Tag Archives: 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

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

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

*Sautéing 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

Stuffed Chillies

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law years ago. I’m not sure where she got it from, but these stuffed chillies became a staple on our picnic days, or as finger food with guests on our boat. Serve them hot as a light meal with salad, or serve at room temperature as finger food. Easy to prepare ahead of time; these stuffed chillies will be a hit!

Finger-food tamarind pork coriander lime leaf

Ingredients

12 long chillies
500g pork or chicken mince
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded & chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
oil for shallow frying
2 tablespoons chopped coriander

Sauce

2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon sugar

Method

Split each chilli lengthways to create a pocket, leaving ends intact. Remove and discard the seeds and pith.

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a bowl. Using a teaspoon, fill each chilli with the mince mixture until slightly bulging — smooth filling with the back of a wet spoon.

Heat some oil in a large frying pan on medium. Add chillies, mince side down, and cook for 5 minutes until lightly brown, turn over and cook chilli side down until cooked all the way through.

To make the sauce, place all ingredients into a small saucepan. Stir on high heat until boiling. Reduce to low heat and simmer for a minute or two until it thickens. Arrange chillies on a plate and pour the sauce over them. Sprinkle with chopped coriander.

Pork coriander lime leaf, tamarind

Notes: 

*Make mini meatballs with any leftover mince mix.
*Concentrated tamarind sauce can be used instead of tamarind paste.
*Hot chilli sauce can replace the Sambal Oelek
*Use a mix of red and green chillies for an appealing look.

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Pork coriander lime leaf, tamarind fingerfood

Fingerfood Tamarind pork lime leaf coriander

Lime Panna Cotta

OMG! I love this dessert. Zesty and fresh, creamy and delectable! AND so easy to make. It really is a decadent indulgence which has been a hit at my dinner parties. On a boat? Believe me this is so easy to make as long as you can refrigerate the panna cotta. Another tip is make one large panna cotta instead of individual ones if it is easier for you to store in your fridge.

PannaCottaLime

Ingredients

600ml cream
200ml milk
3/4 cup caster sugar
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn up*
1 teaspoon finely grated lime rind
1/4 cup lime juice
3 gelatine leaves or 10g powdered gelatine
Lime zest and lime slices, to serve

PannaCottaLime5

Method

I use small 85ml metal moulds and the mix fills six of them.

Place cream, milk, sugar, lime leaves and lime rind in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for seven to eight minutes. Do not allow it to boil or even simmer (just bring it close to a simmer). Keep a good eye on it and stir continually. Remove from heat. Add lime juice and gelatine (if using the leaf gelatine squeeze out excess water before adding it to the cream mix). Stir to combine. Set aside for ten minutes to help flavours to develop.

After ten minutes strain mixture through a sieve into a pouring jug and discard the solids.  From the jug pour the mixture into prepared moulds and refrigerate overnight.

Run a knife around the edge of each metal mould and dip base of each mould briefly in hot water. Turn each panna cotta out onto a serving plate. Top with a slice of lime and a sprinkle of lime zest and serve.

*I think of one kaffir lime leaf as the entire leaf i.e. the double. I separate the two leaves from the stem, so in the end I have eight leaves. I wash the leaves then bunch them up and twist them to tear them, leaving them mostly intact.

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Lime Panna Cotta

Spiced Roast Duck Breast with Mango Salad

We love duck, and although it is not terribly good for you (it contains a lot of fat between the skin and the meat), it is not as bad as you think. In fact, without skin and visible fat, duck meat has less fat than roasted skinless chicken breasts. But seriously who can resist the crispy delicious skin of roast duck? Not me! Furthermore, duck meat is surprisingly nutrient dense, provides high-quality protein and contains essential amino acids.

Cooking on a boat

Ingredients
2 duck breast, pat dry and score the duck breast

Spice mix

1cm cinnamon stick
4 petals of star anise
1 tsp peppercorns
1 clove

Salad

1 green mango, shredded or grated
2-3 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 Asian shallots, thinly sliced
1 long red chilli, julienned or diced.
basil, mint, coriander, chopped

Salad Dressing

Salad dressing is the same I use for the Cambodian Green Mango Salad

3 Tbs fish sauce
The juice of two limes
2 Tbs of sweet chilli sauce
1/2 tsp brown sugar

cooking on a boat

Method

For the duck…

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the spices until well ground (or use five spice powder if you prefer).

Rub the spice mix all over the duck breast.

Heat a frypan until hot (do not add oil). Place duck skin side down and cook for a few minutes, on moderate heat, until fat renders.

Then place the duck into a preheated oven, set at 210c, for 15 minutes. Remove the duck from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

For the salad…

Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and give it a good shake. Refrigerate until needed.

Combine all the salad ingredients and dress the salad at the time of serving.

Serve the sliced duck with the mango salad for a fresh zesty treat.

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Spiced Duck Breast with Mango salad #crispyduck #zestysalad #mango #mint #recipe  #dinner #luncg #easyrecipe

Nasi Campur

Nasi Campur refers to a dish with a scoop of nasi putih (white rice) accompanied by small portions of a number of other dishes, which includes meats, vegetables, peanuts, eggs etc. Nasi campur is a ubiquitous dish around Indonesia and as diverse as the archipelago itself. There is no exact rule, recipe or definition of what makes a nasi campur, since Indonesians and Southeast Asians commonly consume steamed rice surrounded with side dishes consisting of vegetables and meat. [Wikipedia]

Nasi Campur - rice, tempe, octopus skewer, tomato, cucumber and sambal
Nasi Campur – rice, tempe, octopus skewer, tomato, cucumber and sambal

Nasi Campur - rice, crispy pork, tempe, kangkung (water spinach) and chilli sambal
Nasi Campur – rice, crispy pork, tempe, kangkung (water spinach) and chilli sambal

When in Indonesia we eat like Indonesians! This has as much to do with the food/ingredients that are available, as with our love of Indonesian food. We eat rice most days, and I usually make sambal to go with it. Chilli, garlic, shallots keep well on the boat, so they feature in most of our meals during our cruising.

Our Nasi Campur consisted of octopus skewer, tempe, kangkung and sambal…..

Skewered Octopus with Lime and Basil

Marinate octopus in olive oil, lime juice, garlic and chopped basil leaves. Refrigerated for about an hour then skewered the octopus on small skewers. Dwayne grilled them on the BBQ, and I served them with Nasi Campur.

Octopus Skewers
Octopus Skewer with Lime and Basil

Tempe Goreng

Tempe is fermented soybeans. I sliced some prepared tempe into bite-size pieces and fried them in hot oil until brown and crispy. I removed them from the oil and mixed in a little kecap manis.

Tempe from the supermarket
Tempe from the supermarket

Tempe with kecap manis (sweet soy)
Tempe with kecap manis (sweet soy)

Kangkung

I probably do the kangkung differently every time I cook it. Still, generally speaking, I fry up quite a bit of garlic (usually garlic slices ), shallot and a bit of chilli in a little oil. I then add the washed, roughly chopped kangkung, season with salt and pepper and sauté for a minute.

kangkung.
I added a chopped fresh tomato to this kangkung.

Sambal

I usually make raw sambal by smashing up chillies with garlic and a small shallot, in my mortar with pestle. However, my favourite is sambal matah, and if I have lemongrass on board, I’ll make it. Sambal matah is lemongrass and shallot sambal. It will often have shrimp paste in it, but I usually make mine without the paste… I just love the taste of fresh lemongrass.

In the mortar, I smash up lemongrass, shallot, a little chilli, some thin slices of kaffir lime leaves, salt and oil. It is delicious.

Sambal Indonesia, chilli, shallot, lemongrass
Sambal Matah

Bon appétit

Sambal ingredients

Creamy Kancil Curry

KANCIL – bahasa Indonesia pronounced kan-chil. Kancil is a mouse deer.

Kancil
The little kancil. Sorry about the graphic pic.

On the small Indonesian island of Panebangan in the South China Sea we were moored along side a small fishing village. The friendly people at this village welcomed us with open arms, sunny smiles and big hearts. We were given a bunch of bananas and the kancil meat that Rudi shot the night we stayed there and the following morning we were even given breakfast on one of the fishing boats!

The tiny village on Panebangan.
The tiny village on Panebangan.

It was our first time eating kancil so I wanted to make a curry that wasn’t too overpowering. I made a paste with the following

In a mortar, with a pestle I blended;

  • asian shallots
  • lemon grass
  • candlenuts
  • ginger
  • lesser galangal
  • turmeric
  • garlic
  • chilli
  • peppercorns
  • kaffir lime leaves

I heated some oil in a pan and fried the paste for a few minutes, then I added a tin of coconut cream. I simmered if for about five minutes before adding the kancil and simmering uncovered for about 1 and 1/2 hours.

Kancil Curry

Verdict: It was very nice. The kancill was not too gamey and was in fact a delicious meat. I used about five candlenuts… because that is what fell out of the bag! It was too many. Next time I would use two candlenuts.

Curry Kancil

Bebek Betutu

Bebek Betutu – Bahasa Indonesia Bebek is duck and Betutu is the name of the blend of spices. It is a popular ceremonial dish in Bali.

On a little island just off Pulau Bawean in the Java Sea, Dwayne and I decided to cook a duck on the beach. First thing we had to do was decide how were we going to cook this duck (which would take about four hours).

We tossed around ideas of cooking the duck ‘hungi’ or ‘lovo’ style (buried in the ground with hot rocks), but because we didn’t know whether the rocks on the beach would hold their heat we decided to build an ‘oven’ that would have a small fire at the bottom.

Armed only with a small shovel and some ideas on what he wanted to build, Dwayne headed to the beach to build the oven while I made a betutu paste and prepared the duck.

I decided to use a recipe I had seen on the SBS website, you can find the link for it at the bottom of this blog.

For the betutu paste I blended shallots, garlic, candlenuts, shrimp paste, galangal, ginger, turmeric, chilli, palm sugar, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves in my mortar.

Bebek Betutu Ingredients, chilli, garlic, peppercorns, lime, ginger, galangal, shallot, turmeric, candle nuts, kaffir lime leaves, coriander seeds
Bebek Betutu

Making the betutu paste
Bebek Betutu

I cleaned the duck inside and out and then rubbed some paste on the inside of the duck cavity and all over the outside.

Prepared duck for Betutu

I wrapped the duck in banana leaves and put it in a tray and covered it with alfoil.

The duck was ready to put in Dwayne’s oven.

Meanwhile Dwayne had found a large slab of wood with a ready made chimney and used it as the back of the oven. Using a large rock on the beach as one wall he then had to build the next two walls of the oven out of rocks and sand, leaving a small opening to feed the fire at the bottom of the oven. After I put the prepared duck in to the oven we closed the top with bamboo and pandanas leaves.

Oven made with bamboo, rock, sand and timber

We had to feed the small fire at the bottom of the oven constantly as we didn’t have any first class wood to build up the coals.

Feeding the beach oven bamboo

We wrapped a couple of potatoes in alfoil and popped them in the oven. Meanwhile I was soaking a length of bamboo in the beach water, getting prepared to cook some rice in it.

Cooking rice on an open fire inside a length of bamboo.
Cooking Rice in Bamboo

All I did for the rice is add 1 cup of rice and 1 1/2 cups of fresh water to the bamboo and seal the top with alfoil. I propped the bamboo over a small fire and cooked the rice slowly, until it was miraculously cooked…. to perfection.

Cooking rice in bamboo on an open fire

Not everything when smoothly our oven did partially collapse once and the roof of bamboo and pandanas leaves caught alight a couple of times! But in the end the duck was fall-apart tender. Potatoes and rice were al dente`. Fantastic meal in a fantastic setting….. worth the five hours of hard work!

The duck was tender and delicious!
The duck was tender and delicious!

IMG_1910

Dwayne sucking the meat from the duck's head!
Dwayne sucking the meat from the duck’s head!

Recipe from

http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/bebek-betutu