There is always plenty happening at the Upper Clutha A & P Show in Wanaka for townies and the guys and gals from the land.
One of the big attractions each year is the Golden Lamb awards (the Glammies).
Next year we will have an added attraction when the Sharp Blacks (our national team of butchers) will line up against their counterparts from Australia and for the first time against the team from Britain.
In the past, the Sharp Blacks have competed annually against the Aussies. With the addition of the team from Britain this will be their first Tri-Nations test.
As newcomers, the British team will make the 2013 test match the most competitive yet. Competition organiser Kim Doran, from Retail Meat New Zealand, says the competition has reached new heights.
"The test has become a highly anticipated event on the industry calendar and with the new addition of Britain, things will only become more exciting. Building these international relationships can only be a good thing for the New Zealand meat industry," she said.
This year the Kiwi team lost by only a fraction to Australia, which means the recently announced team will be looking for redemption in 2013.
Another recent innovation is the introduction of "The Cutting Edge". This is a programme with a master butcher (a member of the national Sharp Blacks) presenting new ideas for butchers around New Zealand.
The presentation includes a chef showing how best to cook our world-respected red meats. These "cook-ready" dishes are designed for busy modern lifestyles.
Back to the Wanaka show, where one or two of the "Iron Maidens" usually join the Glammies judging panel. I note that it has been confirmed Paralympic multiple gold medallist Sophie Pascoe will join Sarah Walker and Lisa Carrington as the new faces of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.
The trio form the next generation of Iron Maidens, following in the footsteps of Sarah Ulmer, Georgina Earl (nee Evers-Swindell) and Caroline Meyer (nee Evers-Swindell).
Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Rod Slater says Pascoe completes the team.
"She has it all; the New Zealand public love her. We really are seeing the second generation of superstars following on from the original Iron Maidens."
Pascoe says she's excited to be part of the team.
"I'm thrilled, especially to be working with two other amazing athletes. We all get on so well, it's going to be great," says Pascoe.
The Iron Maidens will form the basis of Beef + Lamb New Zealand's next marketing campaign.
Kiwis can expect to see Pascoe, Walker and Carrington on their television screens.
■ You might expect to dine on fillet steak with blue cheese sauce, or homemade smoked capsicum salsa with prime mince and kale chips in an upmarket restaurant, but combining these ingredients into gourmet burgers has paid off for two high school students in the National Secondary School Burger Competition.
Run by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the competition encourages New Zealand teenagers to showcase their creative flair.
Isabella Mickelson, from Woodford House in Havelock North, was first in the senior section, held at the Manukau Institute of Technology. Her burger was described as New Zealand Beef Fillet with a Touch of Blue.
Joshua Richards-Wylie, from Wellington High School, won the junior section with a beef mince and smoked capsicum burger, simply titled Smokey.
The grand final saw eight senior and eight junior students battle it out for gold medals and cash prizes. Two of the finalists came from Dunedin so I thought I would share one of their burger recipes with you.
Here's the burger from Monique Edie, of Kaikorai Valley College.
TURKISH LAMB BURGERS WITH YOGHURT MINT DRESSING
1 egg beaten
220g minced lamb
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chopped fresh coriander
large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
tsp dried mustard powder
tsp freshly ground black pepper
cup (125g) thick Greek yoghurt
cup chopped herbs and mint
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp feta cheese crumbled
cucumber pips removed, grated, rung out in a cloth to remove the juice
8-10 baby lettuce leaves
red pepper cut into fine long strips
6-8 fresh mint leaves sliced thinly
2-4 tsp oil
4 thick slices sourdough bread
oil flavoured with garlic, salt and pepper
Method: Mix the egg, mince, ground cumin, coriander, onion, garlic, tomato paste, breadcrumbs, dried mustard powder, beaten egg, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Divide the meat mixture into patties and place on a plate in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up before cooking.
Prepare the garnish by cutting the red pepper and mint into long thin strips. Toss with the baby lettuce leaves.
For the dressing, finely chop the mint and fold into the Greek yoghurt, crumbled feta, cucumber, lemon juice and season with plenty of salt and pepper.
Heat the grill pan on a medium heat. Brush the tops of the burgers with oil then cook for 4 to 6 minutes. Brush the other side with oil, turn over and cook another 4 to 6 minutes. Check the internal temperature is 70-75 degrees Celsius, using a clean thermometer.
Place the burger patties on a warmed plate and cover with tin foil then rest for 5 to 10 minutes in a warm oven.
Slice the bread, brush both sides with the flavoured oil. Grill on the grill pan, on both sides.
To plate up, place the bottom burger bread on each plate, then place the burger patty on top of each.
Gather some of the salad vegetables to top each patty and spoon over some Greek yoghurt dressing then slide the top bun a little askew so you can see the fillings.
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