Camp cooking by the Murray @ Loveday 4x4 Adventure Park

Travel Tucker : 9 Great Camping Staples

While it’s alright to have a packet of chips and a few biscuits here and there, if you’re going on a road trip or a camping holiday, you can’t rely on junk food to keep you going. Here is a list of food staples that are cheap, healthy and easy to prepare.

 

Tinned tuna and chicken

Get your daily dose of protein from a can!  Tinned fish and meat has a long shelf life and taste great on crackers, in sandwiches and salads, and even in soups and stews.  If you’re game, try SPAM – it’s really not that bad.  We have experimented with a few recipes – Turkey Burgers, Bacon Carbonarra

 

SPAM Bacon Carbonara

 

Eggs

Eggs are little portioned nuggets of nutrients that are cheap, delicious, versatile and easy to prepare. Scramble eggs for breakfast, fry them on a BBQ for sandwiches and burgers or hard boil for snacks.

 

Breakfast in Port Campbell - featuring Dave's egg boat.

 

Peanut Butter

A great energy and nutrient dense food that is rich in monounsaturated fat, which is good for your heart, and the B vitamins help your body release energy.  It can be added to curries, spread on your flatbread with some cheese or banana, or spooned straight from the jar into the mouth for a quick and easy snack.

 

Cookie Dough - peanut butter

 

Oats

One of the most popular breakfast options for a reason – oats taste great, are easy to prepare and support a healthy heart.  Simply cook them in a billy with water or milk, or prepare Overnight Oats.

 

Yes, oats contain gluten, which may not be great for people with celiac disease, but they can be replaced by other grains like rice, quinoa or buckwheat.

 

Rice

A great source of gluten-free energy, rice is easy to prepare, goes with most things and can be stored for up to 3 days.  While white rice is quicker to cook, brown rice is the healthier option because it hasn’t been stripped of its vitamins and minerals.

 

Once the rice is cooked, you can mix it with anything you want: tuna and soy sauce, diced vegetables and chicken pieces, yoghurt and fruit, or olives, parsley and a lemon vinaigrette dressing. Or you can make some yummy rice pudding

 

Rice Fruit Slice

 

Carrots

Packed with antioxidants and fibre, carrots are a great choice for any camper.  They last for a while in the car fridge and can be added to soups and stews, grated in sandwiches and salads, or eaten on their own as a quick snack.  Increase their crispness by putting a paper towel in the bag to absorb moisture.

 

Flatbread

Instead of lugging around a loaf of spongy bread that takes up heaps of space and is easily squished, get flatbread.  It takes up minimal space and comes in a zip-lock pouch for freshness.  For the carb-conscious, try nori sheets or cabbage leaves.

 

Cloncurry

 

Apples & Oranges

Fruit is a great option for a mid morning or afternoon snack.  Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit come in a wrapper (peel) and contain vitamin C, while apples and pears will contribute to your fibre intake.  Plus, fruit tastes awesome and can be added to desserts and salads to spice things up.

 

Herbs & Spices

Add flavour to your meals with herbs and spices.  Dried herbs like thyme and rosemary are just as good as the fresh stuff and can be sprinkled on chicken or lamb chops.  Cinnamon is great with oats while cumin and paprika will add character to any meat dish, like Meat Biscuits!  If you’re not confident with mixing spices, then get pre-made blends like bush spices, Italian herbs or Moroccan seasoning.

 

Meat biscuits in a laco with sweet potato

 

So that’s our list of camping staples.  We always try to mix things up when it comes to food – sometimes we’ll get bananas instead of apples, but we find they get bruised really easily in the back of the troopy. Other times, we’ll swap rice for beans or lentils, but Dave’s not a huge fan of legumes.  What are your camping staples? Do you have any favourites to add to the list?

 

 

The Tablelands

The Tablelands – Part 1 : Ravenshoe to Mareeba

The Tablelands

 

We were absolutely thrilled when we hit the Tablelands.  The contrast in scenery from the dry, dusty outback to moist, green rolling hills was refreshing to our eyes, but also sparked nostalgia for the Victorian countryside.  Known as the ‘food bowl of the tropics’, the Tablelands has the perfect environment for dairy farming and growing crops like tropical fruit and coffee, so the gourmet food and wine trails are fantastic.  The natural beauty of the region is also undeniable and includes waterfall circuits, stunning rainforests, craters, lakes and unique wildlife.

 

The Tablelands was immediately put on our list of favourite places in Australia, and as we planned our travels, we were happy to realise that we’d be passing through the region twice!  This is our first instalment of the Tablelands, starting from Ravenshoe, and following the road north through Atherton and Mareeba.  Our next instalment will include Kuranda, Yungaburra, Malanda and Milla Milla – stay tuned.

 

Ravenshoe

It was too early in the morning for us to go exploring Ravenshoe, but we were still stoked about being in the highest town in Queensland.  This cute, little town sits at an altitude of 920m above sea level and is surrounded by World Heritage listed rainforest.  On our way out, we passed the highest pub in Queensland, and lamented that it was too early in the day for a bevy.

 

The Tablelands

 

Millstream Falls

This was our first stop from the west, and as we walked down the winding path to the falls, we sucked in the delicious forest air.  Millstream Falls is the widest single drop waterfall in the world.

 

Mount Hypipamee National Park

On the way to Atherton, we stopped in at Mount Hypipamee National Park to check out the crater of the same name, and Dinner Falls.  We were surrounded by lush foliage, bush turkeys scratching around in the undergrowth and the soothing scents of the forest.

 

The Tablelands

 

The Mount Hypipamee Crater was very deep, with a manky, green pool at the bottom.  This crater is actually a diatreme, which is a volcanic pipe that was created by a gaseous explosion.  Dinner Falls was also a treat to see, and once we got back to the Troopy, it was time for breakfast.

 

The Tablelands

 

Atherton

Atherton is a great little town that was named after a bloke called John Atherton, who settled in the area in the 1870s.  It’s the ‘capital’ of the Tablelands and the population sits at around 7000 people.  There are two major supermarkets, a few parks that are perfect for picnics, and a central visitor information centre staffed by helpful locals. There are also several attractions in and around town that are definitely worth checking out.

 

The Crystal Caves and Fascinating Facets

An award-winning tourist attraction and we could see why.  The Crystal Caves are a fantasy wonderland located right on the main street of Atherton and would make any fossil fanatic or gemstone buff squeal with delight.  Fascinating Facets is almost like a museum on its own with a fabulous display of fossils, gemstones and jewellery, and you just have to try the chocolate – YUM!

 

The Crystal Caves

 

The Peanut Place

Queensland produces 95% of Australia’s peanuts, and considering that it’s the main ingredient n peanut butter, one of Juz’s favourite things, we had to check out the Peanut Place.

 

Despite the suspiciously shaped mascot standing at the front of the store, which also happens to be the Big Peanut, we found their variety of peanut products to be very impressive – sweet nuts, savoury nuts, nut butter, nut ice cream, boiled nuts, roasted, salted, the list goes on.  They were featured on the front cover of the local newspaper for their delicious chocolate peanut butter spread, and we also sampled the peanut ice cream.  As you can imagine, nearly everything they sell has peanuts in them so anaphylactics can wait in the car.

 

The Tablelands

 

Tinaroo Lake

This man-made dam is a great place for a family picnic.  There are picnic benches, shady trees, BBQs and a big playground, and you can even hire a boat for a paddle on the lake.

 

Mareeba

Another cute town in the Tablelands, they say that Mareeba is where the rainforest meets the outback.  The area is occupied by a variety of crops, such as mangoes, sugarcane, avocadoes, exotic fruits, as well as coffee plantations. There is also a fantastic Heritage Museum at the Visitor Centre that sheds light on the local tobacco and mining industries, aboriginal culture and pioneer history, with lots of historical memorabilia on display.  Entry is by gold coin donation – and it’s well worth it.

 

The Tablelands

 

Our day was to include a visit to Coffee Works, Mount Uncle Distillery and de Brueys Wines so we prepared for the day by visiting Curcio’s Drive-Thru Bakery to break the fast with chunky curry pies, and bacon–infused sausage rolls at very reasonable prices.

 

The Tablelands

 

Coffee Works

You could easily spend the whole day at Coffee Works.  While there is a colourful gift shop and café onsite, entry to Coffee World will take you on the ultimate coffee-lovers adventure.  Not only will you have unlimited access to their variety of coffees, teas, chocolate and liqueurs, but you will discover things about coffee that you never dreamed of in the museum.  Their collection of coffee paraphernalia is biggest in the world, with many being either one of a kind, or the last one remaining in the world.  Amazing…

 

Coffee Works

 

Mount Uncle’s Distillery

For those why love a bit of spirit, you can’t go past Mount Uncle’s Distillery.  Their vodka is pristine, their gin is sublime, and regardless of whether you’re a rum gulper or a whiskey sipper, you’ll enjoy the Iridium Gold Rum.

 

Mt Uncle Distillery

 

De Brueys Boutique Wines

Usually, wine and grapes go hand in hand but not at De Brueys.  Their wines, ports and liqueurs don’t contain grapes; instead they’re made from exotic fruits like mango, lychee and bush cherry.  They even have a wine made from jaboticaba, a cauliflora fruit from Brazil.  If you like Irish Cream, then you’ll love their Temptation Range.  While we really enjoyed Envy with its delicious honeydew melon flavour, the Coffee Temptation was our clear winner and we left with a bottle.

 

The Tablelands

 

As we made our way to camp, the sun was setting over the distant hills, and we drove past the Mareeba Wetlands just in time for the sky to burst with the colours of mangoes and bananas.

 

Information & Accommodation

The Atherton Information Centre is located on the corner of Main & Silo Rd Atherton.  They are open daily from 9am to 5pm.  For more information, visit www.athertoninformationcentre.com.au

The Mareeba Heritage Museum & Tourist Information Centre is open daily from 8am to 4pm and is at 345 Byrnes Street, Mareeba.  To find out more, visit www.mareebaheritagecentre.com.au

 

Rifle Creek Rest Area

Just south of Mount Molloy is a spacious rest area.  Cold showers and toilets are provided, a small donation for the convenience is appreciated.

 

Rocky Creek Memorial Park

A few clicks north of Tolga, this war memorial park is right next door to a rest area that can get rather busy during peak season.  Phone reception and clean toilets are on offer, as well as the opportunity to give a small donation for the convenience.

 

The Tablelands

 

Stay tuned for The Tablelands – Part 2, which will include Kuranda, Yungaburra, Malanda and Millaa Millaa.

 

Cookie Dough - peanut butter

Recipe : Cookie Dough

This recipe requires one of two things – chronic elbow grease and a sturdy fork to mash and mix the ingredients together, or a food processor, electric or manual, to make light of the hard work.  Dave surprised Juz with a Kitchen King Pro on her birthday last year and this tool works wonders at chopping onions, carrots, making salsa and yummy, healthy desserts like Cookie Dough!

 

As usual, this recipe is simple, delicious, does not require any added sugar and adaptable to everyone’s tastes.

 

THE BASE

1 can chickpeas, drained

3 tbs honey, golden syrup or maple syrup.  You can use stevia if you want.

3 tbs peanut butter, smooth or crunchy

1 tsp of vanilla essence

A pinch of baking powder

 

 

Combine all the base ingredients and process until smooth like cookie dough.

 

Chickpeas are a great source of fibre and have been known to increase satiety when they’re included in your diet.  Peanut butter is a good source of protein and heart healthy fat, and is utterly delicious, while natural, unprocessed honey has a variety of health benefits, such as antibacterial and antifungal properties, phytonutrients and antioxidants

 

Now, you can eat it like this if you want, or you can put it into a pan or muffin tins and bake it.  However, you can increase the flavour sensation with these suggestions.

 

 

FLAVOUR ENHANCERS

These can be added during or after the creaming, whatever pleases you.

  • A handful of dried fruit pieces
  • Bailey’s or Kahlua – party time!
  • Choc chips – this is a great option if you plan to bake your dough
  • Cinnamon – a natural sweetener with a range of health benefits, including blood sugar control and super antioxidant powers
  • Crushed biscuit pieces
  • Crushed nut pieces
  • M&M’s
  • Overripe banana – a great way to use up squishy bananas.  This will make the mixture moister and smack you with some potassium and fibre
  • Protein powder – extra flavour and amino acids
  • Raw cacao powder – chocolate cookie dough full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals

 

Stir through and enjoy.  You can even spread it on a cracker…

 

Cookie Dough - om nom nom!