Bush Cooking for Caravanners: A Collection of Classic Australian Recipes for the Open Road
Embarking on a caravanning adventure through the breathtaking landscapes of Australia is an experience that combines the joys of freedom, exploration, and the unique opportunity to enjoy classic Aussie cuisine amidst nature. “Bush Cooking for Caravanners” brings you a delightful selection of traditional Australian recipes that are not only deeply rooted in our country’s culinary culture but are also convenient and enjoyable to prepare and savour while you’re on the road.
Here are some classic recipes that every caravanner should have up their sleeve, ensuring a delicious journey through the Australian outback, coastal roads, or wherever the winds may take you.
1. Damper Bread
Damper bread, a traditional Australian staple, has its roots in the early days of the nation’s colonial history. Originally made by stockmen and drovers who traversed the vast, rugged terrains of the Australian bush and outback, this iconic bread provided a quick, hearty, and satisfying meal amidst the challenges of the wild. Made from basic ingredients – flour, water, and occasionally salt – the dough was cooked directly over campfire coals or in the ashes, resulting in a delicious, crusty bread with a distinct smoky flavour. Damper became synonymous with outdoor living and remains popular today, offering a taste of the enduring Aussie spirit of resilience and adaptability.
3 cups of self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of butter
3/4 – 1 cup of milk or water
a. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
b. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine crumbs.
c. Add milk or water and mix to form a soft dough.
d. Knead lightly and form into a round loaf.
e. Place it in a greased camp oven or wrap it in foil.
f. Cook in hot coals for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
2. Aussie Burger
The Aussie burger, a unique culinary delight from Down Under, encapsulates the diverse and hearty flavors of Australia. Distinct from typical burgers, the Aussie version boasts additions like slices of vibrant beetroot, juicy pineapple, and a fried egg. It evolved as a representation of Australia’s eclectic food influences and local ingredients. Enjoyed in backyards across the nation, this burger is more than just a meal; it’s an embodiment of the Aussie lifestyle – relaxed, inclusive, and full of flavor. Whether at a beachside barbecue or a city café, biting into an Aussie burger is a delightful journey through the nation’s rich culinary landscape.
500g ground beef
1 onion, sliced
4 slices of beetroot
4 pineapple slices
4 slices of cheddar cheese
4 burger buns
a. Shape the ground beef into patties.
b. Cook patties on a grill or pan until they’re done to your liking.
c. Grill the buns lightly.
d. Assemble the burgers with a beef patty, a slice of cheese, onion, beetroot, pineapple, lettuce, and a squirt of tomato sauce.
3. Grilled Barramundi
Grilled barramundi is a beloved dish that graces the Australian culinary scene with its tender, flaky texture and exquisite flavour. This iconic fish, native to Australia’s pristine waters, has been a staple in the diet of Indigenous Australians for thousands of years. When grilled, the barramundi’s skin crisps to perfection, enclosing the moist, delicate flesh infused with a natural, subtle sweetness. It’s not just a dish but a reflection of Australia’s rich aquatic biodiversity, a culinary masterpiece that transports you to the serene, azure waters and vibrant ecosystems of the continent with every bite. Grilled barramundi isn’t merely food; it’s an experience of Australia’s natural bounty and heritage.
4 barramundi fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
a. Season the barramundi fillets with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of lemon juice.
b. Grill the fillets on a pre-heated barbecue, skin side first, for about 3-4 minutes each side or until the fish flakes easily.
c. Serve with a side of salad or grilled vegetables
4. Honey Glazed Lamb Skewers
Embark on a culinary odyssey with Honey Glazed Lamb Skewers, where the essence of Australia’s rich and diverse landscapes is captured in every bite. Each skewer boasts succulent lamb that has bathed in a delectable marinade of sweet honey, aromatic garlic, and fragrant rosemary, yielding a harmonious blend of flavors. As they cook, the honey caramelizes, adorning the lamb with a golden glaze that contrasts beautifully with the savory undertones of the meat and herbs.
The inclusion of vibrant bell peppers and zucchini not only adds a splash of color but brings a textural and flavorful depth, echoing the natural abundance of Australia’s terrain. Each skewer is a journey, where the sweetness of the honey glaze marries the savory richness of lamb, delivering a gourmet experience that mirrors the country’s culinary heritage—a blend of simplicity, quality, and a generous dash of nature’s bounty.
- 500g lamb, cut into cubes
- 2 bell peppers, cut into squares
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Marinate the Lamb:
- In a bowl, combine olive oil, minced garlic, honey, rosemary, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to make the marinade.
- Add the lamb cubes to the marinade, ensuring each piece is well-coated. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, although longer (up to 2 hours) is recommended for a richer flavour.
- Prepare the Skewers:
- Preheat the grill to medium heat.
- Thread the marinated lamb, bell peppers, and zucchini onto skewers, alternating between the meat and vegetables.
- Place the skewers on the grill, allowing them to cook for about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. The honey in the marinade will caramelize slightly, offering a delightful sweetness that counters the savory zest of the lamb.
- Once the lamb is grilled to your liking and the vegetables are tender and slightly charred, remove the skewers from the grill.
- Serve them hot, perhaps with a side of couscous or a refreshing garden salad, and enjoy the delightful mix of flavors – the sweetness of the honey perfectly complementing the savory lamb and the smoky, grilled vegetables.
In this revamped recipe, the addition of honey, garlic, and rosemary adds a depth of flavors, ensuring each bite is a delightful mix of sweet, savory, and aromatic notes, embodying the richness of the Australian culinary landscape. Enjoy your meal!
5. Chili-Lemon Grilled Prawns
These Chili-Lemon Grilled Prawns capture the essence of Australia’s coastal bounty. Each bite delivers a symphony of flavors – the spicy kick of chili is mellowed by the refreshing zing of lemon, while the prawns, succulent and tender, boast the ocean’s natural savoriness. Amidst the scenic beauty of the great Australian outdoors, this dish promises a culinary experience that echoes the harmony of the sun, sea, and land in every bite. Enjoy this gourmet delight with a backdrop of a setting sun for an authentic Australian dining escapade.
- 500g large prawns, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Marinate the Prawns: In a bowl, combine olive oil, minced garlic, chili flakes, lemon zest and juice, chopped coriander, salt, and pepper. Add the prawns to the mix, ensuring each one is well-coated. Allow them to marinate for about 20-30 minutes to absorb the flavors.
- Grilling: Preheat the grill to medium heat. Place the prawns on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they turn pink and opaque. The aromatic scents of garlic and chili, combined with the zesty lemon, should fill the air, signaling that your prawns are nearly ready to be savored.
- Serving: Transfer the grilled prawns to a serving platter. Drizzle any remaining marinade over the top for an extra burst of flavor. The prawns should glisten with the golden hue of olive oil, accentuated by specks of chili and coriander, a visual testament to the flavor explosion that awaits.
6. Bush Bash Carbonara
The Bush Bash Carbonara is a culinary gem that encapsulates the hearty and robust character of traditional Australian cuisine. It’s a harmonious blend of al dente pasta, infused with the smoky allure of bush smoked bacon and enriched by the creamy texture of locally sourced eggs. The distinctive touch of bush tomato cheese adds a flavourful depth, turning each bite into a sensorial journey through Australia’s diverse landscapes. It’s a dish that embodies the rugged yet mesmerising beauty of the bush, offering a delectable taste of the untamed wilderness and the serene, starlit nights under the vast Australian sky.
Ned Kelly’s favorite dish?
In the pantheon of Australian history, where legends of brave bushrangers and iconic outlaws are as rich and varied as the land itself, Ned Kelly, the notorious yet enigmatic figure, is said to have had an affinity for such hearty meals. Amidst the solitude of the bush, where the echo of silence told tales of rebellion and freedom, Kelly would occasionally indulge in the rustic embrace of the Bush Bash Carbonara.
This dish, marked by its simplicity yet profound flavours, not only offered sustenance but also echoed the untethered spirit of the wild landscapes that Kelly and his gang roamed freely. Each serving, to this day, is reminiscent of a time where the allure of the Australian wilderness was as untamable and captivating as the legends it inspired. While some have questioned the authenticity of this tale, it does make for a great story to tell your grandchildren.
- 400g spaghetti or your preferred pasta
- 200g traditional Aussie bush smoked pancetta, diced
- 4 large eggs, whisked
- 1 cup grated bush tomato cheese (or any robust, flavourful Australian cheese)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh wattleseed or lemon myrtle for garnish (optional)
1. Cooking Pasta:
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over your campfire or portable stove. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, then drain, reserving a cup of pasta water.
In a hot skillet, add the bush smoked bacon. Let it sizzle and render its fat until it’s crispy and golden. The aroma of smoked bacon, infused with the essence of the bush where it was cured, should be tantalizingly in the air.
Remove the skillet from the heat and quickly toss in the cooked pasta, ensuring it gets nicely coated with the bacon fat. The heat from the pasta will further crisp up the bacon, releasing its full flavour.
4. Egg Mixture:
Gradually pour the whisked eggs over the pasta while tossing constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. The residual heat should cook the eggs, resulting in a creamy, rich sauce. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water to reach the desired consistency.
5. Adding Cheese:
Sprinkle the grated bush tomato cheese over the pasta, continuing to toss until the cheese melts into the sauce, infusing it with a distinct, robust flavour that brings the essence of the Australian bush to the forefront.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Each bite should be a harmonious blend of the smoky bacon, creamy eggs, and the bold, aromatic bush tomato cheese.
Serve hot, garnished with a sprinkle of fresh wattleseed or lemon myrtle. The herbs not only add a pop of colour but introduce an iconic Australian flavour, making every bite a journey through the country’s rich and diverse landscapes.
Enjoy your Bush Aussie Carbonara under the vast Australian sky, where the richness of the land is mirrored in the robust, hearty flavours of your meal. Every ingredient tells a story of the bush, of traditions held close, and of a landscape that’s as wild as it is bountiful. This is more than a meal; it’s Australia in a bite. Enjoy!