The clay that Brunyfire is currently experimenting with is washed daily by the tides of the D’Encastreaux Channel……….………and fires to an earthy buff with flashes of salt inherent in the clay’s body (I’m guessing – or it as just as likely to be the copper in the glaze). Inspired by the work of Lonny van Ryswyck and Nadine Sterk (see earlier story Feat of Clay: The Locavore’s Solution) this next yarn features a dish to celebrate the local island fish and the clay of Bruny to reflect a sense of island ‘terroir’.
There are a number of clay sites around the island……. …….that have some interesting materials, and thanks to the enthusiastic help of my dig team, the latest was sourced from a local farm on the island a few weeks back. It has the potential for rich red slip decorative work and this will be explored with a local stoneware clay body (again from local Bruny materials) in the near future.
But in the meantime, with the kids to stay, Brunyfire was keen to try a fish wrapped in Bruny clay for dinner. There are numerous species of fish caught from Bruny’s beaches – from tinnies………………and jetties but not being a fisher person like my Mum (above) was, Brunyfire has no experience in their capture, or even in their preparation (ie gutting and cleaning) – just in their cooking!
However, my Step Father Jim did know his fish and was a keen fisherman – seen here with brother-in-law, Paul quite a few moons ago. The fish Paul is holding is a wrasse, but Jim mostly caught flathead, and so my knowledge of this creature was only from the neat little fillets that he skillfully prepared and were then coated in bread crumbs and fried in butter.
In addition to the bountiful hauls of fish and crays caught by the locals, Bruny can also boast of some fantastic kelp forests in the south of the island – best viewed underwater, but every now and then, a storm will toss up a few strands. So – hardly surprising that a fish dish involving kelp and clay had to happen.
Once a suitable section of kelp had been cut and washed, the clay was prepared. This had been slaked (soaked in water) overnight, stirred and sieved and poured onto a plaster bat to dehydrate – then wedged ready for the kids to roll out on a floured board.The whole fish was wrapped up in the kelp, then in the clay and placed in the wood oven for about half an hour.This was then given a few hearty whacks and was cracked open…………..and devoured with rice and veggies.