Posts Tagged ‘Nova Scotia’

When I was a child, the advent of crisp autumn weather meant our free time was spent at my grandparents’ Annapolis Valley farm. The smell of hay and damp, dew-covered grass mingled with the salty breeze blowing across the Minas Basin and the heady ambrosia of ripening apples. The sun low in the sky, touched the brow of the North Mountain, frosting the fields and trees with a warm, golden glow.

While the adults worked, my brother and I would play — exploring the barn, hide and seek in the orchard, clambering amidst the apple bins. The autumns of my childhood are framed by the sides of an old red wooden barn and shadowed around the edges by dust motes dancing in sunshine.

The Gravenstein is an old apple variety. It was discovered in Gråsten, Denmark, in 1669 — a lovely accident of nature that someone chose to nurture, a chance seedling that proved to have qualities worth cultivating. Introduced to Nova Scotia in the early 1800’s by Charles Prescott, who planted them at his estate in Starr’s Point, Kings County, it became popular, and was planted in orchards from one end of the Valley to the other. The apple that Prescott introduced was green with red streaks. The ones currently found in most roadside stands in the valley are of the crimson persuasion, the earliest strain of which was discovered in 1876, in Waterville.

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My favourite thing about June, other than the approaching end of school lunches, is the explosion of roses in my garden. Depending on the fickleness of Ottawa weather, they can last for most of the month or be gone in a week.

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This recipe started out as an approximation of what my grandmother would toss into a mixing bowl — “a little of this, a pinch of that” interpreted and transcribed by me into “cups” and “teaspoons”. After making many batches over several years, I finally tweaked it to a point where I was content to add it to my “Family Recipes” cookbook, and now I’m going to share it with you. It makes a large batch of wonderfully crisp cookies with a nice gingery bite.

Given my grandmother just turned 93, it’s safe to say that this recipe is well over 100 years old. The dough is pretty sticky, but the cookies are best when only a scant amount of flour is used when rolling it out for cutting — refrigerating the dough first helps quite a bit.

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This post now lives at: http://melissadimock.com/blog/2010/11/23/recipe-war-cake

 

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