Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cooking with coals and cast iron

Camp oven cooking is a favourite family winter pastime for us.  Recently when the team from Slow Food Mildura called on their members to join the team at the Koorlong Camp Oven Cook Off we immediately volunteered.


While we have done plenty of camp oven cooking at home and for friends we have never ventured into the competitive side of cooking with coals, cast iron and fire.

The rules for the day were fairly simple.  Teams had to supply their own coals/fuel and cook all food in camp ovens or Bedourie ovens.  Naturally, Slow Food Mildura went to great efforts to ensure most of their meal was sourced from seasonal, local ingredients. 


We spent the day preparing and cooking, tending to the charcoal to keep the ovens hot, serving the hungry paying customers, testing some food and drinks ourselves, making new friends and soaking up the country music and slight smoky atmosphere.   As we chopped and mixed ingredients, conversation and discussion flowed easily.  Busy hands seem to encourage easy conversation. 


Although we have been Slow Food members for a year or two we haven’t attended many of their events.  This day was a perfect place to start.  With the underlying love of food connecting our group we felt welcomed, like instant friends.   At the end of the day we were generously loaded up with fresh home grown produce that the local team members had supplied to decorate the serving area.




Food really does connect people and days like this just prove it to me all over again. 

Do you dabble in any camp oven cooking or camp cooking?
Do you have a favourite outdoor dish?  

Have a lovely Sunday, friends x

23 comments:

  1. sounds like a fabulous day jane..what did you cook? unfortunately i don't have the opportunity to do any camp oven cooking..although i once cooked bread on top of a hot stone in a small covered earth pit of coals..x

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    1. Thanks Jane, I should have included the menu in my post. We cooked a soup with white sweet potato & ginger, chilli/chocolate beef and orange and almond cake topped with an orange glaze. I had not seen white sweet potato before this day x

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  2. What a wonderful event. We often make damper in the camp oven, in the past particularly when out working on a fenceline, seems to make more of an adventure out of a job for the kids. We had a lovely time with friends one Winter's night last year where we shared several camp ovens of stews/curries etc. Beautiful.

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    1. Thanks Fiona, cooking with kids in the paddock always makes a job more fun doesn't it?

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  3. What absolute delicious fun, Jane! Oh my goodness, I wish I lived closer!

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  4. That looks a fun day - but hard work. We don't have a camp oven culture here; mostly people just burn things on a gas barbecue. Ruth has been inspired by your earlier photos and has organised a Summer Holiday adventure day for families that includes foraging and cooking on a camp fire here on the farm.

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    1. Thanks so much Anne. Ruth's summer holiday adventure day sounds amazing! I wish I could attend!

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  5. Jane, what a fun day!! I have dabbled in the odd bit of campfire cooking. I'd love to know what you made xx

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    1. Thanks Mrs M, we cooked a soup with white sweet potato & ginger, chilli/chocolate beef and orange and almond cake topped with an orange glaze.

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  6. what a great way to spend a cold winter's day - obviously cold, as everyone is wearing a beanie! though just using those old fashioned whirly-gig beaters would warm you up.

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    1. Thanks e, it was a very cold start to the day! x

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  7. Food, fire and new friends - sounds like a pretty perfect day! x

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  8. This looks like a wonderful (and delicious!) way to spend the day Jane!
    Hope you have a lovely week xx

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  9. Jane can I say for the 503rd time how much I love your posts? How much fun would that have been!!
    My camp cooking is non existent but I'm about to learn as we recently bought a family sized tent, and plans have been made for the first trip with all five of us. Burnt sausages of coals here we come.

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  10. Thanks Brydie...the feeling is mutual, I love your posts too! Good luck with your camping trip x

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  11. Hi there! Just discovered your blog through House of Humble... I love your space! Your photography is beautiful + your content speaks true to my heart. I'm excited to be a new follower here :)

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    1. Thank you Caitlin, lovely to meet you!

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  12. This looked like an awesome day out Jane full of good food and good people. I'm intrigued by the lush looking dish in photo 3. Some kind of Jambalaya? And as always - I'm now hungry!!

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    1. Thanks Donna, it was beef with chilli and chocolate!

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    2. Beef with Chilli and Chocolate?! Wow. Now I'm really intrigued!! I bet it was delicious.

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Hello and welcome. I will try to reply to all comments eventually because I love the conversation! Jane