1537 Barrington Street, Halifax , Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 1Z41.902.420.9626
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Buttermilk BiscuitsThese are “drop” biscuits, not rolled and cut as many recipes suggest. This causes little irregular edges in the dough to brown and crisp while baking, giving the biscuit a lovely texture. The effect is better if you have a convection oven, but it’s still a very tasty biscuit. This is the exact recipe we have served at Chives every night since we opened.Watercress and Summer Leek Soup with Seared Salmon, Creme Fraiche and CaviarI love cooking with summer leeks. They have less of the stiff green top and more of the tender white bottoms than their winter cousins. Their flavours are more subtle than other members of the onion family and they do not have an adverse effect on your breath. This soup is very simple and quick to make and can be made vegetarian by omitting the fish garnish. Or you can substitute char, sea trout, or even a white-fleshed fish like halibut or sturgeon. The possibilities are endless. The “caviar” or salmon roe is found or attainable at most good fish markets.Ham, Mozzarella and Caramelized Onion-stuffed ChickenChicken dishes are often the “conservative” option on restaurant menus and can be a little bland. This, however, is a very flavourful recipe that can be served with simple mashed potatoes, pasta, risotto, or even a salad.Strawberry ShortcakeIt only feels like summer in Nova Scotia once you’ve eaten your first strawberry shortcake. This is a recipe that I feel modernizes the dessert a bit by adding some melted white chocolate to the whipped cream and a simple wine glaze on the fresh berries. Feel free to use a standard tea biscuit here, as would be the traditional way served in homes, family restaurants and church suppers around the province.Mussels NormandyThere’s a good reason that mussels are a standard appetizer in Nova Scotia. Simply steamed and dipped in butter or topped with one of the many sauces that show up on creative menus, sweet and briny mussels stand the test of time. I’m a fan of this recipe that also showcases local fall apples, along with shallots, butter, rosemary and full cream. The smell reminds me of a dish from Northern France, hence the name — and my suggestion that you serve it with a chewy homemade baguette that you can tear up by hand, as though you’re in a French bistro by the sea. The sauce is too good to waste a drop, so use the bread for dipping!Roast Chicken with Root VegetablesJulia Child often commented that a cook’s ability is determined by how perfectly he or she roasts a chicken. She was a believer in trussing the bird to preserve its juices, as well as for presentation. Very few people are prepared to make the effort to truss their chicken, so this recipe focuses more on the timing and basting of the bird during the roast. Locally produced free-range chickens are generally available at specialty grocery stores or your local farmers’ market. For simplicity, the root vegetables accompanying this dish can be placed in the same pan as the chicken, but the higher moisture content may prevent the chicken from developing a crispy skin. I suggest cooking them separately to achieve the ultimate roast.Lobster RollsAside from chowder or fish and chips, there is no single dish that visitors seek as avidly as the lobster roll. It is such an iconic Nova Scotia treat that even McDonald’s includes one on its menu. This recipe is my attempt at the perfect lobster roll. I’ve used some old-school garnishes but changed it up with an interesting European-style, Marie Rose sauce. As for the rolls, sometimes you can’t improve on a classic. Soft white rolls (or hot dog buns), fried in butter, are traditional.Apple Cranberry ChutneyThis simple condiment is a classic around Christmas as a side to turkey or turkey leftovers but works equally well year-round for roast chicken dishes, roast pork, or on a sandwich.The Halifax DonairQuintessential Halifax street food, the donair has connections to many Old World dishes called doner kebabs. Roasted lamb, pork, and beef on a skewer garnished with pickles and a tangy or spicy sauce, then wrapped in a flatbread — this classic has been served for hundreds of years by many world cultures. It’s also the only Nova Scotian food that signals a specific city (Halifax), similar to other iconic foods such as the Philly cheese-steak sandwich (Philadelphia), smoked meat sandwiches and poutine (Montreal), beaver tails (Ottawa) or clam chowder (Boston). The sauce makes the donair, and that’s why the Halifax version is cherished. You either love ’em or hate ’em. I adore ’em. I’ve created this recipe to mimic the spit roasting and carving of the meat you find in a donair shop. It’s easy to make and tastes exactly like a donair you’d wolf down at 2 a.m. to finish a night on the town. Grab yourself a big handful of napkins and tuck in!