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 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: 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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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.

 

Camping Gear you never knew you wanted: The Salt Plate

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You’ve got your trusty BBQ tongs, your Camp Bistro stove and your perfectly-sized enamel mug, but don’t you sometimes, just sometimes, want to pack something to wow yourself with when you go camping? Oh yeah you would. And here it is. A gloriously blushing Himalayan Salt Plate. Hand-mined from ancient sea salt deposits from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan, Himalayan salt is mineral rich and believed to be one of the most pure salts in the world.

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Choose a plate that is 1.5″ to 2″ thick and these can be used not only for serving food (while seasoning it) but also for cooking food (while seasoning it)!  Salt plates can hold specific temperatures for extended periods of time, so chill them and serve ice creams, or heat them up – slowly – to cook delicately seasoned fish, meat and vegetables.

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These salt plates will go directly on a gas grill, over a charcoal BBQ and on a stovetop. For loads of information on how to use and care for a salt plate check out Salt News. And order one – you know you want to – from aFire Inc or Food52. Prices start at $US39.99.

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Images via Food52 & aFire Inc with thanks.

Friday Foodie: The Gloriously Delicious Yvette van Boven

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That got your attention didn’t it! Have you ever seen a more decadent, glorious, mouthwatering reveal of a cake?!! One picture and I was seriously in love. The mastermind behind this divine cardamom cake with poached pears (recipe here) is the utterly fabulous Irish-born-yet-Dutch Yvette van Boven. She divides her time between Amsterdam and Paris and for me, her cooking is a great way to get more European about what the food I make, which is nice feeling for an Aussie in London.

Yvette van Boven is not just a cook. She’s a food stylist, recipe writer, columnist, author (she has written five cookbooks) and she’s a shamingly good illustrator as well. The woman even makes her own butter for crissakes. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s bloody gorgeous to boot.

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I  love flicking through her books. They’re filled with her undeniably obvious delight of cooking, creating and eating and she makes it all feel utterly contagious! Resistance is futile. Her husband is her photographer (and a pretty mean cocktail maker as well) and if anyone asked me to put together a fantasy camping crowd, they’d be top of my list.

So here’s my choice of divine van Boven goodies to make for a camping trip:

Crab legs with garlic butter, recipe here.

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Homemade mustard, recipe here.

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Watercress with smoked almonds and goat’s cheese, recipe here.

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Thousand tomato salad with goat’s cheese ricotta, recipe here.

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Italian chicken stew, recipe here.

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Beef stew with red wine, recipe here.

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Quinoa apple cake, recipe here.

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Gooseberry and orange jam, recipe here.

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Make them at home. Make them when you’re camping. Make them for camping. Just make them and you’ll fall in love just like I did.

Enjoy campers!

Pictures & illustrations from Yvette van Boven with thanks.

 

Sunday Best: Like Enamel? Check Out Our Favourite Pieces for Camping

enamel12I have a thing for enamel. It’s serious, not some fleeting interest and it’s been going on for a while now. There are just some things a girl can’t help. So my first Sunday Best post is dedicated to the stuff. These new posts are my little round-ups of favourite camping kit. Maybe you’ll discover some new crushes of your own, or maybe we’ll just validate your secret passion for items of camping gear. Either way, it’s a nice way to start a Sunday in our opinion. And if reading is followed by a quick online-shopping spree … Well, so be it. Things could be worse after all.

I’m loving the two-tier lunch pail (£55) from Objects of Use, pictured above. There’s a campsite my family and I sometimes visit and it runs along a little canal-like river. There’s fishing to be had and afternoons spent clambering over old boats tied to the shore. This would be great for packing little snacks and even bait, and it’s small enough for little ones to carry themselves. Adorable.

enamel5If I could figure out how Father Rabbit, a cool-as-cucumber Auckland-based lifestyle store got their hands on this Falconware enamel milkshake tumbler ($NZ16) when I can’t find it anywhere in the UK, I’d be one happy bunny. I want one. Badly.

enamel7It was only a matter of time before cutlery found itself dipped in enamel. And these pieces from Cachette are yummy. Finished by hand, so each piece is ever-so-slightly different, there are matching salad servers too, for those so inclined. Prices start at €11.50. To the Wish List with you immediately!!

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I recently gave two of these large, lidded mugs (£22) to friends who spend weekends tending their allotment. They’d be brilliant on a camping trip too. Your tea/coffee/soup will be kept warm, and safe from ash from the campfire too! And I couldn’t resist this little candle holder (£12). Is there a better way to light up the loo? Both are from Labour and Wait.

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enamel1If you’ve visited my site before, you’ll know I love a camping, cooking and eating delicious dishes. So, your orders are to make a hefty curry in this round food canister (€41.50) from Le Repere des Belettes. Pop the lid on. Pack it in the car. Bung it on the campfire. Voila. Dinner. Love. It.

Happy Sunday Campers!

Friday Foodie: Dirty Kitchen Secrets

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If I ever find myself on death row (you never know, it could happen), and I made it all the way through to the last meal deal, I would choose Lebanese food. It is my end-of-the-universe, last-taste-ever favourite food. The care, attention and endless, yet impressively sociable hours people from this region are prepared to put into lunch is truly awe-inspiring. And the results? Indulgent in the best possible way, super healthy and criminally delicious. I just might kill for Lebanese food I love it so. (And that’ll be me on death row right there…)

It was with a squeal of greedy, great big joy that I  discovered Bethany Kehdy. A gorgeous, zesty Lebanese-American who now lives in the West Country of England. Yeah, well, strange things can happen to you too, you know.

Anyway, whisked away from the southern states of American to Lebanon, her and her father’s family distanced themselves from the Lebanese civil war in the mountains where her father established a farm. It was here Kehdy learned about Lebanese food right from watering orchards, harvesting fruits and chasing after chickens. She made cheese and milked cows. She really knows her stuff and she cooks with absolute delight.

There are hundreds of things I would make from this site, and plenty of recipes that will delight any fellow campers lucky enough to find themselves around your campfire when you serve up one of Kehdy’s dishes. Go Lebanese my friends. You will not regret it. Here are my camping-friendly faves:

Pomegranate & za-atar lamb riblets (pic above). Find the recipe here. 

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The recipe for rosemary & chilli ketchup is here.

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Lamburghinis with barberry and pistachio relish, recipe here

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Lebanese butterflied chicken, recipe here

dirtykitchen_13And tabbouleh, here.

Make them all.

Dirty Kitchen Secrets was launched in 2008 after Kehdy moved here from Hawaii and she has since spun her lovely blog into her first published cookbook: The Jewelled Kitchen. You can buy it here.

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Photographs via Dirty Kitchen Secrets.

Moro’s Lentil & Angel-Hair Pilav

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 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.

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