Monday, March 2, 2009

Monster bento and whitebait

I have just got back from a weekend at the Sound of Thunder motorcycle races at Ruapuna Park in Christchurch. I took a monster bento, consisting of two roast chickens with sage and onion stuffing; one mini ham; a meatloaf; three baguettes and a larger loaf of bread; some tomatoes; a lettuce; 700g of cheese; some of my hot sauce; five apple turnovers; and four kg of mixed apricots, plums, nectarines, and peaches. This comes to a total of approximately 15000 Cal. My monster bento box was a fancy imported item - I rescued it from work, where it had been used to carry a heap of dry ice and one tiny box of (non-toxic) reagent all the way from Germany.

The bento fed me and one elderly motorcycle racer …

… for the whole three days I was away (except for one meal, more below), and also contributed to the nutrition of several other motorcyclists who are not yet in receipt of their old age pensions.

This is the interior of a housebus belonging to Steve Pearce. That's Steve there at the stove.

Steve lives on "the Coast" (the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand), which is famous for whitebait. Whitebait are extremely expensive to buy, so I very rarely get to eat them. Steve goes fishing for them every year, and this year managed to freeze about 17 kg - some of which he brought over to the races.

Here is probably about $40 worth of whitebait, with an egg in a bowl as a comparison for size:

My favourite way to have whitebait is just dredged in seasoned flour and quickly sautéed in hot butter, but the standard recipe is the whitebait fritter. It is actually more like an omelette; often salt and eggs are the only ingredients apart from the bait themselves. Some people do add a tiny bit of flour though.

Eggs and whitebait:

Into the pan:

Turned over:

Then usually plonked on top of some bread and butter and eaten ASAP. Steve made fritters for lunch on Saturday for at least five of us in addition to himself. A very generous guy - thanks Steve.

Whitebait are delicious, with a very delicate flavour. My stepmother always refused to even try them though - she didn't like the way the eyes stare up at you from the plate.


  1. Sorry, that was me above, using the wrong gmail account (I'm Dorayaki from JustBento forum)