Larrikins on the loose

“Or what you can achieve in a pandemic when you have no idea what you are doing.”

Photographer Peter Lorimer is a self confessed “larrikin on the loose.” When Australia first went into lockdown in March 2020, and confined to his Newcastle apartment, he was on the hunt for something to break the boredom.

“I was seriously going mad,” he reminisces. “After yarning to my son Jack, who was based in Gunnedah and also going stir-crazy, we decided to launch a camp oven cook-off via videos and texts on our phones, a little bit of friendly banter and an excuse to sample a cold beer and a thinble of fine Bundy rum.”

Peter set up a camp kitchen on his fourth floor apartment verandah while Jack stoked his backyard fire pit, setting the scene for the inaugural showdown as they were cooking up a storm with red wine lamb shanks with vegetables and a damper (Peter) and “a fine red wine and garlic beef stew” (Jack). “That’s the day we woke up a sleeping giant,” Peter chuckles.

By the next weekend, 20 camp oven enthusiasts had joined in, and the numbers kept on growing, eventually reaching more than 12,000 fired-up members from across Australia and overseas, including renowned Australian bush poet Murray Hartin who became a co-host and created the camp oven cook-offs very own poem.

The rules were simple: post pictures of your ingredients, of the camp oven while cooking, and a plated up version of your results. With hundreds of posts every week, mindblowingly mouthwatering creations (and a fair share of disasters), Peter and Murray have now selected the best recipes for the ultimate camp oven cooking bible and we are excited to serve up a few samples for you.

Camp Oven Cooking, The complete Aussie Guide by Pete Lorimer, Muz Hartin, Jack Lorimer
Camp Oven Cooking is a unique recipe collection collated from contributions to The Great Coronavirus Camp Oven Cookoff Facebook page.It’s perfect for anyone who wants to have fun with food and get the whole family involved with cooking on a fire or gas burner.
160pp, paperback, Wilkinson Publishing, RRP $39.99. Available via the
The Great Coronavirus Camp Oven Cook off Facebook page or on

Check out some of the recipes in the Summer issue of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.