One of the joys of camping is the smell of bacon wafting under your nose, but you probably won’t want to cook every morning, or do the washing up for that matter…and what about if you are vegetarian? Scraping burnt porridge off a pan is not the way to start a fun packed day!
The answer could be your own pre-prepared camping meals. Breakfast bars tick this box, but their healthiness is questionable. On a positive note, they avoid the cool box challenge but are usually very high in sugar and other nasties.
This version of a flapjack, uses far less sugar and fat and the type that is used is healthier, making them a portable, fuss free alternative. Besides, if you are taking the kids camping, it means you have something immediate to give them when they are hungry.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
1. Breakfast Seeded Bars
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup honey
1 cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup dried mixed peel
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Gently heat the coconut oil until liquid, then add the vanilla and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, then add the oil and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
I used a greaseproof muffin tin for the next bit, so that I could make individual bars and avoid cutting and crumbs, but if you prefer, use a baking tray and cut away.
Place spoonfuls of the raw mixture into each muffin hollow and press down.
Place the tray in the oven and cook for approx 15 minutes, or until lightly golden
2. Buckwheat Pancakes
Eggs are my default breakfast, though due to their fragility, unpacking eggs at camp can be a messy business. The easiest way to transport eggs is to break them unto a leak proof container and do with them what you will: omelette, scrambled, poached.
In the same way, you can prepare a transportable pancake mix. My favourite pancake is buckwheat. If you make a thicker American style batter, rather than a crepe batter, they are easier to manage and if you add raisins to the mix, it will naturally sweeten them.
1 cup buckwheat flour
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
handful of raisins
Add all the ingredients to a leak proof container and shake. Adjust quantity of milk, until it reaches desired consistency.
Another make ahead camping meal is the tortilla. Make one big enough to last a couple of days and you will feel as if you are having a cooked breakfast, but without the hassle.
Don’t feel restricted to the ingredients below, Tortilla are great for when you have a few left over veggies you neither want to pack and take to camp, or waste by throwing away (I have been known to use brown basmati rice, broccoli and parmesan).
No electric hook up? Then make ahead. Freeze and it will defrost slowly in the cool box. You can even add your beloved bacon if you are desperate!
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 handful parsley, chopped
5 cooked new potatoes, sliced
Splash of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil gently in a large frying pan and add the onion and garlic. Gently cook until translucent, not brown.
Break the eggs into a bowl and beat. Add the parsley and salt and pepper.
Add the potatoes to the frying pan with the onion and garlic mix and heat through.
Stir in the egg and parsley mixture to the frying pan.
When the underside is cooked, pop under the grill to cook the top, or turn the tortilla over in the frying pan using an inverted plate to stop the mix from breaking.
When cooked and cooled, wrap in foil and freeze.
4. Foil pack
If you want to be sure that the food for the camp BBQ has ingredients you can trust, then you need to make it yourself. Burgers are so simple to make, there really is no need to buy expensive highly processed versions.
Of course you can make some fancy dancy burgers with a list of ingredients the length of your arm, but really all you need is good quality organic mince (I used beef), sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Mix the ingredients together and form into patties. Line a large sheet of foil with a strip of greaseproof paper and top with burgers. Top the burgers with another strip of greaseproof…continue in this fashion until you have sufficient burgers, then cover with more foil and fold the sides to form a package. Freeze. As before, this will act as a freezer block for your cool box.
5. Bag It
As with the ‘Foil Pack’, a variety of concoctions may be made ahead in bags, ready for cooking. In the bag below I have used gluten free pasta (this has the added bonus of a faster cooking time than the durum wheat counterpart), with chopped garlic, sliced peppers and courgettes, a spoonful of Marigold Swiss vegetable Bouillon and ground black pepper.
When you cook it add a carton of Passata to the pan and a splash of water and let it bubble away until cooked. To finish, sprinkle with parmesan. For a spicy combo you could bag parboiled brown basmati rice with red lentils, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, clove, spring onion, chopped tomato, coriander, chilli and vegetable bouillon.
Bags may also be used for a ball of bread dough (with or without gluten). The dough can be wrapped around sticks or skewers and placed over the grill.
Vegetarians can pop some large Portobello mushrooms in a bag along with a chopped clove of garlic, chopped tarragon, ground black pepper, a splash of olive oil and a glug of balsamic vinegar.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing, but they are good to go and won’t fall apart like some vegetarian burgers on the BBQ. When cooked you may like to top with slices of mozzarella.
The choice of camp cooker (whether BBQ or stove), will determine how meals are made ahead. For example, bags used to marinate meat and frozen, will be great for BBQ cooking, but unless you have a pan, bagged pasta will be no use whatsoever.
Camp cooking should be a fairly speedy affair, as you may have limited gas and high winds. As such you need to give thought to cooking times: chop vegetables to manageable sizes (boiling whole potatoes may take 20 minutes, whereas diced potato will take 5minutes); brown basmati rice can take up to 30 minutes cooking, however if you parboil, then freeze, it will take 10 minutes; choices like couscous are always a winner due to ease of cooking, but don’t forget to pack herbs and spices to give flavour.
Have fun and experiment!