Saturday, March 13, 2010

Making a Fijian lovo

from w
Making a lovo
Today we made a lovo (underground oven) in our back yard near the apricot tree. Peceli had to make a new pit because the place we used to use is too close to a fenceline where there are four new houses. The purpose of the lovo was to provide some of the food for a feast to follow a church service up at Altona Meadows/Laverton Uniting Church as four Fijian congregations were meeting together. A combined service is now held every three months and it is a lovely opportunity to catch up with friends from different corners of Melbourne. Last night – after 11 p.m. – Sai and his son-in-law came down to Geelong with a car loaded with bags of taro and pork so the wrapping up started at midnight, then we had to wait until this morning.

We informed our neighbours what we are doing so they won’t panic when they see some smoke rising, and Peceli obtained permission from the local fire brigade as he always does. Some of the Maoris in Geelong make a hungi which is the same as a lovo.The food went in about 11 a.m. and was taken out at 2.30 p.m. and looked beautifully cooked. The young men took it all up to Melbourne and I stayed home and had a restful afternoon, after 'borrowing' one cooked chicken.

So here are some notes for anyone who would like to make a lovo and don’t live in Fiji.

The pit
Collect all the gear you need such as stones, shovels, cartons, bags, leaves, firewood, aluminium foil. Then you need to dig a round or square hole in the ground away from buildings and plants about a metre by a metre. Light the fire to heat the stones.

The preparation of food
Prepare the food by wrapping whole taro in foil, pieces of pork or lamb or chicken in foil, perhaps marinade the meat first. Sometimes you can add a large fish, or palusami in foil packets which is dalo leaves in thick coconut cream with onions and tinned corned beef.

The cooking.
Take away the charcoal and burnt wood so you only have the hot stones. Heap the wrapped food on top of the stones. A metal crate may be useful for this and that’s what we use these days as it makes it easy to take out later. Cover with leaves – banana leaves if you have them but we use gum leaves. Cover with bags, and then heap dirt onto the top. It doesn’t look a very promising oven at this stage! Leave this for about three hours, depending on the size and also the heat of the stones. It’s a guessing game sometimes.

Removing the cooked food.
Use gloves if you have them as everything will be quite hot. Remove dirt, bags, and place cooked food into cartons. Unwrap just before the people are ready for the feast so that the food is still hot. Cut up as required and serve on very large dishes or place dalo on leaves on a set up table. Enjoy.

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Blogger annie said...

So interesting, Wendy. My Hispanic friend grew up in the New Mexico mountains with her grandmother who kept to all the old ways and she learned some wonderful ways to cook. There is a sort of flat rock that you find there that they used to line their pits. and after my friend moved to Texas-- many years later-- she and her husband went back to the area for their collection of these rocks for their own pit. They cooked goats in it. It resembles your pit closely.


5:25 AM  
Blogger vindiesel1245 said...

Truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.
geelong take away food

12:22 PM  
Blogger annie said...

Well, 6 years since I saw this, Wendy.

How are things going for you folks ?

Miss not hearing from you. I am terribly behind your news.Do you send out a newsletter, now,
so I don't miss any posts?


5:31 PM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Oh Annie, I wondered how you are getting on these days. Now that I'm 78 and slowing down with aching bones, life is different. And Annie, my husband Peceli died last December - such a simple farewell, in his sleep one night, so we farewelled him on New Year's Eve - our wedding anniversary. I'm on facebook Annie, so perhaps we can catch up again there.

7:41 PM  

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