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Camping Dinner Delights

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The Lodge Dutch Oven – the best thing to happen to our camp cooking adventures.

Dinner time is by far one of my favorite times of the day when camping. Sitting down and preparing vegetables as the sun starts to set is the perfect opportunity to take in the surroundings whilst working creatively on something. Of course a beer or glass of wine is always a necessary addition and really adds to the whole event. While Andy preps the fire, I get to work prepping the food; usually with the biggest smile on my face.

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My happy place! This is my ‘I am so happy right now’ smile shining from within my soul.

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Beer: check, wine: check, bear spray: check, gorgeous view: check! Mixing up some dinner with my favorite things – well minus the bear spray but it kept me calmer.

Cooking by gas:

If you’re camping with a car or a truck then the options are limitless when it comes to camp cooking. Access to a fridge or cool box makes storing food a doddle and therefore variety is much easier to manage. Before the introduction of the Dutch oven into our camping lives, we were avid users of a couple of gas stoves. One of these we found really handy for cooking on was a Coleman Burner, Table Top Stove. It is so light and really handy for using a frying pan or similar larger pots that are hard to balance on a backpack stove.

It’s also really handy if you’re wild camping and don’t have access to a table!

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Quick frying some fresh veggies whilst cooking off some quinoa for a highly nutritious dinner after a day’s hiking in the Scottish Highlands.

Cooking over the fire:

In Africa we cooked all of our evening meals on the braai. A braai is basically a two part grill that you stick your meat in the middle of and join back together. Once you have cooked one side, you flip it over and work on the other. Cooking over an open fire is by far my favourite way to cook and this amazing contraption allowed us to perfectly  barbecue and flame grill fresh game over the hot coals from the wood we’d collected. A hot plate/rock over the fire is also a great way to cook fish and meat.

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As part of a survival training session for children, Andy demonstrated one way of cooking a fish over a fire.

Cooking in the fire: 

By far the best present I ever bought for Andy was the Lodge Dutch Oven and cast iron skillet. These have changed our lives in terms of the way we now cook. Although they are too heavy to take on trips where we don’t have a car, when we do they allow for quick and easy delicious meals because they can be placed into the flames. We also have a tripod from which the oven can be hung so that it can simmer the ingredients.

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Making use of the tripod – a great addition although way too big to take on a flight sadly enough.

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Sautéed potatoes cooked in the skillet.

Some of our old faithful recipes are chilli, soups and curries. One of my favourite things to cook up is a scrummy egg curry.

Egg Curry Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • tin of tomatoes
  • onion (finely chopped)
  • half a garlic bulb (finely chopped)
  • 2 bell peppers (chopped)
  • fresh chillies
  • coriander
  • spinach
  • water
  • curry powder
  • turmeric
  • cumin
  • chilli powder
  • pepper
  • pink himalayan salt

Method

The beauty of the Dutch oven is that you can basically throw everything in all at once and within about half an hour it’s all done and tastes yummy, rather than having to go through the slow simmering process when cooking at home. 

Before you start with the main cooking, boil the eggs for around 4 minutes over a gas stove or over the fire if you have two firesafe pots.

First throw in some olive oil and then add the garlic and onion. After a few minutes of these browning off, add in the peppers, place the lid on and leave for a few minutes. 

Now add in the tomatoes and spices (hold off the fresh coriander until near the end). I just add in as much as I feel until it smells good! Top up with some water so that there is enough to cover all of the ingredients.

After a few more minutes and once the eggs are cooked, remove them from the pot and put some rice on for 10 minutes. Cool the eggs off in some cold water, peel and cut in half lengthways. 

About 5 minutes into the rice cooking, add in the spinach and stir, keep the lid off and after a couple of minutes add in the fresh coriander and some more seasoning before placing the egg halves into the curry mixture. 

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Serve the rice then add a good couple of spoonfuls of curry over the top, sprinkle some more fresh coriander and either a little squeeze of lime or a dollop of natural yoghurt over the top!

 

Cooking over a wood-burning stove:

Cooking over a wood burning stove is another great way of cooking when camping. When we were in Alaska and camped in the USFS huts we used these as a means to heat the cabin as well as cooking dinner.

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Cooking the veggies on the wood stove and pasta on the gas in our USFS hut in Alaska. Worrying amount of alcohol for only one night, mind you after the day we had had, we needed it!

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Using the Dutch Oven to cook over the wood stove in our winter tent this Christmas.

Cooking with limited supplies:

When backcountry camping and on kayak/cycle tours, you can’t take heavy cooking gear with you so have to rely on limited facilities and carrying around lots of food is also nearly impossible. Often this is when pasta is our staple as carrying a bag of spaghetti isn’t too weighty, nor is a small bottle of olive oil and some dried oregano and peppercorns. We tend to pick up fresh garlic, tomatoes, cured meats and cheese to create tasty yet simple meals using just a backpacking stove and small gas canister.

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Simple cooking but with fresh ingredients you can’t go wrong.

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Naked Chef! Taking simple cooking to the next level on a nudist beach in Croatia.

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Sautéed  vegetables, fresh pasta, mugs of a wine and a quick skinny dip before dinner by sunset…bliss!

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