The glint of a teardrop!

In our last post we mentioned seeing the glint of the tops of campervans at Pit Hill Farm and going to explore. Not only did we find campsite but a friendly farmer who invited us to come and try out the site sometime.

We also found a friendly camper and proud owner of a beautiful new teardrop camper. I’d never seen anything quite like it, so I had to take some photos for you.

So compact and yet everything you need! And stylish with it.

We everso nearly went camping at Pit Hill recently, but a bout of COVID put a rain check on the plans. Hopefully we’ll try it out soon and of course we’ll let you know how we get on.

L

More cakes from a tin

As well as using up out-of-date tins on our camping trips, I’ve been taking my out-of-date ‘rewards’ for helping at the food bank home each week and turning them into a snack for the food bank volunteers coffee break the following week.

I’ve made a Christmas-cake style fruit cake with out-of-date tinned pineapple, hungarian peach cake, low-fat brownies with out-of-date prunes, chocolate crispy cakes with out-of-date strawberry flavoured rice crispies! None of which would be particularly suited to cooking on a campsite.

One week however I was rewarded with a tin of out-of-date raspberries and I made one of my favourite fire recipes for them & made them guess the mystery ingredient! It was a raspberry & thyme cake.

This particular one was baked in my oven at home, but it works well on the fire. I invented the recipe myself, so I can share it with you here:

Raspberry & Thyme Cake

Mix together:

2 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1/3 cup dried milk powder

pinch of salt

Stir in:

Juice from a 300g tin of raspberries

1 egg

1/2 teaspoonful dried thyme

Gentle stir the raspberries through the batter.

Put into a lined, greased 1 lb loaf tin.

sprinkle the top with 1-2 tablespoonfuls of chopped mixed nuts.

Cook for about 40 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. (If using a domestic oven, go for something like 170C. If you are using a dutch oven, use a trivet to raise the tin off the bottom of the oven, have fire just licking the bottom and have as much fire as you can on top of the oven.)

If you try it out, let me know how you get on!

And if you donate to your local foodbank, please make sure your donation is well in date, so it can help a hungry person!!

L

Anticipating tasty camping trips ahead

I got a new cookery book for Christmas – and I’m hopeful it will provide inspiration for some good camping meals!

Long-life ingredients are ideal for camping when you have limited space in your cool box. I’ve already adapted some recipes from Jack’s earlier book (A girl called Jack) for previous trips. So I’m hopeful of some new inspiration for 2022’s camping trips!

As you can see, I purchased some tins to start trying it out straight away!! The first recipe I tried was tasty, but not ideal for campfire cooking as it was a pie!

L

Top camping tip #2

Here’s another top camping tip idea we came up with recently… pack a thermos flask to save hot water!

Nothing happens quickly on a campsite, but boiling the kettle seems to take forever! We spend a LOT of time waiting for the kettle to boil… although perhaps thats because we spend a lot of time drinking tea and coffee!?!

Once it has boiled, put any hot water you don’t use into a thermos flask. It will stay warm enough for washing up, or if you want another cuppa later, then using warm water in the kettle will save precious camping gas!!

R

The most important meal of the day! #2

I hope the post about fried breakfasts whetted your appetite?

A fry up isn’t the only way to do a cooked breakfast when you’re camping – here are a few more cooked breakfast options…

1) Shakshuka

This is a good vegetarian option – eggs poached in a tomato sauce with spinach or kale.

2) Omlette

This one is a mushroom omlette with tomatoes and spinach as a side. Mushroom is my favourite omlette and mushrooms also transport well for camping. I think the trick for making a good omlette is to cook it in butter. I cook whatever’s going in the omlette first and then add more butter to the pan. When the butter’s all melted I add the eggs which I’ve already beaten with a splash of water & salt and pepper.

3) Breakfast stew

We’ve been refining this over our last few camping trips. Basically it’s a fry up in a pot!! This is our best attempt so far – chipolatas, chorizo & mushrooms fried, then add baked beans, barbecue sauce and tinned cherry tomatoes, get it boiling and poach some eggs in the sauce.

Sorry if you’re now feeling hungry!

L

Our knight in shining armour?

Ok well sadly not.  We would be very happy if a knight in shining armour did turn up to help out with the washing up, but for now we’ll just have to make do with a piece of his chainmail!

Yes, that’s right, the latest addition to our campsite washing up system is a scourer made of chainmail.

chainmail scourer

Chainmail scourers are ideal for cleaning dirty dutch ovens.  They scrape, but don’t scratch and the food residue is easily cleaned out of the chain mail cloth.

They are easily available online ( for example here ).

We are very pleased with ours.  It has been well used over the last month or so we’ve had it.  The dutch ovens are now all washed and seasoned and tucked away in the shed… although we’re hopeful there might be more fire food yet, even if camping might be over for the season.

L & R

Fuel for the fire

A good fire is very important.  Especially if cooking your dinner relies on a getting a good blaze going.  Dinner is also VERY important!

Usually when we go to a campsite we buy whatever wood they sell us.  Indeed some campsites insist that you burn their wood.  But as you’ll have seen on our campsite reviews not all the sites sell good wood.  Sometimes it smoulders and smokes rather than burning nicely, I guess because it hasn’t been seasoned long enough and isn’t properly dry.

We’ve tried various different other types of fire fuel – including ones made out of coffee grounds and made out of newspapers.  However, our favourites are these:

20200620_180138

According to the packet they are made from recycled sawdust and shavings, which are dried and then tightly packed together after being compressed at high temperatures.  No additives or chemicals – just compressed wood.

You buy them in B&Q.  Well, when they are in stock, which seemed to be pretty much never last year!! This year I saw them sitting there before lockdown and although I  had no plans for camping or fires I bought a couple of packs, just because I could!

They always burn nicely and are a good to suppliment any substandard wood you’re made to buy!  Not only are they very dry, meaning they light easily and aren’t too smokey, but they are designed with a hole through the middle, which lets the air through, getting a good blaze going.

They are also a good size for putting on top of the dutch ovens for when I’m using them for baking.  Previously I used charcoal briquettes for this, as in the picture below, but that didn’t last long as I was forever losing the little lumps in the fire!

IMG_20150905_192609

Now I just stick burning wood on the top.  It can be a bit precarious and I need to swap them around as the logs on the top tend to go out. These regular sized, little logs with their holes to help them burn, work well for balancing on top.

L

There’s no rule about fires…

There are lots of rules these days, and we’re trying our best to stick to them… but as far as we could tell there’s no rule stopping two goats sitting by a fire in a garden eating some fire food!

Last night it wasn’t raining, so we enjoyed a relaxed evening looking at the fire and eating.  Not only were we the regulation 2m apart – we had a smoke screen between us from the fire.

We tried out a new recipe – coconut vegetable curry.  It passed the test of being easy to cook on the fire and also tasty, so that will be added to our camping repertoire!  Hopefully not too much longer now ?!?!

L & R