Rhoda Roberts’ Johnny Cake recipe

There is nothing like Christmas and a bit of Johnny Cake to mop up that fat from Mutton Birds, Porcupine and other yummy foods. Always keep a bit of treacle or honey close by for that cuppa tea.

I was taught to bake this by my grandmother in the open coals… the best time to cook it is after the fire has burnt down and all that’s left is the hot coals. Her secret was to add more flour if it’s sticky when you’re kneading it. At the end, you should be able to hold it up and it won’t break.


  •  2 cups flour (I use self-raising flour, but this is optional)
  •  A pinch of salt
  •  2 teaspoons of sugar
  •  2 garlic cloves and some herbs
  •  10 olives, pitted and finely sliced
  •  Ground black pepper, to your taste  (I add quite alot)
  •  Sesame seeds (use as many as you want. I prefer them already slightly toasted as they go crunchy)
  •  1 teaspoon of olive oil (extra virgin olive oil is the best)
  •  ¾ cup of milk or water


1. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the olive oil and mix.

2. Start kneading the bread, then add the milk or water. Keep kneading until it’s ready.

3. If cooking it in ashes, you need to flatten the area with a stick and pat it down.

4. Place the dough on the ashes for about 10 minutes.

5. Then cover the whole damper and the top with the ashes. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

6. You can often tell when it’s just right: tap the damper and it will sound hollow. The ashes will brush off easily when it’s ready.


More recently I have still cooked in the ashes but wrapped the damper in aluminum foil you need to wrap about 6 times around and it takes a lot quicker to cook and seems to hold the garlic a lot better, comes out a bit more moist. (but its better if you’re camping and don’t have any butter…)

Or you can oil a camp oven and stick it in there.


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