I reckon one of the best things about being in the bush is the food. I’m not sure what it is but food that’s out of a camp oven, cooked over a fire, or even done on a gas stove or in a 12V oven while you’re at a beaut location, always manages to taste better.
There’s a bit of a misconception that making good bush tucker takes ages and is a pain to do – but with a little prior thought and some pre-trip food prep you can be eating like royalty in under half an hour. Just because you’re as far from a Michelin Star restaurant as it’s possible to get doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a gourmet meal … so we thought we’d throw together five of our favourite recipes that are not only cheap and easy, but can be done in about half an hour or less (so you’re not spending half your downtime stirring a pot).
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12 VOLT PANCAKE ROLLS
These can also be done the usual way in a skillet, but 12V ovens are so much easier when you’re in a hurry.
Makes 10 pancakes
Time: 15 minutes
Plug in your 12V oven and allow it to warm up for five minutes.
Mix all the pancake ingredients together and allow to stand for five minutes to thicken up.
Grease the powered side of your 12V oven (the bottom).
Pour in enough pancake batter to cover the bottom, then cook until bubbles start to break.
Using a flexible spatula, flip the pancake over and cook until done.
Remove your first pancake; and continue greasing and pouring until the mixture is used up.
Spread your desired filling on the pancakes, and roll them up – starting at the short end. These can be served warm or cold.
PANCAKE MIX INGREDIENTS
1½ cups self-raising flour
1¼ cups milk
Pinch of salt
Butter for greasing
Filling of your choice – see below
Fruit; cold meats; cheese; avocado and salsa; cream cheese and nuts; leftover roast meat and gravy; banana and honey; butter and golden syrup; even leftover mince is brilliant.
Tip. You can also pop the rolls back into the oven to heat them up.
EASY BEEF STROGANOFF
A classic adapted for campfire cooking.
Serves 4 people
Time: 25 minutes
Toss the strips of steak in a bag with the flour mix and shake until coated.
Fry the onion in a splash of olive oil over medium gas heat or coals (heat for a few minutes until starting to go transparent); add the mushrooms, and cook for a few minutes more until they start to go soft. Pour this mix into a bowl and set aside. Give the pan or camp oven a quick wipe with paper towel.
Add another splash of olive oil to the pan/camp oven and brown the steak strips on a high heat – do this in two batches so they do not simply braise in their juices.
Return all steak to the pan/camp oven, then add the mushroom and onion mix. Pour in the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce, and stir gently while bringing it up to the boil; then drop to a low heat to simmer for 5-10 minutes. The sauce will start to thicken a little. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.
Serve with rice, noodles or mashed potato.
750-800g lean beef stir fry strips
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1 finely chopped brown onion
½ cup flour with big pinch of salt and pepper added
300ml beef stock
2½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 rounded tablespoons sour cream
BBQ ‘LUCKY FISH’
If you are as good a fisherman as I am, it’s just plain lucky if you catch one!
Serves 4 people
Time: 20 minutes
Lay your fish on a firm surface and cut three diagonal slashes into the thickest part. Do both sides. Melt the butter in a pan.
Sprinkle some garlic salt and lemon pepper on the inside cavity, then brush both sides with a little melted butter (and sprinkle them on the outside as well).
Fry the shallots and chopped mushrooms in the rest of the butter until soft; then stir in the parsley.
Slice half the lemon, and lay three slices inside the cavity; then fill with the mushroom mix. Secure with a skewer to close.
Lightly grease a large piece of heavy foil with butter or oil and lay the fish in the centre. Squeeze over the juice from the remaining lemon half.
Bring up the sides of the foil loosely around the fish; then scrunch along the top to seal it.
Place the fish parcels on a rack over medium coals or a barbecue, and cook until the fish flakes easily on the thickest part – around 20 minutes per kilogram is a good guide.
1kg freshly caught saltwater fish – gutted and scaled
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 shallot, finely sliced
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
1 large lemon cut in half
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
GREEK STYLE LAMB CUTLETS
If you prefer a light meal with a salad, this is a healthy option.
Serves 4 people
Time: 15 minutes
Combine all ingredients in a large sandwich bag (or airtight container) and toss around to mix. Throw into your 12V fridge for a few hours (overnight is better), turning every now and then to ensure they marinate evenly. The meat will go pale in colour.
Grill on a barbecue plate or in a heavy-based skillet over the fire until cooked to your liking; but keep the heat at around ‘medium’ as they will brown quickly due to the lemon juice.
Serve with a simple Greek salad of lettuce, onion rings, Kalamata olives, tomato wedges and feta cheese.
Make up extra marinade … it’s great for chicken as well.
16 lamb cutlets (do not flatten or crumb)
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup white wine
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
CHICKEN & MUSHROOM FRITTATA
Delicious and quick, this is a great way to use up leftover chicken …
or you can cook one ready to go.
Serves 4 people
Time: 20 minutes, plus time roasting a chicken if you have no leftovers
In a large frying pan over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and sauté the onion until softened.
Add the shredded chicken, sundried tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook for another minute or two.
Whisk together the eggs, water and basil in a bowl.
Pour the beaten eggs into the frying pan and combine gently.
Cover the frying pan with some foil and cook over medium heat until the frittata is just about set and cooked.
Loosen the frittata around the edges and underneath, with a spatula.
Place a chopping board or another frying pan over the foil-topped frying pan; and while holding it in place, carefully flip it over so the frittata is resting on the foil/board.
Spray or smear a little olive oil into the first frying pan, and carefully slide the frittata back into the frying pan to cook the other side.
You need to do it this way, as you won’t have a grill handy to pop it under to set the top.
Keep it on the heat for a few minutes until fully cooked; then loosen the frittata and slide it out onto a serving platter or board.
Serve cut into wedges, with a salad or vegetables.
Buy a whole BBQ chook from the supermarket before you leave, and remove the meat from the bones and place it in a ziplock bag. Then it’s ready to go!
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
8 sundried tomato
halves cut into slivers
1 onion, finely diced
8 button mushrooms, sliced
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1 rounded tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon water