Hello Everyone! Sorry for not uploading a post on Tuesday; I did say that I would be in the Outback over the weekend! It was such an amazing trip, one I will never ever forget! The highlight for me was probably climbing Kings Canyon which was altogether probably a 3-4 hour climb/hike/walk with breaks in between. I am quite surprised that I am not aching everywhere after much climbing over the 3 days, but I do feel exhausted. The 4am wake ups were at first unbearable, but rewarded with the sight of the Milkyway covering the early morning sky. It was mesmerising. I even saw shooting stars for the very first time… While sitting on the toilet that faced out into the bush, no doors whatsoever, just sheets of tin that made three walls and a roof. Definitely an experience that no one else can say they’ve had while seeing shooting stars (unless of course my other fellow campers saw what I saw that morning as well)! I have many more stories to tell, but I will probably keep it for some other time and actually for those that do want to know more about my trip to the Red Centre.
Today’s recipe is something quite different, nothing I’ve made before and probably not something I would even attempt; because of a certain ingredient. It actually one of the things I had while camping, and that I actually helped make on our second night in the Outback. Our tour guide Dan from Wayoutback Australia (look them up if you are planning on an outback trip), briefly taught me how to make Vegemite(!) & Tasty Cheese Damper Scrolls. Ah yes, the infamous vegemite that you all either love or hate; I am probably on the latter. For those of you who don’t know, vegemite is like the Australian version of marmite, a popular spread for sandwiches, toast, crumpets, crackers, and as well as a filling for various pastries. It is salty, slightly bitter, and apparently is similar to beef bouillon.
I was honestly a bit reluctant on trying one of these, but for some reason the vegemite taste didn’t quite come through, and maybe it’s because of the lack of vegemite spread or the tasty cheese? Whichever it was, I actually quite enjoyed these damper scrolls – they were a bit rock hard though and I’m not sure why. I didn’t cook them, our tour guide Dan did over the campfire, so I’m not sure if it was the making or cooking process that made it hard. I did a bit of research and looked up a recipe for damper and it says to use butter – could it be the fact that we didn’t use butter in our damper? Dan if you see this (long shot), maybe give this recipe a go!
Damper, for those of you who don’t know is traditionally a simple Australian unleavened bread baked in an iron pot and buried in the hot coals of a campfire. During colonial times it was a staple food in the bush because the dry ingredients could be easily carried and they only needed to add water to make the damper. If you want to know more about damper, and for the original recipe, check it out at All Down Under.
Ps: I apologise for the poor quality of the photographs, they were taken using my phone as I had left my DSLR in the tent that night. I know, I could’ve gone and get it, but my hands were already dirty from making the damper.
PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | MAKES 12 SCROLLS
- 3 cups self-raising flour
- 3/4 cups water or milk
- 80g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup grated tasty cheese
- 1/2 cup vegemite
- Mix the flour, salt and sugar together into a bowl. Then rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Slowly add in the water (or milk) and mix together to form a soft dough. If your mixture is a bit too dry, add a little more liquid.
- Turn the dough over onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth then roll out the dough into a thin rectangular shape. Spread the vegemite all over the dough and top with the tasty cheese.
- Roll up the pastry tightly and cut into equal portions (I cut mine up into 16 scrolls, just enough for one each for every camper), and place them cut-side up into a greased iron pot. Make sure to leave some space between the scrolls to allow room for spreading. Place in your campfire, cover with hot ashes and coals and bake for about 30 minutes or until damper is golden and the cheese has melted. Serve.
If you don’t have a campfire handy right now, you may also bake your scrolls in the oven. Just place them on a tray lined with baking paper and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes at 190C. I will probably give this recipe another go (not sure about the vegemite part) but just to see what if we had more vegemite and if the damper was a bit lighter and softer.
– Ally xx