Taste of manuka gives fish a lift

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - Damper In­gre­di­ents To Serve Method Manuka Smoked Trout In­gre­di­ents Method

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.

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