Not-So-Ordinary Damper

Dumpling Style Damper

Dumpling Style Damper

Jump to Cheese and Herb Damper
Jump to Honeyed Banana Damper
Jump to Spiced Pumpkin and Rosemary Dumplings

Dad was a Scout Master for about a decade or so. Memories of weekends spent hiking and bush walking, tying knots, kayaking, sleeping under canvas and sitting around roaring campfires feature heavily in my teenage years. Some of the very silly campfire songs are still liable to escape my lips after I’ve had a few goblets of mulled wine. No decent campfire was complete without a few ‘taters and an apple or three baking in the coals, a stew that would stick to your ribs and some steaming hot damper to mop it up with. Crusty ones to sop up your soup, or soft dumplings steamed on top of the stew.

I Just Love Apple Scones

Apple Scones

Apple Scones

A while back I spoke of Gran’s fabulous fluffy scones and posted the recipe. They were made to accompany jam and cream, and were served with some ceremony. Our version of “High Tea”.

On reflection, such an important subject should have been treated with more respect .. announced with some sort of fanfare perhaps .. or at least a reference made to the sheer usefulness of that one basic recipe. From this simple beginning, all sorts of wonderful variations can be had. Sure there are dainty sweet ones to have with jam, fruit, angel food or cream. They are also robust wholemeal lunchbox fillers, savoury delights to go with a ploughman’s lunch, stews or fruit paste.

Lapin à la Marsala

Lapin Marsala

Lapin Marsala

The dark primeval of my youth had many afternoons foraging mushrooms and snaring rabbits so we could feast on Rabbit Bourguignon. Steaming aromatic plates and Dad making jokes about “drunken Thumper stew”. On the other hand, Beloved has unhappy childhood memories of tough, dry rabbit appearing on the table. He will not eat rabbit. No-way-José.

To be fair, wild-caught rabbit needs to be prepared and cooked with some care, or it is bitter broth and shoe leather. If yours are “free range”, choose young, preferably female bunnies. Skin, dress and chill them immediately.