Bush Cooking

Our family’s ancestors had the first taste of bush cooking when they came to Australia 150 years ago and travelled up to Bright searching for gold.  They were introduced to Possum during the seven days it took to get from Melbourne to Bright.

Old stove at Millstream, Pilbara

Old stove at Millstream, Pilbara

Going back even further, a lot further in fact, the early Aboriginal people arrived 50,000 years ago and discovered bush foods that they hadnt seen before.  It was a bit of trial and error with their bush cooking. If you didnt die or get really sick, it was ok to eat!

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Old Laura Homestead, Cape York

Old Laura Homestead, Cape York

Some people think that Bush Cooking is limited to a camp oven but it can incorporate cooking on a fire, using a  bbq plate, an old frypan over the fire, spit or even a can of baked beans in its can sitting at the edge of the fire.  Fortunately we have come a long way since that can of baked beans and have a few recipes that we use when away camping.  We did eat a packet of chips one night when we got stuck on a steep track one night in the High Country knowing that a 2kg leg of lamb sat in the esky back at camp.  The next morning we got rescued and took the leg of lamb home with us.

Coen, Cape York

Coen, Cape York

Over the past few years, there have been many publications that outline Bush Cooking recipes, how to cook with a campfire or cooking with a camp oven. People are still coming up with new cooking ideas like the ozpig and thermal cookers. The Ozpig has become a very popular item in Caravans and the back of 4x4s in Australia.

Materanka Homestead

Materanka Homestead

Bush cooking doesn’t have to be a bbq every night while camping. That might be ok for one night washed down with a couple of beers but it gets a bit tiring night after night. I’ve come back from camping not wanting to see another chop or sausage ever again.
When we go camping now, we make sure that we eat the same sort of meals we eat at home.

We ensure the ingredients we use in the recipes section are readily available from the local shopping centres. Its important to take a base list of ingredients in your campertrailer but its equally important to be able to restock from the smaller communities. I’ve read so called bush cooking recipes that require ingredients that city chefs would only use and then mention to put your fan forced oven on 180 degrees Celsius! That would work fine if I was camping in the backyard.

Typical old Australian Homestead
We ensure the ingredients we use in the recipes section are readily available from the local shopping centres. Its important to take a base list of ingredients in your campertrailer but its equally important to be able to restock from the smaller communities. I’ve read so called bush cooking recipes that require ingredients that city chefs would only use and then mention to put your fan forced oven on 180 degrees Celsius! That would work fine if I was camping in the backyard.

Also use the KISS principle. KISS stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. We have tried complicated bush cooking recipes while away and its only led to stupid arguments. You cant stuff around too much when its getting dark and the kids are hungry. Perhaps keep the trickier recipes for lunchtime or ensure you start early in the afternoon. Another tip is to keep a record of the meal that you cooked but didn’t get quite right. Practice makes perfect.

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Lachy at Beers Lane, Wandiligong.

I’m sure my great, great grandfather would love to be sitting down to a lamb and mushroom stew cooked in the campoven than a piece of possum 150 years ago.