"The Pioneer Gathering"

Keeping Canadian History Alive

                                      Heritage Recipes

  • Bannocks
  • Camp Coffee
  • Champ
  • Colcannon
  • Old Time Jerky
  • Parsnips & carrots
  • Pemmican
  • Salt Fat Pork
  • Cooking Salt Pork
  • Sourdough Starter
  • Sourdough Steak

We will be adding to this list, so visit us often.



Keep in mind that our Pioneers had few possessions and made due with whatever was at hand.  The term "measure" in these recipes could be a ladle, a cup, a tankard, or more often their hands.  Some Recipes have conversion measurements for you.


An unleavened biscuit like bread, that a wide variety of Cultures World Wide have in common.  The term "bannock", from the Gaelic Bannach, was brought to North America by the Scots, and is today's popular terminology for this type of basic food.

Katie's "Hard Luck" pan fried Bannach (bannock)

I started with a traditional Scottish Oatmeal Bannach, but the milled ingredients were hard to find.  So , I experimented,... a lot.   The title of this recipe only refers to the trials I went through before I got it right. 

Measure used 

A gravy ladle, a soup spoon & a tea spoon.

  • In a large bowl combine
  • 6 heaping ladles oat flour  =  2 cups
  • 3 heaping ladles chopped oatmeal  =  1 cup
  • 3 level ladles brown sugar  =  3/4 cup
  • 2 level soup spoons baking powder  =  2 tbsp
  • 1 level tea spoon salt  =  1 tsp
  • hot water to make a dough  =  1 cup

Mix dry ingredients, then  make a well in the  middle, add hot water in 3 additions to make a stiff dough.  While the dough is still warm, lightly flour hands and take  a piece of dough, enough to form a flat patty.  Fry in a heavy fry pan with  2 soup spoons of fat over the fire, let brown then turn.  Add more grease as necessary. 

These will cook quickly, so watch as not to let "Bannockburn" ( place name in Scotland ).  Makes about 12 Bannachs.  Very good with butter or currant preserves.

Kate's Pan Fried Sweet Raisin Bannock

Here's a simple recipe for a sweet Bannock. 

Put 2 cups seedless raisins  in a pot and cover well with water.  Cook covered over the fire till plump and the water is dark with sweetness.  The longer it cooks the sweeter the juice, you may have to add more water.

  • In a large bowl combine:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder 
  • 1 level tea spoon salt 
  • Add cooked rasins and hot sweet raisin water to make a dough. 
  • Make patties and pan frye in oil or fat till golden brown.  

    Mike's Eyeball Maple Bannock

    When you're in camp with no measuring cups or spoons, you guess at amounts.  After a few times you'll get very good at guessing.  Feel free to experiment.

    • In a large bowl combine;
    • heap of white flour
    • half heap of whole wheat flour (optional)
    • 1 cupped hand of sugar
    • 3 pinches of baking soda
    • 1 pinch salt

    Make a well in middle of mixture and add some water, a bit of maple syrup (lots if you want sweeter bannock ) and eyeball about 2 tbsp of melted fat or oil.

    Mix with spoon.  Add more water or flour ( a little bit at a time ) as needed to make a stiff dough.

    Take a piece of dough about the size of an egg in your hands ( flour hands if dough is sticky ), pat it round like a snowball, the flatten like a small pancake.  Fry in oiled frying pan over the fire, turning bannock as few times as possible until golden brown.

    Or roll dough between hands like a thin snake and wrap thinly around a green fresh cut branch and roast over the coals, turning the stick as each side gets brown ( like roasting marshmallows ).  When all of snake is golden brown, peel off of stick and enjoy.

    Katie's Camp Coffee                                                                                       

     Good for 6 to 8  people all day long


    • In a 1: 1/2 gl coffee pot filled to the neck with cold   water                                        
    • Throw in 8 heaping tbls of 100% Columbian coffee                                            
    • Let sit over night, grounds sink to the bottom by morning                               
    • No boiling required 

    If you like cold coffee as I do, your set.  If you like it hot, then you’ll have to wait for it to heat up over the fire.  Once you’ve drunk half the pot, just add more water. 

    Plenty of coffee for all.

    Widow Black's Champ

     Serves 4

    • 2 pounds potatoes
    • salt
    • 2/3 cup milk
    • 4 scallions, finely chopped
    • freshly ground pepper
    • 4 to 8 tablespoons butter

    Wash the potatoes and boil in their skins in salted water until tender.  Drain and dry beside the fire covered with a cloth.  Peel and mash well.  (I often leave the peelings on since it adds extra flavour and nutrients to the dish.)  Heat the milk and chopped scallions to a boil and add gradually to the mashed potatoes.  You should have a soft but not soupy mixture.  Divide between four warm bowls.  Make a well in the top with a spoon and into the well place a goodly dollop of butter.  Dust it with a pinch of pepper and serve.  As a meal, this is eaten from the edges with a fork or spoon, dipping each morsel into the  butter before consuming.  It may also be served as a side dish.

    Widow Black's Colcannon

    This is Champ with a twist          Serves 4

    • 1 pound of kale or green leaf cabbage
    • 1 pound of potatoes
    • 6 scallions or small bunch of chives
    • 2/3 cup of milk or cream
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 to 8 tablespoons of butter

    Remove the tough stalk of the kale or cabbage and shred or chop very finely.  Cook in salted water until very tender and drain well.  Cook the potatoes in their skins until tender and drain, cover with a cloth and allow to dry next to the fire.  While the potatoes are cooking, chop the scallions and simmer in the milk or cream so they won't cool the potatoes when added.  Mash the potatoes well, gradually adding the milk and scallion mixture.  Stir in the kale or cabbage along with the pepper and serve on warm plates or in bowls.  Make a well in the centre to which is added the butter for dipping.

    Widow Black's Parsnips & carrots

    This was a favourite of my father's

    Simply clean both vegetables as desired and place in pot with salted water and boil until tender.  Drain, reserving the liquid to add to whatever gravy or soup you may be making and mash well with butter.  Serve as a side dish.  Leftovers may be mixed with leftover champ or colcannon by beating an egg or two into the whole mixture to serve as a binding agent and then fry in little cakes and serve as a side dish or snack.

    Old Time Jerky

    For Old Time Jerky use Beef, venison or moose. 

    Use the top round, bottom round and eye of the round.  Slice very thin across the grain. 

    • Soak in Soya Sauce,
    • 2 tlbs of brown sugar,
    • and Steak Spice overnight. 

    Next day hand strips 12 to 14 inches over small, but very smoky fire on wires or on green switches for 6 to 8 hours.

    The meat will turn very dark when done.  To check, break it open and take a look.


    Once you have your Jerky you can make Pemmican from it.

    Take 1 lb. of Jerky and pound it in a mortar until it turns to meal. 

    Combine with.

    •  2 tlbs. brown sugar
    • 1/2 handful raisins
    • 1/2 lb. of grease rendered from suet

    Mixe well. 

    You can eat it like that or frye it.

    Salt Fat Pork

    • 2 Pork bellies
    • 2 bags pickling salt
    • 6 tsp Montreal steak spice

    Lay out two pork bellies, and slice them into 2 or 3 inch squares.  Then you need a crock.  Around an 8 incher (remember it has to be earthen ware). 

    Then add pickling salt;  sprinkle salt on the bottom of the crock to start.  Lay down your first layer of pork always meat side down...fat side up.

    Fit it all in tight like a puzzle, with no gaps for each layer.  Cover each layer of pork with salt so you cannot see the meat showing.  Then sprinkle 1 tsp Montreal steak spice all over the salt layers (you do not really need this spice, but it adds a nice flavor to the pork).  

    Once you have added each layer, salt and steak spice leave to sit and will make its own brine.  Hold down the top layer with field stones.  Cover crock, place in basement on cool  floor, ready in three weeks, good for a year!

    Cooking your Salt Pork

    Simmer squares on stove in water and a bit of milk for a couple of hours to remove the salt, then fry until golden brown.

    Great for baked beans, or eat as is.

    Sourdough Starter

    •   1 Quart lukewarm water
    •   1 package dry yeast
    •   2 teaspoons sugar
    •   4 cups all purpose flour 

    Put water in the crock, add yeast and sugar to soften, stir in flour.  Cover with a clean cloth.  Let rise until mixture is light and aged, about 2 days.  Mixture will go thin as it stands, add flour as needed.  As you use sourdough from the crock, replace it with equal amounts of flour and water.

    This is used in many different recipes.

    Sourdough Steak

    • 1 inch think chunk of round steak { about 3 pounds}
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons onion salt
    • 2 teaspoons paprika
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 cup sourdough starter  {see sourdough starter recipe}
    • 1 brick of lard

    Using a tenderizing mallet, pound the steak down to half inch thick.                                                     Cut into serving pieces.                                                                                                                               Mix flour and seasonings.                                                                                                                             Dip steak in sourdough starter, then in flour mixture. 

    Fry in 1 inch of lard in cast iron pan

    Good eatin’. 2009 "The Pioneer Gathering" Keeping Canadian History Alive

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