Monday, August 15, 2011

Little Cabin in The Woods - Bannock

Ahhhh, my happy place....the little cabin in the woods....truly peaceful, calm, relaxing....especially when the water looks like this:

 Perfect and calm, like glass.....the perfect day for a paddle on the lake! As a matter of fact, the Boy is waiting for me on the dock!!

"Wish my Mom would stop taking pictures and get in the canoe....."

 Things in our neck of the woods have gone from super soaked to super dry in fact that all back woods travel, cooking/bonfires, and hiking has been forbidden.  Unless you want a 450 dollar fine for committing such things, I suggest you don't.  We had a close call the other Monday (Civic Holiday Monday, August 2). The Boy and I went out on the lake for an early paddle in the new canoe.  It was while we were on the other side we heard sirens and helicopters.  These are odd sounds for the middle of the lake so we knew something was up.  Later while we were eating a late breakfast at the cabin, water bombers started swooping in low over the cabin and into the river. 

Hmmm....something strange was definitely going on.

Turns out there was a small (1/3 of a hectare) forest fire burning not too far from the Cabin near Nutimik...ACK!!!  Luckily this fire was spotted early and It got doused early.  Whew! We have had dry years and forest fire threats such as this one from 1984.
Unfortunately the travel and fire restrictions mean I couldn't use a fire to bake.  That is just fine by me, I would rather have my forest in tact!

Bake on the fire? Yes, that is what I said.  I made bannock on the BBQ that weekend but what I really wanted to do was cook it the old fashioned way: it on a stick over the fire.  Alas, that will have to wait until the fire ban is lifted.
Crsipy, banocky goodness.....still hot!!
Bannock is a traditional Aboriginal biscuit-like simple bread with Scottish origins.  You can read more about the history of bannock here, and here.  Almost like a baking powder biscuit. I baked mine on the BBQ in a cast iron skillet but I remember my camp days of wrapping a rope of dough around a stick and cooking it over an open fire. We will have to do that after some rain has fallen and the fire ban is lifted!

The recipe is simple.  Traditionally any type of fat on hand would be used such as cooking grease, lard, bacon drippings.  I stuck with butter on this one but I do know that at camp we used lard.  When the kids make bannock at school I believe they use shortening.

This proved tasty and went well with breakfast!


4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp baking powder
4 tbsp butter, shortening, or lard
1-2 cups cold water (this amount varies and you may not need all the water so hold some back, add a little at a time.)

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Add the butter. (I like to use the cheese grater to shred the butter, it helps incorporate the fat into the flour)
Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add about half of the water and mix.  The dough will be slightly dry. If the dough is really dry, add some more a tablespoon or two at a time. It will still look like it won't come together, but it will. 

Turn the dough out onto the counter and fold the dough over onto itself a few times, patting it down in between each folding,...just like when making scones.  Just when you think the dough won't come together, it does!
Pat the dough into a flat disk.  If using a baking sheet, make the dough no more than 2 inches thick.

Toss onto a well oiled pan and bake at 400 for 20 to 25 minutes, or on the BBQ using indirect heat for 20 to 25 minutes.

Flip the bannock over so you can get a nice brown crust on both sides.  (You probably won't need to flip the bannock if  you are baking it in the oven)

Cut into wedges and serve!
Bannock is great served with butter, jam, honey,  good for making breakfast sammies........ best eaten warm.

While driving to the Farmers' Market, I took some photos of how smokey it got out in the Whiteshell.  Manitoba Conservation assured me the smoke was from forest fires burning in Ontario.  Yikes!

Smoke on the water........

Smoke on the road as well

Well, I am hoping for a really good rainfall, until next time, stay warm and eat well.


  1. Great recipe! Love the photos. The first couple of pics look so peaceful. Love it.

  2. Looks like fun getting back to nature. Your bread looks wonderful. I will need to try this-yum!

  3. Nothing like a little excitement while you are trying to relax. ;) Beautiful pics.


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