It’s smoked trout for dinner and David’s in charge of preparing & cooking the lovely fish he caught when we were out tiki-touring Lake Brunner. It weighs in at just under 3lb which is a good sized fish after all the small brown trout we've seen on our travels.
We’re surprised at the bright colour of the flesh, it looks a little like salmon and must be because of the tannin stained water the fish lives in. David lightly seasons it with pepper and salt, I usually add some brown sugar too, but not this time. We want to only lightly smoke it tonight, try it less smoky and not so intense.
David sets the smoker up on a patch of sand, he doesn’t want to burn a patch into the grass (like he has done before today, and in fact, he once burnt a dark patch into the aggregated concrete beside our garage. He solved the problem after that by balancing the smoker on two long cinder blocks).
The dishes are filled with methylated spirits and a small handful of manuka (tea-tree) wood chips are sprinkled into the tray underneath the rack.
He then places the lid on the smoker, lights the meths and runs for it…..
….no don’t be silly Shellie, he lights the meths and sits the smoker over the flames. The flames burst out the side and it’s lucky the grass is damp and green otherwise we might have set the lake edge on fire. The beautiful smell of manuka smoke fills the air…..
….attracting guess who? One very nosey weka who is pretty persistent no matter how many times we chase him away. He even thinks he might poke his beak through the holes around the base at one stage and when he sees the flames leaping out the other side he’s even more interested….
It’s then that we very nearly have Mr Weka (bush chicken) for dinner too! A flame bursts out the side just as he steps in. This looks worse than it is (and it’s blurred because I was about to give him the short shift) He’s actually standing behind the flame, although I’m not sure where his head went. It must have given him a fright because he didn’t come back for awhile.
Twenty minutes later the trout’s ready and I can report that it was very tasty indeed. Although I decided, I prefer it a little more smoked, like we used to have it.
David went on to catch another trout the next day which he released after taking a photo for me. This one was caught in the same area as the previous trout just a little closer in to shore amongst the drowned trees and rushes. They must like to hide in the area. Strangely enough while he was helping it recover, holding it upright in the water beside the boat, another trout of a similar size came right up to this one to check it out, or perhaps to help it out. When released they swam off together.