Sunday roast

Lovely roast - thanks to Darren, one of the building team based here that is renovating one of the historic buildings here on South Georgia. The team itself is 7 strong and they are all based, usually, in the Falklands - a great gang of lads led by Dave Peck, a happy and cheerful fellow. I feed them, usually, 6 days a week and they do a roast on a Sunday. Tonight, it was a nice piece of Falklands beef. The meat from there is good - tasty and older, usually than beef from home, so that we might have had a five or six year old piece tonight - tastes lovely, having had more time on the hoof than our rules at home allow.

We bought a lot of meat from the Falklands for our rat killing team - 400kgs or so, and I am making steady progress through it. Most of our food is based in a series of depots out in the field. Each week has a series of blue barrels, safe and weather tight, and each camp nominally has three weeks to cover a couple of weeks work. Of course, some items will always travel with the chef - spices, flour and baking things, but mostly each week is designed to be independent. I planned the food this way last year, and all of that thinking time is now coming to fruition. Mostly, it looks like all of the planning was worth it, as people are happy with the food which is satisfying in large part.

From our base here, I mostly make stews, bread, cakes, flapjack, biscuits and oatcakes. The kitchen is simple, but usable and I can easily knock out 1500 oatcakes in a, long, day, which means 150 man days worth of ration for lunches - a good part of what we will need. I made a couple or three thousand so far, which should see us through. Food that is light and calorific is essential for the hardest workers - the onward field kitchen requires most of the best food from that point of view. The rest of us need less and gradually we are shaking down our recipes and techniques to suit. Variety is essential, and as we have three chefs, people get that. The field cooks make a simple breakfast, lunch and a two course, veggie and meat dinner, so although our days are quite long, we let people fend for themselves to some extent. That is a good thing, though, as it affords people an element of control over what and when they eat which gives them a little variety. We have a number of regular, and excellent helpers, which means that a small group knows their way around the kitchen which is a good thing. We are out of the way of the busy part of the building in a tent that is quite independent and controlled. That way, we do not have too much traffic, have our own music and keep our own routine. It also means we can be organised way and above the general milling about and chaos that happens when the weather forces people to stand by for a day, meaning they spend all their time making tea and toast....nice to be out of the way, as I say.

Our reindeer work continues, the processing of that is. Eight arrived in the kitchen last week, mostly skinned, and we had a fun, if hard couple of days dealing with processing the meat. First, we broke the carcasses down into major joints, and set aside the offal. Tongues were brined and cooked a couple of days later, pressed and served thinly sliced with a caper and mustard sauce. The hearts, kidneys and quads were made into a steamed suet pudding. Nice. Finally, hte shoulders were curried and the legs seam boned to divide the prime cuts such as rump, fillet, topside, silverside from the shin and trims. I dry cured the best bits with juniper, salt and sugar, black pepper and cloves to extend their shelf life. They will be cooked and used as mini hams. The remainder of the meat - the 300 kgs I have here, is gradually being turned into tagines, sausages and so on to keep us going for the rest of the season. In addition to the fresh meat, we have a hundred or so kilos of instant freeze dried meat - beef and chicken, so that will do for times when the aircrew cannot get to us to pick up freshies. Hoping, at this point, though that will be a rare thing.

sleepy now after a long day relaxing....night!