By Ren Behan
Cooking over an open fire is the oldest and most primitive method of cooking known, with glowing red flames and smoky ambers mostly lending themselves to frying, grilling and boiling. When camping in the great outdoors, the part I look forward to the most is setting up my little outdoor kitchen. If you’re a scout, you’ll almost certainly know how to start a small campfire. Otherwise, there are plenty of modern, portable open fire cooking stoves available to take along. It’s time to get creative too, since open fire cooking sets us all with a whole new cooking challenge.
With a small enamel saucepan to hand, start by getting some Epic hot chocolate on the go, which will be warmly welcomed by all. You can make up the chocolate mix in advance at home and take it along in a large jar. And don’t forget to pack the marshmallows! Spike them onto a stick and lightly toast over the heat, ready to add to the cups of hot cocoa.
Open fires are particularly suited to one pot cooking. If you’re feeding a crowd, try a chilli con carne or a casserole, mopped up with a crusty loaf. If you’re camping near the seaside, some fresh fish might inspire you to make a tasty camp-side Paella, in which case, a large, flat pan would work best. Don’t forget to add in some extra smokiness with some cooking chorizo – it’s a great camping ingredient to have to hand as it doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge. Chorizo can also very easily be sizzled up ready to find its way into a sandwich or even an omelette.
If you’re got access to a portable BBQ you can make Barbecued chicken which uses a marinade made from a few store-cupboard ingredients from home. Once cooked, you could construct chicken fillet burgers using plenty of lettuce, mayo and tomatoes. Or perhaps slice the chicken into pasta or salads. The marinade itself can be used to coat most types of meat. It’s best to wait until the flames have died down a little so that the meat doesn’t burn on the outside before being cooked through on the inside.
Veggie lovers will enjoy tucking into some Killer Mexican barbecued corn on the cob. Grill other vegetables at the same time, such as halved peppers and chunks of courgette on skewers or sticks. Another idea is to season up and wrap some small baking potatoes in tinfoil, then nestle them into the embers to cook, too.
Ren Behan is a food writer and a mum of two. Find out more at www.renbehan.com