Friday Foodie: Get camping and cooking out there with amazing recipes by Kiss My Spatula

Searching out fabulous food sites for these Friday Foodie is way up there with the good stuff. The things these creative, charming and engaging bloggers manage to do are not only inspiring, they’re a great reminder of the things wonderful people are capable of. Spend too much time listening to the news and it’s easy to think the world out there isn’t so good. The people, not so great. But a couple of hours researching online, and I’m restored to loving my fellow human beings. And as for you fellow campers, well I love you lot the most. The way I see it, only happy, optimistic people go camping. And what’s not to like about that, hey?!

Anyway, today I have a real treat for you. Created by Californian-based Giao Trac, Kiss My Spatula is where this talented photographer and cook gets to express her love of the world. And the food she finds and makes in it! She loves a food market, and simple, healthy food that reflects her Vietnamese background but that also brings in food that is mindful of her husband’s Irish upbringing.

Her avid followers love her homemade pantry where you can learn to make yummy things like goat’s cheese, cherry garcia ice cream and Irish brown bread. But I love the photographs of her travels and her light touch with food. Trac has an easy way of making even the simplest of dishes truly delicious. I bet you’ll agree!

Enjoy you lovely campers, you…

Rosemary + lamb popsicles with mint gremolata, recipe here. (Trac bakes these, but they’d be more than happy to be cooked over a campfire!).

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Wild arugula (aka rocket) + quinoa salad with cherries, recipe here.

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Chinese chicken salad, recipe here.

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Vietnamese iced coffee, recipe here. You’ll need a Vietnamese coffee filter, but you can find them here at Viet Buon Ban.

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Whole wheat dark chocolate chip cookies, recipe here.

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Thrifty Thursday: Feetz Pocket Wellies

 

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I know it’s seriously sunny at the moment, but I couldn’t wait to share these fabulous insta-wellies with you! Feetz launched at the end of last year, and they’re bound to be a mega hit. Basically you stick them in your pocket and when it rains, or you’re dealing with mud, you just slide these over whatever shoes you’re wearing and you’re away! How cool is that?!

feetz-4feetz-3Great for a weekend camping trip or a festival, they’ve been tested in water, mud and even snow. When the weather clears, just give them a wash and stick them back in your pocket. Hopefully they’ll bring out a kids’ range too. They’re only £9.99 and you can order them in black, yellow, blue or white from here.

More great Father’s Day gift ideas for camping dads

Father’s Day is creeping ever closer! As promised, here are some more fab pressie ideas:

THE MIGHTY BOOMBALL SPEAKER

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Small and round = big sound! The Mighty BoomBall Speaker, £15,  can turn almost anything into a powerful music system by using its audio-vibration-conduction-system. In other words, the BoomBall effectively uses any empty space as an amplifier, so the larger the space, the bigger the sound. It’s only tiny so can be hung on a keyring or simply put in your pocket. Then, whenever you need to pump up the jams, you can just stick it to any nearby object and transform it into a speaker. Fantastic for cranking some tunes while putting up your tent.

 

WETTERLINGS SCOUT HATCHET

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The recently reissued Wetterlings Scout Hatchet with its green head and lacquered red handle are something of an outdoor icon. Handmade in Sweden, the company has been around since 1880 and employs only nine craftsmen. Hugely popular between 1930 and 1950, this general use, small forest axe is all your camping man will need to keep the campfire stoked this Summer. The Scout Hatchet comes with a 10-page booklet of axe knowledge and an embroidered patch. You can order one from The Quiet Farm for €83.

 

BBQ BRANDING IRON

brand-1What dad out there could resist that weirdly satisfying “phsstt” as he brands his own steak? You’ll bring out his inner cowboy with this BBQ Branding Iron for sure. It’s only £14.99, has 52 letters and eight blank spaces and you can order it from Firebox.

You can check out my other Father’s Day ideas here and here.

 

 

A little inspiration: A refurbished school bus gets a new leash on life as a travelling cabin!

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I was in need of a bit of inspiration this morning and this refurbished Canadian school bus had me at hello.

In ten days this trusty 1979 GMC / Bluebird 36-seater school bus was transformed by Marco Khalil and Caroline West, owners of pop-up vintage shop Eight Inch Rule. Impressive. First everything in the bus was stripped out: the seats, stanchions, heaters. The floor was covered in vinyl, a timber day bed was fitted as well as out cute pieces of furniture sourced from many flea market visits. When not serving as a mobile store of travelling wares, the bus doubles as a camper for the two when they hit the road each Summer.

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Images by Caroline West, with thanks.

Camping Gear: The Amazing Origami Kayak that folds into it’s own carrying case!

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There are some people who take notice of what’s happening to them and in the midst of change, spy opportunity and a chance. When architect and product designer Anton Willis moved to a small San Francisco apartment and had to leave his beloved kayak in storage because he had nowhere to put it, simply reading an article on origami sent him straight down a new path. Or rather up a creek. With a paddle.

Willis got to work and, five years on, his unique origami kayak, Oru Kayak, has just been named the Product of the Year at ISPO 2014 in Munich, the international leading sports business trade show and was named Outside Magazine’s Best in Show at the 2013 Outdoor Retailer trade show in Utah. And rightly so. Each Oru Kayak is made from a single, seamless sheet of double-layered, recyclable plastic. A permanent pattern of folds transforms the flat sheet into sleek, fast, minimalist watercraft. Packed up, the Oru Kayak is the size of a large artist’s portfolio. Five minutes of assembly later, it is a strong, durable boat – ideal for exploring bays, lakes, or rivers. It’s fully recyclable and uses 70% less petroleum to manufacture than a standard kayak.

 

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The Wall Street Journal called it “elegant, even romantic …. and freeing”. Men’s Journal reckons it’s able to “compete with standard kayaks in terms of comfort and handling”. It can also be checked in on planes as luggage, carried on the back of a bike, or added to your camping kit for your next lake or river-side camping trip. There are accessories to, from paddles to float bags, but I’m mad about the solar lights that turn the kayak into a lantern for a midnight paddle.

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20-DSC_0407-001Oru Kayaks are designed and manufactured in California, and ship internationally. Prices start at $US1395 and you can order yours here.

I want one. Don’t you?!

 

Camping Gear: Fashionable Father’s Day gift ideas for camping dads

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I could stare at this picture of the Peak District all day. It just makes me want to hurl my tent into the back of the car and hit the road. But there’s Father’s Day gift-gathering to grapple with, so here are some more fantastic suggestions for you guys:

MAMNICK CLOTHING

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Mamnick is the road that leaves Hope valley and begins it’s steady ascent of Mam Tor, deep in the Peak District. It’s also the name of a slick, manly fashion and lifestyle brand inspired by these scenes. And it’s the place where these great shirts, and everything else they make, are made. Mamnick is a company that openly reveres Britain’s manufacturing heritage and they aim to carry on in that tradition by working with skilled, talented local artisans. The brand ethos? “Do one thing at a time, as beautifully as possible”. Here, here. What Daddy wouldn’t want to be a part of all that good stuff every time he shrugs an extra layer on at a campsite? I’ve got my eye on the Bagshaw Vest, £93, pictured above. But I’m probably even more seriously tempted by the very handsome Bubnell Gilet, £114, pictured below.

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And why stop there? There’s always this Pilsley Shirt, £95. Or the Litton Shirt, £90. He’ll be the sharpest camper round the fire.

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WAKA-WAKA SOLAR LIGHT AND CHARGER

 

WWP_Yellow_1The Waka Waka is the most efficient solar lamp in the world. A few hours in the sun and you’ll get more than 40 hours of light. There are four increasing brightness levels and an SOS signal in case the tent caves in or something equally nightmarish happens on your next camping trip. It’s lightweight and portable, and has a stand that enables it to be attached to the top of a bottle or hung from the tent top or tree. You can also use it to fully charge your phone and iPad. And you can charge it through the mains as well, which is pretty handy. Not only that, the beautiful people behind Waka Waka (which means ‘shine bright’ in Swahili) launched a ‘buy one, give one’ campaign that has raised over $US700,000 and provided 12,000 LED lamps to Haitian families living without electricity. They are now sending Wakas to Syria. This is one purchase that you can feel darn good about buying and using. You can order one directly from Waka Waka for $US79 and join in these campaigns or from Firebox for £59.99 with free delivery.

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Friday Foodie: Amazing recipes to cook while camping by Love and Lemons

What is it about eating beside a campfire that makes food taste more delicious than ever? Perhaps it’s the little extra effort it takes to get it all together when you’ve ditched your safe, cosy kitchen for the wild pursuit of cooking at a campsite. Or perhaps it’s that eating outside is so appealing and makes for a refreshing change to sitting at a dining table, or maybe it’s the campsite company… Whatever it is, eating and camping is a relationship that should be worked on, developed and actively encouraged by all campers. So ditch the tins of baked beans and jarred pasta sauces and try something different the next time you’re camping that will delight anyone that finds themselves lucky enough to be sitting around your campfire.

Today’s Friday Foodie recipes come from the spectacular Love and Lemons, a blog that was established in 2011 by Austin-based couple Jeanine and Jack. Together they cook and shoot with the lightest of touches and I love, love, love reading and revisiting this ever so alluring blog. Jeanine writes the super healthy, largely vegetarian and gloriously colourful posts and recipes and together they taste and photograph them. It didn’t take them long to reach the great heights of winning the Best Cooking Blog award from the readers of Saveur magazine. No small feat.

I know you’ll love this blog as much as I do. Once again, I’ve chosen recipes that I think would be fantastic to make on and for your next camping trip. So get cooking happy campers!

Blackberry and lemon zest crostini, recipe here.

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Sambal salsa and black bean tacos, recipe here.

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Almond-ella spread, recipe here.

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Ginger kombucha cocktails, recipe here.

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Pea tendril and pistachio pesto, recipe here.

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Peanut soba spring rolls, recipe here.

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Spicy watermelon and avocado salad, recipe here.

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Tomato coconut shrimp curry, recipe here.

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Images via Love and Lemons, with thanks.

 

Thrifty Thursday Camping Gear: Brilliant SipSnap drinking lids

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I have three kids. Boys. All of them. And all of whom, particularly one (luckily) cute one, managed to develop a startling and unfathomable talent for knocking over any beverage that happened to find itself within a one mile radius. Over the years I have developed a passionate, bordering on irrational dislike of those cumbersome plastic sippy cups and if I totalled the hours I have wasted searching for matching lids and cups (all non-twin sets were strictly NOT ACCEPTABLE) and, well, you get the picture. I guess what I’m really trying to say here is there is absolutely no decent, reasonable or remotely acceptable excuse as to why I didn’t come up with these bloody gloriously simple, effective SipSnap lids myself.

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Created by two American mums who clearly managed to maintain cognitive function while growing and tending to little humans, Sativa Turner and Michelle Ivankovic have formed a design company called Double Double and this is their first foray into product design. And what a start. I’m already keen to see what they come up with next.

SipSnap are universal drinking lids that will fit over any cup you already own. They come in a Tot version (with the bite-proof spout) and a Kid version that fits straws of all sizes. They’re BPA, phthalate and latex-free, can handle dishwashers and boiling water, are easily portable and come with a case so you can keep some in your bag. And how perfect for keeping drinks safe on wobbly camping tables.

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I know you don’t need any more convincing, so order yours here. They’re $US21 for a set of three lids and a carrying case. Get on it.

Thrifty Thursday: Get ready anywhere with a Magic Mirror

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If you’re a camping fan, or a festival fan, or indeed a camping festival fan, the £38 pounds you’ll splash out for a Magic Mirror will be about the best you’ll spend on camping kit. Magic Mirror is a super lightweight mirror that folds flat and opens out to form a full length mirror – or a vanity-style mirror set up, or a pyramid mirror so you and your husband/girlfriend/kids can use it at the same time to get that perfect Festival Face.

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It’s made from acrylic mirror and comes in a durable canvas backing. Order soon from here and it’s free postage and handling. Now that’s thrifty.

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Amazing Camping Gear for Father’s Day

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Father’s Day. I mean I kind of prefer Mother’s Day if I’m honest, but even that’s not so big around here either. Basically I’m lucky if there’s a cup of tea in bed. I have to make it myself of course, but hey, you take what you can get. But that doesn’t mean I necessarily apply the same approach to Father’s Day. It’s kind of nice to spoil the father of your offspring every now and again and as the day falls in the lead up to camping season I’ve decided to make the most of it this year.

So throughout the week, I’ll be posting some damn inspiring camping gear that’ll turn the Dad in your house into one seriously happy camper.

THE OLLOCLIP

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The 4-IN-1 is a lens that slips over your iPhone and includes Fisheye, Wide-Angle and 2 Macro lenses – 10x and 15x. The lenses are made of precision ground, coated glass multi-element optics, the barrels are made from aircraft grade aluminium and the attachment is made from a soft plastic material to ensure a secure fit every time. So it’s Tonka-tuff. They cost £59.95 and you can order one here.

 

THE ORIGINAL BACON KIT

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Equip your nearest Father with all the kit required to assume the position of man of the house by making his own bacon to bring camping. Imagine how well that will go down! Wrap it up with a nice juicy slab of pork belly from your local butcher, and he’s away. The kit includes a curing bag, cure, maple sugar (if he fancies maple bacon) and a thermometer. The belly is cured in the curing bag then popped in the fridge and left for 7 days. Then into the oven it goes for a couple of hours (nearly there) and after it’s cooked and cooled you can slice it as thick or thin as you like. What’s more, this bacon won’t shrink or release a heartbreaking pan full of water. It’s bacon as bacon is meant to be. Order one from Firebox for £19.99.
Image by James Ransom.
THE MON ONCLE PORTABLE BBQ
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The snazzy Mon Oncle barbecue by RS Barcelona is a total winner. Closed, it’s a briefcase with character. Open it’s a portable barbecue that can be used on a tabletop, at the beach and of course, while camping! It’s super innovative, fun, hard wearing and most importantly, useful. They’re €280 and you can order one from RS Barcelona.

Stay tuned for more brilliant Father’s Day ideas!

In the meantime, here’s some more great camping finds you might like:

La Plancha grill for serious outdoor cooking fans

Best Made Co. for some of the best enamel camping kit out there

Mason Jar Shaker for campfire cocktails

Wood & Faulk for beautifully made, handcrafted camping chairs and other manly leather pieces