A great school holiday project for around the campfire

With school holidays on at the moment I have found much more time to spend with my children, which is great and the main reason behind my taking time off from work.  We have been going out and enjoying more of the outdoors, doing some projects around the house, and working on tidying the property before winter comes.  This last job had started to become more of a priority, as you might know if you have seen any of my videos showing my yard.  I decided that it might be best to burn the excess tree cuttings, and in doing so I could practice my fire lighting skills, teach my kids some lessons on fire, and maybe we could have some fun with it later.

So, I set out to make a fire.  It had rained a couple of days previous, yet I thought I would be OK.  I grabbed some kindling and after splitting it, I attempted to light the fire.  I could not, for the life of me, get it going.  I even went so far as to break the kindling down into slivers of wood as small as match sticks… still they wouldn’t light.  I took a small break, which is something I would recommend if you are becoming frustrated with a task before coming back to it.

I realised that the wood I was using may have been a little damp from the rain, so I went digging through the pile of detritus until I found some kindling that would have been protected from the rain.  I asked my younger son to assist and he gathered dried grass as tinder.  This was exactly what I needed.  Within a couple of minutes we had the foundation to a great fire.

The fire has finally taken hold. Don’t worry about the wrigs on the ground near the fire. I explained to my children that this should have been cleared up normally, yet as I was setting up a huge fire it would all be burned anyway.

Later in the evening I decided it would be a great little treat for the kids if we made and ate some Damper.  For those of you not in Australia (or if you are, that you never had the chance to try this very Australian dish), Damper is a food made from very basic materials such flour, sugar, salt and butter.  It was traditionally made by Australian Stockmen while they were out in the bush, using their very limited supplies.  Damper is often made to an accompany a main meal, or as a dessert.  I will share my recipe of a damper dessert with you all here, it should make enough for four servings.

Simple Damper

  • 4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cup water
  • Golden syrup

Add the flour, salt and sugar to a bowl and then rub the butter in till it becomes crumbly.  Make a depression in the centre of the mixture then add the water.  Mix it together until you have a dough like consistancy.  I would recommend allowing it to be a little on the very slightly sticky side.

Quarter the dough, so you have four parts, then roll the dough into long, snake like, portions.  These are to be wound around the end of a stout stick, so that it makes a tube like structure.  The sticky nature of the dough snake will stick to other parts of itself.  You will then extend the stick so that the dough is just above the flames, where it will cook.  You may like to turn it every couple of minutes so that it cooks evenly on all sides.

You can see how we wrapped the dough, and the size of sticks we used.

After around 10 minutes the damper should be cooked.  Take it from the heat and examine it… it should have a golden brown colour and when tapped with a finger it will make a hollow sound.

Take the damper from the stick and spread it with golden syrup.  It will taste heavenly.


We used the spoon to apply liberal amounts of Golden Syrup to the Damper

You can tell it tasted good as it was eaten very quickly, with only a small portion left to be given to the family dog Errol.


This is a great little project to do with your family around the camp fire.  It teaches children about how to cook basic foods on an open fire, that they can taste amazing, and that they can do it themselves.  It also teaches lessons in sharing, as you all need to share the fire in order to cook the Damper.

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