I know this isn’t a therapy session, but I have to admit when it comes to cooking I could burn water. I’m blessed with a lovely wife who enjoys cooking, which works out well as I enjoy eating. Around the house she can whip up a meal from scratch using nothing but tomato sauce and breadcrumbs… while I have trouble opening the can of baked beans I’ve found under the driver’s seat of my GQ Patrol. “SO WHY ARE YOU WRITING A COOKING YARN?” I hear you (and my wife) exclaim… Well, when you lack the skills to create fine culinary delights, you do what every person does when slightly out of their element. Fake it until you make it. What I have assembled is a range of delicious recipes I use on-the-reg at home or when out camping. Meals so good, you are guaranteed to fool your travel companions into thinking, “Wow… this person might actually know how to function as an adult.”
1 PROVEN CAMP PIZZA DOUGHWhen I say proven, this recipe has the stamp of approval from everyone in the office. My pizza dough uses just two ingredients: self-raising flour and natural yogurt. Sounds wrong, but trust me here!
- 2 cups of self-raising flour
- 500g Greek or natural yogurt
- Tomato paste
- Pizza toppings (I like ham, cheese and pineapple; but go nuts here folks)
- Pre-grated cheese
Combine flour and yoghurt in a bowl, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for approximately10 minutes, dusting with extra flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Separate dough into two even balls and roll out each on a floured surface. Transfer the rolled-out dough to a pizza tray. Spoon the tomato paste over the dough. Top with ingredients and sprinkle mozzarella over the top (from edge to edge). Heat your barbeque or camp oven until very hot. If you’ve got a pizza stone, even better – because it helps to distribute the heat evenly. Once the stone is hot, slide the pizza onto it and close the lid. It takes about 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it while it’s cooking. Serves: 4-6 Time: 20-30 mins TIP: Want a thicker crust? Don’t split the dough in two. Roll the full amount into one base and allow for a little extra cooking time.
2 SPAGHETTI NON-REGRETTIThis is my Mum’s recipe, and one I still cook once every few weeks. It is simple, and uses just a few ingredients. And best of all, you can mix it up using what you have available at the time.
- 500g pork mince
- 1 500g jar of Leggos tomato paste
- 1 red onion (diced)
- 6-10 mushrooms (finely chopped)
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cubes beef stock
- 1 pack of pasta (any type)
- 1 grated carrot (if desired)
- Olive oil
- Mixed herbs
- 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
METHODHeat a large pot on high heat, and add a drizzle of olive oil. Place all pork mince into the pot, and stir until brown. Add garlic and tomato paste, then fill the (now empty) jar with water twice and add it to the meat with the onion and beef stock. Simmer on a medium heat; once bubbling add the mushrooms and carrot (if desired). Cook until reduced; which should take 15 minutes. However a longer slower cook will always taste better, so get it on early and let the flavours do their thing. Boil the pasta until soft, and add directly to the bolognaise sauce. Stir until a good ratio of meat-pasta is achieved. Top with cheese and mixed herbs, and you are ready for the best bolognaise this side of Rome. Serves: 4-6 Time: 30-45 mins
3 FISH PARCELSThis is a recipe our resident cooking expert Jo Clews put me onto, which is healthy, tasty and easy to cook for groups small to large. Sounds like a perfect camp recipe to me… even better if you can catch the fish yourself.
- 1 portion of fish per person
- 1 teaspoon of butter per serve
- Your favourite seasoning and herbs
- 1 squeeze of lemon or lime per serve
- 1 piece of foil or baking paper per serve (30-40cm)
METHODPlace one sheet of foil or paper on your work surface and smear a teaspoon of butter in the middle. Put the fish fillet over the butter, season your fish with your preferred herbs, then add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Fold the top and bottom edges of the foil over the fish, and wrap it over a couple of times; then fold over the ends to completely seal the parcel. Paper ends may need to be twisted, as paper tends to unfold… unlike foil, that stays put. Place the parcels onto a hotplate or frypan and cook for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until you can press the thickest part of the fish with your finger and it is hot to the touch. This goes great with a nice light salad or even with a side of chips of wedges cooked in a frypan or camp oven. Serves: 1-20 Time: 30 min
4 CHEESE & BACON PANCAKESCheese and bacon pancakes… now these really don’t need much of an intro, do they. Talk about an easy and delicious way to start your day!
- 1 bottle of pancake mix
- 1 cup of grated cheese
- 2 rashers of bacon, chopped
METHODFry the bacon until crispy, and remove it from heat. Mix the cooked bacon into the pancake mix, and pour small rounds onto your greased hotplate to cook. Just before turning them, sprinkle some grated cheese onto each pancake. Flip over and cook the other side; then enjoy the cheesy bacon deliciousness once cooked. Serves: 4 Time: 15 mins
5 CHICKEN CURRY… IN A HURRYThis is a great recipe for those looking for a hearty meal that doesn’t take long to cook. Best of all, you can season to suit and add more spice for those cold winter nights if you’re brave enough.
- 4 chicken breasts (diced)
- 1 cup of beans (sliced)
- 1 small zucchini (thinly sliced)
- 1 brown onion (chopped)
- 1 can of coconut milk/cream
- 1½ tablespoons of curry paste (red or green)
- Vegetable oil
METHODHeat a small amount of oil in a deep frying pan or camp oven over medium heat. Add the onion and curry paste, and cook for roughly one minute. Add the diced chicken into the pan, and fry for a few minutes until you cannot see any pink chicken. Pour in the coconut milk and stir it in well. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is properly cooked. Add one cup of beans and cook for another five minutes, then lay zucchini slices on top to soften for one minute. Serve with boiled Jasmine rice and enjoy with your favourite beverage. Serves: 4 Time: 35 min
6 CHEESE & SPINACH COBThis is such a winner around the campfire of an afternoon, and perfect for those happy hour situations in campgrounds when you are looking to meet fellow travellers. And best of all, cleaning up is a breeze… as you get to eat the plate (so to speak).
- 1 large cob loaf
- 1 large handful of spinach leaves
- 1 small onion (finely chopped)
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1½ cups of cheddar or tasty cheese (grated)
- 250g cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon mixed dry herbs
- Salt and pepper
METHODPreheat a camp oven on a low/medium heat and drop in a trivet. Slice a lid off the top of the cob loaf and scoop out the bread inside, ensuring you keep it in large pieces, while leaving the cob wall and base 2cm thick. Mix all other ingredients in a bowl, and fill the cob. Place the loaf on your trivet and bake for around 20 minutes, or until the filling has melted. Serve on a large plate or board with the strips of bread inside. Start eating the cob once the filling levels drop. See, no need for individual plates – as you are actually eating them. Pretty cool eh? Serves: 8 Time: 40 mins
7 FRUIT COBBLERA tasty and simple (are you noticing a common theme here) dessert that always proves to be a winner. And it has fruit in it, so it must be healthy… right?
- 1 can of peaches in syrup
- 1 large banana (thickly sliced)
- 1 apple (peeled, cored and cut into 6-8 wedges)
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 packet of pre-packaged butter cake mix
- 250g block of butter (cut into cubes)
- Extra butter or margarine (to grease the camp oven)
- Rum or brandy (optional)