Backyard Cook Up

WildMind

Les Stroud
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
91
Reaction score
0
Location
Blacktown
Some Pasta, Onions, Potato, all boiled with beef stock over the backyard fire. Twas a trail run, I was relatively pleased.
 

barefoot dave

Mors Kochanski
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
392
Reaction score
22
Good going WM. glad to see you making the bush come to you!
That's how it starts. Good onya.
 

WildMind

Les Stroud
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
91
Reaction score
0
Location
Blacktown
Thanks Dave. I will attempt a BBQ on the fire tomorrow night, and maybe a hammock sleepout.
 

Wentworth

Bear Mears
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
2,644
Reaction score
83
Location
Blue Mtns
Nice one Wildmind, looks tasty, thanks for sharing with us.
 

Lifecraft

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
526
Reaction score
16
Location
Illawarra, New South Wales, Australia
Good work. I do a lot of my learning in the back yard. It's good to experiment before you head out into the bush to boost confidence and know what you're doing will work.

Do keep in mind though... it'll almost certainly taste better out in the bush... especially if you're exhausted from a big hike or something.
So if you're relatively pleased with it in the backyard you should be even more happy with it in the bush.


A few things you might like to experiment with...

To make onions sweeter and bring out more flavor it can be good to fry them on a low/medium heat for a little while, with a bit of salt (oil isn't needed, but can be used).
When they're cooked until soft it reduces the sharp astringency, and brings out the sugars. Changes them from tasting like raw onion, to tasting like roasted onion (which is really sweet).
I like to control the heat so they're just sticking to the pan and browning a little bit, but not too much. If they're not browning at all it's too low. If they're sticking and turning black it's too high. I use a wooden spoon to keep scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and mix it back into the onions. Those bits add a lot of flavor.

The downside to that approach is it takes longer than just boiling everything, but even frying them on high for just a minute or two will help enhance the flavor.

I use onions like that in most things I cook as one of the major sources of flavor and sweetness. If I have time I'll always fry them first.


You can also fry up chopped or grated carrot with the onions for more flavor and sweetness. I do that a lot too, with a lot of different things I cook.
The onion and carrot fried/baked combo is typically my favorite way to add flavor to anything. It beats adding sugar or sweet manufactured sauces IMO.


To make soups a bit richer in flavor you can use a small amount of olive/vegetable oil. It carries and enhances certain flavors and can improve the "mouth feel" of the dish.
I often add a dash of oil to things like spaghetti bolognaise for that purpose.
It does need to be cooked into the soup for a little while though so it no longer tastes like raw oil. But that should only take 5 minutes or so.


If you want to thicken the soup you can get half a cup of cold water, put in a few teaspoons of corn flour, mix it up and pour it into the hot soup.
Within about a minute or two the white cornflour mix should go clear and you'll notice the soup should have a thicker, glossy consistency.
This is used in things like chicken and corn soup you get from chinese restaurants.


You can also thicken the soup and make it creamy by adding milk powder. You may be familiar with creamy cuppa soups, which use the same approach.


Keep up the experimenting. Let us know how you go.

Cheers
 
Last edited:

WildMind

Les Stroud
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
91
Reaction score
0
Location
Blacktown
Thanks Aussie123, and I would like to try different spices rather then just beef stock, and I'd like to chuck in some meat!
 

WildMind

Les Stroud
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
91
Reaction score
0
Location
Blacktown
Thanks heaps Lifecraft! Those are great tips that I will be sure to try out. I love my onions so that technique sounds excellent!
 

Lifecraft

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
526
Reaction score
16
Location
Illawarra, New South Wales, Australia
I'd like to chuck in some meat
To bring out the flavor of meat it's good to salt it and fry it with the onions until browned.
If you add garlic half way through the frying process it'll add a lot of flavor too.

I would like to try different spices rather then just beef stock
Chicken stock is quite versatile for soups and sauces. I use it more than beef stock.
If you add vegie stock as well as a meat stock it'll add more depth of flavor.

Some dried herbs would probably work well like:
- parsley
- oregano
- rosemary
... just be careful not to overdo it with spices (as I've done a bunch of times).
 

WildMind

Les Stroud
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
91
Reaction score
0
Location
Blacktown
You are a giver of infinite wisdom Lifecraft, but seriously thanks! Again, that sounds brilliant!
And with salting the meat, this reminds me if making jerky... Any tips on this?
 

Lifecraft

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
526
Reaction score
16
Location
Illawarra, New South Wales, Australia
And with salting the meat, this reminds me if making jerky... Any tips on this?
Tips on jerky? Or tips on salting meat before cooking?

For cooking meat, the guideline is generally if you salt it before you sear it, it enhances the flavor in pretty much any cooking situation.
As far as I'm aware it's the same with almost any meat, especially fatty meat (like lamb or pork). I often heavily salt the fatty part of the cut, more than I salt the meat.

The amount you add depends on the method of cooking.

If I'm frying/bbqing something I just add a light sprinkle on each side right before throwing it on the heat.
If I'm baking/roasting/braising I generally add more salt because I'm likely to add a bit of liquid for gravy, which will dilute the salt.
If I'm making soup I'll add quite a lot of salt, because all that salt which absorbs the flavors, will be the flavor for the soup.

Just be careful not to then add too much stock if you've added a lot of salt.
If you add enough salt in the beginning, and have enough meat and flavor veg, that becomes the stock once you add water.
I'll often add more salt in the beginning so I don't need to add stock later on. But you need to have enough meat and veg to provide the flavor for that stock or you just end up with it tasting like salt.

I would recommend starting with salting lightly, fry it, then eat some. If it tastes bland add more salt. If it tastes good or slightly salty side then then make soup from it (if that's your plan).
You can always add a bit more salt once the soup is made, and the water dilutes it.

If you notice the final soup does need more salt you can always decide to add that salt to the meat in the beginning next time.
But remember you can always add more, you can't take it out. So aim for the slightly undersalted side of things early on IMO. Add the final sprinkle of salt as you're eating if necessary.

If you accidentally add too much salt to any dish just add more water, until it's the right salt level, and make it a soup. I've done that to save a few dishes I accidentally over salted.

With jerky I tend to go a bit overboard on the salt because it helps to preserve it, and I like fairly salty jerky.
So for normal frying I would add less salt than I add to jerky.
For soups, and even braising/roasting I would probably add a fair bit more salt than I add to jerky.

You'll need to experiment with it and you'll get the hang of it.
 

Lepmeister

Richard Proenneke
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
1,469
Reaction score
65
Location
Glenhaven, Sydney...
Great work mate, looks like a nice little slice of backyard bushcraft going in there. Must admit that I do partake in that a little myself when time or family doesn't allow me to get out.

Tasty looking meal too..

How did you get on with the fire in the hole? Looks like you has some coals going there, did it take a bit of work to keep going due to it not having much oxygen?

Cheers
 

WildMind

Les Stroud
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
91
Reaction score
0
Location
Blacktown
I'll have to give that a go with the soup, I love an appropriately salty dish. I will attempt to make my own jerky and will be sure too share on the forum. Thanks again though Lifecraft!
 

WildMind

Les Stroud
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
91
Reaction score
0
Location
Blacktown
The fire was fine Lepmeister! Just dug a small pit, the O2 supply was enough, and I made sure i waited until i had a strong bed of embers.
 
Top