I don’t usually make many sweet treats because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. However, there are times I do crave something sweet. I love these date balls as I get to stave off the cravings with a big nutritional hit.
These energy balls fuel your body with superfoods, filling an empty tum and providing energy to burn.
1 cup of dry dates (about 30) soaked in water for 3 – 5 hours 2 tablespoons of honey 1/4 cup chia seeds 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped 1/2 cup shredded coconut 1 1/2 cups almond flour
Drain the water from the dates, reserving 1/4 cup of water.
Put the dates, reserved water and the honey into a small food processor/blender. Process until smooth, or leave it a little lumpy with tasty date chunks.
Pour the date mix into a bowl and add the chia seeds. Mix the chia seeds well. Let it sit for two minutes.
Add the almond flour, cinnamon, pecans and shredded coconut to the bowl, and mix well.
Roll the dough into bite-size balls and coat with your choice of finely crushed pecans, shredded coconut or cinnamon, or leave them plain.
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I often make this recipe as an entrée at dinner parties. It is always well received by my guests and is one of my favourites. Change up the flavours by substituting fresh dill for the chives.
Very easy to make. Create the potato and salmon cakes hours before your guests arrive (even the day before) and have all the toppings and garnishes ready to go. Super easy! In fact, the last time I cooked this dish was while we were camping at Moana Caravan Park in our camper trailer with our small outdoor kitchen… one gas burner.
For the salmon and potato cakes
500g of peeled potato, chopped 200g salmon fillet, finely chopped 3 spring onions, finely sliced 1 egg, beaten Black pepper and salt to taste
For the toppings and garnish
Capers* Olive oil* 20 – 40 grams of smoked salmon per plate to serve. Chives, finely sliced Horseradish cream (I used Masterfoods Horseradish cream or make your own).
Boil the potato – do not overcook. Mash the potatoes roughly, leaving some lumps.
Mix the potato, egg, spring onions, salmon and pepper and salt. Mix well, then form into six patties/cakes.
Place the cakes on a plate on top of some baking paper, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the cakes until they are cooked through and golden brown.
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and heat the capers. *Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of capers per serving (entree or main). Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil per serve.
As entrée (serves 6)
Place each potato cake in the centre of each plate. Sprinkle the capers and olive oil around the plate. Top each potato cake with salmon, a dollop of horseradish cream and sprinkle with finely chopped chives.
For the main serve (serves 2-3)
Place two or three potato cakes on each plate, top with smoked salmon, a dollop of horseradish cream, sprinkle with finely chopped chives and some capers and olive oil. Serve with a green salad.
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Traditional damper, developed by the Aussie stockmen, is made with plain flour and water and typically cooked in the ashes or coals of a campfire. Nowadays, there are hundreds of variations to the original recipe.
I usually make beer damper, just flour and beer. However, on a recent road trip from Darwin to Adelaide, I decided to try something different and threw in a heap of fruit, nuts and cinnamon for a sweet treat.
Chocka-block full of fruit, nuts and seeds, I didn’t bother adding a sweetener. I got Dwayne, who likes things a little sweeter than me, to add his sweetener with honey or jam. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and enjoy my damper with dripping hot butter.
Our Camp Kitchen
I made this yummy fruit and nut damper when camping at Burra Creek Gorge with Dwayne, our friends Kate and Martin, and their dog Boris.
Mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon or your hands and shape into a cob shape.
Line the camp oven with grease baking paper or a layer of flour to stop the damper from sticking.
Put the damper in the camp oven, put the lid on and coat the lid with hot coals.
To cook the damper with hot coals.
If you want to cook on coals from a campfire, you need to burn large logs to create hot coals. It can take an hour or so for your campfire to make enough coals to cook upon. Be sure to factor the process of producing the embers into your prep and cooking time. Alternatively, if you have time limits or a lack of 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 number of coals used.
The time it takes to cook the damper is 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, chopped fruit or any other topping you desire.
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With Saint Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I decided to do a “green recipe”. I have never bothered adding green to my pancakes or beer before, but this covid pandemic has left me with much time on my hands. So I sat down and thought about something green that would be a yummy inclusion to any St Paddy’s Day celebration. Since I have made a Christmas bliss ball, I decided to do bliss ball for St Paddy’s Day.
These delicious coconut lime bliss balls are perfect for any occasion! Leave off the chocolate coating for a healthier treat.
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup *macadamias, roughly chopped
Zest of 2 large limes (about 1 tablespoon)
Juice of 2 large limes (about 1/2 cup)
4 tablespoons runny honey (add more honey for a sweeter bliss ball)
3 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil (cold pressed)
3 tablespoons of hot water
Put the oats into a food processor and process until fine. Add the oats to a bowl with the coconut flour, desiccated coconut, chia seeds, macadamias and lime zest. Mix well with a spoon.
In a small bowl mix the hot water, honey and coconut oil, blend well. Add to the bowl and add the lime juice. Mix very well (a minute or two) and allow to sit for several minutes. Mix well again and then form into balls. Squeeze a spoonful of coconut mix in your hand firmly and shape into a ball. Once you have a firm ball shape, roll the ball between your palms to form a smooth ball.
225g White chocolate oil-based food colour.
Decorate the balls with white chocolate (coloured green for St Patrick’s Day) and use slices of snake lollies to form four- leaf clovers. Alternatively, coat the ball in chocolate and sprinkle half with desiccated coconut.
Breakfast in New Zealand, the land of my birth, is as varied as the eclectic variety of people representing ‘Kiwis’. Porridge, fruits and yoghurts are popular, as are eggs Benedict and French toast. However, it’s the addition of lambs fry and bacon, savoury mince, and corn fritters on the menu, that indeed reveals you are dining in a New Zealand cafe.
The last time I was in New Zealand, my dad and I breakfasted in Ahuriri, Napier. Dad ordered the corn fritters, served with bacon, avocado and sour cream, and seeing that he enjoyed it so much, I remarked that I could teach him how to make them at home. Therefore this recipe is dedicated to my dad…. time to cook breakfast old boy.
I decided upon serving my corn fritters with avocado, bacon, an egg for additional protein, and warm tomato relish. Make the relish first and have it slowly simmering on the stovetop while you make the fritters. Once cooked (keep fritters warm in the oven), but before you cook the eggs, take the tomato relish from the heat and allow to cool slightly, while you fry or poach your eggs. The following recipe will feed four people.
For the warm tomato relish
1 tablespoon olive oil 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1/2 a small onion, finely chopped (approximately 3 tablespoons) 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped 1/2 teaspoon white pepper 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 2 teaspoons brown sugar (loosely packed) 1 teaspoon dijon mustard Salt to taste
Heat oil in a small saucepan and lightly sauté the garlic and onion for a minute or two, do not brown.
Add the tomatoes, pepper, vinegar, sugar and mustard, and simmer gently, occasionally stirring, while you make the fritters. Add water as necessary.
Remove from heat for a few minutes before serving.
For the corn fritters
¾ cup plain flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper 1 egg, beaten 440g can cream-style corn 440g corn kernels 3 spring onions, finely sliced
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a bowl.
Add the egg, mixing well to combine. Stir in the creamed corn, corn kernels and the spring onion.
Spray a large fry pan with oil spray and heat. Carefully spoon fritter mixture into the pan, creating two or three fritters about eight centimetres in diameter. Cook until golden brown, flip and cook the other side.
Remove from the pan, place on a plate with absorbent paper, put it into the oven, set on low, and keep warm. Repeat until you have eight fritters.
8 rashers of bacon, cooked to your liking 4 eggs, cooked to your liking 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
Place two corn fritters in the middle of each plate, top with sliced avocado, bacon and an egg. Finish with a couple of spoonfuls of tomato relish.
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This recipe came about after Christmas this year while sailing down the east coast of Australia. My son, Jedd, started it by saying he would make a turkey and camembert crumbed meatball. Dwayne then piped up that he was going to make a crumbed meatball also. It soon became known as the “crumbed-ball-off”. All three of us were going to make a crumbed meatball and pick the best one. The winner was not going to have to cook for a week.
The “crumbed-ball-off” never happened as Jedd flew back to Adelaide sooner than expected. However, since I had lots of leftover Camembert cheese and cranberry sauce, I decided to do Jedd’s crumbed turkey balls. This is the recipe I came up with. We enjoyed it as a meal for dinner, but I also think it would be great finger food!
For the Turkey Balls
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped 1 teaspoon of white pepper 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh sage, finely chopped 1 teaspoon garlic salt 1 spring onion finely sliced 1 1/2 cups fine bread crumbs 100g Camembert cheese Oil for deep frying
Mix the turkey mince, white pepper, sage, garlic salt and 1/2 cup of bread crumbs. Cube the cheese – about 1cm. Depending on the size you want.
Take a spoon full of mince, place it on your palm and flatten it into a flat round shape. Place a piece of camembert in the centre and shape the mince around it. Roll into a smooth ball. Coat with bread crumbs.
Cover and refrigerate for one hour. In the meantime make the cranberry sauce.
For the Cranberry Red Wine Sauce
1 clove of garlic, very finely chopped 1 cup red wine 1/2 cup cranberry sauce (I used Ocean Spray whole cranberry sauce) 1/2 cup chicken stock 1/2 tsp fresh sage, very finely chopped
In a small saucepan lightly sauté the garlic, add the red wine and cook to reduce it by half. Add the chicken stock and reduce by half again. Add the cranberry sauce and cook for a while until it thickens slightly and has reduced a little more. I will thicken more as it cools.
Cook the turkey balls
Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a saucepan, and heat oil to 190c. When the oil is at the correct temperature, add the balls in batches. Fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove the turkey balls from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
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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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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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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!
10 sheets of filo pastry
1 onion, chopped
250g bacon, chopped
1/2 cup of milk
60g feta, chopped into small pieces
60g baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
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.
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.
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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What are pikelets? Pikelets are essentially mini pancakes made with flour, egg, milk and sugar. They are popular in the country I was born – New Zealand. I was recently in a position where I wanted to make pikelets but didn’t have eggs. We were sailing through Indonesia a few weeks ago, trying to get to Australia during this Coronavirus pandemic. As the fear of the virus spread through Indonesia, we found we were unable to go ashore to get groceries. In fact, in the end, we were unable to anchor anywhere, and things got a little scary. Read about our sailing nightmare here.
As our food supplies began to run low, we had to make do with what we had on board. Making pikelets as a filling treat for breakfast or lunch became a regular staple. Then came the day I had no eggs! The following recipe is what I came up with to overcome that particular obstacle. Seriously, I did not expect these pikelets to be all that nice and was pleasantly surprised. Dwayne loves them and says they are as good as the pikelets made with eggs. We definitely will continue to make these!
1 cup flour 1 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda Pinch of salt 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed coconut oil Approximately 330ml milk
Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and the milk and whisk well.
Pour the pikelet mix into pouring jug for ease (or use a large spoon to pour batter into the pan).
Heat a large pan to medium-high. When the pan is hot enough, spray with cooking oil spray and slowly pour a small amount of batter on the pan to form round pikelets (about 2.5 inches across). Repeat adding pikelet batter to the pan. Don’t let the pikelets touch each other.
Cook until the little bubbles on top of the pikelets start to pop.
Carefully flip the pikelets and cook for another minute. Remove the pikelets and then repeat until you have used all the batter.
Serve with jam and cream, honey, or sugar and lemon. For a savoury treat serve the pikelets with sour cream, smoked salmon and dill.
Also, use this mix –
* to make Blini (used for appetisers) make the pikelet rounds with a 1-inch diameter and top with sour cream, smoked salmon, dill or caviar. * to make pancakes double the recipe and cook large pancakes.
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