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.

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.

browntable-1

 

Sour eggplant curry, recipe here.

browntable-3

 

Cilantro coconut chutney, recipe here.

 

browntable-7

Balsamic raspberry sauce + chèvre cake, recipe here.

browntable-8

Goan chili rolls, recipe here.

browntable-11

 

Oat + sweet potato porridge, recipe here.

browntable-24

 

Chimichurri egg salad, recipe here.

browntable-12

 

Chia honey lemon pound cake, recipe here.

browntable-15

 

Shrimp etouffee, recipe here.

browntable-18Enjoy happy, hungry campers!

Images via A Brown Table, with many thanks.

Thrifty Thursday camping gear: the Omnia Oven

omnia-1

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.

omnia-3

 

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.

topwithcinnamon-4

Wholewheat pesto, tomato + mozzarella rolls, recipe here.

topwithcinnamon-6

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

topwithcinnamon-7

Apricot salsa quesadillas, recipe here.

topwithcinnamon-8

Cumin spiked carrot + chickpea salad, recipe here.

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

topwithcinnamon-17 topwithcinnamon-16

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

topwithcinnamon-21

Enjoy the weekend happy campers!

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

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!).

kiss-2kiss-3

 

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

kiss-5

Chinese chicken salad, recipe here.

kiss-13

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

kiss-15kiss-16

Whole wheat dark chocolate chip cookies, recipe here.

kiss-18kiss-19

 

Friday Foodie: Try Some Super Delicious Sandwiches by The Butty

butty1

Alright, alright, I’ll confess. I. Have. Never … had a chip butty. There, I said it. I’m sure it will happen one day. I’ll be up North, it’ll be cold and late. There’s a high probability there’ll be rain. I’ll have had a few jolly beverages and BAM! That’s when it’ll go down. Thick white bread packing even thicker, hot potato chips. I’m not sure if I’m exactly looking forward to it. Really, I’m just resigned to the fact that it will happen. Hey, if you wind up living in the UK and you make friends, it’s only a matter of time before they’re gonna hit you with it…

I’m hoping though, that they’ll be reading this and will get a chance to check out the butty-Heaven that is to be found on The Butty. It’s sandwiches like you’ve never seen them. Sandwiches raised to their full glory, bars fully raised, lips well and truly smacked. Start with this flatiron steak sandwich with chimichurri, method here, (picture above). (Use the leftover chimichurri in a frying pan with some sweet corn kernels and you’ve got a fabulous side dish in minutes for later in the day).

What’s better, you can just make up a few things ahead of time, grab some handy store-bought ingredients, head to your campsite and you’ll have a lunch in moments, hearty enough to satisfy even the greatest cravings.

butty2

 

Like the manly meatballer, method here.

butty4

 

Need something hearty to start the day? French toast, bacon, duck egg and sausage sarnie, method here.

butty8

Or try mackerel with pickled sweet pepper, method here.

butty6

Grab a BBQ’d duck from your nearest China Town or take-away and you’ve got these yummy duck and spring onion butties, method here. Simple but good.

butty7

Posh things up a bit with Etruscan pepperoni and Ardennes pate, method here.

butty9

Bring some Italian flair to a camping lunch with this salami, chorizo and goats cheese sandwich, method here.

Feeling inspired? Yeah, me too. Chip butty be damned ….

 

Friday Foodie: Eat like an Angel with dishes by Deliciously Ella

della4

 

I, like many of us, have major (sometimes minor) bursts of healthy-eating, green juice-drinking angelic behaviour. Admittedly this has never actually taken place on a campsite. But Deliciously Ella has inspired me to make more of an effort. Written by Londoner Ella Woodward, this blog is full of healthy, vegan alternatives to the food we all love to eat more often. You know, like brownies, pizza and ice-cream. Don’t roll your eyes, there are some truly fabulous dishes and treats over there, and you will want to clean up your act.

Diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome a few years ago, Woodward eventually took her health into her own hands and ditched chocolate bars for sweet potato wedges and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for fruit and veg. And it worked. She is now up and about and dealing with a new, busy and exciting life writing her blog, a cookbook and launching a new Deliciously Ella app. You go girl!

So, before your next camping trip, whizz up an apple, pear, avocado and spinach detox smoothie and plan some life-enhancing, energy-giving goodness-laden dishes to enjoy while sitting at your campfire.

LIke these zucchini apple muffins. Muffins are brilliant to make ahead and feed the kiddies when they wake up with the sun at dawn. It’ll hold them off until you’re actually ready to make them a proper brekkie. Find the recipe here.

della6

 

You could easily whip up a double or triple batch of this sweet potato, lentil and coconut curry ahead of time to feed the hoards. Then you just have to cook some rice or cous cows on site. Who doesn’t love curry? The recipe here.

della8

Light the campfire, BBQ some fish or chicken and serve this very handsome broccoli, avocado & lime salad, recipe here, alongside.

delle1

I have found that when my kids are running around like little crazy, wild camping creatures, they get hungry and need a lot of snacks to keep going. Bread is an easy fix, but not ideal. However, to tide them over, you could try smearing a slice or two with this nutritious nutella, recipe here, made from nothing but naturally good ingredients. They’ll thank you for it eventually! Or you can serve it as a dip with fruit or a retro 70s-inspired filler for a stick of celery. I know you know what I’m talking about ….

della7

 

Keep the adults going with some delicious lettuce salsa wraps, recipe here, instead of a packet of crisps come mid-afternoon.

della11

 

Just imagine how good we’re all going to feel!! Enjoy people and have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Friday Foodie: The Vanilla Bean Blog

vanilla2

I really love sourcing these Friday Foodie posts. There are so many fabulous cooks out there making such stunning and creative efforts with the food they’re cooking, the images they’re snapping and the words they’re penning. Or typing! The Vanilla Bean Blog is a case in point. Once a professional but self-taught baker, Sarah Kieffer left work to be a full time mother, which, you know, happens. In doing so, she slowly came to the realisation as she herself surfed food blogs, that she was lacking a culinary story, a kitchen journey.

There were no family recipe books passed down, filled with recipes known, made and devoured with love by those who had tied on apron strings and leaned over simmering pots before her, and before, and before. So Sarah decided this would start with her and that her children would have family food to turn to, and familiar recipes to make. There’s not much to beat that and I for one salute her efforts!

Kieffer also encourages guest posts which really shakes things up and some of the ideas that come via her internet-working are truly delicious as well. There are great quotes to read and ponder and I know you’ll love it.

As always I try to find food that would work just as well around a campfire, over hot coals or camping stove. These are my favourites:

This peanut butter granola with cacao nibs and bittersweet chocolate, recipe here, would be great to make ahead and take for an early breakfast!

vanilla3

Warm lentil salad with cherries, pistachios and goat’s cheese, recipe here. Can you imagine this alongside some BBQ’d chicken or a side of salmon?

vanilla1

And to seriously inspire your fellow campers to get into the day, try this einkorn dutch baby with maple-bourbon peaches, recipe here. I mean, how enticing does that sound?!

And I love a nutty wild rice salad, recipe here. They’re great to make ahead and are ready to go as soon as all the tents are up, the campfire lit and the sausages are cooked. Visit Kieffer’s blog. I know you’ll become fans.

vanilla4

All images via The Vanilla Bean Blog, with thanks.

Friday Foodies: Farmette

farmette_11

In a couple of weeks I’ll be hopping on board a big BA jet out of London and heading home to Sydney. It’s kind of weird to have this holiday looming up ahead of me. It’s a strangely emotional push-pull kind of thing. Am I going to love it? Is Sydney going to live up to the Sydney I have stored in my mind like a hidden treasure? Am I ever going to want to bring my kids back to a dark, cold, snowy UK winter? Hmmm.

It’s hard to work out where exactly you belong in the world: here, there or everywhere? Or indeed, whether you really have to belong anywhere ….. Anyway, while my head is full of all that, the kind of foodie blogs that appeal to me at the moment are those where women share my experiences of relocating and raising families in countries, kitchens and campsites (!!!) that aren’t the same as those in which our parents raised us. Farmette is right up my alley. Here’s me tossing and turning over the London/Sydney thing when Imen McDonnell went from a career in tv, film and advertising production in New York and LA, to falling in love with an Irish farmer and moving to a farm in country Ireland! Talk about a life change! (I tell you, these hearts of ours ….. don’t turn your back for a minute!) Blogging is her way of recording and working through her former life and identity being “replaced with a new set of circumstances complete with a pair of wellies.”

Farmette_4

farmette_12
Her food, which pulls heavily from newly mastered Irish traditions mixed with the odd American influence, really makes your mouth water. Like these hot-smoked wild Irish salmon tacos. Seriously yummy, right? Read the recipe here.

farmette_10

farmette_13Or her wild Irish damson, kale and grapefruit linguine, which just makes me want to experiment when I’m camping next spring with whatever I can find around the campsite, like fresh wild garlic or elderflower.

farmette_14farmette_15McDonnell takes her own pictures, which are fabulous as you can see, and she has a really charming, friendly, natural tone. Her blog is a great read and just to warn you, you WILL begin to fantasise about heading to the Irish countryside and finding yourself a handsome farmer…

But best of all, while there are plenty of savoury dishes to fill you up and get you cooking like this wild chanterelle, caraway and buffalo cheese tart  (which would be divine to make ahead and take with you to devour while putting up tents and gathering firewood, no?)….

Farmette_1…her real love seems to lie in satisfying everybody’s sweet teeth. I’m seriously going to make these Ballymaloe Balloons on our next camping expedition. They couldn’t be simpler, and what a great mid-morning treat to get everyone through a long, fun day.

farmette_8And I’ll bake-and-take a coffee swiss roll ….

farmette_9

 

There’s a book, working title Farmette: Adventures and Recipes from Life on an Irish Farm, due out in 2015 which will be worth the wait no doubt.

I love the way McDonnell has embraced her new life and really jumped in with both feet. There’s a lesson there for all of us whose lives have taken a drastic turn for love! And while I’ve truly settled the country/city debate for myself, (we all go through it right? Especially with three boys: The space, the freedom, the big house with the even bigger garden!!!)... But really, I need a city. I know I do. The galleries, the cafes, bars and restaurants and plenty of people around. But it certainly hasn’t meant I don’t enjoy mentally dipping my toe in the idea that a life in the country would be like a year-long camping trip with benefits – like heating and hot baths. So I’ll be reading Farmette just to dip my wellies in some mental Irish mud every now and again! You should too. I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Foodies: Happyolks

pizza_17Happyolks is a lovely, lovely food blog written by Denver based Kelsey Hayes. She writes movingly about her life, loves and friendships here and accompanies these posts with truly delicious recipes to “celebrate the experience of creating a wholesome meal and the happiness that inherently grows from it”. Kelsey doesn’t make a living from Happyolks, instead she pens it and whips up sumptuous dishes purely for the joy in it and she shares them because she’s very attached to being a part of a community that stretches around the world and the realisation that there are “thousands of people in this big crazy world who share similar passions, interests, and goals.”.

I adore reading her blog and meandering through the great recipes and images (all taken by her boyfriend-now-fiancé, Shaun). It has fast become one of my absolute favourites food blogs. She finds beautiful little quotes like this one below from the remarkable Joan Didion. I’ll include it here because Joan Didion rocks and because it’s a wonderful thing to have in your mind as we head into another weekend before another week, another month, another year …. :

“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”

Happyolks is a sweet little sister blog for campfirestyle because she also loves camping and has loads of great things to try on your next expedition. Like this camp cobbler (be sure to watch the little movie, it’s really cute!) or this open fire scramble, which I’m definitely going to try next time I’m out in the wilds with a campfire, eggs & bacon ….

But my choice for this week’s FRIDAY FOODIES is her divine looking pizza on a grill. I’ve always had a niggling thought that pizza on a grill is a possibility. Perhaps not on an open campfire, but I often take my little Smokey Joe BBQ with us when we go camping. It’s tiny, works brilliantly, and could easily make a fabulous camping pizza stove. I’ll let you know when I try it.

Be sure to visit the blog and get the full recipe for her pizza on a grill here. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

pizza_2pizza_8

pizza_11pizza_12pizza_14pizza_15pizza_16