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!