August 6, 2012

Family Cooking: It Doesn’t Matter if You Burn it.

One project I have on my ‘things to do more of' list is cooking together as a family.  I think working together as a family to prepare food teaches practical cooking skills, encourages my sons to try new foods and helps them to appreciate the effort that goes into feeding them day in and day out.  And if that isn’t enough it is fun to all get together to make and then eat the food.

This is all well and good, but I’m not actually a very good cook.  I’m a strict recipe-follower, needing a plan for almost all dishes.  And if you put me in a pressure cooking situation – like, a dinner party – it all falls apart.  Masterchef is not in my future.   Luckily, my husband is a knowledgeable, inventive, ‘try anything’ cook, so we make a good combination when cooking.  He can fix all my disasters!

This weekend we were planning to go camping.  But for various reasons that fell through.  Instead my husband decided to light a campfire in our backyard.

photo 1
[Did I mention that as well as being a great cook, my husband is also a recycling master?  Do you like our homemade fire pit?]

It was a wonderful idea and the boys were busy and happily entertained collecting sticks for the fire for a lot of the afternoon.  Then, we used our camp oven to cook damper on the fire.  Damper is a bread cooked on a campfire, traditionally it was made by Australian stockmen.

The recipe we used:
3 cups self-raising flour
a big pinch of salt
1 cup water
3 tbsp butter
Rub the butter into the flour/salt mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Make a well and add water.  Combine to create a dough.  Form into a ball and place in the camp oven.
photo 2

We cooked it for 30 mins.  Uh Oh!

photo 3

As you can see that was a bit long – inside the damper was perfect, but the outside – yuk.  That must be the perfect food for a bad cook.

And eat with honey or butter.  I can remember making damper on a stick as a kid and putting honey into the hole left when you pull out the stick. That might be something to try for next time.

I don’t think the boys have had damper before, but they loved it and asked to make it again the next night – and we did!

Next time, you’re feeling adventurous and looking for some family fun, I recommend getting together in the kitchen and cooking up a storm.  It doesn’t matter if you burn it!

Do you like to cook together as a family?  What is your favourite dish to cook?

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