Lunchtime Noodles

 

Strictly speaking, these aren’t, of course, only for lunchtime; you can have them whenever you want. In fact, they’re particularly effective after a heavy night – or so I’ve been told. In fact, the recipe they’re based on is Nigella’s Drunken Noodles – not that I’m assuming that La Lawson would indulge in too many nights where she needs an appropriate cure but…now, I’m digging that hole deeper!

I like these because they’re quick and easy to whip up from ingredients that you probably have lying around from other meals, and leftovers that could be in the fridge. And, let’s face it when you’re on holiday you probably have better things to be doing with your time than faffing about with cooking a midday meal.

This recipe feeds 2 but will stretch to more if you throw in some veggies and cold meat. We had some leftover chicken from the roast chook the other night, plus snow peas and capsicum (peppers) that we’d used last night in a noodle soup. It, therefore, made a substantial lunch for 3. There’s no coriander in the version I cooked today because my 20-year-old daughter doesn’t eat coriander – that’s a subject for a whole other story – and, to be honest, with the snow peas it had plenty of green without it.

Speaking of which, Ms 20 – who doesn’t cook – has declared that she’ll be making this dish on those times when we’re away and she has to fend for herself. It can, therefore, adapt to a uni student’s attention to detail (and budget) and be made, in need, with garlic and ginger from a squeezy tube or a jar, and a squirt of lime from a bottle in the fridge.

Which reminds me – this is more of an idea than a recipe, so don’t get too hung up on the quantities and feel free to adjust the spicing to your taste.

What you need…

  • About 1/2 a packet (around 150g) dried rice noodles – like the ones you use in pad thai.
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
  • a chunk of ginger – peeled and grated (about 1/2 a thumb size)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 lime – zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (I like ordinary soy sauce, but hubby likes the colour you get from the dark soy sauce)
  • a wok or frypan and a burner

What you do with it…

  • Soak the rice noodles in hot water for about 8 minutes and then immediately refresh in cold water and allow to drain in a colander.
  • While the noodles are soaking:
  1. Grate your ginger, garlic and lime zest and set aside
  2. If you’re adding extra meat or veggies toss them about in a frypan and some oil and set aside.
  3. Have on standby something to toss your noodles with – a spoon in each hand works.
  4. Mix the oyster sauce and water together and set aside.
  • When your noodles are done, you can start cooking. Heat the oils in your wok or pan and add the ginger, garlic and lime zest. Sprinkle over the chilli flakes and stir well.
  • Tip in the drained rice noodles and mix everything together – you’ll need to work quite quickly.
  • Add the watery oyster sauce, soy sauce and about 1/2 of the lime juice (I use a whole lime because I really like the zesty hit of the lime).
  • If you’re using additional veggies and meat, add this now. If not, serve immediately.
  • Have some extra soy sauce close to hand – and additional chilli flakes or sriracha for people (like me) who want even more chilli.

Best Ever Jaffles

the spag bol jaffle

I think it’s time that we talked more about the mighty jaffle.

For hundreds of years, people have been putting fillings between two pieces of bread and putting it all in a cast iron jaffle maker and sticking it into an open fire. Ok, perhaps I made most of that up, but it could very well have been true.

The question of what to put between those two slices of bread is an enduring one – and one that needs more scientific research. Clancy started with a poll of sorts – on Facebook. Some seriously good suggestions came up. We had (amongst others):

  • The roast lamb dinner jaffle
  • The breakfast jaffle
  • The eggs bennie jaffle
  • The banana cheesecake jaffle
  • The banana and Nutella jaffle
  • The apple pie jaffle
  • The Peking duck jaffle
  • Mexican pulled pork, taco sauce and guacamole
  • The ham and pineapple pizza jaffle
  • The meat-lovers pizza jaffle
The meatlovers pizza jaffle
  • The plastic cheese and peanut butter jaffle…yes, really…apparently late at night
  • The kid’s favourite – the spaghetti bolognese jaffle
spag bol jaffle

Also:

  • A good jaffle has to be able to be eaten in one hand
  • The jaffle has to involve either leftovers or basic esky and pantry staples.
  • The jaffle shouldn’t involve the pre-cooking of any filling for the express purpose of being used in the jaffle (see the comment above about leftovers)
  • Any sort of bread or bread-like product is permitted in the jaffle
  • The jaffle can be cooked either directly on the fire or on the hot plate.

The best sort, though, are the jaffles you make on your final lunch when you have a heap of leftovers that need to be used up before you pack up. Think chicken and camembert, chicken, chorizo and cheese.

Stuffed Pumpkin

Pumpkin is one of those vegetables (yes, I know that technically it’s a fruit) that I have a love-hate relationship with.

My mother used to mash it with potato and I hated it so much I’d gag on it. ‘Oh Joanne,’ she’d say. ‘There’s no need for the dramatics.’ She still does it that way and I still gag on it. She also used to boil it. Yep, gag material as well. It’s really only at Christmas that she’d roast it – and apologise if it had little burnt bits around the edge. Coincidentally, that’s one way I do enjoy eating it: roasted with burnt caramelised bits.

I also dislike pumpkin soup – unless it’s my husbands’ version. He adds ginger and garlic and spices it up – plus he makes sure that it’s silky smooth. I can’t abide the lumps – it reminds me of boiled or mashed pumpkin and I’ll gag.

If that’s the hate part, what about the love? If it’s on the menu, I’ll choose a pumpkin and feta risotto any day. I also make a fabulous pumpkin macaroni cheese – if I do say so myself.

So I was a little concerned when Clancy announced that he was doing a whole pumpkin in the camp oven. Would it fall into the love category, or would I be gagging?

The verdict? It was the dish of the weekend. It was also, without a doubt, the most impressively theatrical dish.

What you need…

  • 1 large pumpkin – we used a jap pumpkin
  • cooked rice – about a cup or so
  • 3-4 cooked bacon rashers, chopped. You could also use some smoky chorizo for a little more paprika goodness. Fry it up and chop it up.
  • 6 spring onions, chopped – or 1 whole normal onion – white or purple…whatever you have.
  • 2-3 tomatoes chopped
  • a handful of chopped mixed herbs – whatever you have
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup chicken stock

Don’t be too precious with ingredients or quantities. This is, as all great camp recipes should be, a great use of leftovers or pantry staples. Some chilli for a kick is always a good idea…

What you do with it…

  • Place pumpkin in a foil-lined camp oven. Depending on your coals, the bottom can get really hot – so double foil it. Bake it over moderate coals (with some on the lid too) until it’s tender. This will take about an hour. The coals on the lid will help cook the pumpkin all the way through.

  • While it’s cooking, mix all of your stuffing ingredients together. This really is multi-tasking at its best.
  • Remove the pumpkin carefully from the oven and cut the top off it.
  • Scoop the seeds out from the centre, taking care not to remove any of the sweet flesh.
  • Spoon the rice mix into the pumpkin shell and return the pumpkin to the camp oven.

  • Pour the chicken stock over and replace the pumpkin lid, and then the lid of the camp oven.
  • Put it back on the coals (with some more on the lid) and cook for another 30-40 minutes until it’s beautifully tender.
  • Serve on its own (for lunch) or as a side dish…

Savoury Cake

I first tried this savoury cake when on a road trip in France during the European spring. It was served to us as with drinks before a dinner consisting of platters of meat and salads served outside under the stars. Not only was this cake perfect with both bubbles and beer, it was part of a night we’ll remember for a long time.

Aside from tasting great, this cake is a perfect way to use up leftovers – bacon from breakfast (as if there’s ever any bacon leftover from breakfast), bits and pieces of cheese, herbs, olives and other things from when you had dips, chips and nibbly bits last night, that cheek of capsicum that was left after you finished making the chilli. That sort of thing. In fact, it’s the sort of cake best left until your last night in camp – and then you can have it sliced with butter the next morning as well.

The recipe is below, but you really can put anything in it. Just remember, though, if you’re using zucchini to squeeze out the liquid in a cloth first.

We cooked it in on a trivet in the camp oven on the Oz Pig. You could, however, also cook it over coals. Remember though, for baking you need coals on the top and the bottom – just like in an oven.

What you need

  • About a cup of plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 150g unsweetened plain or Greek-style yoghurt – that’s most of a small tub
  • 3 eggs
  • Whatever vegetables you have to hand – chopped peppers, halved (or quartered) cherry tomatoes, a small handful of chopped (and stoned) olives, chopped fresh herbs.
  • Whatever cheeses you have to hand – a handful of grated cheddar, chopped blue or goats cheese.
  • Fried diced bacon, chorizo…if you have it. Otherwise, don’t bother with the meat.

What you do with it

Preheat the camp oven and generously grease a loaf tin. If you have them, sprinkle poppy seeds in – if you don’t, don’t bother.

If you’re using bacon and onion, fry these off first and set aside

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and make a well in the centre for the wet ingredients.

Drop in the eggs, yoghurt, oil and some salt and pepper and whisk to blend – but don’t overmix. If you want, whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl before stirring into the flour. Your call, but I can’t be faffed dirtying another bowl.

Gently mix in your vegetables, herbs, cheeses, bacon…whatever… and put it into your prepared loaf tin. I like to sprinkle extra cheese over the top.

Place it into your camp oven on a trivet – so raised from the bottom – and bake for around 35 mins – until well risen, golden and firm to the touch. Depending on the types of veg and quantity of cheese you’ve used, you might need to pop it in for an extra 5 minutes or so.

Let it cool in its tin on a rack and then turn out onto a board to serve. It’s best cut with a bread knife and served in small slices. Eat with whatever it is that you’re drinking.