Camp Oven Sticky Date Pudding – a recipe from the Trailer

We are not experts at camp oven cooking, but we just like to give it a go and see what happens.

I think it’s almost impossible  not  to cook a good camp oven roast, but… we are still trying to master our pork crackling. One disastrous attempt saw us removing the rind from the pork in an attempt to crackle it separately. Mark and Kath (The Caravan), were on their second outing in the new Expanda Van. Mark was going to cook the rind in the Baby Q, when he went searching for the gas fittings that, ahh, he hadn’t packed?!  With everyone else checking their fittings, and nothing else coming close, it was on to plan B; that is – try crisp the rind on the BBQ plate over the fire.  Campfire in site, Mark balanced the rind on the end of two knives and made the hazardous journey from van to fire. Carefully dodged awning poles, tarpaulin ropes, myriad tables and chairs (re: previous post – Camping obsessions) and with just a few mere steps left to the fire, the rind begrudging  slid off the knives and onto the ashen dirt below.  The following result of retrieving, washing and pat-drying said rind did not, needless to say, turn into the beautiful crispy rind we had all been hoping for. We do NOT recommend this method of cooking.

Camp Oven Steamed Pudding

Camp Oven Steamed Pudding

Another important factor we have learnt, is to actually work out the sizes of the camp ovens you have and what you are going to use them for. One night we were doing steamed sticky date pudding for dessert. Being a showery night we decided to boil it in a stainless steel bucket on the gas, rather than over the fire.  We then had the problem of what to use to keep the steam pudding dish off the bottom of the bucket.  After several drinks and plans, the boys decided to crush beer cans and use them as a base. Brilliant. Pudding mix prepared,  beer cans in, water on to boil, we just had to wait.  As the water reached boiling point we picked up the steam pudding dish to submerse it in our boiling water and… the pudding basin Continue reading


Camping Crumpets Recipe

Home/camp made crumpets with fig and honey, yum!

Home/camp made crumpets with fig and honey, yum!

There are some foods that you can’t imagine being anything other than store bought. I know nobody who makes their own filo pastry.  And who has ever whipped up a batch of sponge finger biscuits only to dowse them in espresso and stick them in a tiramisu?  And crumpets. Surely they only come straight out of the Tip Top Bakery.

So imagine my surprise to find that you can make your own crumpets, and can do so camping?  Now, really, I have to thank Ben O’Donaghue for this epiphany.  I was doing a bit of channel surfing and came across an episode of his program Drive Thru Australia, my interest being piqued because the episode was set in our local stomping ground, the Sunshine Coast.

Camp cooking


In particular, he paid a visit to the Buderim Ginger Factory at Yandina and toured through the factory.  Now that he can have all to himself:  I guess this is why I will never be a very good food blogger, because I am not the biggest fan of ginger.  I like a bit of ground ginger in a spice cake, and if it’s really cold don’t mind a nip of Stone’s Green Ginger wine, but in the main my palate and ginger just don’t agree.  Maybe it comes back to that very first time I had sushi.  It was on a flight to Japan and I eagerly scoffed what I thought was a little piece of smoked salmon – a mistake this little black duck has made only once!

So watching Ben standing next to steaming vats of pre-crystalised ginger almost made my stomach churn.  Luckily, he got out of there pretty quick-smart and having picked up a couple of ginger products, parked his van outside a national park and proceeded to whip up a batch of crumpets right out there in the open.   With my newly acquired knowledge that crumpets don’t have to come out of a packet, I resolved I would have to try these for myself.

That required taking the caravan on a little trip.  Of course I could have made the things in my own kitchen, but when you’re trying to be a smarty pants, there’s no better place to do it than in a caravan park or camping ground with the potential for passing pedestrian traffic to marvel over your culinary expertise, or call for the fire brigade if everything goes awry.

To get the recipe, I went to the Heatbeads website, Heatbeads being the sponsor of Drive Thru Australia.  The recipe was posted there, and I was able to re-watch the segment from the program.  I noticed that there were a couple of discrepancies between the printed recipe and what Ben used in the video, particularly in relation to the amount of sugar.  The recipe cited only a teaspoon, but the video said about a tablespoon.  So I did a bit of googling for other crumpet recipes (yes there were heaps.  Apparently people have been making their own crumpets for years, and haven’t even been too secretive about it) and came up with 2 teaspoons as a happy compromise.

So here’s my recipe for Camping Crumpets – with a nod to Ben O’Donaghue.

Camping Crumpets


2 cups plain flour

1 sachet (7g) dried yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

200ml milk at room temperature (Ben used full cream; I used low fat and the crumpets still turned out well)

200ml soda water at room temperature (Cascade produces soda water in 200ml cans)

½ teaspoon bi carb of soda

1 teaspoon of salt

Spray oil

A lovely butter, like Lurpak

A jam or conserve of choice


Place flour, yeast and sugar into a bowl and give it a stir to mix. Make a well in the centre and add the milk. Stir until combined.  Add the soda water and stir vigorously until smooth.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warmish place until the mixture double in size and has lots of air bubbles (60 – 90 minutes).  Take the opportunity to go for a stroll along a river, cast a few lines or take a short bush walk. (See why this is a great recipe for camping?)

Having worked up an appetite,  return to the mix and add the bi carb and salt to the mixture and stir to combine.

Heat a barbeque plate or gas cooker to a medium heat.  You don’t want the crumpets to cook too quickly.  Spray the plate or frying pan as well as four egg rings.  Add a couple of dessert spoons of the crumpet mix to each ring.  Don’t overfill them because the mixture will rise.  Cook for about six minutes until the crumpets have risen and there are lots of holes in them.  Flip them over and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Serve warm with butter and jam. Yummy.

camp crumpets

Air bubbles forming in the proving dough

You should get 12-13 crumpets out of this recipe using standard egg rings.  If you are lucky enough to actually own crumpet rings, you will get fewer, but bigger crumpets.

Now these crumpets don’t look exactly the same as the store bought ones, nor do they taste the same – they are so much better! I can’t imagine eating a store bought one again!

I thought the crumpets balanced beautifully with the sweetness of the jam, but if you find the dough a little salty you can adjust the sugar.  Remember, the video version used “about a tablespoon”.

And here’s the added bonus.  There were only three of us for breakfast, so we had a few crumpets left over.  For breakfast the next day, I cut them down the centre, dipped them in an egg and milk mix and made French Toast.  Doused in maple syrup and served with bacon, they made for a delicious heart attack on a plate, but as a sometimes/camping treat, go wild!

One special note to myself:  when you are on a powered site and have a microwave, there is no need to set an alarm for 5:00 am to pour a glass of milk to leave out to get to room temperature.  Definitely one of those “Duh!” moments.

And if you want to watch Ben O’Donaghue do it, here’s the link. http://www.heatbeads.com.au/recipe/ben-odonoghues-homemade-crumpets/


Kath (The Caravan)


Camp-Oven Blueberry and Apple Cake

They say anything you cook at home you can replicate in a campsite?  We test this theory each time we go camping by trying something slightly challenging. Of course anything you cook on the stove top is easy, we prefer the adventure of pushing our camp-ovens to new boundaries.  On a recent trip we made this delicious Apple and Blueberry cake.

Campoven cooking

Apple and Blueberry goodness.

Apple and Blueberry Cake


1 ½ cups self raising flour, sifted

¾ cup caster sugar

125 g softened butter

½ cup milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

l large tin of canned apple slices  (I think they’re about 750gms)

1 punnet of fresh blueberries (canned if more convenient, well drained)

Cinnamon Topping

1 tablespoon caster sugar *

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon *

* I used ready mixed cinnamon sugar, 2-3 teaspoons. (Much easier when camping.)

  1. Place flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla essence in a bowl and beat until ingredients are combined and the mixture is smooth.
  2. Spoon half the mixture into a greased and lined 20 cm round cake tin. Top with half the apple slices and half the blueberries, then remaining batter. Arrange remaining apple and blueberries over the batter.
  3. To make the topping, combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the cake. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. Stand cake in tin for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
Camping recipie

Straight out of the camp-oven. Do we really have to wait for it to cool?


As you would in a normal kitchen environment you must preheat your camp-oven in your coals so it is lovely and hot. Place a trivet in the bottom of the camp-oven. When your oven has come to heat (a little bit of guess work here) place the cake (in its cake tin) into the oven on top of the trivet.  Load a pile of coals on top of the oven and sit back with an afternoon beverage… and maybe a cheese plate?

Check your cake after fourty minutes by testing with a skewer. The skewer should be starting to get a little dry by now, so if the mix is still really wet you need to check the coals under the oven and refresh them. Take this opportunity to see what’s happening to the top of your cake. If it’s still looking a little wet, or it’s not starting to brown on the outside edges you should add a fresh batch of coals to the top of your oven.  Pile it up nice and high and check it again in fifteen to twenty minutes. When the skewer comes out clean your cake is cooked. I always think that when you get that really intense, waft of cake smell flying through the air you know your cake is done or its really close.

Camp cooking

This is the concept for the alfoil handles. It works well if you have no other suitable tools.

Now the tricky part. “How on earth do I get this tin out of that oven”?  Well, you might be lucky like I was and just manage to slip your HEAVILY gloved hand down the side and pull it out. It is suggested though that being organised is probably a better option. Pull off a strip of alfoil long enough to go under the cake tray and up the sides high enough for it to act as a handle.  Tear/cut the alfoil into two long strips.  Fold each strip over and over (length ways) to give a little bit of strength to the foil.  Place the two bits of foil under the cake tin a cross pattern before placing your cake into the oven.

Let your cake rest in the tin for ten minutes before turning it out.  I like the convenience of custard when camping but if you have a freezer on board I think it would be mighty fine with some ice-cream too

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Triff – The Trailer