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:

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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!

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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

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