ON THE ROAD RECIPES - Recipes from Red Desert



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Recipes from the RED DESERT
We've returned recently from the LOPE trip (Legendary Outback Products Expedition) that we ran for two weeks through the Flinders Ranges and around the top end of Lake Eyre. With 14 vehicles and 27 people, there was a lot of catering to organise and do, and that job fell on the shoulders of Karen & Anthony McDonald who run Red Desert Tours & Catering. They are experts in catering for large groups on outback trips where planning is critical as well as ensuring that everyone is well fed. With years of experience now behind them Karen & Macca do it so well, and I'm glad they were catering and not me, it was a big job!
As usual, the meals were excellent, with lots of variety, and I know everyone on the trip enjoyed the repasts put together in often difficult circumstances, not to mention the swarms of flies that were a constant presence and nuisance every minute of every day until after the sun went down.

Tuna, Mushroom & Celery Pasta

This was made specially for the one vegetarian on the trip.
Serves 4

1 tblspn oil
1 x onion - finely chopped
fresh mushrooms (sliced - amount depending on your taste) or use 1 x med tin button mushrooms (sliced)
1 x med (410gm) tin Cream of Celery Soup
1 x med (410gm) tin tuna or salmon
salt, pepper
2 to 3 cups cooked, hot pasta - drained

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and fresh mushrooms. Sauté until just tender.
Add the soup, tuna (and tin mushrooms if using them) and mix.
Season with salt & pepper.
Bring to the boil, stirring gently.
Mix through the hot pasta and serve with some fresh crusty bread if you've got it.
Variation: If you want to make it a little richer, you can add a little cream or milk to the soup/tuna mix before mixing with the pasta.

Tira Misu - camping style

Serves 6

2 tblspns instant coffee
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup Sweet Marsala
1 x 250gm pkt Sponge Finger biscuits
1 x 85gm pkt Instant Vanilla Pudding mix
1 x 85gm pkt Instant Chocolate Pudding mix
(or use 2 pkts of the same flavour - but the chocolate and vanilla are a nice mix)
Optional (but nice): some cream and grated chocolate for serving.

Mix up the puddings as directed on the back of the packet. (It is usually around 600 ml of cold milk and mix until it thickens, about 3 minutes.) Set aside while you prepare the sponge fingers. The pudding should thicken slightly during this time.
Mix the coffee, water and marsala in a bowl.
Dip each sponge finger in this mix briefly, allowing it to soak up the liquid a little. Don't overdo it, or the fingers will become too soggy and fall apart.
Arrange half of the coffee soaked biscuits in the base of a bowl or plastic container and cover with the chocolate pudding mix.
Place the other half of the biscuits on top and then spoon over the vanilla pudding mix evenly over the biscuits.
Sprinkle with grated chocolate and top with cream (optional).
Place in the fridge and allow it to set for at least 30 minutes.
Note: While not as rich as the original recipe for Tira Misu, which uses mascarpone cheese and whipped cream, it's a lot easier to make when camping and tastes pretty good too.
Brandied Apples
Serves 4

4 x Granny Smith Apples - cored (do not peel)
1 cup dried mix fruit
1 to 2 tblspns brown sugar
1/2 cup Rum

Soak the dried fruit in the rum overnight.
Place (push, prod) the soaked fruit into the core of the apples.
Line your camp oven with some greased foil (to help keep it clean) and put in the apples. Pour any remaining fruit and liquid over the top of the apples.
Put on the lid and bake over the coals (with coals on top) for approx 30 to 40 mins, or until the apples are tender.
(At home, bake in a mod oven 180ºC for approx same time.)
Serve with custard.

Here of just some of the favourite recipes from the last Legendary Expedition. The expeditioners were exceptionally well fed by Karen & Macca of Red Desert Tours & Catering. I’m sure you’ll be envious of the sumptuous meals presented, and you’ll be able to give the meals a try for yourself.

Mars Bar Apples
Simple, delicious desert that the kids will love.
Serves 4

4 apples
1 Mars Bar or similar
Marsala (fortified desert wine) – optional for the kids!
Core the apples.
Cut the Mars Bar in half and then in half again lengthwise, so that you have 4 long fingers.

Push a finger of Mars Bar into each apple.
Line a baking dish with foil or baking paper and grease.
Place the apples in the baking dish and pour a little Marsala over the top of each apple. Bake for approx 15 to 20 mins, or until the apples are soft.
To serve, place an apple in a bowl, and spoon over any sauce from the bottom of the baking dish.
Can be served with cream and/or custard as well.

Tuna Pasta
On Good Friday, the dish was a delicious tuna pasta, and while not everybody likes tuna, or pasta, this was very tasty and enjoyed by all.
Serve approx 6

1 x onion – chopped
olive oil
6 to 8 anchovies – slightly mashed using a knife or fork
2 cloves garlic – crushed
1 tspn chilli flakes
10 capers – chopped
1 x med tin (420gm) whole or crushed tomatoes
1 x 420gm tin tuna in oil (the oil adds extra flavour to the sauce)
1 to 2 tblspns parsley – chopped (or to taste) (use dried parsley in place of fresh)
Salt & pepper to taste

Pasta noodles, shells or similar– cooked, hot
Drain the oil from the tuna into a pan.
Cook the garlic and chilli in hot oil, but don’t burn it. (If need be add a little extra olive oil.)
Add the capers, stir.
Add tomatoes (smash up the whole tomatoes), stir and heat.
Add tuna (don’t’ break it up too much). Stir.
Add parsley, salt & pepper to taste.
Add hot, cooked pasta, stir gently through to mix.
Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and crusty fresh bread (if you’ve got it!).


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