Cooking up camping grub
I can’t believe it’s been 12 days since I last wrote. I didn’t get the job, but I have been offered freelance with them which I will do in the school holidays. It should hopefully open some doors for me and make them realise they should have taken me on as a full-time afterall! For the last week of my half-term we spent a few days camping in Edale…then recovering from walking the Edale Horseshoe along with some of the Pennine Way. We had planned to do Derwent Edge, but unfortunately the weather wasn’t suitable. Climb when thunderstorms are predicted? um no thanks!
When camping I don’t find the planning of food easy. We’re quite hardcore when it comes to camping and try and keep it as lightweight as possible. For cooking we only use a Trangia stove and use meths for fuel. The food needs to be easy to prepare & transport, ideally a 1 pot dish and also packed with slow releasing energy so we can manage the walking & climbing we do. In addition it has to keep fresh without the aid of a fridge. I also don’t want to have to take a multitude of ingredients as often you can’t park next to the tent.
Apart from the one evening where we cheated and went to the The Old Nag’s Head for dinner (they do very good plates of food for walkers) every other meal was eaten at camp.
When camping we want a breakfast that is filling and will keep us going until lunch.
Mornflake Lyle’s Golden Syrup Porridge is one of the best breakfasts we have found. The main reason for this is that oats are packed with energy, it’s warming and as the golden syrup is included we don’t have to remember to pack sugar. We often eat a banana too for vitamins and as one of our 5-a day. We get around the milk problem by using small cartons of UHT. Not really what we would drink at home, but while camping with limited facilities it’s all we can viably use. Bacon butties for breakfast are tempting, but the washing up of a greasy burnt pan puts us off!
Lunch is usually eaten on a walk so it needs to require no cooking, won’t get squished too easily (or tastes ok squished!), relatively light and energy laden. Lunch usually consists of some cheese, preserved meat (like salami) and tortillas wraps. Tortillas are better than traditional bread as it keep well and doesn’t matter if they get squashed between the hydration bladder and emergency blanket. We also take some cereal bars. If I haven’t got around to making my energy bars I find Eat Natural bars a good alternative, my favourite being the cranberry & macadamia bar.
Snacks are essential when hiking to keep energy levels up. One of the most popular hillside snacks is Kendal Mint Cake. Considering it is essentially a big block of peppermint sugar it is great for a burst of energy, but at the same time has a habit of giving me a sugar high that can send me a bit hypo. We usually keep Kendal Mint Cake for emergency rations so for a quick sugar burst on the hillside we eat good old Jelly Babies. There is something comforting and refreshing about a few Jelly Babies that keeps us going to the end of the walk or till the next stop.
This time I also made a malt loaf. A delicious fruity cake that lasts for days and doesn’t get squashed easily. However a whole cake can be quite heavy so we left it at camp so it was a treat for us to have with a well earned cup of tea when we got back.
As you know, I’m not one to buy ready made food. I very much enjoy the whole process of making something from scratch however when camping this is when my two loves collide. Until I own a dehydrator or food-safe vacuum machine I think I will sometimes cheat as I really struggled to find a dish to make from scratch that ticks all of the boxes. One example of a dish I found in one of my “camping cookery” books was a stew that required 2 hours of gentle simmering. 1) how much fuel would that use?! 2) After a long day trekking the last thing I want to do is wait 2 hours for food.
A few months back in one of our walking magazines gave a very favourable review to a brand called Look What We Found so decided to give it ago. Previous camping trips we have tried dehydrated brands of food, of which, to put it politely, are horrible. We were interested in trying a brand that just needed heating up, but also used natural ingredients. It took some tracking down, but we eventually found some in Sainsburys. On the second night we ate their Chilli Con Carne and I was very impressed. It tasted just as good as my chilli and had a nice warming kick. We ate it with a portion of rice. It also had the added bonus of not giving me terrible indigestion like other processed meals go.
And how do we eat all of this food? With a trusty
spork & Orikaso dinner set. I’m not sure if the Orikaso company exists any more, which is a shame as their products are good and they featured on Dragons Den. The dinner set is lightweight and packs flat which is a huge advantage for us.
Camping & Hiking is such a huge passion for us and I try not to let my love fo food get in the way, but sometimes it can be difficult!