Live it up with these simple, delicious, portable dishes. They’re not fancy, but they’re a satisfying base to start from after a long day.
We’ve all toasted marshmallows before, this will take it to the next level: bring some chocolate-covered digestives, put a melted white marshmallow on top (eat the pink ones while you wait) then place another digestive on top with the chocolate facing inwards. Next just squeeze and you’ll be pleased.
Hamburgers and Hot Dogs
Make some hamburger patties at home with mince, breadcrumbs, eggs, spices and a dash of BBQ sauce in the mix. Sausages are pretty much set-and-forget. These are handy if your campsite doesn’t have a BBQ or allow fires, because you can pre-cook them at home and eat them cold… though, admittedly, it’s more fun drooling over them as they cook at sunset. Bring all the usual suspects – buns, lettuce, tomato, cheese and onion – and don’t forget the sauce.
Fish Of That Day
The most satisfying dish can be the simplest. Fresh fish doesn’t need much work to taste great, so drop a line in the water and see what you can catch for dinner. You’ll need to gut, scale, and clean your catch, then add some butter, salt, and garlic (or any other preferred garnishes and veggies) and wrap it in foil. Cook over a campfire for about 15-20mins – depending on the heat – and add a squeeze of lemon just before eating. Simple, fresh, magic. Somewhere, Jamie Oliver is smiling.
These are the easiest desserts and can make you feel slightly virtuous, too. Grab some pineapple or pear, slice up and coat with a bit of butter and cinnamon or brown sugar. Grill in foil and die of happiness (whipped cream and cake sandwiches are totally optional). Bonus points if you whack on some chocolate topping and chopped nuts to make a sundae.
A satisfying meal or an easy one… por que no los dos? You can pre-cook some mince or just bring a can of beans, along with taco shells, chopped tomato, capsicum, cheese and guacamole. Heat the meat/beans up in a small pan at the campsite and set up a serving station. It’s one of the quickest meals to make – and to eat. Bring enough for a few rounds.
Woke up feeling sketchy? This simple Aussie bushman’s bread will put you right. It’s a powerful, soul-warming staple when made over some hot coals in the morning. Knead together a basic dough with some flour, water and salt, add some butter or oil to hold it together, and add a dash of milk or some raisins if you have them. You can do this all by feel.
Cook it as a flat loaf, or on a stick. The stick method is quicker and a bit like toasting marshmallows. Twist the dough around the stick in a spiral and toast it in the flames. Once it starts to brown, drizzle some golden syrup and enjoy the hot, sweet, doughy goodness. It’s like a bush doughnut.
Brew one of these to go with your damper. It’s basically tea, but full of nostalgia – and like any tea, it’s a very personal recipe that everyone has an opinion on. The common factors are: loose leaf tea brewed over a campfire, preferably in a metal billycan (or saucepan will do). Add some gum leaves and stir with a fresh twig for that real Authentic Bush Flavour, then loudly judge everyone else who doesn’t like it or has a different way of making it. It’s the Australian Way.
A camping cooker is worth the investment: it’s a metal blessing that delivers a warm meal at the end of a long day. You can make anything in there, but a real simple dish is generally some oil, garlic and onion to start, throw in some chicken or turkey meat to brown, add some salt, pepper and paprika, then some chopped carrot and capsicum (frozen peas are good too, and double as an icepack in the cooler), then some tinned tomatoes. It’ll take half an hour at least but will be tasty and warm, best mopped up with some fresh bread.
These aren’t your perfect Sunday morning ricotta pancakes that you make at home, but they’re better, in context. Just get one of those shake-up pancake mixes from the supermarket. They’re super-easy, cook quickly, and the container doubles as a water jug after a wash. Maple syrup, jam, or the old lemon/sugar combo will put you into a dreamy, glazed-eye trance round the campfire.
Ready To Eat
You shouldn’t need to carry any powdery army rations with you… there are plenty of awesome snack alternatives – they just require a little bit of planning. Especially handy when there’s a total fire ban.
Pre-make some bite-sized meatballs and hard-boiled eggs for a quick protein kick. Plus stash some protein balls, fruit and banana bread for when you need a sugar hit. You can also carry some cheese and crackers, tinned salmon, refried beans, chopped carrot/capsicum/celery, hummus, flatbread, lettuce and shredded cheese for a satisfying snack, sandwich or pretty decent meal (no-cook burritos, anyone?). Bring a cooler and store some frozen drinks in there to stop food from going bad.