Abalone con Riso allo Zafferano

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A dear friend gave us four abalones. We have not often cooked this before but we knew that we could not mess this up. Many videos were watched, shockingly some recipes included so many additives that one could replace the abalone with just about anything and not notice. Mrs BYF’s simple effort was absolutely delicious so here is the recipe:

Firstly, lock all the doors so no one can come in and share. Then tenderise the abalone by beating it with as mallet or, go the dramatic African way by tying it in a tea towel and smashing it repeatedly on the back step. Both ways worked beautifully.

Recipe

Heat a large cast iron skillet

4 Abalones tenderised and sliced in 2cm thick slices

150g Butter

2 Cloves garlic chopped

Handful of parsley

No salt was needed, so don’t be tempted lest the abalone goes tough

Melt the butter in the hot pan and add the garlic, then the abalone. Stir the abalone turning it over a few times and fry for about 2 minutes. The result was lovely soft abalone that tasted of the sea. We like raw fish so if some of it was a bit underdone we were happy. We ate it sprinkled with parsley, on saffron rice and with a fresh salad from the garden.

We opened a bottle (or two) of wonderful Prosecco for the occasion. After lunch we had to have a nap.

Kentucky Fried Rabbit

with Polenta and Zucchini

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Even though I am not a loyal KFC customer, I know lots of people who are (Obviously not close friends of mine). When I stumbled upon an Italian food site claiming to have “acquired” the famous KFC recipe (tongue in cheek off course from the Italians) and disclosed it all on their page, I was interested. I am often asked how to cook rabbit as I have AMPLE supplies in my freezer, my standard answer always is that you can cook it in any way you cook chicken. Having made the connection between chicken and rabbit and having the secret recipe at hand, I was determined to try some KFR (Kentucky Fried Rabbit) or DFR (Dunedin Fried Rabbit) in my mission to eat every one of these NZ PESTS!!!

It was my turn to cook Saturday lunch and I thought I may as well try my new adventurous recipe on Mrs BYF. Weighing out the ingredients to the closest gram and carefully following the intricate steps of the recipe, I had some food on the plates about two hours later and to my BIG SURPRISE it was very good (Some of my regular KFC munchers even seriously commented it to be better than the famous KFC!!!) Watch out Colonel here comes New Zealand!!

Scleroderma bovista (Potato Earth Ball)

I am a keen mushroom hunter and would frequently collect what is available. Every so often a new type shows up and today I bumped into Potato Earth Balls, which I did not know, but they looked delicious and I brought them home. Luckily, before I could cook and taste, I identified them as Scleroderma bovista which are poisonous. I had a suspicion that they were probably not good when I cut them and the inside was a dark purple.

I shall live to try another some other day

Amalgamating Breeds of Coturnix coturnix

I have amalgamated all my quail breeds for very good reasons. As a result of the very small gene pool in NZ and no importations aloud, all quails in NZ are inbred and related. I am in NZ for 6 years now and made great progress breeding four different breeds of Coturnix, but progress has flattened off as I have to have limited numbers and equally good genetic material is not available in NZ. My solution was to amalgamate all the breeds and only breed a Back Yard Special, resulting in 4 times as many birds to select from and one less selection parameter – colour. This allowed me to make some progress again. I am retired and do this as a hobby – my working background is in animal genetics

QUAIL HOUSING

Housing for quails is fairly simple, but there are a few rules that would make there lives much more pleasant and productive

1. The housing must be 100 % dry AT ALL TIMES (100 % roof coverage with adequate overhang). Open on two sides with two solid walls protecting birds from prevailing wind and rain. The open sides need mesh of about 13 mm X 13 mm aperture as cats would put their claws through the holes if it is larger and kill the quail. As much sun as possible with shady spots if they want to get away from the sun. The cage roof must be a maximum of 500 mm high, otherwise the quails may injure themselves if frightened and take off hitting their heads on the roof

2. Quails need an area where they can hide from prevailing winds and drafts. Nooks and crannies and / or thick vegetation is required

3. Coturnix Quails are ground dwellers and would not roost and would very seldom use a second level upstairs – so all their food and water requirements need to be at ground level. They can be taught to go up, but it is not natural for them

4. Coturnix quail need a sand bath to keep them healthy, happy and clean – so if their cage is on the ground and DRY, it is all good as they would create their own sandpit

5. Clean water and feed of the correct type all the time (ad lib). They would eat greens and table scraps (love meat) and it can be fed to them all the time as long as it does not make up too much of the diet (maximum about 20%)

6. A floor area of at least 2 meter square per group of 4 – 5 females and 1 male for the ideal cage (meeting all the above specifications) or more if the cage is deficient

7. If you want the quails to lay eggs all year round, you need to provide light for 16 hours per day, alternatively they will molt when the days are getting shorter and stop laying until the next season.