Our primary producers' sector has quite a unique way of channelling young people towards the options open to them career-wise through well-planned Get Ahead Days.
The Get Ahead careers programme is the first step on the agriculture career pathway for many young people interested in a career in the rural sector. It's about introducing young people to a range of agriculturally based careers and career pathways, thus increasing the likelihood of retention and skill level of those employed in the agriculture sector.
New Zealand Young Farmers has teamed up with DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand to create a careers programme for young people considering a future in the agricultural sector.
With the world's population rapidly increasing, especially in developing countries and urban areas, there is an urgent need for the world to get specialist people into agricultural industries to implement the innovations needed to provide the world with food.
Primary production is an essential part of New Zealand's economy. Agriculture and related industries currently earn more than 50 per cent of our total export income.
Agriculture encompasses a wide variety of specialties and techniques and it is essential that we have specialist people in this industry to lead in innovation and production so that we as a nation remain competitive in the world market.
Career opportunities are many and varied and experienced personnel from within the agricultural industry here in New Zealand are highly sought after internationally.
On-farm roles are only one aspect of the vast and specialist industry. There are opportunities for students to enter different aspects of the agricultural industry from high-country stations to the paved streets in the world's largest cities.
The Get Ahead programme is designed to enlighten people about this innovative and expanding industry and covers a multitude of different opportunities through 12 different stations the students will visit throughout the day.
Many professional groups in New Zealand have junior training or such membership available, but I cannot think of any who take career opportunities to the level the Young Farmers Club of New Zealand has.
Today let's enjoy a simple dish great for everyday occasions using product from our primary producers.
I have added a recipe for mushroom sauce for those who may like to dress up the stuffed schnitzel.
CHEESE AND MUSHROOM STUFFED SCHNITZEL
4 large Quality Mark beef schnitzels
200g portobello mushrooms, finely sliced
150g blue cheese, crumbled (see Cook's Tip)
2-3 spring onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup seasoned flour (see Cook's Tip)
1 large egg, beaten with 2 Tbsp water
1-1 1/2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp garlic powder or onion salt
Cut the large schnitzels in half. Place the schnitzels on a board. Cover them with plastic wrap and beat them out to an even thickness (use a smooth meat mallet, rolling pin or flat side of a large cleaver). Remove the plastic.
Cook the mushrooms in a little oil, drain and combine with the blue cheese and spring onions. Cool.
Divide the mixture evenly among the beef schnitzels and fold over one side of each schnitzel to form a sandwich then press together firmly.
Dust each schnitzel parcel with seasoned flour. Dip into the egg mixture then in the breadcrumbs mixed with garlic powder to coat, firmly patting the coating on. Place crumbed schnitzels on a cake rack over a tray to dry for about 15 minutes in a cool place or refrigerate, lightly covered, for several hours.
Cook in a little hot oil and butter in a frying pan, for about 1 minute then turn to brown the other side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve promptly.
If you allow the schnitzels to stand for 15 minutes once crumbed, you will find the crumbs have time to glue together, making them easier to cook.
If you are not a lover of blue cheese, try crumbled marinated feta, grated cheddar or diced camembert.
Seasoned flour is a plain flour, well seasoned with salt and pepper. If wished, a little dry mustard may be added.
For the salad:
A good handful of watercress
4 good handfuls of salad leaves
1 carrot cut into matchsticks
8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 cup tasty cheese, grated
2 radishes, thinly sliced
Radish sprouts to garnish
For the dressing
100ml hazelnut oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp Japanese rice wine
2 Tbsp chopped roasted skinless hazelnuts
Toss all the salad ingredients together. Mix the dressing ingredients and dress the salad.
For 4 servings
50g portabello mushrooms
50g button mushrooms
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and sweat the onion for 5 minutes without colouring.
Add the mushrooms and continue to sweat until the mushrooms are soft.
Add the flour and cook turning up the heat until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan.
Turn down the heat and slowly add the milk and cream.
Cook until the mixture becomes a nice creamy sauce.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper