Category Archives: Campfire Cooking

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

Rustic Camp Oven Soup

This Rustic Soup has to be one of my favourites. It is so tasty and a perfect warmer for a cold, blustery night. However, cold and windy was not the case when I cooked the soup this time. In fact, we were camped at Litchfield National Park in the tropical heat of far north Australia.

Having spent much of the past few years in South East Asia, where getting such produce as smoked ham hock and chorizo is not an easy task, I was yearning for this soup and could wait no longer. Yes, if I had waited until we were further south, I would have found plenty of wintery weather that this soup would have suited perfectly. For example, once we arrived in Alice Springs, the nights were a frosty 2 degrees Celsius! However, the weather did not detract from its yumminess, and I devoured it along with some long-coveted crusty bread.

Australia ham hock bacon chorizo

Our Camp Kitchen

We cooked this delicious soup while camped at Florence Falls Camp Ground at Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory.

Waterfall Northern Territory. Australia

Rustic Camp Oven Soup

Ingredients

1 Can of mixed beans
1 Stick celery, roughly chopped
1 Carrot, roughly chopped
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
3 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 ½ Tablespoons of olive oil
300g Bacon, chopped
1 Smoked Ham hock
4 Chorizo, sliced (approx 500g)
700g Potatoes, cut into large pieces
Crusty bread to serve

Camp Oven Method

Heat oil in a 9 quart camp oven. Add celery, carrots and garlic, cook stirring for a couple of minutes, until veggies soften.

rustic soup

Add the ham hock and 2-3 litres of water. Hang the camp oven over the fire using a tripod and bring to the boil. Then, to simmer, reduce the heat of the fire – move the fire, i.e. burning wood away from the bottom of the camp oven. Simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hour. Remove hock from the pan and set aside to cool.

campfire cooking in a camp oven

Add beans, bacon, chorizo and onions and cook for another 30 minutes.

Add potatoes to the pan and cook for 10 minutes until they are almost tender.

Remove meat from the hock and chop into bite-size pieces. Add meat to the camp oven and heat for 5 minutes.

Serve with chunks of fresh crusty bread.

rustic soup with ham hock cooking in the camp oven

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campfire cooking in a camp oven ham hock bacon chorizo

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

 

 

Camp Oven Eggs in Purgatory

I’m not sure where the term ‘Eggs in Purgatory’ originated. Does it refer to the bubbling red tomato sauce? I’m not sure. However, this recipe is perfect for cooking in the camp oven over a campfire. Perfect for an Aussie bush brunch, this dish is high in protein and super tasty. 

Tomato beans eggs pepper

Camp Oven Eggs in Purgatory

Our Camp Kitchen

We cooked our Eggs in Purgatory while camping at Mount Bundy Station at Adelaide River in the Northern Territory.

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon oil
1 Red onion, finely chopped
3 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Can of tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon of dried Italian herbs
1/2 – 1 Teaspoon dried, crushed chilli
1/2 Teaspoon beef/veg stock powder
1 Can of mixed beans
4 Eggs
Grated cheese
Cracked black pepper

Method

Heat the camp oven in the campfire* and heat oil. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until onion is translucent.

Add the tomatoes, herbs, chilli and stock powder, and cook for a few minutes until tomatoes start to thicken.

Add the beans and cook for a few more minutes.

Crack eggs into the tomato bean mix, and sprinkle with grated cheese and black pepper.

Put the lid on the camp oven. Top the camp oven with hot coals and cook at moderate temperature until eggs are cooked to your liking.

tomato eggs and beans

*Sauteing over the fire in a camp oven can be uncomfortably hot. There are several ways I cook with an open pot, depending on what sort of fireplace we have (e.g. iron fire pit or open fire). One way is to hang your camp oven over the fire with a tripod or, in our case, a star-dropper. Another way is to take a shovel load of coals from the firepit and, in a safe place near the fire, place them on the ground, put your camp oven on top and cook over the coals.

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Camp oven cooking on the campfire

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

Bacon, Feta and Spinach Quiche

When we left Darwin I had some pastry and feta leftover and wasn’t sure what to use it for. Once I had taken stock of what our esky held I decided to cook quiche. I had never baked quiche in the camp oven before, so I was thrilled that it turned out so well. Very delicious!

Camp Oven quiche

Our Camp Kitchen

We cooked this delicious quiche in the Florence Falls Camp Ground at Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory.

Waterfall Northern Territory Australia

Ingredients

10 sheets of filo pastry
Baking paper
1 onion, chopped
250g bacon, chopped
8 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
60g feta, chopped into small pieces
60g baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
Grated cheese
Cracked pepper

Method

Prepare the camp oven. *Camp oven should be oiled. With two strips of baking paper line the bottom and sides of the camp oven, this will help get the quiche out when it is ready. Then line the camp oven with pastry going up the sides by 1 or 2 inches. The depth of your quiche will depend on the size of your camp oven. For this recipe, I used a 9-quart camp oven and the quiche was about an inch high.

Saute the bacon and onion in a frypan and set aside.

Whisk the eggs and the milk.

Add the feta, spinach, bacon and onion to the eggs and mix well.

Pour the egg mixture into the prepared quiche base, spread evenly, using a fork. Top with grated cheese and cracked pepper.

2020 May 20 Litchfield 12

Cooking in a camp oven

To bake the quiche, we put a few hot coals or heat beads under the pot (our camp oven has three short legs) and about three times as much on top of the camp oven. Check after 15 minutes to see if you have the right amount of heat. If you think you need a higher temperature, add and few coals (if cooking too hot, remove coals). We cooked ours quite slow, and it took about an hour. We will cook it a little hotter the next time, but thought since it was our first time baking a quiche, to err on the side of caution.

Cooking in your oven – Cook for 35 – 45 minutes at 190 degrees celsius. 

Australia campfire cooking

Note: *We always wash our camp oven when we are finished with it, heat it over the fire to dry and then rub oil into it using a paper towel until well coated – if you do that at the end of every use you will find your camp oven will be ready for use every time you want it and it will not rust.

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Campfire

Bacon and Feta Quiche recipe

Beef Cheeks in Red Wine

These delicious beef cheeks are the first recipe of our camp cooking series. Dwayne and I have hit the road with a camper trailer, travelling from Darwin to Adelaide, camping and cooking on the way.

How did this come about?

As you may know, we have lived on our boat for the last six years. Earlier this year we sailed from Phuket on SY Nomad, a yacht that we agreed to deliver to Sydney for friends of ours.

However, two months later, COVID-19 messed up our plans, and now our current home is a camper trailer until we can get back to our boat SV Thorfinn (after delivering SY Nomad). It is great to be camping again, and we love cooking on the campfire.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting camp cooking recipes including lamb shanks, quiche in the camp oven (dutch oven) and chicken pot pie. I hope you enjoy this series. To see more about the places we visit, have a look at http://www.trippinturpins.com

Our Camp Kitchen

We cooked this delicious quiche in the Florence Falls Camp Ground at Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory.

Ingredients

4 beef cheeks (also ok for 2 cheeks)
1 Tbs flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
2 Tbs canola oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1-2 celery, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups red wine
1 cup beef stock
4 bay leaves,
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Method

Mix flour, salt and pepper. Dust the beef cheeks with flour mix. Heat oil and brown the cheeks on both sides.

Remove the cheeks and add, onions, garlic, carrot and celery to the pan. Sauté over medium until onion becomes transparent. Add the two cups wine and cook to reduce wine a little.

Put beef cheeks into the camp oven, add red wine veggie mix, beef stock, bay leaves, thyme.

Cook slowly with the heat at top and bottom of the camp oven for three to four hours. The cheeks are cooked when you stick a pair of tongs into one, and the meat falls apart.

I served my beef cheeks with mashed parsnip and blanched capsicum and beans.

Cooking in a camp oven on an open fire takes a lot of practice. Start off adding a few coals or heat beads beneath your camp oven and twice as much on top. Have a look in 15 minutes to see if it is cooking the way you want it to and add more heat, or remove heat, as needed. With practice, you will soon learn how to control the temperature. Remember that several factors will vary your heat, e.g. ambient air temperature, the type of wood/fuel you are using.

Cooking in your oven – 160C/320F for 3 1/2 – 4 hours .

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Campfire cooking in a camp oen