April 26, 2013
re-living food memories
I have a vivid memory from childhood of eating damper, cooked on a stick over a campfire and then gobbled down with butter and golden syrup. oh my. I can still remember the incredible taste and the sticky fingers. (For those of you not from around these parts, damper is a simple yeast free bread often made in the outdoors). Many camping trips later, and I still hadn't re-created the memory. That is, until this past weekend. We went camping with some friends to a remote spot in the Grampians, where the only other souls we came across were a few twitchers, kangaroos aplenty, emus and deer and birds of all sorts. We went on walks, played games, built campfires, and ate delicious food cooked over coals, including my damper... twirled around a stick, held over the coals till it was crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, and then filled with butter and golden syrup. Just as good as I remembered. There's something about cooking and eating outside that makes everything taste so much better.
A rough little recipe (sorry, it was too dark for photos):
3 cups self raising flour
about 50g butter
a pinch or two of good quality salt
and about 2/3 (two thirds of a) cup of milk.
Mix the salt in with the flour and then rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. The slowly add the milk and mix until it comes together. You may need a little less or a little more milk. Then knead until smooth.
You can cook it like a loaf in a camp/ dutch oven, but my favourite method is to find some good long sticks, wrap pieces of the dough around the end of the stick so that there's no gaps. And then hold it over hot coals and rotate while you chat about the day, sip your tea or wine and gaze into the fire. Then when it's getting a good dark colour on the outside and is able to be eased off the stick (10-15 mins or so), whack in some butter and golden syrup and be transported back to my childhood and the Australian bush. xx