Mutton Birds

At the moment I am holidays at our shack on Bruny Island. The weather hasn’t been that kind, nor have the fish, so a lot of time has been spent eating and drinking by the fire. Yesterday, feeling like we needed to do some exercise, we went for a walk and a bit of a cook up.

I while ago I scored some mutton birds off my butcher (there are pretty tight restrictions on harvesting them these days, you can’t do it at all in the south of the state). Mutton birds are sea birds that nest in Tasmania in late summer after a massive migration from the northern hemisphere. You either love or hate mutton birds. They are really strong in flavour; I would describe them as duck crossed with anchovies. They also stink when you cook them – my girlfriend only will let me cook them outside. So it seemed fitting that they came with us on our walk to an old mutton birding hut.

It was perfect out at the hut. We had the whole beach to ourselves. We lit a fire and chucked on some spuds and threw the birds on the grill. When they were cooked we ate them with shots of vodka (whiskey would be better) – this helped cut through the fattiness of the birds. I got this idea from the way the Swedes eat their surströmming (fermented herring) – just with potatoes and schnapps. I remember it being a pretty good way to eat it but that may have been the schnapps talking. But what I mainly liked is the way they make a bit of a party/event out of eating the herring – they do the same with their freshwater crayfish. It is something that I think we miss out on a bit in Tassie, maybe because we are quite young country? Anyway as you may have gathered by now this is not really a recipe, more of a way to enjoy these birds. Yes I know that sounds pretty wanky and probably is. I promise not to be a tosser in future posts. BTW I got engaged on Saturday.

Baked Eggs with Rocketini

This is a very simple recipe I made after our visit to the Tas Farm Gate market on Sunday for my breakfast/lunch and it was a great way to get to try some of my very sweet looking rocketini. It might only be little but it packs a big flavour hit!
I fried one generous slice of Boks bacon in a pan with a little bit of olive oil until it was nice and crispy, then cut it into strips and placed them around the edges of a little oven proof dish.
Crack in two/three good free-range eggs into the dish and add a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Put them in the oven on 200 Celsius to bake for around 15-20 minutes, keep an eye on them – how long it takes will depend on how runny you like your eggs. When the eggs are done remove from the oven and scatter with rocketini leaves. Eat!

I’ve made baked eggs adding cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and red onion before too, all are really good, whatever you fancy really!