Magic baked beans

Ever since our trip to Kingaroy (peanut and navy bean country), I’ve been trying to make baked beans from scratch. We stayed in a gorgeous little self contained cabin, and breakfast was all prepared in the fridge. The delicious home-made baked beans held their shape and they tasted nothing like what you get in a tin.

First I wanted to try Maggie Beer’s recipe, but we couldn’t find any pork speck.

A few months later, I wanted to try Delia Smith’s recipe, which also appears in her new book Frugal Food. But I couldn’t find any streaky belly of pork as required. Matt suggested Kasseler (German ham) could work.

The biggest stumbling block is that beans take for-ever to cook, so there’s no way we can eat them for Sunday breakfast without planning ahead. By the time I decided I want to make them and read the recipe, I ended up disappointed that I should have started the day before.

For my third attempt, I bought some navy beans and shredded coconut (for biscuits) from the health food store. They sat together in the sun on our dining room table for about a week. When I added the beans to a bowl of water for soaking, they shriveled up and sprouted before our very eyes. It was the strangest thing!

Aside – I’m officially retiring from my short baked beans career and going back to tinned beans. (Matt loves Heinz – British recipe only, and I like the organic ones).

Road Trip – Kingaroy

peanuts

Last week we spent a lovely few days driving up to Kingaroy. We stayed in a self-contained hut at Deshons Retreat. On the way there we discovered a ‘pick your own strawberries’ spot and ended up with more than we could eat! Who knew you could get sick of strawberries!

The Swickers bacon was divine. The olives were outstanding.

If cheese is your thing you can try some either at Kingroy Cheese, or Cheese World a little way out at Goomeri.

If you like old-style biscuits pop into the Endeavour Biscuit Kitchen. They were an absolute bargain at only $2.50 a mixed tray, so I went back and bought a few more!

We visited a number of wineries and discovered purely by chance that we had picked the only ones that were open early in the week!

The most challenging part of visiting Kingaroy was finding out where to get bulk raw peanuts. It was a special request from my father. If you are after flavoured or boiled peanuts you really can’t go past The Peanut Van. Peanuts and navy beans are grown throughout the area, but unfortunately most peanuts sold in Woolies or Coles come from Asia and only “packaged in Australia”. Watch out for these, because they are not as stringently tested. We evently asked the right person at the TIC, and discovered you could buy them from the PCA factory across the road. The raw unshelled peanuts were half the price as retail, so it was worth it. We got some recipes with the sack, but I will warn you the smallest bag was 20kg!

Australian rainforest jam review

Rainforest Jam

While up on the Fraser Coast, we purchased some local nuts and a few petite jars of rainforest spreads. We tried the spreads with mini pikelets for breakfast.

Here are the results of our taste test:

Lemon Myrtle Honey (left)

This one was a thick lemon syrupy honey. We could clearly taste the tang of the Lemon Myrtle, with a base of Eucalyptus honey. One way to identify a Lemon Myrtle tree is to crush some of its leaves, and it gives off a similar lovely sweet smell of lemons!

Davidson’s Plum Jam (middle)

The labels described a “tart plum flavour, followed by a delightful tang.” We found it similar to normal plum jam and its mild taste was the most agreeable of the three. Davidson’s plum trees only grow in very limited regions of the Australian Rainforest.

Riberry Jam (Lillipilli Jam) (right)

The last one had a distinct taste that neither of us liked. The label says it is similar to “boysenberry and ginger”, so if you like these flavours perhaps this is the one for you. Riberries are only found in Australian rainforests on the east coast

If you would like to purchase and try any of these bush foods for yourself, visit Lemon Myrtle Refreshed’s website.