Campfire (or possibly home oven) Chicken with Broad Beans and Bacon

chicken with broad beans and bacon
“You may sleep like animals and smell like animals, but you shall eat like men”.

Well, I heard through a friend of mine that that is indeed what Jesus said and by jeepers I do believe I agree with that man!

I am more than happy to sleep on the floor with nothing but a rolled up old tee shirt that I had been wearing for work on the two days previous, and nary a blanket or mattress in sight, on the odd (or possibly way too oft) occasion that I’ve indulged in one too many tipples of the white man’s devil water and nodded off (passed out) on the floor while searching for my bed… which is coincidentally in the same place it has been for the last 5 years… I’m sure there should be some kind of ingrained memory thing there, but no.

I belive I told you to put coals on the top of the camp oven too...
I believe I told you to put coals on the top of the camp oven too…

That same minimal necessity sleeping theory is also applicable for camping. I will sleep on the ground (although that tune may be sung a little differently as I grow older), wear the same clothes and bath in nothing but the sweat dripping from my own pores for as many days as need be but just before I can no longer see modern civilization from the brink of Lord of the Flies syndrome I will cook up a damn fine meal that I shall devour like some kind of strange red bearded camp royalty and bam! I am human again.

Ready to bring you back from the brink of Lord of the Flies syndrome...
Ready to bring you back from the brink of Lord of the Flies syndrome…

It’s not hard to eat well while you’re camping, it really isn’t. What is hard is a brick. Bricks are very hard, but eating well while camping is not. Argue that point with me why don’t you…

Certainly no brick
Certainly no brick

Something as simple as camp oven chicken for example, can be lifted to dizzying new heights if you remember to pack a little ham stock that’s been in the freezer since last Christmas and way too many broad beans from the garden. It’s about the fore-thought – past Graz looking out for future Graz and all that. I’m certainly not implying that all of your camp meals should be like you’re staying at a five star resort, because then let’s face it – you’re going to be needing a bath robe and a little mint choccy on your pillow too and, although I am more than happy to be designated camp cook, you will not be receiving room service from me… lip service possibly, but room service definitely not. So you just get your own ass organized and pack a couple of ingredients for your tromp de monde camp dish then you are coming out on top… and in the orgy of camp cooking, on top is indeed a good place to be.

Cook it before I shoot you with my beer gun
Cook it before I shoot you with my beer gun

CAMPFIRE CHICKEN with BROAD BEANS and BACON (serves 4-6)

1x 1.6kg chicken of prime origin
3 rashers bacon
1 brown onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 cups broad beans podded from what looks like way too many broad beans for you and your family but trust me, it isn’t (if you can’t get them fresh, frozen are readily available and would do the job also)
2 cups ham stock
Salt and pepper

• Saute bacon, onion, carrot and garlic in a large camp oven (dutch oven) until just starting to colour
• Add your chicken and ham stock and season that sexy beast well
• Put the lid on your camp oven and keep it on med-low coals, with a layer of coals on the lid, for 40-50 minutes
• Sweep coals off the lid and check the chook… it should be pretty close. If not, put the lid back on, cover with coals and leave for another 10 minutes. Repeat the sweeping and checking…
• Once the chicken is done add the broad beans and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes
• Serve the chicken with bread that Jennee baked in the camp oven earlier that afternoon (not showing off or anything) and tune in to the pretty sounds of the bush at sunset
• Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh

Listen to the beautifulness
Listen to the beautifulness
Oh, and then eat some bastardised smore type thing for dessert
Oh, and then eat some bastardised smore type thing for dessert

PS this could be done in a baking dish in the oven at 180C for the same times…

Black Rock Camping Day 2… banana cake and lamb in the camp oven (not at the same time though)

camp oven lamb
Black Rock Camping Day 2

It was a bit of a broken sleep last night as I was awoken numerous times by the pitter patter of a good hit of rain dropping to us from somewhere above. *Fun camping fact #1 – although the sound of rain dropping on a tin roof is nice, and somewhat therapeutic, the sound of rain dropping on the family tent is not.

I got up, mildly freaking out as to whether we had stowed our camera and other water resistant items. All good… we are getting a little wiser with age apparently.

Camp breakfast was one of many pans of bacon, eggs and sausages and pots of coffee and tea, all consumed to a background rendition of “let’s yell and scream heaps even though it’s only 6:30am” as recited by the Unruly Monkey-like Special Needs Children Choir. Beautiful. Welcome to the bush, fellow campers.

The kids were more than happy to clean the bowl… no washing up for us
The kids were more than happy to clean the bowl… no washing up for us

The cake in it's new home amongst the coals
The cake in it’s new home amongst the coals
That is some good looking shit right there
That is some good looking shit right there
And yes, it did taste as good as it looks
And yes, it did taste as good as it looks

Banana cake in the camp oven was next on the agenda, as we had never attempted cooking a cake in the coals before and let’s face it, if you need to subdue a group of unruly monkies what better way to do it than with bananas or a product that is a derivative of said bananas. We were prepared for this uprising of small monkey-like children and feeding time at the zoo went down a treat! This cake was kick-ass.

Chalk one point up to the clearly smarter adults. That’s one-nil suckers!

The unruly crew
The unruly crew

The men folk drank away the afternoon while the ladies made the tents look pretty and started to prepare our next meal… well, maybe it didn’t go down exactly like that… or even remotely like that, but I did get my ass into the kitchen (camp table near the fire) because I give not a fuck about the location, I just know that being in the kitchen is my time to shine. The cooking begun, we did manage to encourage a sneaky beer or two past our bearded lips just for the sake of it. We may have been glanced that “what the fuck are you doing” glare from a wifey or two but there was five of us men folk so that really didn’t mean a thing to us right now – power in numbers, strength of the brotherhood, dib dib dib and all that shit. We would face our respective lectures on our drive home I was sure but for now, another beer please my good man.

And then the wind and rain came suddenly and mercilessly as if I had just deemed their prize winning turnip nothing but a fraudulent, fiberglass butt-plug. They worked in unison swiftly to dampen our spirits and our spare underwear, but we battened down the hatches in a fashion worthy of a “sea farers hatch battening badge”, and then the rain left us and I finished cooking my camp oven roast lamb. But it wasn’t just camp oven roast lamb; it was camp oven roast lamb, adorned with camp mint sauce and root vegetables, worthy of a “damn tasty assed camp lamb roast award”. But I’m sure you don’t really give a shit about my crappy awards now, do you?

A few herbs make all the difference
A few herbs make all the difference

Oh dear good lord
Oh dear good lord
Ready to go
Ready to go
The mint sauce really lifted this meal way out of the realm of sausages, white bread and tomato sauce
The mint sauce really lifted this meal way out of the realm of sausages, white bread and tomato sauce

LAMB SHOULDER IN THE CAMP OVEN (for 4)

1 small lamb shoulder (about 1.5kg), bone in for the flavour and to give the kids something to gnaw on
2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaf
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 bulb garlic, sliced through the middle horizontally
A couple of handfuls of root vegetables, all cut similar size
Mint sauce, to serve

• Rub the lamb down with the herbs, spices and seasoning
• Put it in the camp oven with ½ cup of water and cover with lid
• Move a few coals out of the fire and nestle the camp oven into these, shovel a few more coals on top. Leave it for 2 hours, occasionally turning camp oven and replacing coals
• While the lamb is getting sexy, make some mint sauce just so everyone knows how much of a bawsss you are
• After 2 hours add vegetables and garlic to the bottom of the camp oven and return to the coals for another hour or until everything is tender and delicious
• Carve it up and eat it with mint sauce, washed down with the finest booze your esky has to offer

CAMP OVEN BANANA CAKE (with dubious measurements)

4 eggs
250g unsalted butter, softened by the morning sun
4 cups self raising flour
4 super ripe bananas, chopped or mashed
1 cup sugar
Milk to make it into a thick cake batter consistency – probably about 1-2 cups

• Get the kids to mix this one up so as to keep them occupied for a few minutes
• Cream sugar and butter
• Add eggs
• Add bananas
• Add flour
• Add milk
• Bake on low coals in a lined camp oven for 45 or so minutes or until cooked. I’m sure a cake tin and domestic oven will do the job just fine, too

K.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some more camp goodness.

*If you like the idea of camp oven cooking and you want to know more, there are some fine folks who have created a facey page that is all about the answers you seek. You can find it here

Black Rock Camping Day 1… a chilly swim and burgers on the fire

burger time
As I had previously mentioned, we were to venture out into the wilderness on a family camping trip. Our tribe, plus four other families all followed by their own respective broods of small humans. I wasn’t totally sure if we may be setting ourselves up for disaster, but one thing I was sure of was that we had brought with us enough booze to self medicate even the most treacherous of feral child, Lord of the Flies, type scenarios that these kids could throw at us.

Bring it on!

We arrived at the Black Rock campsite via the convenience of modern technology, the metal chariot we fondly refer to as the automobile. Uponst our arrival we immediately set about the task of erecting (heh hem) our ready made, easily transportable, space saving, comes with a free set of steak knives, campsite. Thereupon I was greeted by an old friend; as we unraveled our tent from it’s cob web coated shroud the wafts of stale campfire smoke filled my nasals. To some it is a musty smell that reeks of a stale manifestation of unattended mould spores, but to me it is a fond memory of great times. Great food shared with great friends and cooked in what can only be described as a great cookhouse; an idealistic kitchen forum with a back drop of nature’s most awesome glory… and nary a gimp like, peg legged, old man in sight… it is true I have worked in many questionable kitchen situations.

These pizza scroll were damn delicious. Beetroot leaves, tomato passata and cheese. Rocking
These pizza scroll were damn delicious. Beetroot leaves, tomato passata and cheese. Rocking

This is story time at the campsite
This is story time at the campsite

We ate beetroot leaf pizza scrolls that Jennee had the forethought to prepare prior to our leaving home, followed by a swim in the river that was nothing short of invigorating as the river had declined the offer to follow the sun in its warming of the new season and sat not one single degree above damn cold (whether in celcius or fahrenheit), followed by my personal favourite – the lighting of the fire ceremony (entirely clothed this time, as we were in the company of other families who had small children who were not fully accustomed to the beast that is “camping Grazza”), followed by the drinking of the beer (another personal fave), followed by the cooking of the dinner. Tonight it would be burgers, just because that’s how we roll.

Get in line for the camp kitchen
Get in line for the camp kitchen

Cooking on the fire really does not suck
Cooking on the fire really does not suck

Beef mince pattie seasoned with paprika, sumac and a heap of salt and pepper, lettuce, tomato, cheese, fried onion, mayonnaise nazi homemade mayo and bbq sauce and a few jacket potatoes on the side.

There may be a fork on the side of this plate but that was for the roast potatoes. Please believe me when I tell you I am not some kind of nutter who eats a burger with a fork… while camping for effs sake
There may be a fork on the side of this plate but that was for the roast potatoes. Please believe me when I tell you I am not some kind of nutter who eats a burger with a fork… while camping for effs sake

Magic. Full flavoured camp goodness, with not one sexy mardigras bound gay man in sight.

Now I am in bed and writing to you with a pen-on-paper type course of action, with nothing but the illumination of a small battery powered lamp and the company of my youngest little man, Obi.

I am going to go and pee outside ☺

Camping, camp seasoning and camp food… and the passing of a great man

One of our favourites; Black Rock camp ground, Northern NSW
One of our favourites; Black Rock camp ground, Northern NSW

Everyone should go camping.

Even if you think you won’t like it, you should just try it once… just for me (Unless, of course, you have agoraphobia. If you have that you need to stay at home because I don’t want you freaking out my kids with all of your yelling and shit).

There is something about camping that my words will not let me explain to you. There is something about the air combined with the hum of the ocean combined with the lingering smoke. It is the crispness of the morning as the mist slowly reveals the surface of the river. It is (now that I have spawned) watching my children watching the fire as their own father did when he was a child… as did his father before him. It is the absence of the sounds and smells of the civilized world. And, it is the way I am made to feel at home like only the bush could do for a man with a beard such as mine.

When cooking breakfast for a crowd, employing the use of your family size paella pan is recommended
When cooking breakfast for a crowd, employing the use of your family size paella pan is recommended
Fresh sardines on toast… just waiting for a splash of home made tomato sauce
Fresh sardines on toast… just waiting for a splash of home made tomato sauce
Obi contemplating fire
Obi contemplating the goodness of fire

And of course there is the food.

As long as there is some kind of receptacle that may hold dead wood, which may in turn be set alight using nothing more than a regular household cigarette lighter or matches, that is. This installation, that we shall refer to as “the fire pit”, is then used as a source of heat to cook said food and also warm both your earthly being and spirit (I have found that a hip flask is also good in such occasions – not the cooking, but the warming of body and spirit). The food you cook on a set up like this cannot be repeated in an ordinary household kitchen. Why? Simply because you do not have a word fired stove. Every whisp of smoke that floats gently over your food, caressing it with it’s loveliness, is camping gold.

A big, fat rump cooked in the coals
A big, fat rump cooked in the coals
Liberally sprinkled with camp seasoning and served with roast potato, pumpkin, carrot and onion all cooked in the coals… we are not heathens
Liberally sprinkled with camp seasoning and served with roast potato, pumpkin, carrot and onion all cooked in the coals… we are not heathens

Which brings me very neatly to my next port of literary call; camp seasoning.

As we sat around the fire (not singing a chorus of “Kumbayah” thank fuck. I would have quite possibly punched myself fair in the nuts if that had have gone down) drinking our tea, we spoke about the taste of a brew from the coals and just how damn good a simple cup of tea can be when licked by the wisps of smoke that shall be affectionately known as “camp seasoning”. I definitely come for a world where everything can be made better by a dose of smoke. A big hit of tasty, tasty, smoky sexual emanation from the coital union of wood and flames.

Another cracking breakfast; fried chorizo and tomato...
Another cracking breakfast; fried chorizo and tomato…
With eggs chucked in the same pan. Hell yeah!
With eggs chucked in the same pan and once again, a good hit of camp seasoning. Hell yeah!

I’m getting aroused.

But that’s my camping experience. It’s a different beast for different people, I can understand. As I walked along the dunes today I did notice a lot of solar panels and I-pads to keep the kids occupied. Not for me, but I say that as I type away on my laptop… now contemplating the irony of the situation… now contemplating what irony is… now remembering the line from the BBC classic “Blackadder” when Baldrick suggested that irony was “just like tinny and coppery… just irony…”

And that shall segue me nicely, but with a heavy heart, into my next subject; the passing of one of my all time favourite actors slash comedians – Rik Mayall. A legend of many BBC classics such as “The Young Ones”, “Filthy Rich and Catflap”, “The Comic Strip” and, of course, “Blackadder”, in which he played the boisterous Lord Flashheart – purveyor of anything male a woman may want for. RIP Flashy. Woof, Woof!

Chicken and chorizo… the go to dish at Chateau le Stockdale

Roasted chicken and chorizo.

That spread!
That spread!

The go-to dish at Chateau le Stockdale, but then, why the hell wouldn’t it be. This is the sort of thing that you could put into the Breville sandwich press and it’s going to come out cracking. Put it on a pizza with cows curd and parsley, in a burger, or in a pasta with cherry tomatoes and mint. On the grill, in the oven, in a pan, as a stew, or the bbq are all feasible methods to cook the same ingredients for very different yet still very similar results. And if it’s done over the coals you know you’re in for an extra 18 points at the very least. Some of the lesser known and accomplished cooking methods may be between the saddle and your horse as you ride eastward to glory, and between your stomach and the stomach/back of your partner while making sweet, sweet chicken and chorizo-y love.

We have friends and family staying at the mo’, and when past Graz asked Jennee what he should prepare for the feast she immediately suggested that she would think that chicken and chorizo would be a favourable choice. Evereee time. That girl is as predictable like the five buck hooker outside the bowls club on gentleman’s night… but heaps prettier!

On a semi-related side note*, Pauly is coming (I know. You thought he was just walking funny, right?) and we shall be doing things together that two men should never do in the kitchen… and we’ll probably cook up some crazy food too… or maybe we will just get drunk and I’ll cook chicken and chorizo. Either way, we’re on a winner. Get ready for this!

Char those chillis and garlic good and proper
Char those chillis and garlic good and proper
Peeled that charred skin back to reveal the smoky love
Peeled that charred skin back to reveal the smoky love
Charred chilli puree
Charred chilli puree
A cracking spread
A cracking spread
The photo says it all
The photo says it all

HONKY DORY STOCK STANDARD BASIC OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN AND CHORIZO with charred chilli puree for a little extra pizazz

6 chicken marylands (thigh with leg attached)

2-3 good chorizo sausage, slice 1cm thick on the diagonal. Or slice them straight if you have a phobia about that sort of thing

1 lemon, quartered

1 onion, cut into wedges

4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole

1 cup or so of apple cider and 2 tablespoons of plain flour to make gravy if you’re keen. Actually, make the farking gravy even if you’re not keen. It rules

Seasoning

  • Give the chicken a splash of olive oil, enough so it looks all glossy like the over weight Euro tourist on the town beach. You know, the one who smells slightly over baked? And then season it with salt and pepper
  • Roast at 180C for 30 minutes, then add all other ingredients (except the stuff for the gravy, unless you want to look like a true twat**) and roast for another 20 or so minutes, until everything is looking golden and temping… what, are we heroin junkies now? No? Well we damn well should be…
  • Once its all ready strain the juices into a pan and put on a moderate heat. Mix the flour with a good splash of apple cider to make a slurry. Now whisk the slurry into the pan juices and add the rest of the apple cider. Whisk so it doesn’t get lumpy. Cook out for a couple of minutes on a low simmer, adding a little more liquid if it gets to thick. Check seasoning
  • All good to eat now

CHARRED CHILLI PUREE

3 jalepeno fresh chillis, charred over an open flame and then peeled

1 clove garlic, charred and then peeled (it won’t be very soft but that’s how we want it)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup lovely olive oil

  • Combine and blitz
  • Check seasoning
  • Put on chicken

AND THIS SAME THING COOKED CAMPING STYLEE

Obi on the prep bench
Obi on the prep bench
Just about ready to head over to the fire
The same ingredients about to be cooked in the camp oven on the fire
The end product from the fire. Chicken, chorizo and lemon with it's own gravy, and sweet potato, beetroot and carrot in the coals
The end product from the fire. Chicken, chorizo and lemon with it’s own gravy, and sweet potato, beetroot and carrot in the coals. This is good food no matter what language you speak

*I only said it was a semi-related side note

**that was there purely for Pauly. Everyone else; stop looking at things that aren’t meant for you!!!

Camp food (cooking with wood) part 1…

Camp oven roast lamb with cannelini beans, tomato and olives

Camp food? Cooking with wood? Oh my how the images flow into my head…

Cooking with wood (hehem) is something I am a fan of, in more ways then one. Hey, I’ve told you before, food excites me, yeah. If I may indulge myself (going to anyway); the last few or more posts we’ve put up have been from holidays, camping trips and weekends at other peoples houses. Yet we still keep writing, eh. I never asked for a holiday from good food, oh contraire. I think I spend considerable time spruiking the opposite. Maybe the name of this blog, or my subtle-as-a-sledgehammer-between-the-eyes comments are a clue. Maybe not.

Was that even a segue? Who knows? WGAF?

So I ask you, what virtue of cooking on a wood or coal fueled fire isn’t to be appreciated (or what’s not to like about cooking with wood. Hehe)? You get to light a fire for start. How is that not fun? Unless you’re 10 and you set fire to the block of land next door and the fire dept. has to come and put it out and then your mum gets hella pissed at you and you still remember how bad you “got it” 25 years on… There couldn’t be too many chefs out there who would not agree with the merits of a wood fired grill or oven. Mmm, smokey goodness. I don’t like them anyway…

The actual story about camping.

There’s the rolling sound of the ocean licking the shore (yeah. I did good at making that sound pervy eh?), birds having a happy time waking you up at 5am, the ocean to swim in, the river to swim in after you go in the ocean so you don’t turn into a walking salt-flat, a wood fuelled combustion cooking and heating system AKA. The fire, cooking on the aforementioned fire, the enviro-friendly composting toilets, faecal matter caked to the sides of the bowl… other peoples faecal matter… that fat bogan chick who just got back from a boar hunting trip up norths faecal matter… no flush in site… OK. There may be one or two things about camping I’m not so into, but I’m going to let that slide. The food we cook on the fire more than compensates.

This night we decided it would be leg of lamb in the camp oven, with cannellini beans, tomatoes, olives, anchovies (you guessed it) and herbs.

Camping mis en place. Bring some cool shit. It’s not that effing hard people. Unless you’re trekking through the Himalayas with only a backpack in which case you’re excused. Unless #2, you spent three bucks a day on a Sherpa in which case load him up. Get your three bucks worth dammit. Those guys love carrying shit for fat American tourists*… it’s not that I don’t like fat American tourists. It’s just that, well, nobody likes fat American tourists. The skinny ones are heaps nicer. Bahahahaha… haha… ha… ha… hmmm.

Dig upwards Grazza. Dig upwards.

Once your piece of lamb has reached the glory stage of its time with you, add the onions, garlic and anchovies and cook out until the onions are soft and starting to caramelise.

And then the rest goes in. A tin of crushed tomatoes, a tin of cannelini beans, olives, parsley and rosemary that I picked from our garden on the way out because I am a bit of a wanker like that…

Let it simmer kid. Let it simmer.

Note the camp salt and pepper mix there. Leave the saxa on the supermarket shelf and mix up some sea salt with freshly ground pepper. Stupid not to…

Eat it with only the light of a kerosene lantern to illuminate the path from the plate to your mouth. Leave your plates etc. out overnight so all the little night creatures can clean them for you. Then go to bed, we’ve got fuck loads of nothing to do tomorrow…

*Fat American tourist. Jennee commented that this term will probably lose me a lot of my American followers and I should take it out. I normally trust Jen with these sorts of things because she has a heaps better gauge for what’s fit for human consumption. Not this time though. You guys must realise by now that this is a big laugh to us. And if you don’t then you should go away because you smell and you make me want to self harm J