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  • I can't say I am a good cook because I have too many disasters, and I am also very critical of my cooking, however, I would say I'm 'competent'.

    I am always ready to try new foods and new techniques where ever I am, so while camping last year, I had my first attempt at hot smoking fish over a BBQ. I bought a delicious, large fillet of trout, and several large prawns.

    In preparation, I had bought with me a heat resistant board to stand the BBQ Bucket on so I could use it on my camping table without having to scoot down to cook on the ground.

    I soaked the oak woodchips, skewered the prawns, lightly brushed the trout with a little oil and started cooking. To aid the smoking process, I put a wet cloth over the bucket to concentrate the smoke from the oak chips.

    By the time I had enjoyed a glass of wine (or two), the fish was ready to serve up.

    The first thing that was obvious was the cloth I had covered the bucket with had no further use. I do not think that boiling the cloth for several hours in industrial bleach would have removed the smoke staining or the smell, so it was farewell to the cloth.

    The second thing was that the prawns were very, very disappointing. I don't think the oak smoking suited the prawns at all (oh no, another cooking disaster).

    The third thing was the trout was fantastic, the oak smoke had given it a delicate smoked flavour. The smoking experiment may not have been a total success. I learned that I shouldn't use oak to smoke prawns, but the oak and trout were a terrific combination.

    There was also one final thing, which wasn't quite so obvious, as I didn't discover this until the following day.

    The heat resistant board wasn't as heat resistant as I thought! While the hot charcoal was several centimetres above the board, I wasn't aware that the heat from the BBQ had reached 'surface of the sun' intensity. The BBQ Bucket had melted the board and welded itself into it, and by the time I discovered this, they had both gone cold and hardened.

    Extracting the bucket from the board took a feat similar to tearing a phone book in half. Fortunately, the bucket survived the ordeal, but the board did not.

    All in all, despite the disasters of the disappointing prawns and destroying a heat resistant board with heat, I had learned a new technique, and the trout was wonderful. This little meal had been a 100% success.

    Never be afraid to try something new.
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