How To: Open-Fire Cooking

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We love open-fire cooking.   In Australia, due to the many months of hot, dry weather, we have fire bans for much of the year.  We took advantage of the cooler weather to make an open-fire meal.  Cooking on an open fire is so much fun and it just tastes so much better.  Camp cooking is the best, but even a small fire at home is so much fun for family and friends.

Here’s a few great recipes and tips…

1. Make sure that you are allowed to light a fire where you light it and that it is safe.

2. Light a fire using kindling (small sticks) or with fire starters and then add bigger pieces of wood, newspaper or heat beads.  A helpful tip is to make sure that you buy heat beads that are easy to light or you could be there for a long time just trying to get the fire going.

3. To cook the food all you really need is some sort of  a grill or grate to put over the fire.

4. Use foil to wrap the food.  Fish is great when cooked in foil, with olive oil and butter.  To steam vegetables, just wrap them in foil with any spices you like and add a half cup of water before you seal it.  To cook potatoes, just wrap them in foil.

5. Stay close to the fire at all times and make sure that it is completely out before you leave the area.

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Recipes for an open-fire cooked meal

Fish:  Buy (or catch) a fish from the fishmonger.  Ask you fishmonger to gut the fish.  Fresh fish need very little done to them to make them taste delicious and melt in the mouth.  Just slice a lemon and push them inside the fish, coat the fish with a small amount of olive oil and some coarse sea salt and then wrap it in foil.  Place the foil on the grate.  Fish cook very quickly and it will probably only take 20 minutes to cook.  For this cookout we used a pan-fry Snapper.  This works well because it is not too crumbly and is very sweet to taste.

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Corn:  Take a corn in its husk.  Open some of the husks and pour a small amount of water into it.  Place fresh corn, still in the husk, directly onto the grill.  These need to be turned a few times and take about the same time as the fish to cook.  Cooked corn can be smothered in butter before it is eaten.

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Sweet Potato:  This takes the longest to cook and can be started an hour before the rest.  Or if you are close to home you can cheat and put the potato, with the skin on into the microwave for a few minutes on high and then wrap it in foil and put it straight onto the grill to cook.  Once cooked, open the potato, melt butter in the middle and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cabbage:  Chop half of a purple cabbage into small strips.  Place the cabbage onto a piece of foil.  Fold the edges up slightly then coat the cabbage in Balsamic vinegar and add a dessertspoon of sugar.  Add a little extra water if you wish.  Seal the foil leaving a little space at the top for the steam to build.  This will take about half an hour to cook on an open flame.

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When everything is cooked, just open the foil packages and serve.  It is so easy and taste is fresh and a little smoky and  ….. just better.

Other food that goes well in an open fire:

  • Mushrooms, put some butter and herbs with them, sprinkle with a little sea salt and wrap in foil.
  • Bok Choy or other greens.  Wrap them in the foil with water and some soy sauce.
  • Onions, chop them into rings and put some butter or oil in with them.  Wrap them in the foil.
  • Onions, tomatoes and sausages.  Dice the onions and tomatoes and chop the sausages into small chunks.  Add some butter and some sweet chilli sauce and wrap in foil.
  • Carrots.  Par-boil them then add honey, butter and a little water to them.

cookout11After your meal, place some marshmallows onto a stick and cook them in the flame, until their outsides are browned and the insides are sticky and gooey.  And very yummy.

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