Tonights Tea...
Tonight we are having Mutton and Potato's and Kumara with herb stuffing and peas. The Mutton is roasted with soy sauce and tomato sauce, the potato's and Kumara are roasted in the Mutton fat to make them crunchy and brown. They look delicious in the oven in the little puddle of mutton fat. Everyone is disgusted that the peas are minted, no-one ever gets the minted peas, but somehow they were in the freezer so I said we have to eat them. The kids... are NOT happy but they said as long as Dad gets most of them they will eat some.
The stuffing is in an another dish of it's own, it has diced onion and mixed herbs, melted butter and salt and pepper. When the onion is cooked its ready.

Todays mid morning Snack, ... Belly bacon and Slices of horse mushroom fried in Bacon fat then a splash of cream and a drizzle of olive oil with Garlic sliced into it that has soaked about a week,  I put a pot of Beef Stew on the fire to simmer for thew rest of the day, Beef shin, 4 onions, 5 carrots a big chunk of swede diced up and a few parley stalks, half a dozen garlic cloves and the last of a big jar of tomato relish topped up with water poured over. Looks good, smells better, cant wait until tonight to see how it tastes. also I ate a piece of rice paper that I " popped" over the fire. just hold it in the heat and they puff up and can be eaten like chips.. kind of. haha Im getting used to them, thought that at least I will avoid all the salt and preservatives from eating packets of chips.. sigh, somethings civilisation has are just tasty!

Dried Eel
OK guess everybody has their own recipe for dried eel

Dried Eel?

I like them de-slimed split, spread out on a stick or 2..and salted with a handfull of salt then a good thick sprinkle of black pepper and leave them somewhere windy until they lose water, then hang them in a windy place to dry. Keep them in the shade once they feel like a welldone steak ..Like clench youe fist and push into the meat between your finger and thumb, that is what it should be like. Good to hang them not touching somewhere dry and doesnt matter if its warm, except for the fat WILL run out and drip (and smell like dried eel ).

You just can't give away recipes for dried eel!

muttonbirds in a bucket.

Muttonbirds. seabirds, split and salted for longterm storage.

Muttonbirds are split, salted and folded closed, then packed tightly into food grade plastic buckets.
They keep for a couple of years if you flip the bucket over regularly during storage.  (They can be eaten fresh, boiled then grilled on the bbq. ) I was given some that had been frozen and the fat was rancid so I don't do it myself. keep the bucket in the fridge if it makes you feel better but I recomend eating them as the best way of making sure they don't go rancid.
Muttonbird boil up.
   I cover them with cold water and bring them to the boil, one per person is ok.  The longer they have been in the bucket the saltier they are so boil for 10min for each year you have had them to remove excess salt, then drain and cover with water and boil again. Turn down to a simmer, when you can stick a fork in the breast easily  turn the heat up a bit and throw in your veg. We do potatos, kumara (sweet potato) and big bunches of well washed watercress the fatter the stalks the better! Now just let it all cook until you can pop a leg easily off a bird and the veg is all cooked and tender.  
You can boil them until tender then grill them til the fat is crispy, there is about an inch of fat on them so they crisp up nicely!
the flavour is strong and salty, a little gamey. A really good addition to the winter menu.
Our kids wont touch them!  Which is fine, more for us !

Would anybody like a recipe for dried eel. Its not strictly traditional but suits modern tastebuds and is delicious and eels are free!

The place up north
So I was thinking, Last winter we went up to our bach, (read small house with one large room and two very small rooms, ) No plumbing at all. An outside toilet of the typical kiwi not deep enough variety. It flooded and the path was ankle deep...looked ankle deep anyway. Wasn't keen enough to test my theory.
The bach had been vandalised by squatters. Our current tenant had cleaned up a huge amount of rubbish and tried to burn nappy mountain, a hill of disposable nappys that the squatters had thrown from the door over five years. he also raked out hundreds from under the house he said they were either throwing them there the dogs were dragging them there.
 There were car wrecks and rotten caravans. just junk piled up and thrown everywhere.
  The bach was also in a bad way, the floor was rotten and falling through . The wall at the end was hanging, it wasn't touching the floor. It actually swung out from the floor if you leant on it!
 We stayed in my uncles bach while we pulled up and replaced half of the floor, It turned out to be kauri but so badly eaten by borer beetles it was just weetbix. That involved alot more than we first thought and we ended up replacing the runners and repiling one end of the bach. ...Without powertools.
 then we moved in with our 4 kids while we renovated. we replaced all of the windows with second hand ones frm another building of simalar age.(100yrs+) Theirs was getting demolished though! We popped them out of thier frames and into the existing ones in our bach. We pulled up more floor and repiled and replaced the runners.
We hauled water to drink and cook with and wash with and cooked on a fire. The kids loved smoky toast made straight on the top of the fire. we replaced the timber frame around the french doors and replaced the french doors with ones given to us by our tenant. The doors we got in just hours before the biggest storm in 8 years hit the north island and we sat in the bach watching the roofs of the houses below us peel off in the wind and to each side of us but we were in a sheltered spot and within three metres of the bach everything was flattened.
The grass outside of the french doors was barely moving. we are situated under a big ridge but with another smaller ridge behind and the wind funnels down either side of us. We are actually on a maori pa so I guess that spot would of been known to be sheltered before there were european style houses built.
We left before the next big storm hit just days after the first and the driveway got washed out by torrential rain.


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