Friday, August 17, 2012

Out of Nova Scotia Gardens by Marie Nightingale

43. Out of Nova Scotia Gardens
by Marie Nightingale
cookbook, 1997, 2008
second book for the Canadian Book Challenge 6 - Nova Scotia
tenth book for Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
finished 8/5/12

This is another book sent me by my old email group friend. I wrote about the first one, read for the 2nd Canadian Challenge, which I never finished. I have high hopes that I will be have greater success in the 6th one.

I sat down one early August day and read through this whole book. I can't imagine a more perfect cookbook for vegetable gardeners or for eaters of summer produce. There is a chapter for each vegetable with information about it, a few recipes, and a history of that particular vegetable. For example - have you ever wondered where the nickname 'spuds' for potatoes came from?
In the nineteenth century, when potatoes were considered by many to be unfit for human consumption, a group of Englishmen formed the Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet and did their best to ban the vegetable from English dining tables. SPUD, has endured.
However, I read online that this is false, and that it really comes from the name of a tool used to dig them. I guess urban legends have been around a long time.

The author has a piece on rutabagas and turnips.
I'm going down hard when it comes to turnips. Or rutabagas. Or Swedes. That's because I grew up calling this winter root vegetable a turnip. For the last three decades, the Department of Agriculture has struggled to clarify its name (and, perhaps, its image). While there has been some success in renaming the turnip, it certainly adds to the confusion for Nova Scotians of my generation.
Each vegetable chapter includes a 'Chef's Corner' which highlights a Nova Scotian chef.

Marie Nightingale is a well-known food writer, who has written for the Halifax newspaper, The Chronicle Herald, and was the food editor for Saltscapes magazine. She has written other cookbooks, including Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens, which just this past March was one of the top five best selling nonfiction books in Nova Scotia. Pretty good for a book first published in 1970!

There are many recipes I look forward to trying in future summers, but for today, I decided to take some of my rhubarb out of the freezer and make these muffins. I also added a few frozen strawberries just because I love the way rhubarb and strawberries go together. We had them with salad and fresh baked corn for supper. Perfect!

Rhubarb Muffins

1/2 cup (125 ml) lightly packed brown sugar (I used white)
1/4 cup (50 ml) butter, melted plus 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (also melted, and set aside)
1 egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 ml) buttermilk

3/4 cup (175 ml) diced rhubarb (I used 1/2 cup rhubarb and 1/4 cup strawberries, both from the freezer)
1/2 cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped walnuts

1 1/4 cups (300 ml) all-purpose flour (I used mix of whole wheat pastry and white)
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt

1/4 cup (50 ml) granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375ºF. (190ºC)
Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan (I used cooking spray. Be generous with this; some of mine were a bit hard to get out without breaking apart)

Combine the brown sugar, 1/4 cup (50 ml) melted butter (cooled), egg, vanilla, and buttermilk in a large bowl and beat until blended. (I used KitchenAid mixer)
Stir in rhubarb and nuts.

Sieve together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Fold into rhubarb mixture until just moistened.
Spoon the batter into muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full.
Set aside.

Combine the saved out 1 tablespoon (15 ml) melted butter, granulated sugar, and cinnamon.
Sprinkle on the muffins, pressing lightly into the batter.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffins spring back when pressed gently.
Serve warm.

These muffins are out-of-this-world terrific! I could have eaten all twelve easily at one sitting.

On a little note at the front of the book my friend Mary Jane wrote:
This one fairly screamed "Nan!" when I saw it.
And that is the truth! I love this cookbook, and will use it often.


  1. Nan, you have no idea what a treasure you are to blogland. While I may not cook from scratch, grow my own vegetables or be as well read as I aspired to be decades ago, your inspiring blog makes me better at life every day. Happy weekend.

    1. Wow. What a very, very nice thing to say. Thank you so much.

  2. A big part of my family is from Nova Scotia- I need this cookbook! :-)

    1. I think you'll like it. Lots of wonderful recipes and info.

  3. THose rhubarb muffins look good - the book sounds interesting too but the other book 'Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens' is the title that really appeals to me.

    1. There is info on all her books here.

  4. I used to love rhubarb and custard when I lived in England. I wonder if we can grow it here in Texas? I'll have to take a look. Great post - thanks for sharing all the wonderful info.

    1. It is such a great food, especially combined with strawberries or blueberries!

  5. The cookbook and muffins deserve a closer look. But right now my heart belongs to sweet Sadie.

  6. How very dear of you! Sadie says thank you.

  7. Miss Shaylyn (who eats everything!) has never had rhubarb, so we may have to whip up a batch of these muffins before she heads back home. They look delicious!

    1. I wonder if it doesn't grow where she lives. I think she'll especially like the addition of strawberries.

  8. I want to try those muffins--I have strawberries and rhubarb in freezer, too. I'm sitting here at the computer starving so I'm a highly motivated reader!

  9. Finally got around to making these muffins and they were delicious. I did the strawberry/rhubarb combo and I'm ready to make more!

    1. Aren't you just so nice to come back and tell me! Thanks very much, and I'm really glad you liked them.


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