Saturday 28 March 2015

The right way to raise children

The right way to raise children

Our daughter recently left home and went flatting. She has been back for a few meals. She came home for a meal during the week. She said to me, "Dad, I am missing eating sausages." She then added, "You don’t have any that you could give me do you?" I went to freezer and found some kabonosy.

When a child leaves home you wonder whether the values that you try to instil in them through your great parenting skills will transfer into the big wide world. It is reassuring that the pleasure from life you get by eating high quality snarlers is present in my daughter.

I wonder if I should write a book on parenting skills?

Sunday 22 March 2015

New Zealand thrash West Indies (with saveloys)

New Zealand thrash West Indies (with saveloys)

The cricket world cup has been heating up as the tournament has progressed. Yesterday in Wellington Martin Guptill exploded in one of the great days in New Zealand sport. With a few mates we headed to the stadium for the quarter final between New Zealand and the West Indies. New Zealand were favourites, but the West Indies had the danger man Chris Gayle.
Guptill at the crease
Martin Guptill scored a memorable century of 111 balls before he went ballistic and scored another 137 runs off 54 balls. The ball was flying all over the arena in one of the great displays of power cricket. The West Indies in the field lost it as the players appeared to lose cohesion and not agree on the tactics to stop the juggernaut they were facing. Guptill’s final score was 237 not out, the highest score by an individual batsman in any world cup. The stadium atmosphere was electric - I have never been to cricket match where the crowd is chanting the batman’s name as the bowler runs in.

In the stands were we feasting on snarlers. I had perked some wild venison smoked saveloys. I can not tell you when I last ate a saveloy and I generally regard them as kid food. I boiled these up prior to the match and took them along. A mate at the cricket waxed lyrical about the cold saveloy sandwiches his mother used to make for school lunches, there was nothing but haute cuisine in Upper Hutt in the 1960s! These saveloys are minced to a fine pureed consistency and I would not have picked the meat as venison. They were moderately smoked, which added to the appeal. I regarded these as more of a novelty and although they were nice to eat it does not make me want to eat more saveloys.

I also took some kabonosy and Argentine chorizo criollo, which remains my favourite sausage. All the snarlers were well received. The couple next to us laughed as I took a photo of the saveloy against the crowd. The photographic art shot of a snarler at a sporting event is clearly still not recognised by all as an important part of social commentary.

When the West Indies batted they chased the runs but lost regular wickets to be all out. Daniel Vettori took a fantastic one handed catch in front of the section of where we were sitting. While I had thought the match against England was great, this took the cricket to another level.

This morning the voice is hoarse from overuse, chanting and applauding some sublime cricket. Roll on Tuesday when NZ takes on South Africa in the semifinal, dare we dream of a first appearance in a cricket world cup final, or even better a win in the final?

Sunday 15 March 2015

It is not all beer and sausages - Part Eleven

It is not all beer and sausages – Part Eleven

Yesterday I finished the Tararua Mountain Race. This was over the southern crossing route from Kaitoke to Otaki Forks. This route has 2250 metres of climbing over its 37km. It is tough on both the legs and the mind. This year I found it difficult and demanding and I knew I was going to be slower than when the event was over this route two years ago. During the last couple of climbs before Hector I wondered if I would be the last finisher. I was surprised to find over ten competitors finished after me. I even a passed a few people on the way down from Kime Hut. There is excellent comradery between competitors, we all know that we are suffering together. 
Normally when there are hills I just put it into a low gear and just keep on going - I don’t like to stop, I just chug along. On the last two climbs before Mt Hector, I was knackered and had to battle with my mind to keep on going. The body wanted a break, the mind had to battle hard to ignore the ache, pain and exhaustion and keep on going.  Talking to a guy after the event he said he passed me on one of these ascents, he said he had to look hard as he had never seen me moving like that. I’m not sure what he saw, but I think I know it didn’t look pretty. However despite feeling really stuffed, once I got onto the downhill near Kime Hut, muscle memory kicked in and I started to trot at a faster pace. Apart from the uphill bits, it mostly downhill to the finish at Otaki Forks.  

I am really impressed by the speed that those who start later and finish well before me attain. They are impressive athletes.
Looking south from Mt Hector
The weather was the best it has been for the last few times I have completed the route.  However visibility was severely diminished and the first mist hit before the old Dobson Hut site. Although the mist and clouds were down very low, the wind was gentle. It was cold over the tops, and a couple of layers were needed, along with a beanie. The marshals at Atkinson were able to shelter in the lee of the peak. They do a fantastic job ensuring that we all get through. Thanks to all the marshals for their work. I have included a photo taken on a rare day when the views are great - the route we take is along the ridge.
So what was it that kept me going? Sausages and beer of course. I brought some German grobe bratwurst form Park Avenue Quality Meats and I knew these were waiting for me at the finish line. This is a coarsely ground pork sausage that has mild seasoning. I liked this sausage and its flavour, however I did strike a couple of bits of gristle in the meat. This was disappointing, but it would be the first product I have ever brought from Park Avenue where this has been an issue. I consider this butcher to Wellington’s premier sausage maker and I have brought heaps of snarlers from them. This is the first time I have not been very satisfied with a product they have made. However one slight grizzle does not mean their status as the best sausage shop in Wellington is in any doubt.

I washed this down with a Lord Almighty Yakima Pale Ale. This beer had a very nice aroma and tasted good after a hard day in the hills. On the bottle in fine print it says, “beer so hardy it can quench a thirst for adventure.” This beer rehydrated a tired body, however it was a bit of an overstatement as the thirst for adventure remains. 

So after a very hard day in the mountains, I was relieved to finish. However when I return to this route in 2017 I have the resolve to complete the course in the quicker time. Bring it on!

For links to other parts in this series click here.  And here is a great little film of one competitor's race. And another one that shows the gnarliness of the terrain.

Sunday 1 March 2015

Homemade Cajun Inspired Sausages

Homemade Cajun Inspired Sausages

In January we decided to have a few friends around for a barbecue. As the end of February neared we decided that some action was needed to bring this concept to fruition. So on the first day of March reasonable weather greeted our Sunday brunch barbeque.  
I made some sausages, these were Cajun inspired. I cooked a red capsicum, onion and tomato on a low heat for some time. This was added to one kilo of minced pork, along with a good dose of salt, smoked chipotle flakes and smoked paprika. When I made my little test pattie and cooked this to sample the ingredients I wondered if I had added too much flavour. It was pretty bold.

So I made the sausages. They filled the casing well, although I do still get air pockets. When I tied then I thought that this was the most successful tying I have done to date. I’ve concluded that part of this was due to me making the sausages smaller in size than previous attempts.

Along with the sausages I had bought a beef fillet from Prestons. I marinated this in sweet chilli sauce, garlic and soy sauce overnight. The vegetables cooked on the barbecue were aubergine and capsicum.


My sausages were well received. People liked the flavour, texture and taste. They were more mellow than the test pattie and I was very pleased with the result. They were so impressed they wanted a photo of sausages to show to their son, who one day may be Minister of Snarlers.

We had a relaxing Sunday afternoon talking and eating.

Around tea time another friend dropped by, they had a few wild venison steaks and wondered if I wanted some. The animal has been hanging after being shot two weeks ago. So now I will consider what I will cook for tomorrow’s dinner. Venison with …..?
A very pleasant weekend, NZ beating Australia in cricket on Saturday, the Hurricanes winning their third game of the season, a barbecue with good company conversation and conviviality, and also some venison for Monday’s dinner. Excellent!