14 April 2005
Find out about how people cook when they're camping.
What is it about the taste of freshly cooked food being
in the open air? For one thing thearomas are tantalising, and it's no surprise that lifting the heavy cast iron lid from this
full of steamingcurried lamb shanks elicits gasps of approval from the assembled gallery.
MARION DARGUSCH, CAMP OVEN COOKING JUDGE:
You have meat cooked in a camp oven and you have it in just an
ordinary conventional oven
, there's a big difference in taste.
VALENTINE HARRIS, FESTIVAL CHAIR:
1999 we had our first festival with three cooking teams and that
was a realball
. We were
going quite blind
, we didn't know what we were doing but we had a lot of fun.
The Australian Camp Oven Festival, the largest of its kind in the country, provides a
for competitive outdoor cooking, and teams have descended on the Millmerran showgrounds onQueensland's Darling Downs from all over Queensland and New South Wales, not only to compete, but to display theirskills and techniques to the general public who are here in their thousands.
A lot of people who tour around caravanning, most of them if they're the bushie type of personwho goes off the bitumen track will have a camp oven in their belongings and will enjoy using it on a river bank on abush track.
Back in camp oven alley, the evening meal is starting to take shape.
GRAHAM BERRY, CAMP OVEN COOKING JUDGE:
I believe there's any type of dish can be cooked successfully ina camp oven. It just takes a bit of experience; do the right thing. And they're amazing things, they are ovens, same aswhat an oven is in a stove. You've just got to keep your heat right. It's surprising what can be done and the taste canbe phenomenal.
JAN WALLER, 2002 TITLE HOLDERS:
Yeah we work as a team I do the mixing Bruce does the cooking and we dolots at home too.
2002 titleholders, Jan and Bruce Waller from the Goondiwindi district have returned to defendtheir crown with Ross and Jamie Middleton also from Goondiwindi.Today each team has to prepare a
's evening meal including
, and points areawarded for authentic table presentation.The overall weekend winner was the South Burnett team from Boondooma Homestead. The two couples combined totop the points tally including the Christmas lunch prepared on Sunday.As for this Saturday night Drover's Dinner though, the combination of the Wallers and the Middletons
that sectionwith their stew entree, their roast beef, and their rice pudding. Not only
did they win
, but they
down to enjoy
thefruits of their labour
after the judges departed. This festival is
Jan and Bruce's
last they're retiring from competition,but in two year's when the festival runs again, there'll no doubt be another strong field of camp oven warriors vying forthe trophies and cash, not to mention the sheer enjoyment of smoky, hot dusty al fresco camp oven cooking.