We endured but another night of wind and rain worthy of the adventures of Scott of the Antarctic himself. We should of maybe packed ourselves up, or possibly threw caution to that proverbial wind, but instead we decided throwing ourselves three sheets to the wind would be a better option and we drank ourselves numb to the pending eventuality that our campsite would be lifted from its tethers and transported back to Oz itself!
Our determination and the fact that we were all oblivious to the storm that continued around us paid off as we awoke to blue skies and the promise of a sugar-sweet day in paradise. I foraged native fruits and berries, tracked wild boar and gathered emu eggs for our breakfast feast. That is, I Viking raided the fuck out of everyone’s eskies and used the pillaged goods to create a communal breakfast. I let my brain be free as it instructed my hands through the motions needed to get this kick-ass breakfast on the table. I feel my brain worked very well with my hands on this occasion.
We ate a spiced vegetable and bean stew with baked eggs, sausages and bacon, and pots of freshly brewed coffee (we are not animals) and tea. *Fun camping fact #2 – if you want to eat like a king while camping get yourself a camp spice rack.
SPICED VEGETABLE & BEAN STEW WITH EGGS (for 8)
6 big handfuls of diced vegetables that you can steal from everybody’s eskies. We had onion, corn, eggplant, carrot, mushrooms and kale
1 tin of cannellini beans
1 tin of kidney beans
1 tablespoon each cumin seed, paprika and dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ a teaspoon dried smoked chilli powder
2 tablespoons smoky barbecue sauce
1x 700g bottle of tomato passata
½ cup water
Sausages and bacon, to serve
• In some medium-high heat coals ☺, cook off all of the vegetables except kale with a splash of oil
• Once starting to colour and soften add spices and kale and cook out for another couple of minutes
• Add beans, barbecue sauce, tomato and water and simmer, covered for another 8-10ish minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Add another splash of water if it starts to thicken up too much as you need a wet sauce to poach/bake the eggs in
• Check and adjust seasoning if necessary
• Make a few (eight, actually) little dips in the stew and crack eggs straight into them. Don’t be too concerned if they don’t stay where you want them too, it’s all good in the end
• Cover camp oven and simmer, covered, for another five minutes or so (until the eggs are cooked but still a little soft in the middle is the desired result)
• Once cooked, serve with an array of camp fire meats, a pot coffee, tea, whiskey or what ever it is you drink in the morning and the company of some nice people
I am starting to think the reason I get invited on these trips is because of my camp cooking smarts, which is A OK by me. The challenge of cooking with only the (almost) bare basics, using the most primitive of cooking methods, just damn well appeals to me. Camp seasoning provided by the fire and the flora in this unattended outdoor greenhouse that is my kitchen stadium. Fire and then some more fire. It is all about the fire when I’m on the scene. You can take your trek through the bush, read your Mills and Boon novel or build a carnie survival hut in the bush, but you’ll find me tending the fire, getting the next meal together and possibly (definitely) sipping on a sneaky beer… well, as long as we’re done with breakfast.
Camping is my shit.
We wake, eat, drink, relieve ourselves and sleep when we feel the need, as our bodies regress back to the bare necessities of what you need to do to stay alive. Camp life is not dictated by alarm clocks, bus schedules or appointments at the herpes clinic. Meal times are not relevant as you eat when you feel like you want to eat, not when your boss sanctions your union approved 45 minute lunch break. As my friend Daniel-San, a fellow strapping young red-bearded lad, would say, “that is camp time, folks”. And you know what? It really doesn’t matter if you are drinking a beer at 10:30am or asleep at 7pm, as long as you are out there, enjoying what our dear sweet mother nature has to offer you, what ever that may be.
But this camping trip is almost over and nigh is the time that we shall return to our urban homes so that I may clean myself up, for I am currently exuding more funk than James Brown’s butt crack.
It’s been real, folks. It’s been real.