Category Archives: Australian

Crocodile Burgers

We purchased some crocodile meat from a butcher in Alice Springs with the idea of making a yummy croc burger. Taking into account the delicate flavour of the crocodile meat, I decided that I would baste it with a little honey, soy and ginger, and serve it in a bun with simple salad and avocado.

2020 June 7 East Mac 22

What does crocodile taste like?

People often ask, “what does crocodile taste like”? As I mentioned, the flavour is delicate. It is a little like a cross between chicken and fish. I personally think the texture of crocodile is more like fish than chicken, however a little firmer than fish.

Why eat crocodile meat?

It is high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol. In fact, is has more protein than chicken breast, and is chockablock full of ‘good’ fat Omega-3s.

Other croc facts!

  • Australia saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) was named a protected species in 1974, and commercial farming began in the late 1970s.
  • It is the largest living reptile. Males grow up to 6m (20ft).
  • There are 13 commercial croc farms in Australia.

Our camp kitchen

We cooked these scrumptious crocodile burgers while camped at Ross River Campground in the East MacDonnell Ranges.

Crocodile Burger

Tasty Crocodile Burgers 

Ingredients

500g crocodile tail meat
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 Tablespoon ginger, grated (or ½ tsp. powdered ginger)
2 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon soy sauce

To serve

4 Hamburger buns
Avocado
Lettuce
Tomato

Crocodile burgers

Method

Combine the first four ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  Grill crocodile over hot coals, basting frequently with soy sauce mixture. 

Alternatively, crocodile can also be browned in a non-stick skillet, then add the soy sauce mixture and simmer 5 to 8 minutes. 

To serve, spread the hamburger buns with mashed avocado. Top with the crocodile meat, lettuce and sliced tomato. 

Bon appetite.

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Crocodile Burger

Crocodile burgers

Beer Damper

Damper is a traditional Australian bread which is cooked on a campfire. Created initially by Australian stockmen and swagmen who roamed remote areas for prolonged times. These stockmen survived with only basic rations of flour, sugar, tea and whatever meat they could catch.

Why is it called damper?

I was recently told that damper is called damper because it is damper than bread. However, when I googled to see if this was indeed a fact, I found two alternative theories. According to historian James Bonwick, the name derives from the way the fire is “dampened” by covering it with ashes. And the Australian Dictionary Centre claims the name is derived from a Lancashire expression meaning “something that damps the appetite.” Whatever the truth may be, damper is delicious bushtucker that is a must when camping.

A traditional damper is made with plain flour and water and typically cooked in the ashes or coals of a campfire.

Nowadays, damper is more likely cooked in a camp oven and made with all sorts of ingredients including, sugar, milk, butter and beer to name but a few. I love the yeasty taste of beer damper and often make this simple, two-ingredient, damper in our cast iron camp oven over the campfire.

Our Camp Kitchen

We cooked this yummy beer damper while camped at Mount Bundy Station near Adelaide River in the Northern Territory.

2020 May 23 Mount Bundy Station 1.1

Ingredients

1 375ml can (or bottle) of beer
3 cups of self-raising flour (works with plain flour also)
Pinch of salt (optional)

Method

Place flour (and salt) in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour warm beer into the centre and mix using a butter knife. Add more flour or beer if needed.

Get your hands in the bowl and make sure the flour and beer are well combined but do not knead. Damper is not kneaded, just mixed and shaped.

Once the dough is shaped, line the base of the camp oven with baking paper and spray with oil, or alternatively sprinkle flour on the bottom to stop the damper sticking.

Beer Damper recipe

To cook the damper with hot coals.

If you want to cook on coals from a campfire, you need to burn large pieces of wood to create hot coals. It can take an hour or so for your campfire to make enough coals to cook on. Be sure to factor the process of producing the embers into your prep and cooking time. Alternatively, if you are limited with time or good wood, use heat-beads as they heat up quickly and hold their heat well.

The easiest way to cook in a camp oven over hot coals is to lift the coals out of the fire with a long-handled shovel. Select a safe place next to the fire and put a small amount of *coals on the ground. Place the camp oven onto the coals. Get some more coals from the fire to place on top of the oven. Getting the right amount of coals is not always easy. Be aware of cooking the damper too hot and burning it. It will take some experimentation to get the temperature right. Therefore, check the damper after 10 minutes to make sure you are not cooking it too hot or not hot enough.

*you only need a small number of coals under the camp oven or none at all. Too many and you will burn the bottom of the damper.

Many factors determine the heat of the coals, such as ambient temperature and wind. If you have wind, the coals will cook hotter. Make allowances for wind by reducing the amount of coals used.

The time it takes to cook the damper is of course, directly related to how hot you cook it. It should take approximately 30-40 minutes. You can tell when the damper is cooked by tapping on the top. If it sounds hollow, it is ready. Alternatively, stick a knife in it, and if it comes out clean, it should be ready.

Serve with butter, maple syrup, jam and cream or any other topping you desire.

campfire cooking in a camp oven

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Beer Damper recipe

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

I don’t know about you, but we definitely have a favourite meal that we like to cook when we are camping, and it is this recipe. I have prepared this meal while camping in the Flinder’s Ranges, in the sand dunes at Canunda Nation Park, on the beach in Thailand and now at Litchfield in the Northern Territory. The rich red wine gravy and the fall-apart tenderness of the shank meat are to die for. If you make this recipe, let me know in comments what you thought!

Lamb shanks slow cooked in red wine with baked potato

Our Camp Kitchen

We cooked these delicious lamb shanks in the Florence Falls Camp Ground at Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory.

 

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in Red Wine Gravy

Ingredients

4 – 6 lamb shanks (depending on the size of shanks)
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
250g bacon, diced
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 cups red wine
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 cups of lamb or beef stock
2 sprigs rosemary
Coarsely cracked black pepper

Method

Lightly dust the shanks with the flour. Heat oil in a large frying pan and cook shanks for 4 minutes, turning, until browned. Remove shanks and then fry bacon for a few minutes. Add onion, garlic and celery, and sauté until soft, do not over brown.

 

Transfer shanks, bacon, onion and garlic to the camp oven. Add the red wine, tomatoes, beef stock, rosemary and black pepper.

Cook slowly with hot coals underneath the camp oven as well as on top of the lid for two and a half to three hours, until meat is tender.

 

To home cook in the oven

If cooking in your home oven, preheat the oven to 160c. Transfer shanks, onion and garlic to a casserole dish. Add celery, red wine, tomatoes, beef stock, black pepper and rosemary. Cook covered in the slow oven for 2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Keep covered to ensure the shanks do not dry out.

To serve

Serve with baked potatoes and your favourite vegetables. Or mashed potato or parsnip. Also good with polenta!

 

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Lamb Shanks

Lamb Shanks in the camp oven

 

 

Camel ‘Aussie’ Burger

This is the good ole Aussie burger with a twist. Instead of the standard beef mince, that the Aussie burger is known for, I have used camel mince.

Why? Are camels even Australian?

Well, they are as Australian as cows. But no, camels are not native to Australia, but we do have our own particular camel… The Feral Camel.

Australia campfire cooking

There are reportedly over a million feral camels roaming Australia. First introduced to Australia in the 1840s, camels, imported from India and Afghanistan, were used as ‘beasts of burden’ during the exploration and settlement of Australia, especially in arid areas.

Camels were released into the wild after motorised transport replaced the use of camels in the early 20th century. The releases, as well as escaped or stolen camels, resulted in a fast-growing feral population.

Our Camp Kitchen

We cooked our camel burgers in the East MacDonnell Ranges at the Ross River Camping Ground in the Northern Territory.

Ingredients

For the patties

500g minced camel
1/2 small brown onion, very finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped or crushed
2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely cracked
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup of fine bread crumbs

For the burger

4 hamburger buns
4 eggs
4 rashers of bacon
4 – 8 slices of tinned beetroot
Sliced tomato
Sliced onion
Pickles
Lettuce
Cheese
Tomato sauce
Dijon mustard
Mayonnaise

Australia campfire cooking

Method

Mix all the “patty” ingredients well, using your hands, until very well blended. Shape into four patties.

Heat your hot-plate (or the lid of your camp oven) until hot and spray with oil. Cook the patties over a small fire or coals until cooked through and browned. Remove the patties and keep warm. Cook the bacon and fry the eggs.

Camel Burger 4

To create the perfect Aussie burger halve the hamburger bun and spread the bottom half with mustard and tomato sauce and spread mayonnaise on the top half. 

Then start to stack you burger ingredients on the bottom half of the hamburger bun. First the meat patty, then the cheese, bacon, onion, tomato, beetroot, pickles and lettuce. Slap the top half of the bun on top and bon appétit or as the Aussie’s say “dig in!”

 

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Aussie Burger recipe camp fire cooking

Campfire cooking Aussie burger recipe