Friday Foodie: Divine camping food by Lady and Pups

Sometimes these Friday Foodie posts are the only ones that keep me going. You know when the black dog of the blog gets to you and you start wondering and whining why? And really? And what is it all about anyway??? Well, these amazing food bloggers really have it going on don’t they? I’m repeatedly put to shame. I should really stop doing it to myself, but, put simply, I can’t help it. Just have a look at what Mandy Lee of Lady and Pups is getting up to. Now there’s a girl who’s managed to distract herself and her barking black dog with some tasty delights. It’s the oldest trick in the book for a reason people.

Three years ago Lee moved from New York to Beijing and straight into what she refers to as her “pre-midlife crisis”. As she cheerfully describes it, this blog is her “phoenix rising out of the tormenting flames of living here with all its misery”. But she invites us in to “share how [she] turned a lot of frustration and anger in a lovely meal”. And what an understatement that is. Her food is inspired and her dishes come with a huge flavour smack to the back of the head. Talk about a way of cheering up that black dog. Have a look and get cooking. Use your taste buds as you go, as Lee isn’t an overly precious recipe follower. She likes to use her imagination and follows her palate. Do the same.

Have a read of this brilliant blog, you’ll love what you’ll find. And get cooking campers. It’s the fastest way I know of  banishing all those black dogs that might be sniffing around …. Here are my favourites for camping.

Hot bunny pasta sauce, recipe here.12

Thai herbs + pork salad, recipe here. This would be great either made ahead or at your campsite and simply wrapped in gem lettuce leaves.4

Mexican chorizo + garlic shrimp burger, recipe here. How freakin’ decadent are these?!! 8

Torched salmon in green sauce juice, recipe here. A great dish to make ahead and while most of us don’t camp with a blow torch, a quick sizzle in a heated, oiled pan over a hot campfire would also do the trick nicely.10

Cilbir, recipe here. Make the sauces before you leave, toast the bread on the campfire and you’re away! A great new take on eggs for breakfast!15

Non-sensical hot peppercorn peanut brittle, recipe here. Bag it up and bring it along for a spicy energy fix.2719

Sichuan red peppercorn red-braised oxtail, recipe here. Hearty camper-fare like no other.23

 

 

All images via Lady and Pups, with many thanks.

Thrifty Thursday: Cheap and cheerful camping gear

I love Thrifty Thursdays! To be honest, I’m possibly not the world’s most discerning shopper when it comes to finding crafty ways to save money on gear you really want to take with you wherever you go, but every week I like to think I’m getting a little better at it!! So here’s this weeks round-up of some fun stuff I’d happily take camping with me and best of all? There’s still money left over for a cheeky pub lunch!

Melamine is a favourite camping staple of mine. It doesn’t chip or break and is super light to carry. I don’t think I’ve ever been camping and not wished I had a few more trays on hand to carry BBQ’d goodies to and from the campfire. I’m loving these twin whale trays by New Yorker Thomas Paul. He started out in fashion and worked with the likes of Diane von Furstenburg and Calvin Klein before the lure of lifestyle captured his imagination. He now creates collections of everything from tableware – his melamine designs are brilliant – and bed linens, to lamps and stationary. You can order these trays online from Rocket St George. It’s £36 for the set.

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Camping requires much tea and coffee to kick start the mornings, which tend to be early if you’re camping with kiddies, who tend to wake with the sun. Pack an OYOY tea cozy and you’ll be able to get away with boiling a kettle once. £16 from Bruno + Beanteacozy

Never underestimate just how useful clothes pegs can be! From hanging sopping tea towels to skinny tree branches, securing fairy lights to your tent or fashioning an impromptu sun shelter. Seriously. Pack them, and you’ll use them. I’m mad about these Batman Pegs from funky French boutique Serendipity. They’re only €3.50 and you can order them from here. Shine a torch behind them and you could easily get some good shadow-play going too.batmanpegsOne night on my last camping trip, a friend of mine brought out these great Wood Flares to add extra light and warmth around the campfire. They were brilliant! And strangely mesmerising. It’s taken a little while to track them down but I finally managed to find them at Cox & Cox. They’re £16.50 and you can order yours here. I’d advise lighting them once the kiddies are safely tucked up in their sleeping bags!!
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Children of the Tribe’s stunning camping-inspired fashion shoot

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I’m in love with the campaign shoot Byron Bay-based children’s fashion and lifestyle brand Children of the Tribe have done for their AW2014 collection. It’s called When Stranded and there’s some great little pieces I know my boys would love and surely there’s something there for your kiddies too, no?!

Children of the Tribe design seriously well priced clothing that captures the “innocence and wonder of childhood in its natural state, inspired by the harmonious connection of tribal children with the outdoor world around them. We create quality, timeless, stylish clothing for free-spirited little people who love to roam in the sand dunes, daydream in treetops, and run barefoot through long grass.” Love it.

I’m also kind of thinking that if these kids can camp and look fabulous, then my kids need to seriously up their game …

Enjoy the shoot, and shop the collection here.

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Photography by David Hauserman for Children of the Tribe.

 

Friday Foodies: A Brown Table

I blame the ice cream. It’s always the ice cream though that is more often than not the undoing of us all, don’t you find? …. But when I stumbled across the wildly eye-catching and taste-provoking foodie blog A Brown Table, the first thing that caught my eye was the ice cream. It all started with a stomach-flipping recipe for roasted purple yam + molasses ice cream (recipe here). Who on earth would ever, EVER think of that?!! From there it was a very quick click of the curser over to masala chai ice cream (recipe here) and on to the butternut squash ice cream with caramel (recipe here). And there’s more, but if I go on we’ll be here all day. Are you tempted yet?

What started as an exploration of kitchen creativity has morphed into what is now a challenging, sensational food blog that will really get your imagination going. The dishes Nik Sharma conjures up are nothing short of spectacular and will delight you and anyone lucky enough to be sitting around your campfire or, let’s face it, your dining room table because you’ll be cooking from this blog whether you’re camping or not. You’ll soon discover that much inspiration is drawn from the rich flavours of Indian cuisine, particularly those of North India and Goa. Sharma then takes these familiar flavours and flips and switches and merges them into into healthier, lighter, amazing plates and bowls of utter deliciousness.

We’ve had lots of utterly scrumptious Foodies featured on campfire style, but I know this blog is going to hit the spot like no other. Or it will shift your spot in the most delightful ways. Try something new on your next camping trip. That’s what it’s all about after all. New experiences, great times, full stomachs. So, what’s it going to be, huh?

As usual, here are my favourites to make ahead of your next camping trip or at your campsite. I had a seriously hard time limiting it to these, so go and check out Sharma’s blog for yourself and see what takes your fancy.

Indian-style salmon burgers, recipe here.

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Sour eggplant curry, recipe here.

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Cilantro coconut chutney, recipe here.

 

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Balsamic raspberry sauce + chèvre cake, recipe here.

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Goan chili rolls, recipe here.

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Oat + sweet potato porridge, recipe here.

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Chimichurri egg salad, recipe here.

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Chia honey lemon pound cake, recipe here.

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Shrimp etouffee, recipe here.

browntable-18Enjoy happy, hungry campers!

Images via A Brown Table, with many thanks.

Thrifty Thursday camping gear: the Omnia Oven

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Have you ever been camping on a chilly night and found yourself hankering for an indulgent potato and celeriac dauphinoise to go alongside that delicious BBQ’s steak? Have you had the kids nag you for their favourite baked chicken and rice after a busy day making stick shelters? If you’ve snaffled yourself an Omnia Oven, well, there’s you and your kids left satisfied right there. These little beauties have recently been reintroduced to the UK and are only £39.95. They have a 2 litre capacity and are a great option for cooking on a campsite that doesn’t allow campfires (Boo! Hiss!). If you can bake it, you can make it in one of these.

omnia-2The Omnia Oven has a steel base, an aluminium main section and an enamelled aluminium lid and cooks by convection with heat coming in through the base and also via the top. Order one from Pirates Cave Chandlery or visit Omnia Sweden for more international stockists.

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Great camping finds on Kickstarter

Have you ever spent any time checking out Kickstarter? I like to for a bit of inspiration and to help get my creative juices flowing. It’s incredible to see the things people are coming up with and some of the things you can find and fund are seriously brilliant. This morning I found some great stuff for campers on there too. Some of you might even like to fund something yourself!

Here are my favourites:

KANGAROO LIGHT

712 backers so far. £39,911 raised. 4 days to go.

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The funky creatives behind Studio Banana have come up with this brilliant flexible light that you can take anywhere. It’s made with a white, high-quality silicone exterior, meaning it’s splash proof and is simple to keep clean. You can fold it, bend it and roll it and think how brilliant it would be to light up your tent at night. It has 24 built-in LED lights that emit a soft glow on one side. It’s outfitted with a lithium-ion battery that gives you 2.5 hours of non-stop light and then it easily recharges via a USB port. Fund it here.

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CAMPFIRE IN A CAN

231 backers. $US29,751 raised. 37 days to go.

Campfire In A Can is a great little portable campfire and stove. It burns wood, charcoal  and fire logs in a vertical burn chamber. It’s designed to house all the parts inside the canister which also makes storage easy. The fire is simply extinguished by putting the canister over the base. And you can cook on it too and they’ve  included the tools you need to make it easy whether you’re cooking over charcoal or wood coals. Fund it here.

TYNY TOOLS

830 backers. $US25,719 raised. 8 days to go.

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Key clips, swivel clips and lock bands make up the first TYNY Tools Collection. Created by a Californian-based cyclist to enable him to carry stuff while cycling but these little goodies would be hugely helpful on a camping trip. Fund it here.

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SPICEOLOGIST

325 backers. $US21,637 raised. $1,637 over their goal.

This is what happens when a chef and a food blogger at Farmgirl Gourmet, put their heads together. This collection of spice blends just sounds magic, and I’m seriously hoping it won’t be too long before I can get my hands on some. All their spice blends are 100% natural (no msg, no artificial ingredients, no preservatives, no funky stuff).  They’re also gluten free, dairy free, soy free and blended with the freshest spices known to man and there are 10 super delicious flavours to choose from like smokey honey habanero, purple haze and cowboy crust. Yummo. Keep up with Spiceologist here.

 

Friday Foodie: Delicious camping food ideas from Top With Cinnamon

Sometimes you come across people who are truly, thrillingly impressive. It’s a great thing to happen in a kind of kick-yourself-in-the-butt way. And we all need to engage in a bit of that occasionally. London girl Izy Hossack, the chick behind the charming Top With Cinnamon blog, is just such a person. A full time, (self-confessed) geek of a student, Izy established her food blog when she was 15. She’s now 18 and has just been awarded the Editor’s Choice Award for Best Baking and Desserts Blog from Saveur magazine. To win one of those is amazing. To win one when you’re 18 is frankly, downright outrageous.

The lucky child of an American-Italian mother, you can imagine her childhood: cooking and food and eating and more cooking and more eating. She’s currently studying Biology, Chemistry and Maths, but have no fear for her food is made of much more dreamy, delightful, delicious things! You’ll find her interesting food liberated from tradition, free from the expected and all about flavour, flavour, flavour.

Keep an eye out for her first cook book which is due to hit the stands in Autumn. Just don’t eat for about three weeks before opening it up …

I’ve had a great time roaming around her blog to find some brilliant recipes to try at a campsite or to make ahead to enjoy on your next camping trip. I hope you like them. Let me know what you make! Here are my favourites:

Perfect lemon muffins, recipe here.

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Wholewheat pesto, tomato + mozzarella rolls, recipe here.

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Banana, walnut + oatmeal bars with salted caramel + chocolate, recipe here.

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Apricot salsa quesadillas, recipe here.

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Cumin spiked carrot + chickpea salad, recipe here.

topwithcinnamon-9No-knead sweet potato, pesto, red onion + zucchini BBQ pizza, recipe here.

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And finally, a glorious rhubarb, grapefruit + thyme cocktail, recipe here.

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Enjoy the weekend happy campers!

All beautiful photos by Izy Hassock from Top With Cinnamon, with many thanks.

Thrifty Thursday: The Scrubba washing bag

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A couple of years ago, Aussie patent lawyer Ash Newland was plotting a trip to Africa to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. Packing light brought up the issue of how to clean their clothes while on the move. This led to thoughts about the washboards women used in ye olde days, which then led to the idea of incorporating a washboard-like surface encased in a waterproof sealable bag. Newland tested a rough prototype on his trip and a couple of years later, The Scrubba was let loose on the world.

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Designed to be usable and durable, The Scrubba was originally created for backpackers, but you can see why campers have embraced this little gem of a product too. You can have clean clothes in under five minutes using very little water and it packs up so small you’ll barely notice it in your camping kit! You could also use it to quickly wash smalls or shirts on a business trip. Handy.

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And the best thing? Order one before June 26 or like them on Facebook and the team at Scrubba will donate $AUD1 for each new like. Their charity of choice? A project which will provide the infrastructure required to plumb a water system for a school in Bangladesh.

So hurry! Order yours from here for $AUD64.95 or from Firebox for £39.99.

Camping gear you never knew you wanted (but seriously do) by Fredericks & Mae

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Fredericks & Mae is the art/design team of Brooklyn-based designers Jolie Mae Signorile and Gabriel Fredericks Cohen. The two met began their collaboration amongst piles of feathers, thread, gold and paper in 2007 and it’s been going strong ever since. Together they create beautiful, useful, playful objects for the home, garden and sky. I’m a recent convert to their bright and quirky solutions and their ever so cheeky nod to the traditional in the creation of their goodies. They have designed many things I would happily take on a camping trip. It’s about thinking outside the box when putting your camping kit together and remembering that not everything has to be khaki and of dodgy appearance to be useful …

For example, who wouldn’t enjoy sweeping out the tent if you could use one of these gorgeous thread-wrapped horse hair brooms (pictured above)? They’re just the kind of thing you’d buy the glamper who has everything. And these maple and horse hair hoop brushes would do the job just as nicely too don’t you think…?

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My other favourites are these cute windsocks which could come in handy when deciding where to put the campfire, or where to sit once it’s lit so you can avoid most of the smoke!

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And who wouldn’t like a post campfire cocktail game of bocce when the kit is as cute as this:

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Use your imagination a little and bring a dash of colourful cleverness to every little camping moment. Trust me. You’ll enjoy the whole thing even more if you do.