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.

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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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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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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.

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.

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.

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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