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.

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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.

 

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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 ….

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

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

 

 

 

Friday Foodies: Farmette

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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.”

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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.

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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 ….

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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: Island Menu

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There are people in the world who are lucky enough to find their place in it. That place that makes their heart sing, that makes them smile as they open the shutters on every new day. That place that is, in every sense of the word, home. I have two homes – my Sydney home and my London home. Both are different, both are places I love, but don’t ever ask me to choose, because I’m not sure I can. I feel at home in both places, and yet strangely not in either. All at the same time. It’s a bit of a mind flip this moving around the world habit, but it’s an addictive one that’s for sure.

Island Menu is a glorious little blog written by two friends, photographer Samuel Shelley and food blogger Catherine Miller,  who are in love with their place, their home. In Tasmania. And what lucky people they are. To have that sense of home, but also to have the talent and skills to show it to the rest of us in the way they do via their stunning photographs and lovingly created dishes. Theirs is food that make the most of the truly, truly sensational Tasmanian produce. (They even seem to catch most of it themselves!) Most people don’t know much about Tasmania. They don’t know how beautiful it is. How incredible the seafood, the livestock and the other bounty that island offers.

If you fancy a cyber-trip to the other side of the world, this blog is for you. Reading it makes me a little homesick, which is strange because Tasmania is not really the part of Australia that ever pulled on my heartstrings before. And now I can see that living in the UK has changed me. I will always love the bright, bursting blue brilliance of Sydney, but I have also made room for the gentler environments of the world. Like Tasmania. Like England.

These are my favourite recipes from Island Menu, all of which, with a few tiny tweaks and some pre-preparation, would all be fantastic on a camping trip.

Trevalla (or other sturdy white fish) and saffron soup (pic above), recipe here.

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Bluefin Nicoise with Lemon and Pepper Mayonnaise, recipe here.

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Mussels in saffron cream, recipe here.

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Dover grass fed beef stew with bacon, potato and carrots, recipe here.

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Cider battered oysters, recipe here.

Read this blog. And enjoy it. Wherever you may be ……

 

 

Camp inside for a change

camp inside_1Here in London, Summer is feeling like a swiftly fading memory and with it goes my desire to be outside in a tent.

If you can’t wait until next Summer to get a tiny dose of camping in, bring the camping experience indoors! As shown here by super stylists Lotta Agaton and Pia Ulin, it’s not hard to do …..

A little teepee here, a little hanging hammock-style daybed over there …..

camp inside_2Or turn your four poster into a tent bed …. Let’s just call it ‘cosy camping’!

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Camping Games: Bird Bingo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI checked the weather a few minutes ago and it looks like we’re in for the odd heavy shower tomorrow. Now I know us Londoners aren’t really used to things like rain after the past few weeks, so I figured a great little suggestion to take up some tent time was in order.

An old friend of mine told me about Bird Bingo a while ago. It was her kids’ favourite game when they were smaller. I did a hunt around for it online and found a new and improved version of the classic. Don’t you just love that! Upgraded with delightfully detailed illustrations by RCA graduate Christine Berrie (my favourites are the Lilac-Breasted Roller, Gouldian Finch and the Common Kingfisher), Bird Bingo is brilliant for bird nerds. Instead of calling each bird by it’s name, you can call out birds by their descriptions which are in the rule book. So if you know which bird can recognise itself in the mirror or which bird’s feathers were used for the headdress of a Zimbabwean king, you’re a winner! Up to 12 people can play and it works exactly like bingo. A caller draws a bird token out of the bag. If you have that bird on your card, you mark it with a red counter. I love playing it with my kids, and my 3, 5 and 6 year old boys love it! I paid £19.95 and bought it online from Stanford’s in London. I’d love to hear what games you play on rainy camping weekends…

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