A couple of weeks ago, our friend Brett shot a rabbit for us. Around his parts, rabbits are a major pest, so he often shoots them and either eats them or 'plants' them in his garden. Having never eaten rabbit before, and recognising feral bunny as an excellent protein source, we asked Brett to bag us a bunny next time he was out shooting. He happily obliged, and delivered a neatly dressed, fresh Brogo rabbit in exchange for a bundle of greens from the garden. Awesome!
When it came to cooking the rabbit, we knew that a slow braise was on the cards, just because that's usually the way we like to go with meat. Matthew Evans helped us out, once again, and we went for his rabbit ragu with papardelle, from Winter on the Farm.
The problem with a slow braise for us is that our cooking options are kind of limited on account of the no kitchen factor. We have, in the past, slow-cooked things in the BBQ, with the hood down, but have found this uses a LOT of gas. Next option is a fire, which is our ideal cooking method, especially once we have some better timber options on our land. For now we make do with fallen branches (there are heaps around!) and generous deliveries of firewood from friends (like Brett!) who have more trees on their properties, and the odd bit of hardwood picked up from the tip. For fire-baths and a bit of fire-cooking, this is working fine for now.
Fire-cooking, though, has proved to be a little tricky to master. Things like gozleme, which we cook on a hot-plate over the fire, have worked well for us, and were what got us excited about the possibilities of cooking on the fire. We've also made flat breads cooked in the ashes (inspired by Moro), which were outrageously delicious, enjoyed as they were, sitting by the fire, snuggled on blankets, with a lentil soup, watching the sunlight fade.
|Flat breads in the ashes (you can see one cooking at the bottom right of the fire, and the blurry tongs have just brought one out to rest on the big rock)
For Christmas Pearl got a camp oven, and a camp oven cook-book, and we were wowed by the possibilities of what we could do with the camp oven. Chocolate cake! Scones! Bread and butter pudding! The realities of the camp oven, however, have proved to be a little tricky, and we've faced more than a couple of failures. But we keep trying and finally, with the bunny, the camp oven ca,me through for us.
|Brett's Brogo Bunny ragu in the camp oven on the fire
The ragu ended up simmering away on the fire for almost 4 hours. We kept topping it up with red wine and tomatoes, and in the end, the meat had fallen from the bones into a delicious, perfect sauce. The sauce, with some egg pasta and our first broccoli harvest, was amazing. And rewarding. And happy-making.
And now we have a little more confidence to try some more things in that camp oven. having learnt some more lessons in the arts of the fire-cook.