Finding Rusty Gold!

Finding Rusty Gold

Have you ever dug up an old piece of treasure?

I like to hunt around markets and car boots sales for any cast iron cooking pieces and just happened to stumble across a beautiful piece of rusty gold, an old camp oven. Little did I know it really would be a piece of treasure! She wasn’t much to look at for a first glance, covered in rust and a crack in her lid. However I bought her and took her home anyway. I was originally going to use her as a decorative piece in the garden but, after removing some of the rust I found markings underneath the lid.

A classic piece of history

I did some research and found that the Etna Foundry in Glasgow made this piece. This foundry operated between 1877 and 1911. It makes you wonder how this piece came to be in Australia and what could have been cooked in it all those years ago. It could have been haggis for all we know! This gave me the inspiration to try my hand at restoring her to her original condition. I set to work removing all visible traces of rust, cutting her back to smooth cast iron and I did this using a wire brush attached to a grinder. I visited an old mate who is handy with a welder and got the crack repaired once I cleaned her up.

The lid came up real nice and it impressed me with how well the entire camp oven was cleaning up. The next step after removing the rust was to season the camp oven or get it ready to cook in once again.

Seasoning the rusty gold

Seasoning any camp oven is a simple process. It involves applying a light coating of olive oil to the cast iron then heat treating it at a high temperature. I gave her a good wash with hot, soapy water then rinsed her off. Next I dried her then applied a thin layer of olive oil spray. I placed the camp oven inside the hooded barbecue which was set to a very high temperature . This allowed the oil to soak into the cast iron and blacken up.

This old girl was ready to cook in after she received her second seasoning process. Cast iron cookware pieces are so convenient when travelling and camping, so I’ve put together this tasty recipe for the upcoming Easter season that is quick and simple to make. This Easter damper has no yeast, so you don’t need to wait around for the yeast to activate and the dough to rise. Simply combine the ingredients and bake, then enjoy!

Check out this video on how to season your rusty camp oven with a BBQ!


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