Damper snakes and smores: 4 kid-friendly summer campfire recipes

Keep it simple and get the kids on board to gather around  the fire and get cooking.

Words and recipes: Catherine Milford

This campfire food is child’s play and a great way to get kids interested in cooking. Fun and easy to assemble, these dishes only require a handful of ingredients – and, of course, some well-supervised flames.

Cooking with foil is not only a sneaky way of doing away with the dishes, but gives you the versatility of cooking with meat and veggies, as well as making sweet treats, such as baked apples, or that perennial favourite, s’mores – the bacon version isn’t as strange as it sounds!

Makes: 4 Ready in: 35 minutes

8 pieces tinfoil, big enough to wrap the chicken breasts and veggies
1 red onion, sliced into rings
4 chicken breasts
150g barbecue sauce
2 zucchini, sliced thickly on an angle
2 capsicums, deseeded and quartered
8 asparagus spears, trimmed
Salt and pepper, to taste

1 Place two pieces of tinfoil on top of each other to create a double layer; this helps to protect the food during cooking. Place a thin layer of onion rings in the centre of the tinfoil sheets, top each with a chicken breast and brush meat liberally with barbecue sauce.
2 Divide the zucchini, capsicum and asparagus between the foil packs, season, then wrap tightly to seal.
3 Cook in the outer embers of the fire, or on a grill over the fire, for 20-25 minutes, turning at least once to ensure the meat cooks evenly. When cooked, the chicken juices will run clear. Peel back the foil and enjoy.

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Makes: 4 Ready in: 30 minutes

8 pieces tinfoil, for wrapping the apples
4 Granny Smith apples, cored
200-250g mixed dried fruit and nuts (any combination will do – cranberries, raisins, chopped walnuts and citrus peel are delicious)
2 tsp demerara or palm sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 lemon
40g butter

1. Place two pieces of tinfoil on top of each other to create a double layer and sit a cored apple in the centre. Repeat with the remaining tinfoil and apples.
2. Combine the fruit, nuts, sugar and cinnamon, then squeeze lemon juice into the mixture to taste. Spoon the mixture into the centre of the apples, then divide the butter evenly on top.
3. Seal the foil packages and place in the outer embers of the fire, or on a grill tray, for 20 minutes, turning regularly, or until the apples are soft and cooked through.
4. Serve as they are or with a dollop of custard or drizzle of cream.

Makes: 4 Ready in: 20-25 minutes

2 cups self-raising flour
2 Tbsp salted butter
1 generous pinch salt
2 tsp sugar
2 cups milk
Suggested toppings: butter, golden syrup, jam, honey and cinnamon, Vegemite/Marmite, or peanut butter

1. Place flour in a bowl and rub the butter through it with your fingers until it’s crumbly. Add salt, sugar and milk, then mix with a fork or your hands to form a dough.
2. Divide the dough into four pieces. Roll each piece into a sausage shape, then wind it around a clean, dry stick or skewer. Hold over the campfire to cook, turning the damper regularly.
3. Serve hot with butter and your favourite topping.

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Tip: Before the kids hold their sticks over the fire, protect little hands by wrapping them in a damp tea towel.

Makes: 4 Ready in: 10 minutes

4 rashers streaky smoked bacon
4 marshmallows
8 digestive biscuits or oatcakes
4 tsp salted caramel (optional)

1. Grill the bacon until crispy in a frying pan or on a rack over the campfire. Set aside.
2. Soak 4 bamboo skewers or sticks (to stop them burning), thread a marshmallow onto each and cook over the campfire, turning regularly, until marshmallows are gooey.
3. Add a bacon rasher and marshmallow to 4 of the biscuits. Add a smear of salted caramel (if desired) to the remaining 4 biscuits, then sandwich together. Serve immediately.

Makes: 5 Ready in: 10 minutes

10 pieces of chocolate
10 Oreo biscuits, twisted apart
10 marshmallows

1. Place a piece of chocolate on each of the Oreo halves that doesn’t have any filling.
2. Soak 10 skewers or sticks (to stop them burning), thread a marshmallow onto each and cook over the campfire, turning regularly, until marshmallows are gooey.
3. Press the melted marshmallows onto the chocolate pieces, then sandwich with the remaining biscuit halves. Serve immediately.


This recipe was first published in our special edition In Your Backyard: Food & Fire. The next edition of the In Your Backyard series, Urban Harvest is out on March 26.  It features everything New Zealanders need to know to grow food in the city. It is packed with expert advice on how to start a productive veggie garden, the best crops to grow and how to create awesome soil.  PLUS: space-saving ideas for vertical growing, container gardening, hydroponics, microgreens, espalier  trees and edible hedges  – even how to forage. Pre-order your copy here.

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