Last weekend, the Gold Coast seemed worlds away as my son, Logan, and I embarked on a four-hour journey to Hartly Downs Farm, nestled in the picturesque countryside of Wallangarra.
Our mission was clear: to create a memorable cook-up fit for a special occasion – Uncle Paul’s 70th birthday. The journey itself was an adventure, but the real magic was in the cooking.
Our highlight from the weekend was Rae Anne’s camp oven poached pears, the recipe at the bottom!
Arriving at the farm the night before the celebration allowed us to immerse ourselves in the tranquil ambience of rural life and plan our culinary masterpiece. As the first light of dawn broke, we eagerly set up all the equipment we would need and prepared for the festivities. With the farm as our backdrop, we kindled a hearty campfire to kickstart the day’s culinary extravaganza.
Our cooking methods were as diverse as the menu itself, combining traditional and rustic techniques to create a feast that would be remembered for years to come. Two distinct methods took centre stage.
Hanging Delights Over the Fire
Dangling from my cooking stands over the campfire, we created a tantalizing array of meats and treats: a succulent leg of lamb, generously rubbed with fragrant bush spices; whole pineapples, marinated in a delightful mix of rum and brown sugar; beef ribs, luxuriating in a special BBQ sauce blend; three plump whole chickens, marinated in an assortment of unique flavours and snugly housed inside my custom cooking cages; and, last but not least, crispy pork belly and ribs.
The dance of flames and smoke artfully infused each dish with a rich, smoky flavour, an experience that captivated our senses.
Camp Oven Cooking
Nestled in camp ovens atop a bed of glowing coals, we conjured up an assortment of damper and roast vegetables.
My cast iron camp ovens proved invaluable for achieving that perfect, hearty campfire taste. The tractor shed provided shelter from the wind, ensuring that every dish was cooked to perfection.
Throughout the day, the tantalizing aromas wafting from our outdoor kitchen preparations heightened the excitement. We knew that all of Paul’s relatives and close friends were in for a treat once the night fell.
The farm itself was an additional source of delight. Sheep, goats, and cows roamed freely, and Logan, in particular, relished the chance to interact with them, even as he lent a hand with the cooking duties. The day was not only about the delicious food; it was a celebration of the farm’s life and community.
Camp Oven Poached Pears are for Dessert!
Right around two o’clock in the afternoon, our gracious host, Rae-Anne, surprised us with an unexpected addition to the day’s menu: her beloved Camp Oven Poached Pears recipe. As the sweet scent of simmering pears wafted through the air, we could sense that something truly extraordinary was on the horizon.
Rae-Anne’s recipe was not only a delight but also a visual masterpiece. Its delicious appeal was so undeniable that I felt the need to share it with fellow camp oven cooking enthusiasts.
This recipe transforms ordinary pears into a luscious dessert that’s perfect for outdoor gatherings, camping trips, or even a cozy night by the fire at home.
With the subtle sweetness of pears, a hint of vanilla, and the warmth of cinnamon, this dish is sure to make your taste buds sing. So, grab your camp oven, gather some firewood, and let’s get started!
The following recipe is tailored to serve 24 people, with each fortunate guest getting to enjoy their own delectable pear.
Ingredients for camp oven poached pears
This delicious recipe calls for a generous assortment of 24 small, perfectly ripe pears. Infused with the rich flavours of red wine and apple juice, these pears take on a remarkable depth of taste.
A touch of sweetness is achieved with sugar and a hint of vanilla essence, while the subtle, warming embrace of cinnamon sticks adds a layer of comforting spice.
As a final touch, a handful of vibrant strawberries and raspberries are introduced not only to enhance the flavour but also to create a visually stunning presentation.
Each ingredient plays a vital role in transforming these simple pears into a dish that’s as delicious as it is visually appealing.
Step 1: Prepare the Campfire
Before you start, ensure that your campfire is set up and the camp oven is clean and ready for action you will need a camp oven that’s big enough the hold the amount of pears you are cooking. You will only need bottom heat for this recipe.
Step 2: Combine the Ingredients
- Wash the pears, leaving them whole with the skin on, and place them in the camp oven you can peel them if you want to. Pour in the entire bottle of white wine, followed by the apple juice
- Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the pears. Add the vanilla essence to infuse a delightful flavour Place the cinnamon stick into the mixture.
Step 3: Add Some Color
For a vibrant touch, scatter some strawberries and raspberries on top of the pears, you could also add other berries as well.
Step 4: Cooking Process
- Position the camp oven on coals that were rendered from the campfire.
- Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. This may take some time, so be patient.
- Once it’s boiling, reduce the coals or fire intensity to bring the mixture to a low simmer.
Step 5: Slow Simmer
Let the magic happen as you allow the pears to simmer for 4 to 5 hours on low heat. The extended cooking time allows the flavours to meld together, creating a delectable, aromatic dessert.
Step 6: Check for Doneness
After 4 to 5 hours, test a pear by piercing it with a fork. It should be tender and have absorbed the delicious flavours of the liquid.
Step 7: Serve and Enjoy
Scoop out the pears and the luscious sauce onto serving plates. You can serve it warm or at room temperature. Top it off with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of your favourite ice cream for the perfect finishing touch.
Camp Oven Cooked Pears is a dessert that not only tastes amazing but also fills the air with an irresistible aroma while it simmers over the campfire.
It’s a simple, yet indulgent treat that’s sure to impress your guests or satisfy your sweet tooth. Whether you’re out in the wilderness or just craving a rustic, fireside dessert at home, this recipe has you covered.
Camp Oven Poached Pears at Hartley Downs FarmCourse: Camp Oven DessertCuisine: Camp Oven RecipeDifficulty: Intermediate
24 ripe pears
1 bottle of white wine (750ml)
1 litre of apple juice
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
1 cinnamon stick
A handful of strawberries and raspberries (for garnish)
- Before you begin, make sure your campfire is properly set up and that the camp oven is clean and ready for action. This recipe will require bottom heat.
- Start by washing the pears, leaving them whole, and then gently place them inside the camp oven.
- Next, add 3/4 of a bottle of red wine, 1 litre of apple juice, some sugar, vanilla essence, and a couple of cinnamon sticks for a burst of flavour.
- To enhance both taste and presentation, toss in some strawberries and raspberries.
- Now, position the camp oven over low heat and let the ingredients simmer for 4-5 hours.
- When ready, serve your delectable creation with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream for an extra touch of indulgence.
- For a smaller cook-up, use the same ingredients, just use enough liquid to cover.