the traditional australian campfire damper

Damper in ‘old Ada’ was a blog post waiting to happen.

Very good friends of ours, the Flemings, have a holiday house at old Adaminaby and we’ve been coming here since before the girls were born. Originally staying in ‘Camelot’, the Clarke’s house down on the lake and now in ‘Clancy Cottage’, affectionally renamed, ‘The Overflow’ (for those of you familiar with Banjo Patterson), bought to house the extra family members and hangers-on come holiday time.

Coming to old Ada feels like you’ve stepped back in time. A visitors guest book awaits any lucky enough to stay here, rules of the ‘tech bench’ must be obeyed and the telly is always switched off, with the exception being that the Wallabies are playing.

A typical day starts with a pot of tea and some bacon and eggs followed by a trip to town for a coffee and a glimpse of the big trout. A pie at the Adaminaby bakery is a must, made better washed down with a beer at the Snow Goose.

After an afternoon snooze we head down to the lake where the little ones get to work, busily collecting sticks for the all important campfire. Not only does it provide some much needed warmth once the sun starts to set, it’s the source of heat that burns our snags, cooks the damper and boils the billy. A line is thrown in and we’re always hopeful that we might be having some fresh trout for tea.

Home for a tub and a generous bowl of Adaminaby pasta (creamy bacon spaghetti), the red wine goes down well listening to Justy’s favourite, Slim Dusty. The fresh alpine air does wonders for the hangover the next morning and the drive home is made easier by the promise of a speedy return.

Growing up with Dad making damper, I believe that everyone in their lifetime should try some whilst sitting round a campfire, at least once. There really is nothing so satisfying or relaxing. Whether that be on the banks of Lake Eucumbene or in your backyard, if you’ve never made it yourself, give it a try.

So thank you again for having us stay and sharing your much loved, special place with us. We can’t wait to get back to ‘the old town’ and look forward to many more trips to come. We’ll enjoy afternoons down by the lake, listening to tunes, picking up sticks, eating more damper, and who knows – one day – we might even catch a fish!

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campfire damper

3 x coffee mugs of self raising flour
1 x teaspoon of salt
100 grams of butter
1 x coffee mug of water

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and salt and mix together using your hands.
  • Add the butter and continue to mix until all of the butter is incorporated and the texture is that of breadcrumbs.
  • Gradually, pour in the water and continue to combine together, still in the mixing bowl, using your hands until you have a nice pliable dough. (You can add a little more water if the dough is too dry or a little more flour if too wet).
  • Using a knife, divide the dough in to 8 and roll in to evenly sized balls.
  • Place the balls of dough gently touching each other in to a camp oven (that you’ve greased with some butter) and cook for approximately 40 minutes on the campfire*. (You can tell if the damper is cooked because the top with be nicely browned and when poked with a knife – it will come out clean).
  • Serve straight away with a generous amount of butter and jam, or with some cream as well for a real special treat.

Lo’s tips

  • *You need to make sure that you’re not placing the camp oven into the hottest part of the fire. You want to cook it on the coals and not on top of direct flames (so that it doesn’t burn). Make sure you keep an eye on it to make sure that you don’t overcook it.
  • You don’t need to rest the dough for this recipe but it does help if you’ve combined the dough really well.

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If you make this damper, please comment below. xx

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