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Newfoundland - My Mother's Homeland Dinners I Was Raised On

Updated on November 7, 2013

Newfoundland Irish By Decent ... My Mother is A Kelly / Murphy

My Mother came to the United States in 1950 after marrying my Father who was stationed on the Naval base in Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada. He brought her to the U.S. by helicopter which to her was amazing. She grew up in the one home that I visited ,when I was five years old, which was built about 50 feet from Placentia Bay on the Atlantic Ocean. Rustic, wild and beautiful with waves crashing along the cold water shores. I watched giant conchs being pushed into the shore, afraid to try to collect them because of the deep looking water and waves. As I sat on the front porch one morning two moose walked down the hill next to the house, nibbled the grass and continued their journey back up another side while I sat very still and quiet not knowing if these giant animals were safe. I was in awe as they were huge. I don't think they saw me as they moved away peacefully and disappeared over the hill.

My family were fisherman and all of them, Great Grandfather, Grandfather and Uncles owned fishing boats. They worked on the flakes gutting their Cod catch, salting the huge Cod filets and using the livers to make cod liver oil. They made a living, raised their families off of the ocean and it's catch. They also sat merry in their livingrooms playing the accordion and singing the songs of Ireland and Newfoundland and dancing 'a jig' or two as my Grandfather called it., when their days work was done. He was a happy man with a table set full of people and good Newfy food. He and my Grandmother had nine children that lived.

My Mother brought with her a rich accent and a culture from Newfoundland which through the years has not diminished very much. She still has and Irish / Newfy brogue. She still can not say the word thread (she says tred) and up until the past few years was still cooking the foods she grew up with. She did tailor her cooking skills to food my Dad liked from his U.S. homeland but for family get togethers she would always have the table spread with her native cuisine which is what I have geared this lens to be about.

These recipes use the old traditional ingredients like salt pork. Newfoundland back in the day was known for lots of snow so when my Mother was growing up a trip to the grocery was about every 6 months. Their supplies were either salted, dried or canned aside from the root cellar of potatoes, cabbage and carrots, and that included their milk which was canned milk. My Mother and siblings considered it such a treat that they would get into the pantry and poke a hole in the bottom of a can and sip it, then plug is up with a matchstick hoping Grandmother wouldn't notice too much. They did not use celery or parsley because it wasn't available but I have added those to some of the recipes below as I have adapted them to my own cooking. To this day my Mother doesn't like celery...LOL.

Photo is Dad, Mom & Me

Good Things

Good Things Come To Those That Wait ... Including Good Food

These Recipes Take Time To Create And Cook ... Patience Is A Virtue

When I was five and visited my grandparents in Newfoundland this is what my grandfather served my brother and I for breakfast. I liked it but my brother turned his nose up at It. A Variation is below which uses Cod filets. The abundance of Cod fish my family jigged in the Atlantic allowed them to use the cheek meat from their catch.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Cod fish fresh or amount you want. frozen or salt Cod (which needs to be boiled twice and drained each time to remove the salt from the Cod)
  • 3/4 cup sliced celery
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 cups or more cubed (1") raw potatoes
  • black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • salt to taste if needed
  • 1 can of chicken stock or a couple bouillon cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole milk or cream
  • any other veggies you might like cut in 1" cubes or pieces
  • about 1/2 of a block of salt pork cut in slices then cut in small cubes and fried out

Instructions

  1. Thaw fillets if frozen. Cut into serving size pieces.
  2. Dice salt pork into pieces. Fry in a large sauce pan until crisp and brown. Remove and drain cubes on paper towel. Add onion and celery to drippings. Cook until tender, stirring frequently.
  3. Dissolve bouillon cube in hot water. Add to potatoes, seasonings and other vegetables ( celery and onion) cover and simmer until potatoes are tender,approx 20 minutes. Place fish in pot, cover and simmer until fish is a milky white showing that it is cooked, about 10 minutes. Add milk, heat gently for a few minutes to blend flavors. Taste adding seasoning as needed.
  4. Serve garnished with pork cubes if you like.
Cast your vote for Cods Heads (It's Not As Bad As It Sounds)

Bang Belly - Molasses Pork Cake

I've watched my Grandmother and my Mother make this cake. I liked the flavor of it even as a small child.

This Is a round baked pungent molasses scented cake with a nice flavor if you like molasses. It's very old fashioned and satisfying...I would say a comfort food.

Serving Size

Serves: A 10" Cast Iron Pan Full

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a small pack of salt pork - cut into small cubes
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Instructions

  1. Cast iron works best for this recipe. That's what my Mother used to fry her pork out in then she would just stir in the remaining ingredients and back in the cast iron pan. This is how the bang belly is made. Mix all dry ingredients together first and set aside. Fry diced salt pork out until rendered out and brown, leave fat in pan (set pork bits aside in a bowl) then add the water and molasses stiring to loosen any pieces of pork on the bottom of the pan and to mix together. Then add all of the other ingredients mixing right in pan until smooth. Add the reserved pieces of fried out pork. Stir all together and place the cast iron pan in the oven.
  2. Bake in 350 - 375 degree preheated oven approx. 1 hr. When tooth pick or knife comes out clean your Bang Belly is done. Cool til warm, cut into squares or wedges and serve.

Boiled Dinner

This Meal Is Cost Friendly! A Picnic Ham Feeds A Lot Of People Or You Have Yummy Left Overs For A Couple Days (Maybe).

Boiled Dinner

When I make my boiled dinner I start with either a picnic ham or a nice size corned beef. I place my meat in my big boiler, cover with water, adding any spices I may want to use, like bay leaf, pepper ect. and cook about 3/4 through the time which is normally a couple hours or until your ham or corned beef is fork tender. I like my ham almost falling away from the bone. (Save your ham bone for some great bean soup).

Note: Corned Beef usually comes with it's own spice packet. A picnic ham is usually salty so I don't add any extra salt.

This meal was a staple in our home as I grew up and many times was a Sunday dinner with the Uncles and their families that had also came to the U.S.

When I make this dinner I usually end up with a huge pot of it because I add so many veggies and it just grows...LOL. But we love, love, love the leftovers.

Serving Size

Serves: A Big Family

Ingredients

  • 1 picnic ham or corned beef
  • about a lb. of carrots
  • cleaned and cut into 2 or 3 inch chunks
  • as many potatoes as you want
  • cleaned and peeled and quartered
  • nice size head of cabbage cored and cut into 1/8's
  • turnips
  • parsnips or any other veggie you like cut into chunks.

Instructions

  1. Cook ham for about an hour in water to cover. If you are going to make a steamed pudding with it do so and put in pudding bag or cheese cloth. Hang your pudding over the side into your pot so it hangs into the water with your ham. Let this cook. Add all of your veggies and cook until they are fork tender. The juices or liquid in the pan will be rich with flavor. Once the veggies are done remove your meat to a platter and add dumplings from recipe below to the top of your veggies by big spoonfuls. Let dumplings cook for 5 minutes in gently simmering liquid (this is important because a full boil will break up your dumplings) then cover and let steam in pot another 5 minutes. They will be somewhat dry when touched with a spoon and glossy on top. Remove all to serving plates or serving bowls.
  2. Use the juice from the boiled dinner as a gravy for your dumpling, potatoes and veggies.
  3. Oh My what a great meal this is...Everything for a big meal in one pot! And maybe leftovers...that's a maybe...the flavors actually blend and are even more tasty the next day!

Old Fashioned Steamed Dumplings In Your Boiled Dinner - Homemade ... Is There Any Other?

If you don't make the sweet pudding you can make these dumplings in your boiled dinner to go with your meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 to 1 cup milk
  • 1 TBLSP dry parsley flakes (optional) but I like the flavor of them in my dumplings.

Instructions

  1. Stir all dry ingredients together then cut in margarine or butter with a pastry cutter or two knives working them cross wise against each other. You can also just pinch the flour and fat using your fingers until it resembles course cornmeal.
  2. Add milk to your dry ingredients blending well and make a soft dough, but don't over mix.
  3. Drop by heaping tablespoons into boiled dinner, cook with reduced low simmering heat uncovered for 5 minutes then cover and steam another 5 minutes until dumpling are dry and shiny on top.

Steamed Pudding - Steamed Right In The Pot With Your Boiled Dinner

This recipe makes a good sized steamed pudding. Make sure you have a big enough pot to hang it over the side and be cooked with your meat and veggies.

Cook Time

Prep Time: Cooked Along With Boiled Dinner

Total Time: 2 1/2 hrs.

Serves: A Family

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ salt pork ( cut fine and fried out) reserve fat or
  • ½ cup butter or 1 cup suet (chopped fine)
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 1 cup raisins
  • optional ingredients for a more special pudding is 1 cup of currants
  • or dried fruit.

Instructions

  1. Sift flour, soda, salt, and spice.
  2. Add molasses and milk ( or water).
  3. Add fruit coated with flour and butter. Mix well.
  4. Put in cheese cloth or pudding bag tied tightly and hang over side of your boiled dinner pot with pudding covered.
  5. Steam for 2 ½ hours with your ham or corned beef and simmer until all is done.
  6. Remove your pudding and open bag then slice and serve with fruit or sweet white sauce if desired.

Dough Bobs (This is the name I grew up with) - Fried Bread Dough Dipped In Light Molasses

or also known as Toutons which is bread dough fried in the fat left from fried salt pork.

Use one of the loaves of bread dough from the recipe above to make Toutons.

You do not have to use the salt pork for your grease to fry the bread in. You can use any oil or shortening you like but it will not have the salt pork flavor of course.

Ingredients

  • ¼ - ½ lb salt pork
  • diced but not minced
  • warmed molasses

Instructions

  1. Fry salt pork until brown and crisp. Remove pork crunchies. Break off small pieces of dough the size of an egg; flatten dough in palms of hands until ½ inch thick. Fry bread dough in pork fat until browned on both sides. Serve warm with molasses or any sauce or fruit sauce to your liking.

A Little Humor About My Visit To Newfoundland At Age 5.

My Family In Long Harbor, Placentia Bay Called My Brother & I Yanks.

My Grandfather got up early with us one morning and fixed us breakfast. He was making "Cod's Heads" so he said. He actually put a plate of boiled potatoes and Cod Jaw meat in front of us. I was willing to try it and liked it but my brother wanted no part of it.

We asked if we could have some toast with our breakfast. Grandpa scratched his head and said, "Now child just where would ya like me ta plug dat toaster in ... me rear (he had quite and Irish accent)?" They still did not have electricity at their house, in 1957, and we were too young to understand why they didn't.

Well to make us happy my Grandpa opened up one of the wood cooking stove lids and proceeded to cut us a thick slice of homemade bread. Then he held it over the fire inside on a long fork and toasted that delicious slice of bread.

I'll never forget that morning. My brother and I were very happy to get that toast that morning!

Another little note: We were the only children in our elementary school that spoke with an Irish accent...learning that from my Mother as we learned to speak. We have of course lost much of it but it's not hard to fall back into when the Newfy family is around.

Keep Your Dough Bobs Warm

Celtic Songs

MP3 Downloads For Your On The Go.

I'ld Like To Hear Your Thoughts!

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    • profile image

      Alice Murphy gapatenaude@videotron.ca 14 months ago

      It is a small world. I was looking for a bang belly recipe and I found you. I grew up on the Murphy Island you spoke of which is actually Crawleys Island because everyone who lived there was named Murphy including your grandmother who is my father's (Denis Murphy) 1st cousin. I knew your grandparents very well as well as some of your uncles and Doll. My sister Mary knew all of your uncles and aunts. I am living in Quebec but I still go home to NL every year or so. All the things you wrote about brings back so many fond memories of my childhood. Thank you and I will make the bang belly. LOL

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Some of these recipes are similar to ones my own mom made, which makes me think they came down to her from the Irish side of the family. They are comfort food to me, and I can almost smell them wafting from the kitchen as I read them.

      Wonderful stories too. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on being one of this week's Rising Stars.

    • LadyCharlie profile image
      Author

      LadyCharlie 4 years ago

      @TreasuresBrenda: Awww Thank You I appreciated your like and the share. Best wishes for wonderful holidays!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 4 years ago from Canada

      Great celebration of your heritage. I'll share your page later today on Facebook on Culinary Favorites From A to Z.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My Grandparents and mother were from Placentia Bay. Grandpa was a fisherman as well as most of the men were and lived on the naval base..Dick O'Reilly or Connie Smith ring a bell?? My mother is thrilled to have these old time favorite receipes because my grandmother never used measurements just a handful of this and a pinch of that and you "heave it all in" LOL

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for the memories...my mother was from Ramea, NL and my husband and I went with friends to NL for a two week visit last year and found it amazing. Love the province and love the people. The Mummer video clip was fantastic. I got the recipe for Pork Buns that my mother used to make, from my aunts. It was a trip of a lifetime and we hope to go back again.

    • LadyCharlie profile image
      Author

      LadyCharlie 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Veronica Power is my aunt from Long Harbour. Peter & Mary Kelly were my grandparents, gone now and buried on the hill overlooking the bay and Murphy Island. Thank you for the comment.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My husband is from Long Harbour NL. Last name is Greene. We know the Murphy's and Kelly's.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      I grew up eating fish every Friday (mostly cod) but became allergic in my 30's. Hey, if you are Canadian, you could join MTF-Briguy's site:

      http://www.squidoo.com/proud-canadians-on-squidoo

      It's great for traffic (in my experience).

      Hope 2012 is a great year ahead for you and yours (stay safe on your motorcycle with your doggie),

      Rose

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Bang Belly? Haven't tried it ... sounds like scotch i.e. an acquired taste.