Friday, 30 January 2015

Perfect Roast Pork

Roast pork is one of my all time favourites. But it has to have the crackling!! We have done it a few times in the camp oven before with mixed results of how the crackling turned out. Normally you can get the skin to crackle right on top near the lid of the oven but the sides don't always work. So I thought I would bring out the big guns & show you how to ensure you get a fantastic crackle. Isn't this a thing of beauty??

Perfect Roast Pork

- a 2kg piece of pork with the skin on
- salt
- canola oil
- boiling water
- veggies of your choice to serve with it, we had potato, pumpkin, carrot, onion & garlic
- gravy or apple sauce to finish it off 

- start your fire early. You need lots of coals & heat. 
- dig a hole for your camp oven to sit in while cooking, this really helps to regulate the heat especially if it is windy. 
- start a smaller fire in the camp oven hole to preheat it. 

- place a billy of water over your main fire & bring to the boil, you need about a litre. 
- once you have got enough coals to cook, preheat your camp oven over the fire for 5-10mins, you want it really hot. 

- meanwhile make sure you have taken your piece of meat out of the fridge at least 30-45 mins to bring it closer to room temperature & so you don't lose valuable heat from the camp oven when you put it in.  

- remove the plastic bag from the meat & pat dry with paper towel. 
- you will need to score the skin with a sharp knife if your butcher hasn't already done so. 
- place the meat on a trivet over a sink or bucket. 

- pour the boiling water straight over the top of the piece of meat, all over the skin. 

- carefully put the meat back on your cutting board & pat dry again. 

- rub the meat all over with a little oil.
- then sprinkle over a generous amount of salt & rub in. 
- once your camp oven is preheated, place the meat on a trivet & close the lid. 

- put 2 shovels of coals in the bottom of your camp oven hole. 
- place the camp oven on the coals & put 2 shovels of coals on top as well. 
- the first 20 minutes is crucial to get that crackling going. You want it really hot. 
- check after 20 minutes. Your crackling should be well on the way to being crunchy, if not add more coals to the lid. If it has crackled then leave to cook for about an hour. 
- check after an hour & add the veggies if it's all going well. Add more coals on the bottom or top if necessary. If it all looks okay leave the heat as it is, as you will only cook the meat for another 20mins. 

- check the meat with a skewer & if cooked remove from oven to rest, covered loosely with some foil, not to tight or you will ruin your hard earned crackling. I bet you can't resist trying a bit of that crackling!

- add more coals to the top of the camp oven to finish off the veggies & cook for a further 20 mins or so. 
- slice up that beautiful pork, EVENLY share out the crackling & serve with your veggies. 

- some gravy or Apple sauce seals the deal. 

I think the photos speak for how spectacular this turned out. YUM. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


We left our camp on the Murray at Nyah Vinifera Park & headed south to Swan Hill. Swan Hill looks like another very nice town on the Murray River, but after getting our photo with the big Murray Cod we decided to venture on towards Echuca.

Wow another great town & God it was busy. We saw there was a free camp just out of town in our Camps Australia Wide book. We decided to check it out. As we drove in it looked like there were a fair few permanent camps which isn't ever really a good sign, but we managed to find a quiet spot on the banks of the Murray again. Seems to be getting a habit, but who can resist such awesome free camps. We set up in record time & went back into town to explore. It was even busier, we drove around for 10 minutes just to get a park crazy! Echuca has a great mix of all the essential big shops but heaps of smaller touristy places as well. We wandered the Main Street & found ourselves at a pub for lunch. Surprise surprise. We then headed back out to camp  to watch all the water skiers go back & forwards in front of camp. 

The next day we stayed at camp & fished, cooked, read, relaxed & took photos of the birds around camp. It was a very quiet Sunday. 

On the Monday morning we decided to test our winch as we are making our way towards the high country & guess what it didn't work properly. It had been having issues with the controllers, but this time it would not winch the cable back in, great, time to look for a replacement. We headed back into town to talk to the various 4WD shops, but with not much luck in that they couldn't fit one until at least Thursday. Echuca is a nice spot but we didnt want to wait around that long. We called a few other shops in nearby big towns & ended up booking it in at Shepparton on Friday, so we would be able to move camp closer. Then we finished having a proper look around town without the crowds, although it was still busy. We did our grocery shopping, had a good look in the main street & ventured into many of the great little shops including a fantastic book shop, lolly shop, chocolate shop, cheese shop, camping shops, the list goes on. We then grabbed some drinking water at the information centre & decided we may as well head into NSW as we were this close & crossed the bridge over the Murray into Moama, we did only get fuel & come back, but it did make us feel a bit closer to home ha ha, we then headed back to camp. The next day we packed up & moved again, can you guess which river we ended up camped on next? Stay tuned to find out!! Oh by the way the weather has been fantastic!!! Loving it!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Tuna cakes

This is a great recipe to use up leftover mashed potato. These were really tasty. Putting the grated Parmesan in the bread crumb mix makes them go delicious & crunchy when cooked. Great for lunch or a light dinner. The ingredients photo only has 1 egg but I found I needed another when it came time to form the mixture. Pretty simple with minimal ingredients makes them a great camping option. Kids would like these ones too. 

Tuna Cakes

- 2 cups of mashed potato
- 2,185gram tins of tuna
- 1/4 of a red onion finely diced (spring onion would be great as well)
- 3/4 of a cup of frozen peas & corn
- 2 eggs
- salt & pepper
- 2 cups of multigrain breadcrumbs (normal are fine as well)
- 2 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese 
- canola oil for frying
- sweet chilli sauce to serve

- in a bowl combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese & some salt & pepper & set aside

- in another bowl combine the potato, drained tuna, peas & corn, onion, eggs & some salt & pepper

- mix until thoroughly combined

- wet your hands & shape mixture into patties

- once all patties are made, place them in the bowl with the breadcrumb mixture & coat them all over. 

- heat your pan over a medium heat & add enough oil to coat the bottom on the pan. 

- fry your patties in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan. 

- Turn them about. 4 times making sure they don't burn. 

- You want to get them crunchy on the outside & warm in the middle. 

- remove from pan & drain on paper towel. 
- serve with your favourite dipping sauce. We did sweet chilli sauce but mayo would be good as well. 

These can be served as they are or made  into a complete meal with some more veggies or salad. You could also make them smaller sized & put them in a wrap with some salad. Yum. 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Murray River - Nyah Vinifera Park - north of Swan Hill

To escape the rainy weather around the Coorong, we decided to leave the coast again & head inland back towards the Murray River but this time in Victoria. We are making our way slowly towards the high country, so decided to have a bigger day in the car & get closer. Using the Camps Australia Wide book we started looking for a camp around Nyah about 30km north of Swan Hill. We had a look at the one in town behind the sports fields, it was okay but more suited to an overnight stop. We headed further south out of town onto Takasuka Rd that took us back onto the Murray River. There are heaps of great spots along here, there where quite a few camps already there, but we managed to find a nice spot. It was close to the road (just the track to the campsites) but it had an open flat area without to many overhanging tree branches. Good for the solar panels & also for safety from falling tree branches.

We could also have a campfire, yeah, it has been a long time. By the time we set up it was getting later in the afternoon. We had our leftover savoury mince from the night before so we just had to heat it up, easy! 

The next day we just stayed at camp. Mat went for a fish but with no luck, the water was really flowing due to the recent rain. It was a lovely relaxing day, we even saw some rainbow bee eaters again. We could of stayed longer but decided there was lots to see before we need to start heading home, so we should get going, so the next day we headed towards Echuca. More on that soon.

Map courtesy of HEMA maps

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Coorong

We left Bordertown after hiding away from the rain, but unfortunately it followed us down towards the coast. We headed down to Kingston first & stopped at the bakery to grab a loaf of bread. The wind was blowing furiously so the light rain was coming in sideways & it was freezing, which of course meant we needed a sausage roll as well to warm up. We headed north along the coast, we planned to camp in the national park. We ventured into one of the camps just south of Salt Creek, it was a great camping area, but the whole area was under water from the rain. It had a picnic shelter that we tried to hide under while we discussed if we should stay, but even it was completely drenched & the rain was still coming in. We decided to try elsewhere. We kept going North & looked at a few other national park camps. All good camps but they were either flooded or so shaded by trees that our solar panels wouldn't work, although the weather wasn't going to help with that either. One of the camps was right on the waters of the Coorong, but the wind was so strong it was covered in white capped waves, not good. 

Our first view of the Coorong

In the end we made the call to go up to Meningie to the caravan park. Not what we wanted but the weather was just terrible. Turns out the caravan park was right on Lake Albert, it was also getting pummelled by the wind. We had to run into the reception office through the rain & by the time we found our site it was still pouring. We unhooked the trailer without setting up & went down the street to find some lunch. Meningie is a really nice little town. We ended up having lunch at the old cheese factory cafe & Mat had some local Coorong Mullet. After lunch the rain stopped so we rushed back to camp to get everything set up before it started again. Just as we finished it started raining again, this time with even more wind. A hot shower was in order & we then spent the afternoon hiding in the tent out of the weather. By dinner time not much had changed, so we thought stuff it, we will just go to the pub for dinner. The restaurant at the pub was supposed to do lots of Coorong mullet dishes, but when we arrived we were told they had no mullet that night. We felt a bit ripped off, but had an okay meal there, but not as good as the reviews on TripAdvisor stated. Just our luck. Back to camp to bed, wishing for some better weather the next day. 

The weather gods sort of answered & it wasnt raining, but still very overcast & windy. Well it wasn't going to stop us, so we set off to explore. We made our way up towards Tailem Bend but turned off into Narrung where we had to get the ferry across Lake Alexandria. On the other side of the ferry we found what we think is one of the best free camps in Australia. It is right on the water, covered in beautiful lawn grass, has a new set of toilets being built (they look almost done, the old ones are okay as well), bins & even a water tap. We can imagine how fantastic it would be in good weather. If you are in the area definitely check it out. 

Free camp at Narrung ferry

Lighthouse on Lake Alexandrina

All of the roads in the area skim the edges of the lakes, & it's quite hilly in places & with the farming country, you get some wonderful views. 

Looking over Lake Alexandrina

We then continued around the dirt tracks to Mark Point where we saw some professional mullet fisherman coming in with their catch, only to be intercepted by fishery officers who seemed to find a lot of undersized fish in their catch. 
Mark Point above & below

We then went up to Pelican Point & this is as far as the road goes. 
Pelican Point

There is no through road for the public to Goolwa on the other side but there is a road across, it looked like there were water barrages further up the road. The bird life was amazing with hundreds of Pelicans, black swans & others we have never seen before. We then came down the other side of Lake Albert & back to Meningie.

At one of the parks & wildlife camps above & below

 It was a good day out & if the weather was better you could definitely spend a week exploring the area further & fishing. They also do boat trips on the Coorong that sounded fantastic but the weather was to rough on our visit. 

Back to camp & we managed to get a few hours of sunshine, well a bit of blue sky anyway & the wind dropped. We decided to get moving the next day to camp somewhere on the Murray river again but this time in Victoria. As it meant crossing the border we weren't sure if we would have to give up our fresh fruit & veggies. So I made up a big batch of savoury mince for dinner & leftovers for the next night. My grandmas neighbour also gave us a huge box of plums so I stewed down what was left with some apples for a delicious breakfast topping. That night we got no further rain & woke to a lovely calm but still somewhat overcast morning overlooking the lake. I snapped a few photos & after breakfast we packed up camp. 
A few clouds still, but at least the wind was gone

Just to give us something to remember SA by, we got another shower of rain before we had finished. Oh well. It was then a big day in the car to cross over into VIC, so this is our last SA post for the trip. SA has some fantastic camping & there is still so much for us to explore, can't wait to get back down that way. It was the 15th of January 2015 when we left SA & into VIC. More on that to come. 

Leaving SA

Map courtesy of HEMA 

Image courtesy of Google Earth