Bushman’s Cuisine – A culinary experience (Under the Stars)

As Monday rolls around it is time to reflect on another great weekend in the mountains with family and friends. 

On Saturday morning we boarded The Landy and headed to Turon Gates, a rural property not too far from a great Australian wine growing region, Mudgee, to the west of Sydney.

It is a comfortable three-hour drive in the The Landy, which is no speed machine, especially when towing our T-Van, a specialist camper trailer designed for extreme travel.  This weekend it would not be put to its full potential, and with plenty of mountaineering and overseas travel over the next 12 months, it is unlikely to see the red bull-dust of the Australian Outback anytime soon.

We did pass some of my favourite climbing areas on the drive, but this weekend was about relaxing, eating, and eating, and relaxing, with Janet, TomO and family friends.

Crikey, did we eat or what?

And don’t you just love camp food prepared in a camp oven and dining under the stars beside a crackling camp fire…

Now I must say, Janet and I both love experiencing different foods from around the world, and enjoy a night dining out. But it is hard to beat cooking up and dining on some camp grub!

And no camping trip would be complete without Janet knocking out one of her (world famous) dampers.  Lavished with Golden Syrup, or Cocky’s Joy, as it is commonly referred to, it is simply the Bees Knees. From the time it is pulled from the camp oven, to the time when the last piece is devoured, you won’t hear a whisper from anyone, just the sounds of the Australian Bush punctuated by the groans of delight as the Golden Syrup trickles down your hand…

Joining us for the weekend  were our good friends The Todd’s;  Bob and Annette, and David and Stephen. They’re like family to us and we’ve been travelling this great country of ours with them for as long as we can remember. A work colleague of Bob’s also came along to experience the Australian Bush…

The Todd Boys, The Boys, as we affectionately know them, are like brothers’ to our son TomO, and talk about being as thick as thieves.

Apart from growing taller, The Boys and TomO haven’t changed much. Although, the conversation seems to have moved from toy cars and teddy bears to girls these days…

Bob and I go back a long way…I even got to spin a few tales about him in my role as “Best Man” on their wedding day.

Together, we’ve cut a path along the Kokoda Track in the wild jungles of Papua New Guinea and paddled the Papuan Coast extensively on our kayaks.

Strewth, we’ve even spent a great New Year’s Eve on the small island nation of Nauru, at the Nauru Phosphate Club, helping to de-stock the Nation’s supply of Foster’s Lager, but heck that is a yarn for another day, if I ever get around to remembering it.

I’m sure Bob was a pyromaniac in another life-time, but rest assured he can set the best camp-fires ever and then cook up a storm in his camp oven. The Todd’s feasted on roast lamb and vegetables, while we settled for a good old rump steak on the barbie.

Now I must do a couple of call-outs here.

I have been fortunate enough to have found a fantastic blog called Picture Real Food, by Marisa, which has some wonderful recipes.  This weekend I tried out her Bull’s Blood Mushrooms, and all I can say is if you are into mushrooms give this a go…and if you’re not into them still give it a go, because you’ll end up a convert!

The other call-out is to a mad-as-a-cut snake New Yorker who goes by the name of Icescreammama. Recently she had some really nice things to say about some Aussie bloke so I drank a toast to her on his behalf and the recent success she has had in a writing competition.

Geez, I actually had a couple of beers, a bit unusual for me ahead of my preparation for next year’s full-on mountaineering calendar.

Blow-me-down,  I thought people like Icescreammama only existed on those American sit-coms you see on the Telly, when it is working. But there she is, larger than life. Mind you, I’m betting she is one of those New Yorkers’ that drinks cor-fee instead of coffee.

And did I get around to mentioning one of my favourite parts of any camping trip.


And this is after we get our fill of vegemite on toast, after all it wouldn’t be Australian to leave it at home!

There is something that is good for the soul about a lazy start to the day, getting a fire going, and then throwing a couple of jaffle irons onto the coals with your favourite filling stuffed between two slices of bread!

Janet made up some savoury mince, and her jaffles were the ant’s pants; seriously to die for.

And no outing would be complete without someone falling into the water. Usually it is TomO, because he was a fish in a previous life, but this weekend it was my turn as I filled up the water bucket – it must have been those two beers I had the night before that gave me a wobbly boot.

Geez, you just gotta love getting “Out and About” –  bring on life!

And hey!… Don’t forget to Like The Landy on Facebook to catch up on more photos and happenings while he’s “Out and About”…

Besides with only 29 likes he’s starting to think he’s more “off” than an “Outback Dunny” in the mid-day sun!



Cold Rose-Hip-Soup (You’re kidding me, right?)

Cold Rose-Hip Soup, it should be bottled and dispensed from a chemist, a pharmacy, drug store, but eaten to be enjoyed, surely not?

 Whilst being a self-confessed meat and three veggie man myself, I am always happy to try something new, after all I love my food, but for me this was pushing the boundaries and I’m no wall-flower when it calls for pushing boundaries…

 I have a wonderful mother-in-law, Clare, with whom I enjoy a very good relationship, she tells me what she thinks, pulls me into line if I need it, but loves me to bits; she’s only human after all, I guess!

Yes, I lucked out, a beautiful partner and wife, Janet, and a great mother-in-law. Many would call that Nirvana!

English: Some rose hips in close-up

But the relationship was put to the test when we were called upon to try out a new culinary offering from Clare. You see as part of a group that Clare, and her husband, Archie, belong to, The Beef, Steak, and Burgundy Club, it was her turn to produce a menu for an upcoming dinner.

Now family dinners around the Fawthrop table are always enjoyable affairs, plenty of fun and laughter, the usual offering of early childhood stories of Archie’s upbringing in Colonial India, and of Clare’s on the family’s sheep station in far Western Queensland; Outback Australia.

And Clare is a wonderful cook, very home-style just how I like it. So it was with great trepidation that I approached the first course, a rather large bowl of cold rose-hip soup.

 It’s okay if you’re feeling a little squeamish. I was at the mere thought of it.

Now being the only son-in-law present it somehow fell to me to be the taster and by the look on the faces of all those present they appeared more than happy with this arrangement.

I faced the bowl off, like a man condemned, and raised the spoon, feebly, to my lips, like it would be the last thing I would ever do…

Fair dinkum, this was the worst thing I had ever tasted in my life.

Well, there were a couple of doses of castor oil in my younger days, and by now I’m thinking this could be bottled as an alternative!

Clare, anxiously awaiting endorsement of the wonderful soup she toiled over, looked my way, expectantly.

If we were not on such great terms I could be forgiven for thinking this soup would be better named mother-in-law’s revenge.

I weighed up my options…

I could do the right thing and tell her it was fantastic, but crikey, then I would have to finish this bowl, plus another helping for sure.

I was still gagging on the first spoonful…

Or I could tell her the truth, usually a good policy, as I tell our son TomO, unless a little white lie is called for!

Self-preservation is a wonderful instinct that we mere humans are well adapted to…

“Clare, this soup is bloody terrible”

There was a pregnant pause around the table, followed by the sound of half-a-dozen spoons being quickly placed back in their bowls, soup untouched!

The look on everyone’s faces confirmed the verdict, I was safe – phew!

 So a question to you, my good friends out there…

Is there such a thing as a good, cold, rose-hip-soup, and do you have a recipe, or am I on-the-money and it really is “mother-in-law’s revenge?”