: sweet and sticky with a subtle molasses flavour.

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