Sunday, July 17, 2011

Author Krista D. Ball is in the house!

I met Krista D. Ball through Maria Zannini and have enjoyed getting to know her through her blog. When the chance came to read and review a story or two (Flying Kite, Crashing Ship and Harvest Moon) for her blog tour I jumped at the chance. A woman after my own heart, she has a recipe -- Bannock sounded so Scottish I had to look it up :) -- for you today.

Please welcome, Krista D. Ball!

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Where's the Bannock

In Western Canada, bannock ("ban-nick") is a widely-recognized aboriginal food. It is a combination of lard, flour, and water. It’s then wrapped around a stick and cooked over a campfire. At home, it’s common to add raisins or another kind of dried fruit and bake it on a large cookie sheet. Then, you cut it into large squares afterwards. Other recipes deep-fry the dough. I've even seen hamburgers made with it!

Bannock became integrated into aboriginal cuisine post-European Contact as part of the fur trade, inter-marriage, and the eventual relocation of First Nations peoples to reservations. There's some talk that it might have existed in the US, but there's no evidence that it did in Canada.

The world of Dancing Cat is pre-Contact. She would not have eaten wheat flour in Northern Alberta. So, I could not include it, even if bannock is delicious!

When I worked at the homeless agency, I looked after their evening meal program. A large percentage of our regulars were aboriginal men. They relentless hounded me to make bannock and (oddly enough) liver with onions. I didn't tell any of them, but I planned with a large volunteer group to make bannock for our huge Thanksgiving meal. It took us all day but we cooked a full turkey dinner and 900 pieces of bannock the size of my palm! I used cranberries in my recipe, since it is a local fruit.

Here's the recipe for baking it. Give it a try, though I do recommend baking some on a stick over a campfire at least once. Kids love it!

June, Patsy, and Krista's Combined Bannock Recipe (this avoided any fighting in the kitchen!)

6 cups flour
1 cup shortening
3 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
3 to 3 1/2 cups of water

Mix the flour and shortening together by hand until well combined. Add the baking powder, salt, and cranberries. Add half the water and mixed until just combined. Add the rest until you have a just-mixed dough. If you want to bake it over a fire, use a little less water than if you were going to bake it in the oven.

To cook in the oven, spread across a sided and greased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.

To cook over the fire, wrap clumps of dough around a stick and cook until golden.

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Bio: Krista D. Ball was born and raised in Deer Lake, Newfoundland, where she learned how to use a chainsaw, chop wood, and make raspberry jam. After obtaining a B.A. in British History from Mount Allison University, Krista moved to Edmonton, AB where she currently lives.

Somehow, she’s picked up an engineer, two kids, seven cats, and a very understanding corgi off ebay. Her credit card has been since taken away.

Like any good writer, Krista has had an eclectic array of jobs throughout her life, including strawberry picker, pub bathroom cleaner, oil spill cleaner upper and soupkitchen coordinator. These days, when Krista isn’t software testing, she writes in her messy office.

You can find Krista on her blog.


Maria Zannini said...

Although, the ingredients are standard to most baked goods, I never would've thought of cooking them over a fire.

Beats s'mores in my book any day of the week.

You learn something new everyday.

Fresh Garden said...

Wow! Wonderful!
Thanks for sharing, I truly enjoyed the visit.

Sherri said...

I agree Maria. I've had a lot of flat breads over the years but the idea of cooking over an open fire is awesome. I wanted to try it and include a picture but our vacation didn't offer the opportunity.

Sherri said...

Thanks for stopping by Fresh Garden...with a name like that I'll be over at your blog :)

Krista D. Ball said...

Sorry guys for being late. I got my days mixed up!

And, yes, you must make it over the fire Maria. Mmmmmmm fire bread.

Sherri said...

LOL, Krista. Thanks for the recipe we can't wait to try it!