Did I ever tell you that I’m in love with Nova Scotia? It’s been about 2 weeks since we left the maritime province and I’m still dreaming about it! I still recall the briny scent of Digby, where scallops and lobsters were coming out of the water by the boatful; the sight of all the colourful houses and buildings in Lunenburg down by the waterfront; the pull of the tide on the Bay of Fundy that we felt while on a whale watching tour; and the sound of a family gathering on an apple orchard for a weekend. Truly a blissful week.
After our first weekend in Truro, we left for Halifax – the most wonderful harbour-front capital in the world! Okay, I’m completely biased, because I’ve never actually been to any other harbour-front capitals on this planet. Please excuse the comment if you are currently living in a beautiful, wonderful, amazing harbour-front capital, I mean no offense. We spent the first day/night with a few members of Kyle’s family. The plan was to do some sight-seeing and shopping and then commence a pub crawl later in the day. However, the pub crawl began right at lunch-time and continued for 12 hours. Now, there was only a moderate amount of beer drinking at first – we did still have some sightseeing and shopping to do in-between pints. But we managed to hit up 8 different pubs before calling it a night and heading to King of Donair for a late night snack.
Kyle and I got some alone time for the next few days. It was a hasty holiday, but still incredibly fun. We managed to squeeze in another night in Halifax with some touristy stops during the day. Then headed on a mini road trip to check out the usual suspects: Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, and a 2 night pit-stop in Digby. Digby was amazing. We wined, we dined, we golfed, and practically petted humpback whales. One of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve ever had in my life was having a humpback whale swim within 10 feet of our tour boat. You could smell it’s fishy “breath” as it exhaled out of the blowhole, and you could clearly see it’s pectoral fins as it swam by. I was so excited and nearly jumped off the boat when the whale first appeared!
Along with seeing a humpback so close, another amazing part of our Nova Scotia trip was the family reunion on Kyle’s aunt & uncle’s apple orchard. I met a few more members of Kyle’s extended family and made many fun memories over the weekend. The apple orchard was breathtaking – the family owns 65 acres of apples with an additional 300 (!) acres of woodland, and part of it was situated on a hill overlooking the Annapolis Valley. As per most large family gatherings, there was lots of eating. Which meant everyone took a turn in the kitchen or on the BBQ. Eating as a family event is my idea of a grand time, but I especially enjoy the lessons learned in a kitchen full of multiple generations of women (and men!).
On the first night that Kyle and I were at the farmhouse, his mother, aunts, and grandmother were getting ready to prepare Hodge Podge. A side dish common in Nova Scotia. It’s simple, but extremely delicious. I’m sure many people would find smothering new vegetables in cream and butter to be some sort of abomination, but the creaminess added to the barely harvested veggies seems to enhance their flavour. I also suspect it was a way to convince little ones to eat their vegetables. Try this one out if you’re looking for a new way to use up all the glorious veggies coming out of your garden right now.
Recipe passed on from Jackie McKenzie & Janice Lutz
All the vegetables used should be new veggies. The ones noted here are what we used the day we made them, but feel free to use any other new vegetables you have available to you.
Potatoes, quartered or halved (depending on size)
1 cup half & half cream
1/2 cup butter
salt & pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and then the potatoes and carrots. Allow to cook for about 10-15 minutes, then add the beans and peas. Boil for another 4-5 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Drain vegetables and return pot to stove on medium heat. Add cream and butter and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
A note on veggie measurements: There wasn’t a precise amount, but I would say we used about 10 cups of vegetables, give or take…
This served about 10-15 people as a side dish.