Simple pleasures are appreciated by hungry campers – we share easy ideas for taking your camp cooking to the next level.
Camping Portable Pantry
With maximum taste and minimum fuss, basic non-perishable items can put the cordon bleu into camp cooking.
Camp cooking condiments
Your lightweight, high flavour camp cooking selection could include small decanted amounts of olive oil and vinegar, stock cubes, powdered soups (including tempting Asian flavours like tom yum), sachets of tomato paste, powdered milk, powdered or block coconut cream, powdered mustard, dried vegetables, dried fruits and nuts.
Parmesan cheese gives a lot of flavour in a little space.
Pack convenient staples like rice, pasta and red lentils, plus the obvious essentials: salt, pepper, sugar, tea, coffee and self-raising flour (so you can make damper).
A little bit of space left in your camping gear? Indulge in a few small, light camp cooking luxuries like cocoa and marshmallows.
Big flavour from lightweight spices and dried foods
Dried onions and dried garlic are another easy and economical way to add flavour to savoury dishes when cooking on a campfire. These are available in the Asian section of the supermarket or at Asian grocers. Gourmet camp cooks might also consider popping in a few dried anchovies and shitake mushrooms for a delicious variation.
Spice up your camp cooking with chilli flakes, curry powder and Cajun mix. Basil and oregano are also versatile additions to many dishes.
For a delicious surprise, pack a parcel of Indian spices. Try a couple of cloves and cardamom pods, a teaspoon each of powdered ginger and cumin, a little stick of cinnamon and salt to taste. This little bundle can be used to flavour anything from a quick curry to a pot of rice, or can simply be rubbed on meat and vegies before barbecuing.
Add a handful of dried fruit and nuts to the curry or rice for the last five minutes of cooking for extra zing.
Ready made rice
For easy camping food, place one cup of rice, 2 ½ cups of boiling water and your choice of seasoning into a preheated thermos in the morning. Seal it up and you’ll have rice ready for your early evening meal.
Food storage and cooling when camping
Perishable foods need to be kept chilled. This can be as simple as an ice-filled cool box or as sophisticated as a portable fridge. Replenish ice daily and turf any stinky items. Include some frozen bottles of water or juice drinks in your cold store to keep things colder for longer.
Similarly, freeze meat in advance so it will keep for longer whilst helping the cool box stay cool.
Keep your cool box chilled for longer by wrapping it in highly-reflective material such as a windscreen sunvisor.
Dry food should be kept sealed, secure and ideally off the ground.
Avoid glass containers and store food in airtight plastic tubs or zip-lock bags.
Cleaning up you camping kitchen
Do it straight away! Use hot water and a bio-degradable detergent to clean all your camping cookware and dishes. Boil some cleaning water while you eat. Seal away scraps and food rubbish in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the camp dumpster or take it away with you.
Don’t get lazy about cleaning up and locking up each night – crafty critters like possums will be on the look out for open bags and boxes and can knock off or ruin a week’s supply of food quick as a flash.
Easy camp cooking recipe: slap-dash beer bread
Make it in two minutes, cook it for half an hour and eat it in 30 seconds – now that’s a recipe for success!
200 grams of wholemeal self raising flour
1 tablespoon of honey
Pinch of salt, grind of pepper
Enough beer to make it all stick together in a big gooey mess (best half of a stubbie)
Mix it all together and stick it in a small tin (it will about double in size). Whack it in the oven (180°C) for half an hour. Can also be cooked in a camp oven (check after 20 minutes). Makes one small loaf. Let it cool before you scoff it.
If you’re feeling flash or out to impress you can add some grated lemon rind and parmesan cheese or olives and rosemary … in fact, any dried or fresh herbs you fancy will probably work!