Camp cooking means pot noodles. Right? While these can be great when you’re struggling for time and soaking wet from the down pour – English weather is great isn’t? – there could be so much more for you to explore.
I love to cook and create my own meals, however this is all at home where you have everything you need, how do you do it on a campsite? It’s taken time to understanding planning and learning what you can take with you.
I have all my utensils, chopping board and various different pots and pans. My staple camp kitchen items are a wooden spoon and spatula, billy cans (these are great as they can be used together to form a lid as well as a pot), a small dutch oven, chopping board and knife, herbs and spices (Tic-Tac containers are great for housing these) and tin foil (great for keeping things warm, while other stuff cooks or cooking in itself).
With regards to the actual cooking a simple fire can assist you in so many ways. However if this is not possible a couple of gas canisters with the attachments will do the trick.
Prepping your food can be done anywhere. Ant has made us a wooden box to carry all our camp kitchen items in the canoe and this acts as a great table and work surface for meal preps. Below I prepped the food in our tent where you can see the billy cans working together to form a lidded pot.
Outside prep is also just as fun. After a day of canoeing the Norfolk broads we decided to cook at the waters edge and not go back to the campsite. Here I’m cooking some chicken pasta – first time we’ve used vacuum packed smoked chicken.
So onto some recipes that we use a lot while we’re out camping.
Tomato and eggs (Shakshuka)
This dish is an extremely easy and quick recipe for any breakfast. You could mix it up and add and change ingredients to what you have available.
- A handful of spring onions (chopped)
- Diced or sliced chorizo (optional)
- A can of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 can of baked beans
- Chopped chilli or spice if you like it a little hotter
- 2 eggs
In a pan heat some oil. Add in the chopped spring onion. Wait till this has started to go soft and add in the chorizo. Once cooked add the chopped tomatoes, beans and chilli. Let it cook through and thicken up a bit. Add the eggs and cover, to cook the top of the egg. Serve up and enjoy.
Here we only had one egg left so had to share!
Who doesn’t love a good curry? And especially when you’re out in the wild it’s great to have something to warm you up and make you think of a take-away at home – but a better version of course!
If you have a fire you could always slow cook your curry throughout the day, building those lovely smells for you to enjoy later. Or we normally get it cooking in the evening and enjoy the fire. Any curry recipe would work well, but I’ve done a simple one below as a starter. We use meat if we have it available or with the picture below it was a mushroom and vegetable curry.
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- Piece of fresh ginger, chopped
- Can of chopped tomatoes
- Spices – we love using garam marsala, cumin, chilli
- Chicken (optional) or mushrooms
- Vegetables like courgette, squash or peppers also work well in a curry.
We use our dutch oven over the fire for our curries but a pan on a gas ring would work just as well.
Heat a little oil then add the chopped onions, followed by the garlic and ginger once the onions have browned a little. Add the spices. After a minute or two, If using chicken, or any other meat, add this now and cook through. Add any vegetables you are using and add the chopped tomatoes. Stir well and leave to cook through waiting for the sauce to thicken.
Enjoy with bannock bread as a naan (see recipe below) and rice, cooked in billy cans.
What pizza? I hear you say! Yes you can even have home made pizza while camping!
You can have anything you like as the topping.
With the dough mix you can prepare the dry ingredients in a zip-lock bag before you go and just add the water when you are ready to eat.
1 pizza per dutch oven, dough mix can make up to 3 pizzas. (This does depend on your dutch oven size)
- 2 cups (200g) bread flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 7g fast action yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup (236ml) warm water (enough to make a dough)
Leave the mixture to raise for about an hour.
Place baking paper in the dutch oven, helps the dough not to stick and saves on washing up! The paper can also be re-used again too, just make sure there is non hanging over the edge of the oven, as they’ll burn and fall on the pizza when you remove the lid.
As for the toppings, you can use anything, some good examples are:
- Tomato puree (add water and herbs to form the base of the pizza)
- Parmesan cheese (this can last out of the fridge for about a week)
- Spring onions
- Sausage/dried meats (some don’t need the fridge and are great to use on pizzas)
Place the dutch oven onto the fire embers and top with more embers to cook the pizza through. You just need to keep an eye on the embers and that the pizza is cooking evenly.
Once cooked, cut up and enjoy. We usually have it with some wedges.
- Potatoes, cut into wedges shapes
- Spices, we use cajan spice
- Splash of oil
Place in a billy can, we use the smaller one as the base and the larger as a lid and place on the fire. Keep an eye on them so the don’t stick to the bottom and cook evenly.
This is a wonderful recipe to warm you up after a day walking, swimming or even just relaxing on the beach.
You could remove the minced beef from this recipe if you don’t have it available and make it vegetarian.
- Onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- Pack of minced beef
- Fresh chilli’s (if you have them) or use a chilli spice or paprika
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 400g of kidney beans
- Any other mixed beans you have if you are making this vegetarian
- 1 beef stock cube
- Salt and pepper to taste
We cook this in our dutch oven, using a tripod to hang it over the fire, but you can also use a pan on a smaller heat source.
Place a splash of oil in a pan and add the onions. Once soften add the beef and brown the meat. Add the garlic and any chilli’s/chilli powder, cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and kidney beans with the stock cube. Season with some salt and pepper.
Simmer over the heat and cover if you have a lid or with tin foil. Adjust the seasoning if needed and enjoy with some rice, cooked in a separate pan.
Who says you can’t bake while you’re out in the wilds.
I have fallen in love with this style of camp bread and use it for everything from breakfast to a naan breads with our curries. It is a simple basic recipes that just involves frying the bread to cook it, meaning everyone can easily enjoy this beautiful luxury of freshly baked bread.
Again you can mix the dry ingredients together before you leave and just add water when you are ready to eat. This makes about 4 rolls of bread or you can also do one big loaf.
- 4 cups (480g) plain or potato flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- Water (enough to make a dough)
Mix the dry ingredients together with the water and leave to raise till it’s about doubled in size.
Place a little oil in a pan, we use our billy cans, and dollop balls of the mixture into the pan. Once one side is cooked, flip and cook the other side.
We place the baked bread in foil to keep warm if we are still waiting for the rest of the meal to cook.
Look out for our next food blog about storing and drying food to take away with you, especially when canoeing and going further into the wild.