A day in Raq’s kitchen

Host: Carlton Hill
Written by Raqual – Station Cook, Carlton Hills Station.

Its 4am and my alarm is screeching at me to get up . . . It’s a good thing I love these early mornings . . . No one else is around . . . It’s just me and the cane toads . . . Disgusting company but at least they don’t try to talk to me!

The hardest meal of the day is breakfast. Station cooking is generally based around using your imagination when it comes to left over’s but breakfast is a real challenge. It is the meal they will start the day with and it needs to be filling and nourishing. By 6am my kitchen is filling with bleary eyed ringers searching for coffee and something to fill them up. I’ve been up for hours and have at least three coffees in me so I’m cheery and calling out Good Morning and getting grunts in return.

2-2Home-made bread rising.

Somewhere around 6:30am everyone gets their orders for the day it’s onto making packed lunches which can turn my kitchen into subway and me into sandwich artist extraordinaire! Getting a cake in the oven then fitting in a quick half hour walk before that cake is cooked is a top priority as I function much better if I can get that walk in. I get a batch of ANZAC biscuits in the oven while I update Raq’s Kitchen facebook page and check on the cake competition. We have some amazing entries so far. I check the time and its 8:30 already . . . that cake still needs to be iced and those mini pies won’t make themselves. And who gave my cleaning fairies the day off!! The floor needs sweeping and the dishes need doing and those windows are filthy!

By 9:30 the cake is iced and the biscuits are in the jar . . . Mini pies are plated up . . . Watermelon is cut and I’ve even cleaned the windows . . . It’s time to ring the bell and call the hungry mob in for a feed.

Between smoko and lunch I have to do mincing and cut up Y-bones but the bandsaw is broken which means I have to bone out the shoulders instead. I beat my head against the cold room door in frustration. It can’t be 11:45 already . . . Chickens need to be fed and the floors need doing and the bin is overflowing and the cupboard doors are grubby . . the walls need to be wiped . . . and what is that smell coming out of the staff fridge? I still need to check on things at the guest house. Is it time to ring that bell yet?


Lunch is an easy contract today after both bore runners and the overseer took packed lunches so I make up some salad wraps and iced coffee then sit down for a bite to eat and a quick chat with the builders who are here fixing a few of our rooms, the Gardener, and the Govy. Everyone is excited that stock camp are due back tomorrow.

Finally its 1pm . . . Lunch is done and it is time for my nap [A note to new people “Do not interrupt the cooks nap” it won’t end well for you]. By 4:30 there is a curry cooking just nicely and the aroma is spreading across the station to the workshop and sneaking in through the door of the office and making tummy’s rumble everywhere. The fairies still haven’t wiped down the cupboard doors so I grab a cloth and get cleaning [Note to self: send complaint to the fairy union].

5:30 . . . all I can hear is the sound of beer cans being opened as people knock off for the day and unwind with a beer. I make a coffee and join them for a chat until I serve dinner at 7pm . . . That bell gets its final flogging of the day. By 8pm dinner has been cleaned up and it’s time for bed. Oh wait . . . what . . . is that my alarm going off already!


P.S Below are a few photos of some of my creations – you can see the rest of them on my Facebook page Raq’s Kitchen!