12th Jan, 2009.
The last two weeks have been campsite based (Mapua - halfway between Nelson and Motueka) so life's been one of stocking up early in the day at the local supermarkets and roadside stalls, then a slow set up and cook late afternoon and evening (all over gas primus stoves, a 3 and a two burner delivering enough space and flexibility) then eating later as it cools down and lot's of great local white and red wines to wash it all down.
And we've eaten well - and not so differently to being at home.
New potatoes, jersey bennes and maris anchors, parboiled then cooled, sliced thickly and sauteed off in the pan then added to the pile in the dutch oven on the other gas stove to keep warm, then served alongside a beetroot, red onion, rocket and goats cheese salad.
Butterflied legs of lamb, marinated in snaplock bags and lept cool on the chillybin then roasted on the hotplate across the two burners with the bottom of roasting pan upside down providing the 'hood' and containing the moisture etc.
Chicken breasts were also marinated and quickly cooked through and served alongside white bean and red onion salads and the annual salmon gorging.
Each year we head over the Takaka hill to Anatoki salmon, a cleverly set up tourist spot with farmed salmon swimming 'free' in a large pond, a free rod and reel with a cunning plastic lure the same size and shape as the feed pellets and you pay for whatever you catch.
Last year the son almost singlehandedly accounted for $142 worth of salmon (at $19 per kilo - work that out!), this year we managed the process a bit too cleverly and almost didn't have enough salmon fillets to deliver the requested maple, garlic and ginger glazed baked salmon feast at the end of the day. The original recipe calls for cooking on a soaked cedar plank, I simply layer spring onion greens across the base of a large roasting pan, baste with the glaze and cook over a low heat until just warmed through.
We had asked for the majority to be hot smoked (all part of the service onsite) so had plenty of that to eat with crackers etc. and turn into pate and salmon and potato cakes the following night.
Zoe and Shona turned out gluten-free pastas with carbonara and bolognaise sauces, Sue and Amani a full Samoan feast with chop-suey, potato salad and banana pankeke for dessert.
Add to all of that pancakes, fresh fruit, sausages, etc and no-one went hungry or if they did that was their fault.
Now back to work and what comes next