By the time you read this, I’ll be under canvas somewhere off the westbound M25, constantly checking my phone for when the sun might appear/north-easterly breeze might ease up/who liked my last post on Instagram.
Our annual camping weekend began as a Dads’ only affair (I’m unsure when or why it changed) but includes someone so skilled in cooking with fire, he needs a pick-up truck to transport his kit. Due to the trip’s patriarchal origins, the women stay out of all food planning, buying and preparation (including the standard planning session down the pub). So far so good.
But, me being me, I’m always a little wistful of what could’ve been if I’d been cooking.
I’ll start with Gill Meller’s fire-roasted tomatoes with crushed fennel seeds, pepper, and marjoram on a thick slice of chargrilled, oiled and salted sourdough. Insane. I make this whenever I can. Use whole tomatoes unless your grill rack has tiny holes- they’ll fall through onto the flames. It’s never stopped me eating them, however.
Then a bit of inspiration from Southern Italian street food and Rachel Roddy’s Bacon-wrapped Spring Onions (I used asparagus this week to keep it seasonal and it was sensational. A seasonal sensation even).
Diana Henry’s Roasted Peppers with Mozzarella and Chorizo/N’duja are also GOOD. V easy to prep on a campsite and sizzle up good on the grill.
For a fully veggie main course, try this burger.. stolen from the Byron Chain, this is my dream veggie version: Get a whole pepper on the grill and char until the skin blisters. Remove skin and cut into 3 slabs. Get a seasoned and oiled Portobello Mushroom on the grill and cook till tender (literally minutes). Now build your burger.. toast a bun (preferably brioche) slather with mayo, add a few slim rings of red onion, tomato and a few leaves of baby spinach. Pile on the mushroom, topped with a thick slice of goat’s cheese and finally a soft, charred slice of pepper.
Or try kebabs with chunks of halloumi, par-boiled jersey royals, hunks of squash and thick slices of courgette.
Crucial to camping is prepping ahead. Slice those onions, wash that lettuce, skewer those kebabs, shake that dressing together in a jar. Pre-season, marinate (wings are ace- so quick to cook), and mix up (even your cocktails) at home. Anything too messy or laborious is not for the campsite.
I’m still pondering my campfire cocktail. Decisions, decisions.
Have a great weekend!
Genevieve Taylor Cooks with Fire EVERY DAY