This week we were taught all about preparing and cooking food outside. Our tutor for the week, Turka, was a memorable guy, dressing in an army green jacket and trousers each day, with an old shirt below and worn-out smart shoes upon his feet – a smart casual look for sure. Each time he spoke, a long low rumbling voice would emerge past a thick bushy broom-like moustache, as if gurgling from the depths of a ancient cave.
The week started with learning how to skin and butcher a sheep. Giving us a better understanding of where certain cuts of meat come from and how to use the whole animal. From making glues and candles, drying and using the skin, the best cuts and what you should feed your dog. Slaughtering, skinning and butchering an animal is a million miles away from perfectly packed meat in a supermarket and not something that many people will have experience in. I’m not a regular meat eater, generally eating it in moderation only a handful of times a year – when I know where it has come from. Butchering the sheep was an interesting and insightful process, giving a better understanding of what you’re actually eating and where your meat has come from.
As it was such a busy week, the rest of this blog is more of a visual representation – with many photos and a little text. So get your scroll ready and flick through the pictures below to get an idea of what we got up to. There was a lot of eating and I think all of us were a couple of kilos heavier by the end of the week!!
So lets begin with how we started the week, with Turka’s first words to us:
“First you must cut around the anus”
Removing the stomach
Traditional Fishing Methods
- Bring 5 litres of full fat milk to just before boiling point.
- Just before it reaches boiling point, add 2 litres of sour milk
- Leave on low heat and allow to curdle
- Remove from fire and leave for several hours
- Separate the curds (solid) from the whey(liquid), and put into a basket lined with a j cloth.
- Cover and put weight on top to help squeeze out remaining whey.
- Leave for several hours.
Create a smoke hut using around 12 or so 12foot long poles. Wrap in old parachute to keep heat and smoke in. Create sticks to hang the meat (as shown in the pics below). Create a fire in the centre of the hut and add bits of wet wood upon the fire to increase smoke production.Then hang the meat between 3 – 6 hours.
We did this with pike, charr (artic trout) and salmon trout. Below directions are using already gutted and cleaned fish.
Cooking on the board
- Cut down the side of the spine, make sure you don’t break the skin. Then all the way to the tail, to allow the fish to open up.
- Spread onto wood and hammer in with wooden spikes (can use knife to make the hole first).
- Position in front of fire so the wind blows the heat and smoke onto the fish.
- Cook for 1 – 2 hours.
Cooking on the stick
- Pre cook the mix of carrot and onion on frying pan to soften before adding.
- Cut up into the head and tail of the fish to allow more room for vegetables.
- Add the vegetables.
- Carefully insert sharpened wooden rods into the side of the fish, and then wrap wire around these rods to close the cut, securing the food inside.
- Place in between a stick with a U shape on the end, and fasten using wire and other stick to secure the fish.
- Position next to the fire, ensure the wind if blowing the smoke and heat onto the fish.
- Reposition fish to cook both sides, but do not turn upside down.
- Cook for an hour or two
Made the ‘camp style’ way using bicarb of soda rather than yeast. I can’t remember the exact recipe, but was a simple bread recipe. Place a layer of baking paper inside the pan to ensure the bread doesn’t burn. Then add the dough to the Dutch oven, covering the lid in hot coals to cook the bread from both sides. Should take around 30-45 mins to cook.
Small whitebait was prepared in a frying pan.
- Fry onions and bacon (bacon optional for fish eaters) until cooked.
- Add the whitebait to the pan (pre salted)
- Cook for 30 – 40 minutes
- Eat fish whole
We prepared the Perch in a cooking pot, very simply by doing the following:
- Add a layer of dill, rosemary and yarrow to the base of the pot.
- Add the Perch (already salted).
- Add another layer of dill, rosemary and yarrow.
- Place upon fire for around 30mins to an hour.
The mutton that was butchered on Monday was cooked on Tuesday in an earth oven.
- Dig a hole large enough for what you will be cooking, in this case it was 2 legs of mutton and the spine.
- Line the hole with large stones.
- Make a fire upon the rocks and burn for around 4hours.
- Removed the wood from the fire, add a layer of grass upon the stones, then add the meat (in boil bags, and then wrapped in tin foil), then another layer of grass. Make sure to put some stones on top of the meat as well, and then bury.
- Leave to cook for around 6 hours.
- Careful dig out the meat, ensuring you don’t split the tin foil.
This is a traditional way to cook chicken, with the feathers on!
- Remove the head, wings and legs.
- Cover in clay.
- Place upon a fire and then build the fire up and over the chicken.
- Cook for several hours.
- Remove from the fire and carefully break off the clay and remove the meat.
Haggis – Using ladies tights!