We have an abundance of rosemary growing in our garden right now. It’s been raining a lot lately, and it’s making the rosemary go nuts. Perfect excuse for roast lamb, which means leftover roast lamb, which means sandwiches! Even better, have that leftover meat with some tomato relish and an easy homemade rosemary damper.
Damper is a traditional Australian style of bread, which used to be baked mostly in the coals of a campfire. It was a plain bread, often eaten with butter and/or golden syrup. These days you can make it at home in an oven, which is less messy, and you can add all sorts of ingredients to make it a bit fancier.
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 cups self-raising flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated cheese
1 1/4 cups water
Saute the onion in some oil or butter until soft, set aside to cool. Preheat an oven to 180C and grease a biscuit tray.
Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips. Mix in the rosemary, onion and cheese. Add 1 cup of water and mix until it starts to come together as a dough. Turn out onto a floured workbench and knead it all together with your hands. Add extra water or flour as need while kneading to bring it to a smooth dough.
Shape into a round about 2 inches thick, and place on the tray. Cut a cross in the top of the dough about 1 cm deep. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle on some extra grated cheese if you want. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the damper is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it.
It’s dense stuff, so it’s pretty filling. Open sandwiches are usually a better bet with damper, or you can always just eat it as it is, fresh from the oven with a good amount of butter. Or use it to mop up gravy!
We had a sausage sizzle at our house last weekend, and I over-catered with the bread. I bought 4 loaves, but we only ended up using about 2. I froze the leftovers but I really had no idea what I was going to do with it all, considering we don’t really eat much bread in our house. So yesterday I decided to try making brad and butter pudding.
It turned out a little differently than I had originally envisaged, probably (like many other kitchen experiments of mine) due to my laziness – I couldn’t be bothered going to the shops to buy ingredients so I made do with substitutes that I found in the pantry.
It looked a mess but tasted good! The original recipe actually had butter in it, and also sultanas. No marmalade or Benedictine. I like how mine turned out though, so here’s the recipe:
8-10 slices slightly stale bread
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons caster sugar
30-45ml Benedictine (you could use Grand Marnier or Cointreau instead, we just had Benedictine sitting on the kitchen bench for some reason)
Spread the bread generously with marmalade and cut in half diagonally. Layer in a greased baking dish. Whisk together all the remaining ingredients and pour over the top of the bread, making sure the bread is well soaked. I squished it down into the dish with my hands to make sure all the bread had been moistened. Leave it to soak for about 30 minutes. Place the baking dish in a large pan of water, making sure the water comes about halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake in a moderate (180C) oven for about 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.
If you wanted to make it the regular way, switch the marmalade for butter, leave out the liqueur, and sprinkle sultanas between each layer of bread. Finish the dish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or mixed spice before baking.