It’s Australia Day long weekend. Ignoring the predicted scorching summer day, Australians are ready to roll. Harbours, parks and beaches will be packed by groups of families and friends with their picnic mats and foods, all ready to soak up the sun and enjoy the festivities. I always make something to celebrate this day by baking something Australiana. From previous years, I’ve made the classic pavlova, lamingtons and even Milo biscuits. This time, I made some dampers. A very iconic Australian dish historically prepared by stockmen, drovers and other travelers, it is often served with billy tea, which is another Australian favourite. Traditionally, damper is made in a cast iron pot with lid called “camp oven”. The pot is then covered with hot coals or placed in a hole covered with hot coals. Originally made with plain flour, salt and water, the addition of butter or lard and self-raising flour came much later on giving a much tastier flavour. My version of the damper wasn’t made in “camp oven” but rather baked in the oven. I added some ingredients native to the country like the bush pepper berries from Tasmania and anise myrtle. I loved the subtle sweet licorice and slightly peppery flavours of these dampers. We enjoyed these served with butter and honey drizzle.
- 3 cups self-raising flour
- 300 ml milk
- 2 tablespoons anise myrtle
- 1/2 teaspoon bush pepper berries, crushed
- 15 ml macadamia oil
- Preheat oven to 180C degrees.
- Mix flour, pepper berries and anise myrtle in a medium bowl. Add the oil and milk.
- With your hands, mix roughly without overworking the dough.
- Roll into a log and divide into handful sized balls.
- Place onto a flour dusted baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.