Whether you’re stuck in lockdown, or free to camp anywhere you want, you need to eat. And you may as well make it fun. We asked two of Australia’s best chefs for their favourite camping recipes and we love their picks.
These backyard camping recipes will get you through the weekend
Sarah Glover’s wild camping recipes
Chef and adventurer Sarah Glover grew up in one of Australia’s wildest places, surfing the turbulent waves of Tasmania, nibbling on berries from the bushes she passed. Fresh local produce was always on her table and blooming in her backyard.
When she opened a sweet shop in Bondi Beach in 2009, Glover quickly realised most people hadn’t grown up as wild as she had. They had never known the joys that come from cooking outdoors with family and friends.
Glover picked sweet and savoury camping recipes for HWK readers to try with the kids. We know you will love them.
There’s something comforting, something heartening, about putting a marshmallow on a stick and roasting it over a crackling fire until it’s just bubbling on the outside, its skin turned toasty and fire-edged.
With this camping recipe, you can make your own marshmallows.
* 1 cup water
* 3 packets gelatine
* 2 cups white sugar
* ½ cup corn syrup
* 1 tbsp vanilla extract
* 1 tbsp peppermint extract
* chocolate for a dark, gooey centre (optional)
* icing sugar, for dusting
1. Get a slice tin ready by greasing it with butter and lining it with cling wrap. Pour ½ cup of the water into a medium bowl. Add the gelatine, stir and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan on high heat, place the sugar, corn syrup and the remaining ½ cup of water. Bring to the boil (you want it to roll with bubbles). Allow to boil for an additional minute, then remove from the heat. Add in the vanilla and peppermint extracts.
3. Using a handheld electric mixer, begin mixing the gelatine mixture. Slowly add the sugar syrup while you continue to mix on a low speed.
4. Once all sugar syrup is added, turn the mixer to high speed and whip for 10-12 minutes until the batter almost triples in size and becomes very thick. Scrape down the sides to prevent overflowing.
5. Transfer the mixture into your prepared slice tin – work fast, or it will set before it’s all in the pan. If you like, you can pour only half of the mixture into the pan, then spread melted chocolate over it, leaving the edges white, and cover with the remaining mixture to create what will be gooey chocolate insides. Once you’ve finished pouring everything in, cover with more cling wrap and set the pan aside to set.
6. Once it is set, place icing sugar on a board, turn out the marshmallow and cut into chunks.
Mussels with saltwater and potatoes
It’s magical making this dish by the sea with freshly caught mussels plucked straight from the rocks. We were on a beach on the east coast of Tasmania when we tried this method, at a little bay we’d discovered by accident. It was sheltered from the sea breeze, the perfect spot to light a campfire.
I stoked the fire to a medium heat while preparing my mussels; once ready, I buried the pot in the coals. The air filled with a smoky aroma that drew my friends in from the beach to sit around and share a meal with the sea on our side.
Remember to pick mussels whose shells are securely closed and that are damp and shiny. If you have to purchase the mussels, don’t pick any with broken, cracked or split shells. This dish is so easy, I promise you anyone can make it.
* 1 onion, finely diced
* 2 tomatoes, diced
* 3 salad rose potatoes (or another variety of red-skinned potato), skin on, cut into 1 cm cubes
* 2 cups white wine
* 1 cup seawater
* 1kg mussels, cleaned and debearded
* 2 cloves fresh young garlic, diced (for garnish)
* small handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and washed (for garnish)
1. Light a campfire and let it burn down until it’s at medium heat. Combine the onion and tomatoes in your billy or large pot and place it in the coals of the fire. Cook for about 1 minute, then add the potatoes, white wine and 1 cup seawater. Cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
2. Add the mussels, then cover and cook until the mussels open up, discarding any that don’t open (they are not good to eat).
3. Serve sprinkled with garlic and parsley. Eat at the beach and enjoy the salty air and salty mussels.
Above words and recipes from Homecamp: Stories and Inspiration for the Modern Adventurer, by Doron and Stephanie Francis. Published by Hardie Grant Travel, RRP $59.99.
Food is something that nourishes and brings people together… the campfire is a non-judgmental environment – people take off their shoes and just relax.
Simon McGrath’s camping recipes
Simon McGrath is the author of Camping with Kids. As a seasoned camper, he knows how to cook up a storm, even in a storm. His camping recipes are simple and delicious.
Champion Hot Chocolate
Instead of settling for a vastly inferior powdered hot chocolate at the end of a bracing day spent out in the fresh air, why not challenge the kids to use some of their favourite ingredients to create the champion hot chocolate? With this recipe, topped with cream and other sweet treats, the hot chocolate represents the dark of the night, the small marshmallows are fluffy clouds and the sprinkles are twinkling stars – it’s campsite nighttime in a mug.
* 4 squares dark chocolate (ideally 70 per cent cocoa solids). You can use regular milk chocolate instead but you’ll need a little more of it and probably less sugar
* Just under a cup of milk
* 2 tsp sugar
* Whipped cream in a spray can
* Mini marshmallows
* Sprinkles, hundreds and thousands– whatever you like to call them. A dusting of cocoa also works. It’s all the icing on the cake, sort of.
1. Melt the chocolate in a pan, stirring continuously to ensure it doesn’t burn. In a separate saucepan, heat the milk, then pour it on top of the chocolate. Add the sugar.
Continue to gently heat the mixture while stirring so the sugar melts and the chocolate blends with the milk. If using milk chocolate (try giant buttons), mix it well as there will be more oil that separates from the chocolate. Pour into your mug and decorate first with whipped cream and then those fancy toppings.
2. Use a spoon to scoop out dollops of the delicious top layer before sipping the hot chocolate. And then chill out as the day draws to a close.
3. Mum and dad might like to spice up their hot chocolate with a tot of rum. Just don’t mix up the mugs!
Apple and blackberry crumble, campervan-style
A large thick-bottomed frying pan and gas stove, campfire or barbecue plus foil squares (roughly A4 size) are needed for this recipe. For each person, you need two squares of thick foil, laid on top of each other. Substitute blueberries for blackberries depending on what is available.
* 1 large dessert apple or 2 small ones per person
* A big handful of blackberries
* 4 tsp light brown sugar
* A sprinkle of cinnamon
* 3 large farmhouse-style oat or ginger biscuits per person. If not, wheaten biscuits are fine
* Clotted cream to serve
1. Peel and roughly chop the apples and pile them in the middle of the foil pieces.
2. Squash the blackberries a little in a bag, then put them in with the apples. Add a teaspoon of light brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon per person. Add a small splash of water to the fruit.
3. Fold over the foil to make flat parcels ensuring they are tightly sealed at the edges and look like an envelope, and pop them on your barbecue, in the campfire embers or in your thick-bottomed dry frying pan over medium heat.
4. While that’s cooking, make your crumble. Allow about three large biscuits per person. Put them in a freezer bag and crush with the bottom of a wine or beer bottle, or perhaps even a tent peg mallet (without getting carried away).
5. Check the apple has cooked (about four to five minutes). When it has softened a little (don’t let it turn to purée), take it off the heat and turn the foil parcel into a foil bowl by turning up the sides. Be careful as it will be hot.
6. Sprinkle the biscuit ‘crumble’ over the top to cover the apple and add a dollop of clotted cream on the side. Tuck in!
Camping with Kids by Simon McGrath is published by Hardie Grant Travel, RRP AU$19.99.
This article on camping recipes originally appeared in Caravan and Camping with Kids magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.
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