The Hanimal, T-Bone Steaks, Making Bread and a Rockfish

I’ve been eating very well the last couple of days, courtesy also of my good friend ‘The Hanimal’ who was here on Thursday. He brought a couple of T-Bone steaks from the mainland and is on his way back home to Switzerland after a short holiday in New Zealand – visiting his number 1. I am glad he made time to come out to BENIsLAND to visit me considering his full-on schedule and it was great catching up, sharing a couple of stories from the older days when we studied in the same institu(tion) and to showing him a little of Great Barrier Island. 

Last week I received my first pay, considering all the outgoings I had in the last 3-4 months it is a great feeling knowing that money is coming in again. I’ve been doing a bit of gardening, but can’t say it is going well at all. The top soil here looks okay, but like most places in New Zealand once you start digging a bit you quickly encounter clay. Therefore, turning the ground over does not seem to do the job and I am trying to take top soil and raising up the soil where I want to grow on. This is somewhat tedious and the results so far are not too motivating. I planted some 20 tomato seedlings into planter bags, perhaps 2-3 weeks ago I planted another batch of 18 of those seedlings. They seem to have stopped vegetating though… Let’s see what these will do.

New batch of tomato seedlings in planter bags.
Taking soil out of this hump. It has good color and good amount of worms, but even the darkest soil seems to have weeds hidden in it. There is a bigger hump in the background.

The signs of spring are evident, more floral action, trees are blooming and yesterday marked the start of daylight savings.

There are a number of trees looking like these on the property. I believe these are peach trees, but will have to wait to find out.

I didn’t get much done today, feel quite exhausted and after cutting some firewood decided to take it easy, turn the generator on, write a new post and just relax. My self-made 12 V generator uses a bit less than half a liter of diesel per hour, so I was startled to hear it stop after an hour. Turns out there is a leak somewhere, I got as close as I could to inspect it, and although my face was covered in diesel moments ago, I still cannot pinpoint the leak. So yeah, right now it leaks more diesel than it combusts… Another item on the ‘to-do’ list.

I went on a bike/rockfish yesterday with my mate. We had plans to pedal to Cape Barrier but plans change, especially at 0600 in the morning when you are still half asleep, and we biked down to the light house by Tryphena wharf instead.

Having a quick go at catching fresh bait with a hand line in Tryphena Wharf.
Rockfishing at the light house in Tryphena, looking back into the hills where I live. She was calm and quiet that morning.

The fishing was also calm and quiet, she was hard work, my mate berleying up with luncheon and me doing so with kina. We managed to (just) catch a feed. I landed a snapper and a kahawai.

Kahawai and Snapper. It is a bit unusual, this is the first kahawai of 'average' size that I caught on Great Barrier Island.

Seems like it is going to rain heaps today, this is good. Gives me an excuse to sit inside and take it easy and more importantly feeds the trees and tops my drinking water up. In the following a couple more pictures and my recipe for bread. 

Claris Airfield.
My mate 'The Hanimal' taking co-charge. At least you don't have any hassles flying to Great Barrier Island. Security check and boarding takes 30 seconds, and where else can you sit on the co-pilots seat in the cockpit as a passenger....
The cat showing off his skills. Every now and then he likes to brag with his climbing skills. I can tell you, he sure enjoys top views!
Thursday dinner. T-Bone, capsicum, mushrooms. It's been a while since I had any of those foods.

The T-Bone is my favorite kind of steak. It contains meat from the most prized cuts of beef, the short loin and the tenderloin, has a good amount of fat around and also marbled into the meat, which makes it superb on the BBQ. It costs on average 17 NZD/kg, while sirloin and eye fillet cost around 30 NZD/kg and 40 NZD/kg, respectively. For dinner I stir-fried the veges and grilled the T-Bone.

Oooh yeah. Grilled T-Bone with some HP sauce and stir-fry.

I cooked a T-Bone steak sandwich for Friday night. You can read on my bread recipe at the end of the post.

T-Bone Steak sandwich. Check out the bread recipe at the end of the post.

 Yesterday, Saturday night, I cooked my famous Kahawai Green Curry with rice.

Kahawai green curry.

 Bread recipe:

  • Mix 1 cup of milk and 3 table spoons of vegetable oil and warm slightly
  • Mix the following dry ingredients in a bowl
  • 2.5 cups of flour + a bit for kneading, 1.5 teaspoons of salt, 1.5 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of yeast or baking powder.
  • Once the milk and oil is warm, pour the dry ingredients and mix together with your hands to form a dough. Tip out onto a lightly floured bench and knead for 5 minutes.
  • Cover and allow to rest 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough and roll it out to the desired thickness.
  • Place onto a hot stone or fire place, a minute per side or longer, depending on the thickness.

A shout out to ‘The Hanimal’, hope you had a good flight back to Zurich, cheers for making the time mate and looking forward to having you both over here during the Christmas period.

8 thoughts on “The Hanimal, T-Bone Steaks, Making Bread and a Rockfish”

    1. Hey Mo(ses),
      I take you have specific interests in regards to the family of the flightless birds. Well, do we have any on the island? Technically yes, but I’m on the lookout for those that can lift off at least a bit. Suppose, will have to wait until summer arrives and see what the ferry brings along. B

  1. Hard work that “gardening” as so many people have found out in NZ’s pioneer days. Can you imagine being out there 150 years ago?

    Looks cool on the plane. I’ll have to take the ferry though, I’ll be bringing half my life!

    I should proudly point out that HP sauce is from my neck of the woods. I’m sure there must be one or two other things that are as good. Oh yes, Marmite. Not the NZ version though, that doesn’t taste anything like the real thing.

    Oh that green curry with Kahawai, yeah I’m feeling that, my mouth is watering… Still got too long to wait though. I’m going fishing Sunday (cheating, on a boat) but hey, this is England….. Those Kahawai are sooooo good deep fried too, as you may remember…..

    On second thoughts that should have gone back out for a livebait. Nothing to lose Benny and you’ve got to fish for Kingis to catch them. I know, it’s early…..

    Keep up the good work (and posting) and enjoy the weekend, P xxxxx

    1. Yeah mate, she’s a bit hard going. The worst is that the moment I transfer seedlings into the ground it appears as if they stopped vegetating. Perhaps, I’m just not patient enough. Speaking of live baiting, I watched my mate do things I haven’t done for a long time. Taking off a fillet off a spotti and casting it out. He had a good take on that, but no hookup. Then he puts a fish (those purple, small ones) – one class below the spotti, perhaps on the same scale as a hiwihiwi – as a livebait and to my surprise, he has a bit go at that in less than 30 minutes. A clean bite from a predator, taking all the gut bits and leaving the rest. So yeah, I’ll start carrying my livebait gear with me.
      She’s a bit nasty at the moment, otherwise I’d be out there fishing myself. Maybe tomorrow for an hour or so around bite time.

      Cheers mate, hope you caught something, B

  2. Hola Ben, long time no speak. Nice to see the progress on the property and good to know you are eating the way you use to on the mainland 😉

    On the leaky diesel, the tank is integrated and generally the leak occurs where the tank and engine meet, that’s where I would look first. Unfortunately the first trip I can make there is in mid november after the exams, but you will soon see the “spirit” coming into the harbor. Sasha and co. have been begging to go for another sail, and this time to BENiSLAND.

    Anyway hope all is well and see ya soon(ish)


    1. Hey MEM, yeah, it has been too long. You know me, I hardly eat anything at all…
      You are right, the fuel line – which is only 3 cm long – had a good rip on the backside. I replaced it today, but it was no fun experience, as the whole setup is quite tight and the best way to access the
      fuel line is to take the tank off etc., but yeah, I managed and the generator is working properly again. Yeah, I’ve been talking to J1, he’s seems to have gathered a mooring. It’s been also way too long since we sailed The Spirit of Breakerbay. Summer is coming mate and looking forward to circumnavigate the island here.

      Perhaps it is a good idea to get a group together for mid November and sail them over here. They can camp here and do their things. I’ll give you a heads up, but am planning to coming to Auckland a weekend this month. Want to get the solar setup going… Cheers mate, B

  3. Hi Behnam

    Finally I managed to read a few of your new blogs. Wow the fish look awesome, and the Kahawai green curry looks like a fresh fish in the hands of a chief cook. Mouth watering.

    I was thinking about your clay issue and just thinking out loud: How do they fruit trees make it then? I know they have deep roots but do they pass the clay or do you have a different type of soil there were the fruit trees are? If so maybe you should move the garden 🙂

    Also take a look at this technology:

    I talked to one of the guys and he said you can pretty much grow anything that is not a tree or does not grow inside the ground (such as potatoes, carrots, onions). So tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, peas, etc. should work nicely and you always have fish for those stormy days when you don’t want to go out to catch.


    1. Hi brother, cheers for your comment and suggestions. Yeah, the fish tastes great, is good sport and is for free. The fruit trees etc. have been planted many years ago and since then their immediate soil has been mulched many, many, many times. That means, compost, newspaper, cardboard, sea-weed etc.. The soil there is great, but again only because hard and regular labor was put into it. That’s why I’m struggling with my gardens now, instead of growing things, I should raise the soil with such materials and prepare it for next year. But yeah, going some sort of middle way at the moment perhaps.

      Other than that you mix the clay with sand (not sand from the ocean, as it is too salty) and mix it, it will then become more friable. Also, once the soil has been mulched properly, lots of worms appear and they kind of make their way through the soil and thus aerate it and make it more friable. So yeah, that’s another way, get worm-beds going… But brother, there is so much to do, so much different stuff as well. Hence, I doubt, I’ll do a good job in anything, it will take years. At the same time, I want to enjoy living here and don’t plan to go hard all day…Oh yeah, by the way, the wind is a real issue. I keep writing it, but unless you feel it you don’t know what I’m talking about. Specially when you live in urban areas, you just are not familiar with winds anymore. It blows around 70-80 km/h on gusty days, either straight in, or rolls over the hills and comes from the back side. So yeah, tomatoes, cucumbers etc. need to be sheltered. But they also need sun and water… so yeah, it’s all not that straight-forward (not for me anyway).
      Cheers, B

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