Some months ago, we took our first drive from our new home, across the mountains, to beautiful Bright – what a treat. The drive is an easy five to six hours, and the scenery is simply sensational! As we climbed the winding roads, the scenery continued to change. There were eagles soaring, incredible panoramas and great anticipation for a fun few days ahead. It was autumn and Bright in autumn is always a stunning canvas of autumnal colour.
When we arrived, the other members of our group were already there, having traveled from Melbourne and Kerang – we were joined by my two gorgeous sisters, Sonnie and Jan, and wonderful friends, Monica, Ross and Anna.
We had all booked cabins in a park just outside of town and Gary and I had brought our bikes with us, as we knew that there were good bike trails around. The first morning we decided to take a walk before heading out for the day.
When we returned, Sonnie told us that she had been told that there were beautiful views from the hills out the other side of town, so that was to be our first stop for the day. The advice was right, and we were blown away by the vista below.
As we wandered around we started noticing pine mushrooms, also known as saffron caps, along the roadside, so we all started gathering. Trips were made back to the cars for bags which were quickly filled.
Later in the day we took another drive, and this time we noticed some of the locals trying to play golf (well, probably more, holding up play!).
The following morning Gary and I took a ride into town. It was wonderful, the ride was gentle, and the changing colours of the carpet of leaves, just amazing.
When we returned, everyone else was about to drive into town, so we changed transport mode and followed them in for a wander. The rest of our day was filled with a trip to a venison farm, pumpkin seed farm and back for a spot of lunch and a little shopping.
The final morning dawned, it was quite bleak, and it was time to pack up and head home. With the car packed and the bikes loaded onto the rack we headed back to the mountains. On the way we pulled into a trout farm – it still had the closed sign up, but there were people inside, so I decided to wander in. So glad I did, as I picked up 8 freshly caught and cleaned rainbow trout – I already knew what I would be doing with some of this precious cargo…
With the weather so bleak, I was not looking forward to the drive up this side of the ranges. The misty rain made for some stunning pics, and it was bitterly cold outside. However, as we reached the top of the ranges, the weather started to clear and there was a little bit of blue sky showing here and there. As we wound our way home, the weather cleared, it became warmer and we were treated to some spectacular photo ops.
With lunch time approaching, The Swifts Creek Bakery was the place to go. We had stopped there on the way to Bright, and Gary wanted to stop and get a supply of their Steak, Bacon and Cheese pies to take home – he said they were amazing. When we arrived the baker, Arty, was in the middle of preparing a new batch of pies and was kind enough to take the time for a chat and allow me to take some pics. When I asked if I could purchase some fillings for my gluten free bread roll, they insisted that I bring the roll in for them to fill with beautiful roast chicken and salad. With the sun shining so brightly there was only one thing to do – sit at the table outside and soak up the warmth as we ate.
Back on the road, we continued toward home making quite a few stops along the way to take photos of the amazing scenery, how lucky were we…
Now what happened to the trout. Some were frozen, for use at a later date, the rest found there way into my smoker.
- 2 trout
- 2 Lemons
- Fresh dill or parsley
Gut and clean the trout, or ask your fishmonger to do this for you.
Make the brine - see below.
Place the fish into the clean non-reactive dish and cover with the chilled brine, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove the fish from the brine, rinse under cold water and then pat dry with paper towel.
Prepare your smoker (see notes).
Place slices of lemons and fresh herbs into the cavity of the fish, and if planning to hang the trout, secure with a toothpick.
Place your fish in the smoker and smoke at 66˚C/150˚F for 30 minutes then increase the heat to 107˚C/225˚F until the internal temperature of the trout reaches 63˚C/145˚F.
Remove the fish from the smoker and refrigerate until ready to use.
Place your fish into a non-reactive dish (see note below), add enough water to cover it. Remove the fish and then measure the amount of water used, this will guide you as to how much brine you will need to make.
For each one litre of water you will need 250 grams of salt / for each US pint of water you will need 4.5 oz of salt.
Heat the water in a stainless steel pot until it just reaches boiling point. Turn off the heat add the salt and stir until it is fully dissolved. Allow the brine to cool and then refrigerate to chill to 3-5˚C / 37-41˚F.
- Nonreactive dish should be made of high-grade stainless steel, glass or food-grade plastic.
- Use pure salt, it should not have additives such as iodine and/or anticaking agents.
- There are many different types of hot smokers – you will be familiar with how to prepare your smoker - I like to use apple chips or a combination of apple and Tasmanian oak chips for smoking our fish.
- Use the smoked trout to make a delicious smoked trout pâté, or in pasta or salad dishes.
And to show off the last of our beautiful smoked trout I started working on a new recipe which came to fruition this week – Smoked Trout and Beetroot Terrine with Goats Cheese and Egg.
It looks fiddly, but surprisingly was quite easy to prepare, and even easier to eat. I chose to serve it with a little salad from our garden and some freshly fried waffle chips.
Until next time…