Penny's Ultimate cooking tips

5 Jan 2018

Top of Down Under presenter Penny Wells share her tips for creating great food out on the track.

There’s not many travellers out there that would disagree that you can’t beat that heavenly smell of a roast wafting out of the camp oven. It’s one of camping’s little joys to knock up a delectable meal that has everyone in the campsite’s mouth watering by the time it’s ready to eat.

I find the old cast iron camp oven very versatile and you don’t have to be too precious when you pack it away, it can take a beating on those bumpy 4WD tracks! My signature dish in the camp oven is a red curry, depending on how cold the climate is to how many chilli flakes I add. A great recipe to warm you up.

I’m a huge devotee to pre-cooking meals for my trips away. It equates to less jars and sauces to pack into your Ultimate off-road camper trailer and after a big day on the road usually the last thing you feel like is cooking dinner.

Before we leave for a trip I will generally do a “cook off” day and invite the other travellers in our group to join me. Using the spreadsheet to determine how many pre-cooked meals I will need to prepare we will spend the whole day cooking main meals, sharing recipes and vacuum packing the finished product. Don’t forget to use a permanent pen to write on the bags to identify what you are eating! Then use the spreadsheet as a guide to pack your fridge otherwise you could end up with a layer of spaghetti bolognaise that could take five days to eat through before you find a different sort of meal in the next layer!

I have spent many hours scouring the internet for recipes suitable to freeze and to save others time. I’ve recently started to create an online cook book specifically for pre-cooked meals for camping. Using a vacuum seal machine means the food packs down well in your fridge saving space. It’s a fairly simple concept to re-heat the meal by placing the vac bags into a saucepan or frying pan of water. Bring it to the boil then simmer to the desired heat.

If you’re like me and hate washing up, use paper plates to create a wash-free meal. Simply cut open the vac bag and pour onto a paper plate. Job done!

If you have had a successful day out fishing and have brought back a handful of fillets to camp, you now have the primary ingredient for a magnificent yellow curry. I usually use Flathead in this recipe but any type of fish will work just as well.

Camp cooking can be extremely satisfying whether it’s dishing up a pre-cooked meal or one straight out of the coals from the camp oven. If you have any great recipes or suggestions for camp cooking I’d love to hear them!

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