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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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.