Sunday, 15 February 2015


I can't believe this is my first scone post of the trip, although I did do the Choc chip damper. These ones are inspired by my Mum & the recipe comes from the lovely ladies at 4 Ingredients. The only thing I changed was using diet lemonade & halving the recipe. So very simple with just 3 ingredients, Self Raising Flour, Cream & Lemonade. Check out the recipe here.

To cook these in the camp oven is pretty simple a few pointers below- 

- start your fire at least an hour before you want to bake them
- don't over mix/knead the scones
- if you don't have a scone cutter just cut your scone mix into equal pieces with a floured knife 
- preheat your oven for about 5 minutes over the fire
- digging a hole to put your camp oven while baking really helps to regulate the heat 
- once your scones go in check the temperature after about 10 minutes & adjust if necessary
- once cooked allow the scones to rest for 5 minutes before devouring with jam & cream
- if you don't have a whisk to thicken the cream for serving while camping, place the cream in an airtight/watertight container (Lock n Lock work great) with 2 small stones/pebbles (cleaned), shake for about 3-5 minutes & your cream will thicken, be careful you don't turn it into butter by going to far!

I used Plain Flour & Baking powder in place of SR Flour

Place all ingredients in a bowl

Mix with a butter knife, don't over mix

Turn out on to a floured cutting board

Knead very gently into shape

Cut scone mix with a floured knife into equal portions 

Place on a baking tray

Into the camp oven on a trivet

Check after 10 minutes, we needed to add more heat as we like crunchy topped scones


Light & fluffy

So soft on the inside
Yum, now that's awesome camp oven baking. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Victorian High Country - Dargo

We left Traralgon on Tuesday the 3rd of February & on the way out of town we stopped in at Tyrepower  & got the worn tyres on the back of Ruby changed over with the camper trailer tyres that are in excellent condition still, that way we should get more out of the worn tyres as they wear far less on the trailer. We then grabbed some fuel & headed back towards Rosedale & then up towards Dargo. 

Once we reached Briagolong we decided to take the dirt road Freestone Creek Road up to Dargo. We stopped in at Blue Pool for a look, a lovely spot with heaps of kids swimming but it was far to chilly for us. 
Blue Pool

We kept heading North & the road was pretty average. It was really tight, narrow, windy & had lots of potholes, it was a nice drive with good views but thank god we didn't meet any oncoming traffic or passing would of been very tricky. It's okay in a car but with the trailer on it wasn't real flash. 

There is a bitumen alternative & we would probably recommend that to people with trailers as the dirt was really slow anyway. It was a relief to get to the bitumen near Dargo & we loved the views as we got closer to Dargo, beautiful valleys & crystal clear creeks again. 

Back on the bitumen heading towards Dargo

Dargo River

Country around Dargo

We knew we wanted to camp just out of town on the Upper Dargo Rd & called into the various camp spots as we made our way along until we found a great spot in Jimmy Iversons camping area. It still surprises us that these camps are free, Victorians are very lucky with the amount of fantastic free camping on offer. We set up just back from the Dargo River, it was really beautiful at this camp spot. Every time you went down for a swim or to get water it just made you go wow. The fact the area was nice and open on beautiful green grass just added to the appeal. After our long drive we were just happy to sit in camp all afternoon & enjoy the serenity. That afternoon we only got one neighbour, who we couldn't really see anyway. Very nice. 

The next day we went for a drive further up the Upper Dargo Rd for a look, there are more fantastic camp spots all the way along. We stopped for a fish at a couple of spots but with no luck. The water wasn't very deep & the water so clear. 
Fishing spot 

Back to camp for some lunch & then we decided to head into Dargo for a look around town & a beer at the pub & to check our phones as there is no reception at camp. The pub is a beauty & well worth a visit, heaps of history & character. Dargo town is only small, but very quaint. The streets are lined with Walnut trees, fat cattle graze the paddocks & the river runs right near town for amazing views at every corner. 


The next day was adventure day & we planned to drive the infamous Blue Rag Track. It was overcast & foggy as we left camp & we thought we wouldn't see much but once we got up into the mountains above the clouds the sun was shining & watching the cloud lift was pretty amazing. 

The band between cloud & blue sky was so distinctive, very cool

The bitumen runs out about 17kms North of Dargo on the High Plains Road & you hit the dirt again. The road is in pretty good nick although there are plenty of potholes & rough bits to keep your attention. Again it's through the mountains up & down so it's slow going. You reach the High Plains & it's just gorgeous, I found it fascinating watching all the cattle grazing & thinking about how they manage things up here. The Treasure family has been grazing cattle in the High Plains since about 1880. 
High Plains

We soon left the high Plains & came to the turn off to Mt Blue Rag. This is a track that you will see in any 4WD magazine or TV show. At the trig point it is 1718m above sea level. 

We had all of our recovery gear ready just in case. The track was really rocky & steep in places, but actually a relatively easy drive. The first couple of mountains were the hardest, but nothing that worried Ruby & she did her usual tractor up it all, Mats driving was pretty good as well, I had better give him some credit. The views were stunning, the clouds had mostly lifted, but it was pretty hazy, but still beautiful. It's not just the views, it's the whole landscape as you drive up. 

There are gorgeous daisies & cool plants everywhere. One of the most interesting things to look at was the impact of fires in the area. You will see from the photos there are a lot of dead big trees, because of a fire a few years ago. It must be so ferocious when it goes through, no wonder nothing can stop them. I thought the dead trees on the ridge lines looked like the hairs standing up on the back of a cat!

It was so beautiful we really didn't want to go back down, but we had to eventually. One other car came up while we were there, but that's all we saw the whole day. We would definitely recommend this track to everyone & in our opinion you don't need a flash 4WD to do it. A standard 4WD will do the trick if you are sensible with your tyre pressures & have a bit of experience behind the wheel. We stopped along the way home to have some lunch & made it back to camp in the middle of the afternoon. One of the best day trips we have had on our journey. 

Saw this snake on the way home

The next day we went back to Dargo to have lunch at the pub. We had an awesome burger & sat in the front bar for a few hours talking to the publican & other travellers. It was a good afternoon. As I volunteered to drive Mat had quite a few beers & continued on back at camp. When the rum came out that night it was all pretty cheery till the next morning, despite me telling him to drink water before he went to bed. It has been quite a while between hangovers & the only thing that would get him out of bed was the hot sun on the canvas & 2 bacon, egg & hash brown wraps! So we stayed at camp all day. It was a hot day & I made the most of our excellent swimming hole in the river trying to convince Mat a swim was the best thing for his hangover, he finally went for a swim in the late afternoon, but reckoned it was to cold then! 

Dargo River at Camp above & below

Dargo river

The kids love piling up rocks in the river to make swimming holes

Along the Dargo River, you find all sorts of thing in the bush

We planned to drive Billy Goat Bluff track the next day, but by late afternoon the storm clouds started rolling in & we got quite a bit of rain that night. We weren't sure how much they had over towards Bill Goats but it's not really a track you want to do in the wet when you are travelling by yourselves so we decided to pack camp & head over towards Omeo. More on that soon. 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Potato Bake

Potato Bake is one of those special indulgences in life. Go to any family or friends backyard BBQ & you are likely to get one served up. When I realised we had not had potato bake in the whole time we have been travelling I realised I had to fix that problem & whip one up. I stick with very traditional with how I make mine, just like my Mum taught me. The only thing I do a bit different is add a bit of chopped bacon mixed in with the cheese on top for an extra special topping. I have to admit we ate the whole tray of potato bake, it wasn't a huge tray, but so delicious we couldn't leave any. It goes great in the camp oven & served with something extra special like a rack of lamb it was a pretty special meal & made up our Australia Day feast. 

Potato Bake
Serves 2 but easy to adjust for more people 
-  2-4 peeled potatoes sliced into about 2mm thick slices
- 1 small onion sliced
- 3 gloves of garlic finely diced
- 4 rashers of bacon diced (reserve 1 rashers worth for the topping)
- 150ml of thickened cream
- 1 cup of grated cheese
- salt & pepper

- start your fire at least an hour before you want to cook to get enough coals
- slice up the potato & onion & chop the garlic
- dice up your bacon
- in a tray layer 1/4 of the potato, then 1/3 of the onion & garlic
- season with salt & pepper
- add 1/3 of the bacon pieces

- continue layering the potato, onion, garlic & bacon, finishing with a layer of potato

- pour over the cream on the top, it will work its way through the layers as it cooks

- finish by making the topping, by mixing the cheese & bacon together & sprinkling over the top

- warm your camp oven for 5 minutes over the fire
- place the potato bake in the oven

- place 1 1/2 shovels of coals below the camp oven & the same on top
- it should take about 40 minutes to cook
- if you are not cooking anything else with it as below, remove the potato bake & cover with foil & allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving

We served ours with a rack of lamb
- take your lamb out the fridge when you start cooking the potato bake to bring it to room temperature

- remove it from the plastic wrapping & pat dry with paper towels
- season with salt & pepper
- when the  potato bake has been cooking for 30 minutes, check how's it going & add in your rack of lamb to the camp oven

- add more coals to the bottom & top if needed
- after 10 minutes, remove the camp oven lid & take out the potato bake to rest (as above)

- the lamb will take another 10-15 minutes, put another shovel of coals on top to brown up the fat layer
- remove the lamb & rest for 5 minutes before carving

- serve with your choice of salad or veggies