Taste of manuka gives fish a lift
I grew up camping up Lakes Wanaka and Wakatipu with my family. I love it. There is something so satisfying about escaping the reliance on technology and home comforts and getting back to nature.
The challenge of completing daily, mundane chores such as making toast and washing dishes, makes them so much more rewarding.
Camping has changed dramatically in the past decade. With people so time poor and with privacy and isolation becoming a rarity, glamorous camping, or ‘‘Glamping’’ has emerged. Gas fridges, barbecues and tents that take half an hour to put up are now the norm not the exception and finding a lone spot in the wilderness seems to be getting harder.
We were lucky enough to find a secluded spot up the top of Lake Wanaka recently. It was a glorious DOC site with not one other camper in sight. With the luxury of a long drop toilet, a gas barbecue, great friends and perfect weather we were set. To top it off, the kids caught a large trout.
As we were armed with nothing more than nature and lemons to cook this unexpected delight, my husband came up with the idea to pick some small branches off the Manuka tree, slice some lemons, wrap the fish in newspaper and soak the paper in the lake before cooking. The resulting recipe below was simple and delicious ensuring the flavour and integrity of the fish was retained.
Damper is a simple bread, cooked over a campfire. Entertaining to make for kids and adults alike, it is a great filler when out in the wilderness. Just remember to always check on your district’s fire risk before ever lighting up a camp fire. 2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 tablespoons butter 1-1.5 cups of milk Good pinch of salt Cinnamon Sugar Jam Cream Maple or Golden Syrup 1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl then rub through butter with your fingers until it has a crumbly texture. 2. Knead in some of the milk , then continually add until you form a dough. 3. Divide into even amounts, roll them in your hands into long sausage shapes then wrap each piece around a long stick trying to ensure it is sealed so you can pour in your toppings once cooked. 4. Hold sticks over campfire as in photo and cook until browned and cooked through. 5. Remove damper from the stick then pour your favourite spreads down the hole or coat with a little butter and roll in cinnamon sugar. My favourite is maple syrup and whipped cream poured down the centre. 1 whole gutted trout 1 lemon thinly sliced 5-6 small manuka branches Salt and Pepper 3-4 sheets newspaper 1. Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the fish. Place 3-4 slices of lemon on the inside of the fish and 1-2 manuka branches. 2. Open up your paper. Place a couple of manuka branches on the paper then the fish. Add a couple more branches on top of the fish and wrap similarly to a fish and chip pack, ensuring it is sealed. 3. Go to the lake or tap and place in water for 5 mins till the paper is soaked through. 4. Place on a medium high heat barbecue, close the lid and cook for 6-7mins. Open up the barbecue and turn it over and cook for a further 6-7 mins.
Smokin’: Manuka smoked trout by Bec Stanley.