Look what we found!

Look what we found… a nice shady spot to camp in a heatwave! We had a lovely couple of nights at Pit Hill Farm – the campsite we stumbled across when walking the Wayfarers walk in Hampshire.

We kept things simple this time. We had a new simpler camp set up to try out (more about that next time!). We also tried out some new easy camping food called ‘Look what we found”!! Very easy to use and tastey too!

Very pleased with both our finds!

R & L

Netting a nettle

When you are camping it can be fun to supplement your menu with a spot of foraging. Stinging nettles are good to forage for as they are easily recognisable… if not so easy to pick! I collect them with scissors (even the small ones on my swiss army knife will do the trick) and I snip them straight into a bag. A net bag is ideal – the sort that they now sell in some supermarket to discourage you from using plastic. The bag is lightweight and compact, closes to stop the leaves escaping and you can just hang it up when you get home and also use it to to dry the leaves. Just don’t cram it too full so that the air can circulate well to dry the leaves.

It’s best to harvest the young nettle leaves as they are more tender, and obviously you want to avoid the ones with caterpillars or other insects. Take them from the top of the plant, you don’t want the tough stalk or old leaves.

Freshly picked nettle leaves make excellent nettle tea, which is supposedly very good for you. If you look online it would seem there wasn’t anything that nettle couldn’t cure! I’m not sure about all those claims, but there seems consensus that they are rich in vitamins and minerals and are good for reducing inflammation.

Don’t worry – steeping in boiling water or cooking the nettles gets rid of the sting!

You can also use them in place of spinach in cooking – below is a picture of a tasty breakfast we made frying up bacon and mushrooms adding nettles.

Happy foraging!

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

The most important meal of the day #3

Sometimes we think it would be nice to have something lighter for breakfast … but it’s generally only a thought. We pretty much always end up having a cooked breakfast when we are camping – usually a fry up.

Sometimes we pack breakfast cereal. This is a good option if some of your camping party are the type who wake up hungry and can’t wait for the fire to get going and food to cook! The downside is that you need to store the milk for it. Long life milk could be an option, but we’ve a super cool box (which is just as well as one of the goats is a bit of a milk snob and likes fresh milk!!). Even so, milk is bulky.

Porridge is a good option, especially on chilly mornings. Even better it can be made very successfully with powdered milk, which is a versatile camping staple. I use a cup of rolled oats, 2 tablespoonfuls dried milk powder, 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt, boiled up on the stove to serve 2.

And of course porridge can be jazzed up in numerous ways – adding raisins is one of our favourites, or a sprinkling brown sugar on the top. Alpen museli also makes a good sprinkle topping. Or how about a swirl of cinnamon? Or stir through berries or chocolate chips? I like that ginger you get in syrup finely chopped and stirred through, but the other goat would not approve of that!

An alternative take on porridge is to make baked oats over the fire. This is oats (2 cups), sugar (3 tbsp), milk powder (3 tbp), baking powder (1 tsp) and a pinch of salt mixed up with an egg and some water (1 1/2 cups) and baked like a cake. Add some raisins and this also works well as a tasty snack for elevensies.

Being as you’re on holiday – how about treating yourself to pancakes?

Banana pancakes work well for breakfast: mash 2 bananas then stir in 4 heaped dessertspoonfuls of self-raising flour. Next stir in an egg, 2 dessertspoonfuls of sugar and 2 of milk powder. Thin the batter using 200 ml water and then cook spoonfuls in an oiled pan, turning to brown both sides. The end result looks like little scotch pancakes and taste delicious on their own as breakfast or with a little drizzle of maple syrup to make a dessert.

And who says you need to be camping to enjoy these breakfasts – I had banana pancakes this morning!

L

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

The most important meal of the day! #1

I’m sure someone such as your mother or grandmother probably told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Certainly breakfast is a very important part of camping!

So here are a few breakfast ideas to inspire you.

The classic fry-up

This is our default camping breakfast. We like other things… but often you can smell the bacon from your neighbours and inevitably you feel a bit jealous. We mix and match to keep things interesting – here are some of our favourite options:

sausages – chipolatas are the best as they cook quickly and are less likely to result in the burnt on the outside, raw in the inside phenomena!

bacon – cooked until it is nice and crispy, who can resist the smell of cooking bacon?

eggs – fried or scrambled. When I make scrambled eggs, for every egg I add a knob of butter, a splash of milk and my secret ingredient a knob of cheese!

mushrooms – a favourite of mine, roughly chopped and cooked in a pan with some butter. If you are doing a vegetarian breakfast you could also add a little finely chopped onion and some handfuls of spinach.

baked beans – not my favourite, but the other goat likes them. Fortunately you can buy half sized tins for exactly this eventuality!

tomatoes – cut in half and cooked briefly on both sides to mimic grilled tomatoes

bread – either bought, or if there’s plenty of time I often make damper bread in the dutch oven over the fire.

fried potatoes – always cut them into smaller cubes than you think is necessary to be sure they cook through

potato cakes – made with leftover potato from the night before or with instant mash, mixed with butter and flour and dry fried

griddle scones – good to rustle up out of stock ingredients (self-raising flour, egg, milk) and fried, my favourite varity have shredded cabbage in them too!

orange juice – I think this is an important accompaniment as the sharpness of the juice cuts through the fatty fry up. I get the longlife fruit juice when we’re camping as it makes storage easier.

a pot of tea – I don’t do anything before tea, let alone cook breakfast in a field!

More breakfast options to follow in the next post.

L

PS don’t forget to pack the ketchup! (I often do forget, much to the other goat’s disappointment!!)

Damper bread cooked in the Dutch Oven

Tasty camping lunches

Over lockdown, in anticipation of better days, I’ve been trying out new recipes for our camping trips!

Tasty lunches can be particularly tricky to plan out. You want something light, especially if you had a cooked breakfast not so long ago! You also want something that’s transportable with ingredients which won’t go off if you’ve only got a cool box not a fridge. Warm lunches can be particularly welcome if the weather’s a little chilly.

Here’s my latest find – quesadillas!

These are super simple – you just need tortillas (the soft kind – I used wheat ones), grated cheese, any other fillings you fancy and a frying pan.

Place cheese and other fillings on the torilla, pop another tortilla on top. Lightly oil your pan and heat on a medium heat. Cook the tortilla sandwich until the bottom is crispy and the cheese is melting. The melting cheese will help hold everything together when you flip it with a fish slice. Once the other side is also golden and toasted, transfer to a chopping board and cut into wedges.

“Queso” is cheese in Spanish and you need that to help them stick together, but in terms of fillings you could try adding to the cheese how about:

slices of tomato

sliced mushrooms

chopped olives

sliced spring onions

sliced avocado

spinach (although can be bit fragile to transport when camping)

wild garlic

ham (but be careful of how you store it if you’ve not got a fridge)

thinly sliced onion

…basically anything you fancy! I’m going to make these this weekend and try adding capers, because they transport so well for camping and I think the little bit of acidic bite will cut through the rich cheese well.

Different types of cheese are also worth trying – guyere works particularly well, but for camping I usually take pre-grated cheddar as it’s easier.

I’d love to hear your favourite quesadilla fillings – leave a comment if you want to inspire me!

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

I’d rather be…

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As the mug says – I’d rather be… camping.

Wouldn’t we all in this glorious spring weather?!

Instead this is a picture of me trying to perfect my campfire recipes by turning them all into tablespoons and cups – in the hope that one of these days I’ll get to do some more campfire cooking!

L

Vegetarian camping feast

I love preparing the menus for our camping trips, but I was a bit stumped when I needed to devise a vegetarian menu for whole of the bank holiday without using mushrooms or any citrus or apples!!

After a bit of pondering (and internet research)… this is what I came up with:

Friday dinner

stir fry with noodles (why have I never cooked this when camping before? I bought ready prepared packets of vegetable stir fry, some stir in sauce and dried instant noodles – a super fast supper, perfect when you need to eat fast after getting all the tents up!)

pineapple pan pudding (one of my dutch oven staples)

Saturday breakfast

shakshuka (basically eggs poached by simmering them in a tomato sauce)

freshly baked damper bread

Saturday lunch

macaroni cheese and salad (cooked in the Dutch oven)

Saturday dinner

dahl and naan bread (dahl is a cheap, easy and tasty Dutch oven meal.  The naan toast up quickly on the fire using the Dutch oven’s lid)

blueberry cake (this was my first attempt at blueberry cake in the Dutch oven – I think it was pretty successful and I’d make it again another time)

Sunday breakfast

cabbage griddle, scones egss and beans (cooked on the Primus stove, no time for Dutch ovens before church!)

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Cabbage griddle scones

Sunday lunch

pitta breads with cheese and leftover salad (toasted up on the griddle pan on the primus stove)

Sunday dinner

sweet potato, butternut squash and bean stew with beer bread (I’d never heard of beer bread before researching for this trip, but it is a delicious, if unhealthy loaf made – as the name would suggest – with beer and drowned in butter as it cooks!)

cinnamon swirl cake (another new recipe for me, served with custard straight from the carton)

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Three dutch ovens on the go at once!! Left is the beer bread, having already cooked on the fire, it is having fire just on the top to finish it off. Middle is our vegetable stew and top is the cinnamon butter melting ready to make the pudding!

Monday breakfast

Ah well, our trip was cut short by our trip to A&E so for Monday we didn’t have what I’d planned, rather we had the emergency cornflakes I’d brought and some of the cereal bars I’d made before we came.

Hope this menu inspires you if you also need to plan a vegetarian trip.

L