As you will quickly learn, spending time outdoors is our absolute favourite thing to do. Anything that combines nature, adventure and travel - we are there. And surf, Jason loves surfing. We also really enjoy cooking. It’s something we have always loved, and even better – Jason is really, really good in the kitchen. His food knowledge and skills always amaze me, and every weekend he is in the kitchen rustling up something new and delicious.
One technique I have always wanted to master is cooking outdoors over an open flame; nothing beats that delicious smoky flavour a flame creates. I even love it when my clothes and hair smell smoky! The great thing about cooking over a flame, is that you can do it in your own backyard. We got our garden overhauled this year and it involved working with a landscape designer to bring our vision to life. We now have a dedicated firepit area with crushed granite and a 300kg sleeper for people to sit on. Not only did we want to enjoy a crackling fire in winter, we also wanted to use the fire pit throughout the year to cook over the open flame.
Speaking of backyards, during winter this year we flew down to visit friends at their property in Kyneton, which is in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria, Australia. It’s the most beautiful part of the world and is everything we dreamed of – quaint cafes, provincial antique shops, cows and sheep grazing in vast grassy fields, rustic vineyards and evenings spent drinking red wine by a fireplace. They have a seven-acre property with chickens, horses, a dog and a cat with views of wild rugged native eucalyptus trees. I knew this would be the perfect excuse to cook a delicious breakfast outdoors for our friends, so we’re doing to show you exactly how easy it was!
The first thing to know with cooking outdoors is not to get intimidated by fire. Believe me, I was. What I learned is that with practice, comes confidence. So, it’s important just to get out there and give it a go. Here are my tips for making a fire:
As we mentioned above, to make the fire, we used cardboard, kindling and matches. It was a little bit windy, but we eventually got it started. Once the fire was firmly established, we placed the open pan over the flame.
As the pan was warming up, we prepped breakfast. We used speck from Hardwicks, a local family run abattoir that sells direct to the public through their butcher - it’s was incredible to say the least. We also used fresh eggs from the chooks on our friend’s property, broccolini, saffron milky cup mushrooms which we bought at the Kyneton Farmer’s Markets, and fresh bread from the local bakery on Piper St in Kyneton.
As the flame started to drop and kindling embers were beaming hot, we threw a dash of oil onto the large pan and started cooking the speck, broccolini and mushrooms. The caramelisation of the speck fat char grilled the speck and the vegetables. Later on, we moved the food around, fried some eggs and sat by the fire enjoying a hearty winter breakfast in the warm morning sun. It was heaven! And so easy. The main topic of conversation was what else we would cook on the pan; the options are limitless!