Watching for rogue flames.As James' birthday is the first after the bushfire season is over we normally celebrate with a bonfire. This achieves several benefits: gets rid of a lot of our excess tree cuttings, makes James' birthday memorable, gives the children an excuse to run around in the dark with a torch (flashlight), and lets us cook marshmallows and damper bread.
The first step is building up a pile of wood to be burned at a safe distance from the house, trees, vehicles and anything else flammable. Then we ensure a working hose and shovel are nearby to control any rogue flames or sparks. Then we get the fire nice and roaring to quickly burn the bulk of the stuff. Eric was standing by with the hose. When a small area of grass caught fire he quickly doused it with water and continued his vigil.
Cooking damper without cooking Peter.The theory is to let the fire burn down to embers and then nicely roast marshmallows or damper bread. But patience is a virtue and the children would rather start cooking now! The first thing we cooked was Damper Bread. The children had a number of different methods to cook their bread whilst not cooking themselves. Some covered their faces whilst others faced away from the fire. They then started using the spare bits of play equipment. You can see them lying down behind some red pieces in Clare's photo and Peter decided to use a tunnel piece as a mini tower.
Once the damper was finished we introduced our friends to Smores. We were first exposed to them in 2004 (here) and we have started using an Australian equivalent. We don't have Graham crackers here and we wanted nicer chocolate than Hershey's and tasty Australian Marshmallows.
2 Morning Coffee biscuits
2 squares Cadbury chocolate
Melt the marshmallows over fire embers. The outside whould be thin and crunchy with the centre all melted.
Place the chocolate on the biscuit and using the top biscuit move the marshmallow from the stick onto the biscuit and squeeze. The marshmallow melds the top and bottom biscuit with the chocolate meling in the middle. The name comes from the first thing the person eating it says with their mouth full, "'smore please".
By midnight the fire was just embers so I doused the lot in water, then shovelled the rest around with dirt and then more water until there were no glowing embers left. We waited a short while and re-watered and stirred the lot. We did not want any fires to start because we were negligent!