One of the goals I mentioned at the start of the month was to try some camp oven cooking. The big experiment......assisted by advice from my brother and some Youtube videos.
I know it isn't rocket science, but just something that we have never really tried. We are using heat beads, rather than a camp fire. Much easier in the back yard and easier to regulate the heat.
We are using this little doo dad to get the beads to temperature. The theory is that the number of heat beads used is determined by the diameter of the camp oven (ours is 10 inches). You sit the camp oven on two less than the diameter and then place two more than the diameter on top, so in our case, eight beads underneath and twelve on top.
We started out with a very basic, traditional damper. The recipe is three cups of S.R. flour, a pinch of salt and about a cup of warm water. That's it. Just mix with a knife and don't knead it. I was a bit dubious as to how it would go, but it looked the part.
And most important, the proof was in the eating and it was good, if slightly heavier than scones. Golden syrup and jam were the obvious choice of spread. I know we should have had billy tea, but our coffee was just as good.
The next plan was to roast a chook. However, the chook I bought was too large for the pot. It was a large chook and our camp oven wasn't. (We actually decided that the next size up, a 12 inch/9 quart version, would be more practical, so were going to go shopping. However, my brother has several and had one he no longer uses, so yesterday he sent it our way, which was nice.)
Seeing as the chook didn't go ahead (it was cooked in the usual manner in the oven and tasted great) we tried something else.
While we were playing with the rustic camp oven we may as well play with this vintage small pie dish we bought at an antique centre in Uralla some time ago. The idea is the little handle releases the baking from the pan.
There we go. One little spinach and feta pie in the pot ready to cook. It was quite funny seeing Mick put it in the pot, using two wire hooks to lower it in and then get it out, balancing it very carefully.
Another success. It looked delicious.
The little handle on the pan worked OK, but would probably be better on cakes. It was also a pain to clean under the handle. The pie was as tasty as it looked. This recipe is one that Shez shared on her blog some years ago and I often make it.
The next meal in the camp oven, cooked yesterday, was steak and Guiness stew. Well, it was actually steak and Tooheys Old stew, using the new to us larger camp oven.
In actual fact, the smaller camp oven would have been better for this meal. At Chooky's suggestion we added some dumplings to the top. They look a bit ordinary, as the heat beads started to lose their heat before the meal was cooked. We now know that next time we want to cook something long and slow to add a few more heat beads half way through the cooking time. We ended up putting the camp oven in the hooded barbecue for the last half hour.
The end result was still delicious. We found a nice bottle of cab merlot in the cupboard and sat down to a very tasty and satisfying dinner. The best bit is that we get to eat the same meal and finish off the bottle of red tonight with very little effort.
Now that we have the larger camp oven, we will probably try a roast in it next weekend. Watch this space.