Summer has moved into Autumn and for us that means the fishing and diving change into more focus on hunting and dog work. Except for the annual Paradise Duck shooting weekend late February the anticipation had been for the season to kick off in early May. As Aidan and I missed out on hunting season last year while we were in Europe, we couldn’t wait to get out again in New Zealand with Northstream Blue Belle (Bella) and my shooting mate Craig.
Aidan and I were doing plenty of snorkeling and spearfishing during summer and I’ve dusted off the scuba gear again as well. The scallop season has finished now but the possibility for crayfish is there year round. I must admit that when I have had a great dive or two, that’s when I really appreciate the most living on the New Zealand coast.
In the near future there will also be a trip over to Australia to dive the Great Barrier Reef again. It’s been a long time since Hayley and I did that last, so there will be much more underwater pics and stories soon.
Aidan with a couple of snapper he brought home. Aidan spearfishing at Peach Cove. F-T hooked up on a kingfish.
Pics above from a scallop dive Craig and I had on a beautiful Saturday in March. The photo on the right also shows some ‘whitebait’ from the west coast of the NZ South Island, very much a treasured, seasonal food harvest here. So of course I’m back into my cooking with wonderful New Zealand ingredients again but always inspired from the great cuisines around the world. Pictured below I have served up some fresh scallops and whitebait, lightly bound in some egg. That would get the saliva running on a lot of kiwis… Also a Trevally confit and a Hapuku chorizo and pea mash.
I find it difficult to understand people with no interest in food. Creating meals from ingredients you’ve gathered, sharing a meal with someone and trying different cuisines wherever you go is what I think makes life interesting.
I’ve been gathering recipes on my travels and from people I’ve met, trying to learn how ingredients are used to create different styles of cuisine. I don’t have any aspirations about becoming a five star chef but to be able to create great flavours that can be enjoyed with a bottle of wine and some friends willing to be guinea pigs.
Some of the dishes that make it to the table here are genuine, old-fashioned European cuisine, some are Asian and Middle Eastern, some American and African, some from Australia & New Zealand. Some could be seen as fusions between different countries. Some will be hit & miss and not deserving of a repeat, while others have become firm favourites – like my Moroccan style chargrilled quail. A rabbit ragout served with pappardelle or tagliatelle, which I found splendid, I later found done similar at a visit to the very nice O’Connell Street Bistro in Auckland, where it basically is their signature dish. In Queensland I discovered the most fantastic risotto, done with their Moreton Bay bugs, which I adapted to do with our NZ crayfish instead. I will be coming back to much more food talk in the times to come…
Pictured below some memories from great times in Spain one year ago; In La Vina, San Sebastian and in the iconic Cafe Iruna, Pamplona.
In other news I’m very pleased to follow the great breeding results from the two Barentsvidda brothers Donald and Nansen, with several successful offspring in both Norway and Sweden. My mate Geir bred Donald and Nansen by taking his Italian pointer bitch Giga to Italy in 2011 and breed her with the double worldchampion Anter.
The very latest on that front is that Nansen has just joined Donald as NUCh (Norwegian show champion) and their sister Barentsviddas Giga is SUCh (Swedish champion) & INTCh in the true style of European dual purpose bred pointers. Suberp results for Geir as the breeder of these excellent representatives of the breed.
And finally, for those interested in ordering Dr Leon Mortensen’s book “Bird Dogs – Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow”, there is a small number of books still available from the 2nd printing and ready to be dispatched from New Zealand. For further information I can be reached at my email address Frank-Tommy Olsen
If I find there is still a steady interest in Leon’s book, I will also start making arrangements for a 3rd printing of it.