Out of town for week seven (a theme that looks very likely to repeat itself for most of the year…the little red chicken on the road). A workshop of a new play in Cow Head with several coworkers who happen to be very dear friends. Most days were spent in a rehearsal room at the hotel, but after work we would walk down the road to Didi and Darryl’s place…they bought a tiny gorgeous one hundred year old house this past summer that they’re preparing to renovate. A house where nine children had once been raised and fed thousands of meals. They closed it up for the winter in September, turned off the water and barred up the doors. But for this week in wintry Cow Head they unbarred the place and although we still had no water, we had a hot plate, a woodstove and plenty of snow outside to melt for cooking.
I’m the first to admit that I didn’t have a whole lot to do with this meal. I cut up some moose meat and vegetables, did some stirring, some wine-adding and lots of taste-testing. It was Didi’s creation but we took photos and I told her it was going in the blog because everything looked beautiful and at this point I was scrambling for a new recipe of the week. So there you have it. Stew was olive oil, onions, garlic, moose, the usual Newfoundland root vegetables, lots of red wine, some bouillon. And Didi, being the Fusion Queen of the Northern Peninsula, added rehydrated shiitake mushrooms and sesame oil. We scrambled for spoons and bowls, forks and mugs, or whatever we could use to get the stew into us. It felt like a flashy Newfoundland tourism ad…all of us huddled in a cozy room with a woodstove that was now giving off enough heat to let us sit there in t-shirts, eating moose stew and drinking red wine. We had no fiddle or accordian, but we had to go outside to pee in the snow so that certainly gave the night an authentic feel.
I didn’t have much to do with the dessert either, but I’m seeing quite a few of these in my future…Nell and Jess (our playwright and director visiting from England) had run to the store next door and bought some bananas and dark chocolate. Sounds simple enough. Until you throw said bananas and chocolate in a woodstove. Now, I’m not a huge banana fan, but you could stuff a boot with chocolate, bake it in a woodstove and I’d eat it. What happened next was considerably tastier than a chocolate boot could ever be…the bananas were carefully cut along the side with the peel left on, stuffed with dark chocolate, wrapped up in foil, and tossed directly into the embers of the woodstove. I can’t remember how long we left them in, ten minutes maybe? Long enough to be cooked perfectly, the banana soft and golden and the chocolate melty and hot. The dessert was already changing my life when Nell put a screeching halt to everything and told us to add some clotted cream that she had very sweetly smuggled into the country for us.
This dessert is worth a trip to England for clotted cream and another trip to the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland for the perfect woodstove. Or a dessert fit for a couple of Fusion Queens, if nothing else.