How To: Open-Fire Cooking


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.


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.


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.


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.




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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How To: Indonesian Satay Sauce


On our recent trip to Indonesia, we ate a LOT of satay.  It is the most wonderful nutty flavour, fresh with a little kick.  And so versatile,  it can be used to make Gado Gado, or used with chicken or beef and served with rice.  This recipe was constructed from ingredients given to me by our wonderful driver, Wyen,  while in Indonesia.  He gave us this recipe while sitting eating Nasi Goreng and sipping on coconut juice in a rural outdoor restaurant, set in the midst of green fields with rice growing.  Brown sugar has been used instead of the traditional palm sugar, because that it was what in the pantry.  Feel free to use palm sugar but please make sure it is ethically sourced.


2 cups fresh raw peanuts

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbs brown sugar

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

2 Tbs Kecap Manis

2 Tbs Soya Sauce

1 cup water



1. Add all of the ingredients to your high speed blender.  Blend ingredients for about a minute on an average speed.  If you leave it for longer, all of the peanuts will become smooth.

2. Scoop out the sauce into a small bowl to serve.  This sauce also stores well in an airtight container.  It will keep for up to a month in the fridge.


3. Use this simple method to make beef satay.  Cut your beef into small cubes and place five or six of them onto a wooden skewer.  Marinate the skewers in the satay sauce and then cook on a bbq.  Serve the satay sauce with it as a dipping sauce.


How To: Cherry Sago with Coconut Milk & Cinnamon

This is the perfect combination: Cherries and sago. The sourness of the cherries is balanced with a little sugar and the crunch of the cherries balances the smooth, sago balls.

Sago is a starch without much nutrition, so the cherries add a lot of goodness to it!


Recipe for Cherry Sago


60 grams sago

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup water

30 grams sugar

2 tablespoons agave nectar

1 stick cinnamon

350g cherries

1.Simmer the sago in a saucepan with sugar, coconut milk, water and cinammon, stirring until the sago is transparent.
2.Add the cherries (you can leave the pips in them for this recipe but be sure that you tell the people eating it and take them out for small children and elderly people) stir well, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the cherries are tender and the juice is pink.
3.Remove the cinnamon and leave the sago to cool.
4.When it is cool, serve it in little bowls and garnish with cherries, or even pistachio nuts (yes, I love them!)

*If you don’t have agave nectar, you can add another 20grams sugar.