Mean Rabbit Shredder

Following my very unsuccessful rabbit breeding effort I have placed the plump doe with a hired stud and am hoping for the best (cost me a lot of money). Now for the Buck that was actually a Doe (I think) I have allocated a new abode and re-categorised her as a Breeder.

After everything calmed down I again became suspicious about the sex of the ‘new’ breeding doe and decided to first consult Google on how to sex your rabbits and came across a very handy you tube demonstration. I shared the article with a couple of my friends to get their opinion and was warned to be careful as an angry doe can be vicious and mean (like most females). Me being a seasoned farmer and rabbit breeder, I  caught the lady for inspection – the long and the short of the story is she disapproved of the procedure and now look at my arm!!


2015-12-11 - Rabbit shredder

Rabbit Stalemate

2015-12-03 - Stalemate

I have never thought that my first biology lesson in year four would haunt me 60 years later. Anyhow my rabbit operation is very simple. I breed for the pot only and have three does and one buck that I mate once every two months. Every doe breeds twice a year which gives me 6 – 8 rabbits after sales and replacements for the pot every 8 weeks. I replace the older does every so often with a good specimen out of a litter and replace the buck with a new purchase as frequently as required to introduce new genes. When a friend of mine said that she has a New Zealand White buck and we should swap bucks as our breeding animals were not related, I thought it a great way to introduce fresh genes into both our operations. She was kind enough to bring her young man around and took my old buck away. I had a doe to breed and, as I normally do, I placed the buck with the doe for 25 days. When I moved the buck to his own cage I was certain that some days later I would have a litter. Last week it was time to slaughter and I butchered all the young ones except a very good looking young doe that I kept for breeding. The following day the buck’s 25 days of pleasure was up and I removed him from the doe. I noticed that even though still young, he did not put on much weight during the 25 days. At first I thought he must have over worked himself and I was now hoping for large litters, but to my dismay on closer inspection found my buck to be a doe. Inspecting the real doe, of course she was not pregnant but very nice and plump. I now have four empty does and no buck – what a farming fiasco!  My teacher in year four told me that if you want to breed farm animals you should have boys and girls – only now do I understand what he was saying.  I am now desperately searching for a virile buck – four lovely young ladies waiting!


2015-11-27 - Coratella

Coratella is the Italian name for all the organs in the thoracic (chest cavity) and the dish includes the heart, lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys of either a young lamb, chicken or rabbit. We were fortunate to obtain a suckling Boerbok lamb from a farmer close to Dunedin and I went to the farm and slaughtered it myself, hence had access to all the organs normally discarded and seldom eaten in New Zealand. Coratella is also the name of the resulting dish.

Clean the organs making sure that all the blood is washed off, then cut it into cubes about 2 cm square. Dice two onions and two cloves of garlic and fry in some butter and olive oil until well soft. Ad all the organs, except the liver, and fry well over medium to high heat. While frying, ad a chopped red chili, two bay leaves, salt and pepper. When the meat is almost done ad the liver and turn the heat to high. Ad a handful of chopped parsley and fry for three to four minutes until livers are done, but still pink on the inside. Ad one glass of dry white wine and let it evaporate. Serve immediately with polenta.

Do not forget the good home made dry red wine!


Rapa (swedes, turnips, kohlrabi, ?)

2015-08-17 - Rapa 1

I was given, as a present, a bag of something the farmer that gave it to me, called turnips. They were organically grown and much too good to feed to the rabbits. Unfortunately the tops were beyond saving and the rabbits got those. Our experience with this vegetable is limited, so we decided to experiment and started to look up recipes, but soon had to consult our gardener across the street as to what swede, rape, turnip, kohlrabi, rapa, etc all are.  After much consulting, discussion and research, the subject is still open for more opinions.

Brassica rapa – Turnip –

Brassica oleracea – Kohlrabi –

Brassica napus – Swede / Rutabaga / Neep  / Rape –

Call it Turnip, Swede, Rape, Kohlrabi, Rutabaga or Rapa, I had a crack at cooking some according to a recipe adapted from Carluccio, and Mrs BYO invented her own after reading some recipes and not finding anything to her taste. The surprising result was one of the most memorable meals we have ever had.

In our house we always have this competition as to who can cook what best! In this case Mrs BYF – 1 :: Mr BYF – 0 (At least I made the pork sausages she used)

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RECIPE (Mrs BYF) serves 2 with some left over

6  small pork meatballs, well seasoned. Leftover sausage meat worked well

2 roasted and peeled red pepperoni  (capsicum / sweet pepper)

1 rapa (swede) sliced into bite sized pieces

few garlic cloves

1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup of chicken stock. Home made is best and we always have some on hand

Choose a pan big enough to hold everything. Brown the meatballs in one tablespoon of olive oil, remove and set aside. In the same pan add the rest of the oil, the garlic and rosemary. When the garlic has softened add the chopped Rapa and fry on medium, stirring until well covered with the oil. Add hot stock, cover and simmer on medium / low heat until the Rapa has softened. Do not cook too long, as you don’t want mush. Add the pepperoni, stir and heat through. Add the meatballs, stir and heat through. Serve very hot. Some people will have bread with this, but we found we did not need anything more.

RECIPE (Mr BYF)  – RAPA  ALLA  FRIULANA  (adapted from Carluccio)

As most of the Southern Italians consider Rapa to be cattle feed, the predominant recipes for this vegetable are from the North. This recipe from Friuli is very easy and tasty.

Take a heavy cast iron pot and ad 20 gram of castor sugar and 100 gram of butter

Heat the butter and sugar and allow to caramalise a bit

Now peel and dice one average size Rapa and place in the cast iron pot with the butter and sugar. Stir and cook for about ten  minutes

Ad 50 ml of good white wine vinegar, 20 gram of plain flour and stir gently while gradually adding 250 ml of chicken stock

Adjust for salt and pepper and cook slowly until the Rapa is soft

Serve hot with any meat dish

Do not forget the home made wine


2015-08-17 - Rapa 3


Cardi alla Parmigiana – Back Yard Farmer’s Lunch

2015-08-10 - Farmers Lunch 1


Today’s all home produced lunch was beautiful!. Firstly the Ancona cockerel that did not make the breeding pens was slaughtered at 12 weeks of age. At this young age the meat is soft and tender, but not as tasty as an old hen, which I prefer for slow cooked poultry dishes such as “Pollo alla cacciatora in bianco”. Nevertheless, it was very good. I vacuum seal the chickens (and all other animals) when slaughtered and keep them in the fridge for some three to four weeks to age – never frozen. The organic carrots were from a friends garden and I wish that I could have claimed origin as they were so tasty. The cardoons were from my garden and they grow so well in Dunedin that the rabbits have a serving every day. Whatever is left over, we eat.

Cardi alla parmigiana went well with the chicken and carrots and of course some home brewed wine. I am drinking from a damigiana of cherry wine which is dry and fruity and a good compliment to any meal. The only criticism may be that it lacks some body, but all the other wonderful attributes overrides any shortcomings.  The wine of the house is not always perfect!

Cardoon Recipe

Select the biggest outside leaves of the cardoon and strip the leaves of the stem and use  a potato peeler to peel the strings from the outside, (almost like preparing celery)  of the stem.  Cook in salt water and the juice of one lemon until tender. Drain and set aside. Dip the dried cardoon in flour and egg and fry until golden in a bit of olive oil. Prepare bechamel sauce and arrange the cardoon pieces in a baking dish, ( I use individual serve cast iron pots)  cover with bechamel, parmigiano and cracked black pepper and repeat the layers until the dish is full. Place some butter pieces on top and bake in the oven at 180 C for 20 minutes.

Do not forget the wine.


Calabrian Stewed and Roasted Hare – Liepru all’Antica

2014-03-04 - Stewed Rabbit

Rabbit is another of my favorites and fortunately readily available if not farmed yourself, and though Artusi mentions a well-to-do person’s being put off by the latter, they have always been popular out in the country because they’re easy to catch or raise. This recipe for stewed and roasted hare is Calabrian, but works equally well for rabbit, chicken or even quail

1 hare, chopped

2 Sweet Red onions, sliced

3 bay leaves

4 sprigs mint

Marjoram to taste

Thyme to taste


Slices of toasted bread

1/4 cup olive oil or rendered lard

A bottle of Ciró Rosso or any other good red wine


Marinate the hare in the wine with the onions and the herbs for two days, turning the meat occasionally.

Pat the meat dry, flour it, and brown it in the fat, using an oven-proof pot. Once the pieces are all browned stir in the marinade, bring to a simmer (you may want to heat the marinade separately while the meat is browning), and transfer the hare to a preheated 350 F (175 C) oven. Roast until done, spooning the liquid over the meat occasionally to keep it moist.

When the meat is done remove it to a platter and keep it warm – strain the liquid and reduce it over medium heat until it is quite thick. Spread it over the toasted bread, and serve it with the meat.

A wine? Another bottle or two of Ciró Rosso.

Who needs the Waste?

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A WASTE REDUCTION PROGRAME (to be followed by all in New Zealand?)

The Council is supplying households with a YELLOW BIN and a BLUE BIN for paper and glass recycling respectively. Then you could either purchase black rubbish bags or rent a RED BIN for all your rubbish. This is for Dunedin, but probably similar elsewhere.

The object of garbage management in your household should be such that you should strive to have as little as possible to put in THE YELLOW, BLUE and RED BINS at all times. How do you achieve this? Firstly you keep an additional four containers under your sink (I keep 2 litre plastic buckets) and come into the habit when you work in the kitchen to have these bins readily available and sort offal into these in the sequence described underneath, as much as possible.

The BLUE BINS are used for unbroken glass bottles and jars

The YELLOW BINS are for paper and cardboard, clean rigid plastic, tins, cans, aluminium trays, foil, aerosol cans, plastic bottles, containers and lids

The other four bins are :

The GARDEN COMPOST BIN (If you do not make garden, it is now the time to start 😉 ) What goes into this bin?
• Citrus off cuts and peels
• Onion off cuts and skins
• Coffee Grinds
• Tea Bags
• Egg shells
• Newspapers and other light paper materials

The POULTRY BIN (Chickens are a delight!) – What goes into this bin?
• All off cuts and left overs that a human being will normally eat and benefit from if stranded in the desert and starving. Remember chickens love meat and meat products. Cut these in bite size bits for the chickens, ducks, quails or what ever.

The RABBIT BIN (Bunnies are so cute!) – What goes into this bin?
• The same principle applies as for chickens, but only the vegetarian foods – if you can eat it, so can the rabbits. Depending on rabbit and chicken numbers and animal preferences, divide food between these two groups.

The WORM BIN (Get worms ;-))
• Anything vegetarian that the chickens and rabbits wont eat or do not like, goes to the worms, like banana peels, apple cores, hard or wilted outer leaves of vegetables, poisonous plants for animals like rhubarb leaves, etc. Do not put meat into this bin as it attracts vermin

The GARDEN COMPOST BIN – You should have a compost bin already if you are a gardener
• Any product that will ferment in one to two months if composted and did not fit into any of the above. Do not put meat into this bin as it attracts vermin

The RED RUBBISH BIN – The odd product may go into this, which is unavoidable
• Bones
• Plastic Bags

The idea is to have as little as possible to put into BLUE, YELLOW and RED BINS.

For those of us who are fortunate enough to have a working vegetable and fruit tree garden the problem is so much smaller and easier to handle. Try to buy as little as possible processed, tinned and bottled food – buy fresh and unprocessed if you do not produce it yourself. Should we follow the above simple steps,  vast amounts of money will be saved, the human   carbon footprint will be dramatically reduced  with all the accompanying benefits. Last week was the National Day Against Waste in Italy. A project supported by the worldwide SLOWFOOD organisation.  If it is in Italian, click “TRANSLATE” on the top of the page for English