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Non-American & International campfire food?

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Just putting the DO on the fire is nothing more than frying with a cover.  Not a problem if that's all one is doing.  However, the DO is intended to be an oven with heat sources both on top and bottom.  Too much neat on the bottom burns on the food, no heat on the top does't brown the top, 

 

Seems fair. When I'm doing dinner, the DO is suspended over the fire, and tends to be cooking something pretty wet, so it's basically just a saucepan that's thick and heavy. That said, there were some pretty good pineapple upsidedown cakes made at summer camp last year, someone else was in charge, I think there was a spacer put on the bottom of the DO to lift a dish containing the upsidedown cake mix off the bottom. Then briquettes placed on top as you say. I think I was doing something else at the time. I had some of the results though. Very nice!

 

Anyway, over this side of the pond we consider roast dinner to be typically british, at least I do, so if you had a campfire oven, maybe that's an option. Of course, another typically british meal would be a curry.

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I generally don't do foil dinners because I don't ever eat with the patrols.  However, with that being said, I do use foil occasionally when cooking on the campfires.  General double layering of the foil, adding plenty of liquids to steam, making sure they are sealed up well and don't toss them into a bonfire.  All of these things keep the food from burning.  

 

What most boys (and a lot of adults) don't realize is that campfire cooking is not microwave cooking.  It takes time and low heat to keep things from burning.  Adding more heat to "speed up the cooking" only burns things on the outside and leaves it uncooked in the middle.

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Just putting the DO on the fire is nothing more than frying with a cover.  Not a problem if that's all one is doing.  However, the DO is intended to be an oven with heat sources both on top and bottom.  Too much neat on the bottom burns on the food, no heat on the top does't brown the top, 

 

The measured number of briquettes is just a way of regulating the actual baking temperature.  3 up and 3 down method (#12 oven uses 15 on top and 9 on the bottom) will give one a 350oven.  It's just a starting reference.  If the recipe calls for a cool oven, take away briquettes equally and a hot oven add briquettes equally.  If using wood instead of charcoal, just do an eyeball estimate of the briquette amount of heat using wood coals.  Remember charcoal lasts twice as long as wood so the briquettes need to be changed out every hour, but wood needs to be changed out every half hour.

 

For those who use weights instead of volumes, it might help to pre-measure the ingredients before the trip.  I do that all the time anyway just to cut down on prep time and measurement hassles.

 

@@Stosh is right. This book helps a great deal too.

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@@ianwilkins

 

The pineapple upside down cake sounds like they did it exactly correct.  The spacer allows hot air to move around the bottom of the pan and circulates the heat more evenly.  If one doesn't have a spacer plate, one can always use 3 small stones to put the pan on to keep it off the bottom.  The charcoal on top will brown out the cake nicely on the top (or in this case bottom. :) )

 

I would find out who that person was that did the DO cooking and get some lessons.  Sounds like he/she is spot on.

 

Using the correct methods for DO useage, there is nothing one can't do in a DO that they aren't already doing at home in the oven or on the stove.  It is the most universal cooking utensil there is.  Every pioneer family in the US had one as they moved west and the early explorers generally carried them as well.  I own several of different sizes and both cast iron and aluminum.  I generally give them away as wedding gifts to my outdoorsy friends.  If you master the use of DO with the UK tradition of roast dinners, you will quickly become the master chef of the British Empire.  One never knows when the Queen might want to do a camping holiday and your number is on speed dial.

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@@ianwilkins, when baking cakes with a DO there needs to be a lot more top heat than bottom heat. That way you don't need the spacer gizmo. A rafting friend of mine taught me to rim the top with briquettes (place them side by side all around the rim) and put a couple more in the middle. Then only put about 6 on the bottom. Very little computation required! This helps heat the walls. Whenever I did the +-3 up/down I always got a thin layer of burnt cake on the bottom, enough to insulate the rest of the cake I suppose. I'll do the 3 up/down if there's enough liquid in the pot but it needs to be done with a large grain of salt. If it's cool or windy then the oven will be getting cooled and more coals are needed. Also, if the ground is damp put down a layer of aluminum foil to keep from putting out the coals. I learned that the hard way as well.

 

@@Stosh, the rim on the lid of the DO to hold in the coals was Napoleon's idea, or at least that's what I heard.

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Experience will tell you to adjust the briquettes with temperature, wind, etc.  You are totally correct in that the ground, damp or not, will draw heat away from the DO so a double layer of foil will protect the grass and keep the heat from going down into the ground.  an old steel cookie sheet works well, too.

 

I ALWAYS use a spacer when baking.  I use 9" pie pans to hold the food in.  A 9" pie pan will hold 1/2 a 9"X13" recipe.  Two DO's will cover a 9"X13" hotdish nicely.  By using the 9" pie pans, nothing ever burns and clean up is a breeze as well.  I have both cast iron and aluminum spacers made for DO"s, but as I mentioned earlier, 3 small rocks work just as well.

 

Thanks for the reminder.  I have been using a DO table for a few years when I plop camp so, I forgot to mention the ground issue, and yes, it is noticeable the amount of heat lost to the ground.

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While we're on an international tip, the south africans have a thing called a potjie (pron. pot-chee), basically looks like a more witches cauldron type of dutch oven, with longer legs. Of course, much of south africa was invaded by the dutch as well as the english*, so it ties up they'd have something very similar, same source. I assume the english at the time thought lids were for weirdos.

 

* gross simplification, no offence meant.

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...

Pizzelle? I looked that up. Is that a kind of waffle?

Oh, you poor soul. You must have never been to a western PA wedding (or wakes).

Get yourself invited to (or crash) a couple of those, gravitate toward the cookie table. There's bound to be at least one Nona, Sitta, or Babcia who will have contributed a few to the medley.

 

Best description: ice-cream cone unrolled.

Edited by qwazse

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... Pizzelle? I looked that up. Is that a kind of waffle?

Sounds like what I know as lukken.  

Or if one is Norse - krumkakke

 

I believe so.

 

For reference, below is Mamma's recipe. My siblings just unearthed it ... written in the back cover of the Searchlight Cook Book, labeled "Waffles": The proportions are hers.They differ from other Mediterranean recipies in that there is a lower proportion of sugar -- yielding a product that is more chewy than crunchy. The instructions are mine (from warm memories of working the stove in the basement with Dad while listening to the ball game on the radio).

 
1 C shortening
2 C sugar
10 eggs
2 t salt
10 t baking powder
5 T vanilla
2 T anise (optional)
10 C flour
 
Combine ingredients in the order listed. Beat dough until smooth.  Chill until ready to use.
On a stove stop or propane burner. (Confession: I've been too chicken to try this on wood fires.) Heat a well-seasoned iron until water drops vaporize in about 2 seconds. (Don't know if that changes with altitude.)
Scoop 1-2 teaspons of dough into a ball. Insert into iron. Squeeze about 10 seconds. Release for another 10 seconds. (The dough should hold the iron sufficiently tight.) Flip iron and heat from the other side. Heat for another 20 seconds. Open iron and drop cookie onto a cooling tray. They are stack-able after about a minute. Adjust the timing to your preferred level of brownness.
 
Or, if you didn't season your iron properly, use a fork to pick out the bits of cookie in all of the grooves! Wipe the iron down with your favorite veggie oil, and sacrifice a few dough balls to lift the grit from the grooves. (Actually, I learned to like those gnarly cookies -- they weren't sequestered to the cookie jars.) :)
 
I think this gets you about 4-6 dozen. Since there's nobody to listen to a ball game with anymore, I usually just make a half batch, and can knock it out in about an hour.
Edited by qwazse
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Ok - what's haloumie? (yeah, I could google it, but I'm guessing I'm not the only one wondering).

 

Bread on the bottom of the tinfoil packet to help keep the meat from burning.....ever have one of those moments where you see or read of something that should have been obvious for years?  Perhaps you heard my hand slapping my forehaed just now!

+1 on the bread tip!

 

Well for a Dutch oven you often need as much heat on the top as you do on the bottom so thats why you put some coals on top.

I haven't done all that much DO cooking, but I have settled on the ring method instead of counting briquettes.

as in one ring under and 1-1/2 rings over for approx 350 degrees F (where a ring is a full circle with coals touching, and a half ring skips every other coal in the ring)

has worked well for me so far and no counting, don't care how big the oven is, etc....

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I believe so.

 

For reference, below is Mamma's recipe. My siblings just unearthed it ... written in the back cover of the Searchlight Cook Book, labeled "Waffles": The proportions are hers.They differ from other Mediterranean recipies in that there is a lower proportion of sugar -- yielding a product that is more chewy than crunchy. The instructions are mine (from warm memories of working the stove in the basement with Dad while listening to the ball game on the radio).

 
1 C shortening
2 C sugar
10 eggs
2 t salt
10 t baking powder
5 T vanilla
2 T anise (optional)
10 C flour
 
Combine ingredients in the order listed. Beat dough until smooth.  Chill until ready to use.
On a stove stop or propane burner. (Confession: I've been too chicken to try this on wood fires.) Heat a well-seasoned iron until water drops vaporize in about 2 seconds. (Don't know if that changes with altitude.)
Scoop 1-2 teaspons of dough into a ball. Insert into iron. Squeeze about 10 seconds. Release for another 10 seconds. (The dough should hold the iron sufficiently tight.) Flip iron and heat from the other side. Heat for another 20 seconds. Open iron and drop cookie onto a cooling tray. They are stack-able after about a minute. Adjust the timing to your preferred level of brownness.
 
Or, if you didn't season your iron properly, use a fork to pick out the bits of cookie in all of the grooves! Wipe the iron down with your favorite veggie oil, and sacrifice a few dough balls to lift the grit from the grooves. (Actually, I learned to like those gnarly cookies -- they weren't sequestered to the cookie jars.) :)
 
I think this gets you about 4-6 dozen. Since there's nobody to listen to a ball game with anymore, I usually just make a half batch, and can knock it out in about an hour.

 

Thanks alot. Now I'm hungry! :)  Think we'll have to dig out the iron and see what we can do for Xmas gifts.

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+1 on the bread tip!

 

I haven't done all that much DO cooking, but I have settled on the ring method instead of counting briquettes.

as in one ring under and 1-1/2 rings over for approx 350 degrees F (where a ring is a full circle with coals touching, and a half ring skips every other coal in the ring)

has worked well for me so far and no counting, don't care how big the oven is, etc....

I also use the ring method.  I try to keep the bottom ring just outside a circle drawn through the legs but inside the walls on the camp stove.  No hot spots on the bottom of the oven.  I normally just checkerboard-ish the top.

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