A few days ago I read this article in The Guardian. Written by Josh Sutton, aka The Guyrope Gourmet, in it he points out that 44% of Britons heading off on a camping holiday harbour slightly disappointing plans to eat in pubs and restaurants while they’re away. I share Sutton’s opinion, that cooking and camping go together like bangers and BBQs. I do appreciate that not everyone camps with the world’s largest Volvo in tow, but surely you’ll have more fun cooking something simple and delicious on-site with whatever equipment you can carry, than heading back to your car and someone else’s local. It’ll be cheaper and healthier too.
So, I will regularly be including some of my favourite camping fare on this blog. I tend to pre-cook some meals, so it’s just a matter of heating them up. Like curries, laksas and pasta sauces and so on. But I do enjoy cooking out in the wilds too, so I always save some things to make there too. I’m an avid reader of cookbooks, so I’ll be mining all my favourites, old and new, to find some delicious breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners that will hopefully get you thinking twice about heading for a pizza place 30 minutes drive from where you’ve pitched.
First up is this unusual and delicious lentil and angel pilav from Moro‘s Sam and Sam Clark’s beautiful and beloved Moro East cookbook. I haven’t changed a thing because it’s Moro, which means nothing I could ever do would make it more stunning or perfect as it is. It’s great with BBQ’d lamb or chicken and is yummy served with yoghurt seasoned with garlic.
Here’s the what:
150g brown or green lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g angel-hair pasta
50g unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 rounded teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
400ml chicken (or vegetable) stock
Here’s the how:
Put the lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are just tender. Top up the water if it falls below the level of the lentils. They should be cooked but firm. Remove from the heat and season with salt and set aside.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Crush the pasta into the pan with your hands and fry the broken pieces over a medium heat, stirring continuously until they’re golden brown. Remove and set aside. Add the butter and onion to the pan. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion is golden and sweet, then add the spices and fry for a few minutes more. Return the pasta to the pan, along with the drained lentils, then add the stock and season with salt to taste. Cover the pan with a circle of greaseproof paper and a tight-fitting lid. Let the mixture boil for 5 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Here’s a shortcut or two:
You could always pack pre-cooked lentils and skip cooking them. Measure your spices and pack them in a zip-lock bag so they’re ready to just pour straight in. Cut out your greaseproof paper circle, fold and pack it with the spices.