Last weekend was the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend, a staple holiday in Australia’s calendar. I managed to wangle an extra day off from work, so we hired a camper trailer from Campezy and headed out to Rover Park near Tenterfield for the Battle of the States 2015. For those of you who don’t know what this is, let me paint a picture for you. Remember that scene in the first Fast and Furious film where they are having that giant party/race meet in the desert? It was just like that except with 4WDs! It allowed me to combine my three greatest loves: cooking outdoors, 4WDing, and camping!
Rover Park is simply awesome: the property is huge with loads of 4WD tracks of differing degrees of difficulty, and many different types of terrains for you to try. It has a petting zoo and playground for the kids, a separate series of dirt bike tracks for people who have all the toys, it is dog friendly, and most excitingly, you can have open fires for which they’ll give you free firewood!
For this reason, I packed my trusty camp oven and my copy of Pat Callinan’s Recipes from the Road and made sure the esky was stocked with everything I’d need to cook up a storm in an open fire.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get many good pictures to share with you: it was too dark for me to be able to get anything decent and it was too cold to spend too much time worrying about it. Rover Park sits at the top of the Great Dividing Range and June is Winter time in Australia: it was supposed to be -2 degrees Celsius at night but I think it was probably closer to -5. Being from the Gold Coast, this was quite a shock: we complain if the temperatures drop into the teens!
However I was able to cook up some Shearer’s Bacon and Corn Cob stew, Beef Goulash, and Red Lamb Curry. I even managed to cook up a Peach Cobbler for dessert one night! All of these recipes came straight from the Pat Callinan book and they were all spot on: so simple and delicious and exactly what we needed on those bitterly cold nights. It’s just a pity I couldn’t get any great shots… here’s the best ones… Even so, my camp oven is now one of my favourite ways to cook!
Fortunately I was able to get some great action shots of the various competitions so I’ll leave you with them.