This page contain articles for cooking and product reviews.

Cooking – Date, Oat and Coffee Cookies

By Kerry

This recipe is a modified version of a Coles catalogue Date and Oat cookie recipe with coffee added. The coffee really adds to the flavour of the cookie. They are the ones we were waving around at the September Club Zoom meeting.

Makes                            Prep                                   Cooking

40                                    20 mins                              15 mins


  • ¾ cup (105g) dried pitted dates, coarsely chopped.
  • 3-4 heaped tsp ground plunger coffee in a coffee plunger with ½ cup boiling water*
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g butter
  • ½ cup (110g) caster sugar
  • ½ cup (110g) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (150g) plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 ½ cups (300g) rolled oats (not quick oats as they are too much like flour and absorb too much liquid)


  1. Preheat over to 180C. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Pour the boiling water over the coffee in a small plunger and leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Place the date, bicarbonate of soda and plunged coffee in a medium sized heatproof bowl and sit for 10 minutes for the dates to soak up the coffee liquid.
  3.  Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the sugars and butter in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat until just combined.
  4. Stir in flour, cinnamon, oats and date mixture. Press tablespoons full of mixture together and place on prepared trays, about 3cm apart.
  5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Set aside on trays to cool.

I found the recipe said 12 minutes, but they needed closer to 15 minutes to cook through as I did not flatten them on the trays before cooking. I think if you flatter them out, they will take 12 minutes.

  • Instant coffee could be used, but I think it is a bit bitter and not quite as smooth as plunger coffee.
Review – Kings Wireless Fridge Thermometer

Review by Kerry

As part of the fit out of the back of the Pajero, Graham has made a box to go over the left hand side wheel arch which we are calling “Mission Control”. It will house the MPPT solar controller, several USB outlets for charging phones, cameras etc., Engel fridge and cigarette lighter connectors, Anderson plugs for 12v out and solar input, fuse box, load meter to measure voltage power in and out and circuit breakers. The auxiliary Lithium battery is now in the 3rd row seat well along with the Ctek DC/DC charger.

We have been using a cheap aquarium thermostat in the fridge as it doesn’t have an inbuilt one. Their longevity isn’t great and it’s difficult to change the battery and maintain a good seal on the unit, so we decided to get a wireless one and mount the screen on the mission control box.

We bought the Kings wireless one from 4WD Supacentre for $25. It has had good reviews so decided to try it. The display screen is 75mm x 58mm and the sender unit a little smaller. Each unit requires 2 x AAA batteries and are supposed to last between 12 and 24 months depending upon the use. I read one review which said he only got 8 months, but given how cheap AAA batteries are, that’s not a problem.

We tested it in both the fridge and freezer against the aquarium thermostat we have (Graham has a few of them around !). It registered quite close to the aquarium one. The only downside is that it can take up to ½ hour to equalize if you have changing temperatures eg. take it from the fridge to the freezer. Once it’s settled, it’s quite happy. It also registers the ambient temperature, as well as the highest and lowest fridge temperature in the last  hours. The screen is easy to read and has a fold out stand and a mounting cutout if you want to have it on a nail or similar mount.

All in all, happy with it and the price is cheaper than those available on E-Bay. Delivery is an additional $5.

Review – Tent, Black Wolf Turbo 240 X-Lite LF

By Janelle

The purchase of this tent started with me wanting just a little more luxury. What we were looking for in a new tent:

  • More floor space
  • Room to stand up to get dressed
  • A vestibule
  • Not too heavy
  • The packaged tent needed to fit across the width of the Forester
  • Easy to put up

Vital Statistics:

  • Sleeps four: so enough room for two adults. There is room for a queen size air bed/mattress with enough space down each side for a small overnight bag and the general untidiness which goes with camping in a tent.
  • Sleeping area: stated as 240cm x 240cm – this is a little generous, more like 220cm x 220cm.
  • Maximum head height: 210cm. Suits us perfectly.
  • Packed dimensions: 120 x 25 x 25cm. These dimensions vary each time we pack it. As is the case for these things it never packs the way it was when it was new.
  • It fits across the width of the Forester.
  • Made from: the tent inner, fly and floor are all made from some sort of polyester.
  • Frame: 23mm Alloy Upright Poles and 12.7mm Composite Roof Poles
  • Weight: 14kg
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime (whatever that means)

Other features:

  • A loop to hang a light from.
  • There are two zippered condensation vents in the roof which seem to work well.
  • An opening low down on one side of the tent through which one could run a power cord for lighting or charging of phones.
  • Low level pockets on each side of the tent in which to store spectacles etc. whilst sleeping.
  • There are three zippered pieces to the vestibule. The centre one of these can be extended as an awning. I think poles and pegs are not supplied for this.
  • We use one side of the vestibule for entry and exit, away from the weather side.
  • There are two windows and each has storm flaps on the outside which can be rolled up or pegged out depending on the weather.

Setting Up:

The tent is easy to put up, but does require pegging out square which can involve a bit of adjusting and repegging. (Dale’s job.)

  • The inner is permanently attached to the poles.
  • Once the tent is pegged at each corner, the poles are straightened and with the top popped it becomes self-standing (barring gale force winds).
  • At this stage the fly requires two people to pull it over the top. For a single person you would lay the fly over the top of the tent before erecting it.
  • There are two curved aluminium tubes that are threaded through the front of the fly (joining in the middle and attaching to the tent frame) to create the roof of the vestibule. This process is a little fiddly but gets easier with practice.
  • Once the fly is velcroed in place, it of course needs to be pegged out.
  • There are the normal number of pegs for a tent of this size and it takes as long as it takes.

Packing up:

  •  A little care is needed pulling on the popped top from the inside. Once that is done, from the outside, bend the poles at the joints and fold the tent material almost as one would an umbrella (it’s a lot messier though). There are two straps to hold all of this in place.
  • Fold the fly separately (we all know how easy that is to get neat), place in the bag and hope it all fits.

Our thoughts:

  • Good for standing camps. We will continue to use the hiking tent or roof top camper for other trips.
  • We would have liked the vestibule to be a little larger but there are always compromises with weight/size and ease of erection.
  • We find it easy to erect, probably no quicker than other tents we’ve erected in the past. (Divorce warning – practice putting the tent up at home.
  • It does not come with a ground sheet nor is there one available for purchase. This is a pity as it would make getting the tent square a lot easier.
  • The walls are relatively vertical which makes standing up easy, but even so one needs to stand on the bed to achieve this, which can be a little unstable.
  • The vestibule is high enough for us to stand in which is great for taking off and putting on of shoes etc. There is a small amount of space for storage of folded up chairs etc. and it keeps your boots dry.


  • We are quite happy with the purchase – $560 from Snowys.
  • More low pockets in the tent would be handy for storing phones, glasses etc whilst sleeping. So easy to lose things in a tent.
  • I like the feeling of more space and height.
  • Despite being a lot bigger than our hike tent it still felt cosy and warm in the Omeo weather.
  • It hasn’t been battered by Portland winds as yet but we are hoping it would stand up to such winds at least in a sheltered spot.
Review – Tent, Darche Urban 350 with awing wings

By Duncan

Lee and I purchased a new tent, actually it was a birthday present from Lee and the rest of the family, with the view of using it as a tent for standing camps. Our old single pole tent is OK for roaming camps as it is very quick to set up but affords little room to move and the awing flag on the single pole tent offers no real protection against the weather.

After much research the Darche Urban 350 was the pick, good reviews, quality canvas and more room but still reasonably quick to set up. Using just a single internal pole and an external lean pole setup for the back part. We also purchased an A-frame pole set up so that the single centre pole can be removed allowing for even more room. There are only 4 pegs for the main floor, but there are so many ropes that keep the tent grounded along with windows that can be opened for ventilation whist still keeping the rain out along with small flaps lower down the tent for greater air flow if need be.

Measuring 350cm X 260cm we can easily store our clothes and anything else we need to store in the tent. And tall enough to stand up in. With the A-frame pole set up allows for hanging space so if we need to hang anything on coat hangers we can easily do so. Lee now can use a lower more comfortable stretcher (the one she used to use was a lot higher so we could store stuff underneath it…) which also takes up less room in the back of the ute. The awning flaps when attached expand the weather protection to the point where you can bring the kitchen sink and leave it set up…..
Our first outing was on Steve’s trip up to the High Country over the Queen’s Birthday weekend, good trip too, and we had a little bit of rain, we stayed nice and dry along with all the camp gear we left out under the awning and wings, great feature those awning wings, every single pole tent should have them as an option.

Packing up was an easy exercise too, the tent actually went back into the bag without too much trouble even with a damp tent. Darche are clearly not one of those companies that make their tent bags where you need to be a magician to get it back into it, we managed pretty easily and knowing we had to hang the tent under the carport when we got home to dry it, we weren’t particularly careful when folding it up. We need to sort out what to do with the awning wings, they don’t fit in the bag but as they are an accessory you can understand that.
So would I recommend a Darche Urban 350 tent (or even the smaller 260 which you can also fit the awning wings)? Yes I would. Easy to set up, plenty of tie down points for when going away with Mike and Meredith as they always bring the wind on every trip we have been on together, rain too…. Not the cheapest tent out there, not the dearest either but the quality is very good and am very happy with my birthday present. Roll on my standing camp trips.

Cooking – Best Carrot Salad ever


Ready in just a few minutes, this is undoubtedly the Best Carrot Salad EVER! Try it once and I can guarantee that it will become your go-to carrot salad recipe! Just be sure not to leave the secret ingredient out...For the salad

  • 4 medium carrots grated
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons pecans chopped
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley

For the dressing

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (I use olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon unpasteurized honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh gingerroot
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large mixing bowl. Set aside
  2. In a small container or measuring cup, combine the avocado oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, gingerroot, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk vigorously with a fork or flat whisk until well combined and slightly emulsified. Pour over the reserved salad and toss well.
  3. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with more pumpkin seeds, chopped parsley and grated coconut, if desired.
  4. Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to allow flavours to meld.