About us

We are two friends, one living in town and one in the country, who love to cook and entertain at home. We share a passion for our gardens and for the easy-going lifestyle of sub-tropical eastern Australia. And, yes, we both have garden ponds teaming with frogs.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

An Australian 'Drover's Dinner' down at the waterhole

Not many Australian food traditions have survived the transition from the hard days of rural pioneering to our soft 21st century life. One we love whenever we go to The Farm is drover’s dinner, a variation on the English pub food, Ploughman's Lunch. In outback Australia, cattle drovers used to make a 'dinner camp' in the middle of the day, sitting out the heat under a shady tree or beside a waterhole - drinking black billy tea and munching on damper with corned meat and pickles. For our drover's dinner, we set up on a log beside the creek.

The olives are our own home-growns that Country Frog put into brine a month ago, and the froglets had a lovely messy time helping make the loaf. Damper, a bread without yeast, is usually made in a heavy cast-iron pot in the coals of a campfire but, we broke with tradition and cooked it on the stove in a heavy-based frypan with a lid.


Serves 4. Very easy (even for supervised children). And very yummy when eaten warm.
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ cups self-raising flour. And add chopped herbs if you like.

1. In a large bowl, using a knife to stir, mix until just combined then tip out onto a floured bench and lightly knead with both hands until all the flour is combined.

2. Meanwhile, put the pan on to moderately high heat with the lid on. The pan and lid both need to be hot when the dough goes in.

3. Shape the dough into a round loaf that is only 4 - 6 cm thick. Place in the pan and put the lid on. Cook 7 minutes; turn the loaf (the base should be brown); cook another 7 minutes with the lid on.

4. Remove pan from the stove and cover over with a folded bath towel, and leave for about ten minutes while you pack the picnic. Then wrap the loaf in a fresh tea towel to carry. (Don’t use plastic as the warm loaf will sweat.)

For our Drover’s Dinner we took along pickled onions, our own homegrown olives, a few fresh tomatoes and a delicious relish, which we made while the bread baked. Very simple to do.


Makes about 2 cups
Time: 5 minutes to chop; 15 minutes cooking
2 large onions, diced
1 large fresh red tomato, diced (about 1 cup)
1 small capsicum/red pepper, roughly chopped
½ cup malt vinegar
¼ cup white or raw sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Optional: 1 teaspoon ground cumin; small chilli, finely sliced.

1. Put a little oil in a frypan and cook onion until beginning to caramelise.

2. Add tomato and red pepper (and chilli); cook until mushy.

3. Add vinegar, salt and sugar. Hard simmer for 10 minutes until relish is thick and spoon-able.

Country Frog had a jar of pickled red onion in the pantry. They had been made a few weeks earlier so the flavour had really settled and mellowed.


1. Cut small unpeeled onions in half taking knife through the base plate so onion will not fall apart. Place in a pot and cover with boiling water. When cool, peel the skins and first layer of onion down and tear off.

2. Place onions in clean jam jars with decorative bits and pieces (lime, chilli, sliced ginger) arranged against the glass.

3. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons sugar or honey to top and fill up with cold brown or malt vinegar.

Best left about 1 week to infuse before eating.

FROGBLOG TIP: These look so stunning in the jar that they are a great little gift to take to dinner when the host says ‘don’t bring a thing’.

On the way back to the house, we came across the horses having their own fun with water. They had found a split pipe, and were loving it! Just as we had loved our day in the country.

Next: On our search for traditional Australian food, we will cook LAMB SHANKS with a tropical twist.

Written and compiled by two frogs.

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