Household Notes October 2013

Homemade for the holidays

    A little of this, a couple pies, and lots of red. We have a few more late-season pickle recipes, and several uses for cranberries. I hope you will try some of these recipes for Thanksgiving, then maybe a few more for Christmas, and pull out the others during the winter to stave off scurvy.

    Oh my, holidays. We keep hearing that they are approaching fast. The big box stores have one aisle filled with Halloween “stuff” and the next aisle is just as full of Christmas “stuff.” The big box stores are a good place for all of it. If we must buy, let’s look around our own community. There are artists and artisans, carpenters and cowmen. Think about the gift a loved one would really appreciate. Maybe it’s a box of local beef, maybe it’s a piece of a heritage tree turned into fine jewelry. Maybe it’s a gift from your own kitchen.

    Please send us your favorite holiday cake, cookie, and square recipes. Readers may find new favorites for their own family, or for a friend or neighbor.


Joyce Connolly, Breadalbane, P.E.I.

    “This recipe has been in our family for generations. I remember eating it at my grandmother’s house, and my favorite auntie gave me the recipe.”

7 large cucumbers

6 large onions

1 tablespoon coarse salt

3 cups cider vinegar

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon chopped ginger

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

    Peel and dice the cucumbers and onions. Place in a large enamel or stainless steel pot, and sprinkle the salt over the top. Mix and set aside overnight.

    In the morning, drain the vegetables, rinse once, and add the vinegar and sugar to the pot. Make a paste of the water, flour, ginger, and turmeric. Bring the vegetables to a boil, then stir in the paste. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until the color changes and the vegetables are tender.

    Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and seal immediately. 


    This is another recipe my mother used regularly. We sometimes had mincemeat with meat, but this version was more common at our house.

7 pounds tomatoes

7 pounds apples

3 cups brown sugar

1 cup molasses

1 pound raisins

1 pound currants

1/2 pint vinegar

1/2 pound butter

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

    Scald the tomatoes two or three times until the skins slip off. Chop the tomatoes into a large preserving kettle.

    Core and chop the apples, and add to the pot. Add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the fruit is very soft. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.


Susan Telkas, Lachute, QC

    “This is a recipe originally from a book I found at a jumble sale. We make it with much less sugar than the original recipe called for.”

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 pounds sweet onions

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups cranberries



    Peel, then slice the onions very thin. Heat a wide heavy saucepan and add the oil. Spread the onions in the pan and cook without stirring for five minutes. Add the butter, stir, and cook until the onions are caramelized, and a deep brown color, but do not burn them. This should take about 20 minutes. Stir so the onions brown evenly. 

    Add the vinegar, sugar, and cranberries to the pan and mix well. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the cranberries have softened, about 10 minutes. 

    Season with salt and fresh pepper to taste. Cool before serving.


Beatrice Smith, Shag Harbour, N.S.

4 cups cranberries

2 cups sugar

1 cup cold water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    Pour the cranberries into a stockpot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the other ingredients. Bring quickly to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer gently. Do not let it foam up and boil over. Let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes, without removing the lid. After 20 minutes, place the pot outdoors, still covered, to cool. When the pot is cool to touch, remove the lid and put the sauce in one or two bottles. This makes about one quart. Store in the refrigerator.


Diana McGrath, Conception Bay,


    “I sometimes use phyllo instead of puff pastry for this appetizer. I’ve also made it with a little round of Camembert when I couldn’t get Brie. It is good either way.”

1 package puff pastry 

500 grams Brie cheese

1/2 cup cranberry sauce 

    Roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch square. Place the cheese in the centre of the square. Cutting within one-quarter-inch of the edge, gently remove the top rind from the cheese. Spread the cranberry sauce on top of the cheese. Bring up the corners of the pastry to the centre, and twist them together, sealing the cheese inside. Bake at 375°F for 10-15 minutes, or until pastry is golden and cheese is softened and warm through.


Bea Burrill, Brooklyn, N.S.

1 1/2 cup cooked pumpkin or squash

1 large can evaporated milk

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoons allspice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

pastry for a 9-inch pie


    Chill the pastry while preparing the filling. Mix all the ingredients and pour them into the pastry. Bake in a 425°F oven on the lower rack, for 15 minutes. Move to the centre of the oven, reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for about 40 minutes. When the pie is fully baked, a knife inserted into the centre of the pie will be clean when removed.

    This filling can also be baked in a greased pie plate or in individual ramekins.


Ingrid Babineau, Dieppe, N.B.

3 cups cranberries 

1 1/2 cup raisins            

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons orange juice

4 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon almond extract

pastry for a double-crust pie

    Mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add the berries and raisins; toss to coat. Cook with the water over medium heat, stirring often, until the berries pop and mixture is thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, orange juice, and butter. 

    Line an eight-inch pie plate with pastry, pour in the filling, and cover with the top crust. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake until the pastry is browned and the filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes.