Tag: outdoor cooking (Page 1 of 4)

Campfire Gratin-A Tasty & Hearty Warming Meal.

A gratin dish is one that technically has a browned topping of either cheese or bread….ours might have ended with a more browned base than top, but it was still yummy!!

So what do you need to make your tasty campfire gratin? ¬†You can prepare it easily at the campfire, but due to us hiking and it absolutely bucketing down with rain that day, I did the preparation at home ūüôā

Ingredients For Campfire Gratin:

Diced potatoes

Bacon, chopped

Sweetcorn (any veg will do if you want veg in it at all!!)

Creme fraiche

Grated cheese (2 large handfuls)

Blob of butter

Method To Make Campfire Gratin:

To assemble your Gratin do the following:

  1. Pop the bacon, potatoes, and veg into the pan to fry in a blob of butter.
  2. Once browned add in creme fraiche and a hand full of cheese to melt into the sauce.
  3. Heat that all through.
  4. Once cooked, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. ¬†Due to the lack of heat over the top of the pan, this ends up more melted than browned, but that’s why it’s a campfire gratin ūüėČ And when something tastes so yummy, warms you through in a rain storm, and fills your tummy, technical details don’t matter!!! ¬†Enjoy xx

Campfire Gratin, gratin, outdoor food, outdoor cooking, outdoor meals, campfire meal, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

6 Campfire Problems & What To Do

You have packed up and headed off for an outdoor adventure that includes lots of fresh air and nature.¬† You have also decided the best and most cosy way to cook your food would be on a campfire…..a person after my own heart!!¬† Who doesn’t like a warming campfire and making memories around them?¬† However, you hit a problem with it.¬† Let’s face it, building, lighting, and keeping campfires going is an eternal learning curve, but a fun one.¬† This post is designed to take you through some of the more commonly occurring campfire problems, and what to do about them, so you can (armed with a bit of helpful knowledge) get on and enjoy a successful campfire ūüôā

  1. Too smokey:¬† A smokey campfire is one of the more common campfire problems, and as you can tell from the photo, it can take even the most prepared bush crafter by surprise – the cause, wet wood (I was convinced mine was dry here…obviously not!!)¬† Wet wood will be hard to light, and will produce a lot of smoke.¬† I’m not talking about wood that has previously dried out and has now been exposed to a little rain…yes, that will smoke a bit, but on the inside it will still be dry.¬† Some types of wood also cause smoking.¬† Generally if you stick with harder woods you should be fine.¬† Light with smaller softer wood initially to get it going (they light easier), then swap to harder woods as they burn hotter and for longer.
  2. Lighting the campfire in the rain:¬† Look for naturally protected areas to light your fire.¬† For example under tree canopies, or cliff overhangs.¬† But don’t, whatever you do, light it in the protection of your tent!¬† Start with very small and very dry kindling and tinder (refer to my building a campfire blog post).¬† I usually carry some of this just to ensure we have a successful lighting, but if you need more, look for it under things where it has been protected from the elements.¬† Also, if you have a knife or axe you can split the wood, as the inside may be dry and then it will light better with that exposed rather than the damp exterior.¬† You could even shave some off with the knife as extra kindling, or feather a stick for even better chances of lighting the fire.
  3. Reigniting embers when the flames die down:¬† If your campfire dies down and you still need flames (if like me you got distracted with children and forgot to add new fuel to the fire), then you can direct a gentle blow into the base of the hot embers, and after a few attempts you should see the flames spring back into life (just make sure you aren’t blowing hot embers all over the countryside as you’ll start a fire!¬† You need to make sure they stay in your fire pit).¬†¬†
  4. Keep the fire burning:¬† Before your flames die down, add another log to them, but make sure air can still get into the fire to fan the flames, don’t suffocate it.
  5. Wood burning too fast:¬† This usually means that it is too windy and your campfire needs some protection from the wind.¬† For example, above we have built a wall from rocks, preventing the wind from burning through our wood fuel so fast.¬† You could also dig a hole into the ground if the area/ground is suitable.¬† If you do use rocks, don’t forget to cool them down afterwards, and also replace them to where you found them.
  6. Food is not cooking or warming up:¬† This usually means, for some reason, the heat is not reaching your food.¬† For example, a very windy day will make your fuel burn rapidly and have huge flames, but the heat will be blown away before it has much impact on your cooking.¬† On those kind of days, the food needs to sit right on top of the heat source.¬† If you have foil wrapped food that isn’t so hard, but if in a billy can or balanced on a grill you need to get a little more inventive.¬† Usually things can be solved with some well positioned wood to balance a pot, or some foil to wrap things up in so they can go straight onto the fire….just remember to check them more often as they will now cook fast!

I hope these hints about campfire problems will give you a helping hand in having a successful campfire or two.  They are such fun to do and we love making one on our outdoor adventures.  Be sure to read my post on campfire basics and tips as well, which covers how to build one and safety amongst other things, and go and enjoy your campfire!!6 Campfire Problems & What To Do, Campfire problems, campfires, fire pits, bush craft, survival, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Campfires – The Basics & Tips

We get a lot of enjoyment out of making and using campfires as part of our outdoor experiences.¬† It adds an extra sense of adventure to our outdoor trips, whether hiking, camping, or just visiting a beach to play, and in the cooler months it makes our meal break a very cosy one.¬† I haven’t always been happy with fires though and learnt a lot through forest school back in the UK before we moved here.¬† Since then I have tried to carry on the experience of¬†eating¬†by a fire as the children loved it.¬† I have learnt a lot over the last 12 months and I thought I might share some basics and tips to help you get started, or give you more confidence if you are new to it.

How To Build A Campfire:

  1. You will need some supplies first!¬† This is what we use with a lot of success:¬† Newspaper, cotton wool, Vaseline, tiny kindling (very small twigs, or we prefer silver birch bark we have shredded), bigger sticks (thumb width), and larger wrist sized logs.¬† Don’t forget to¬†sign up¬†– you will then get the password to access our freebies page, and you can see what is in our fire starting kit!
  2. Build a tepee like structure:  Small amount of newspaper in the middle, with some cotton wool on top (that has a bit of Vaseline on Рthis helps light the fire).  Then place the kindling around that in a tepee shape, then the larger sticks around that, and then the bigger logs around that.
  3. Our stacking system:¬† This is a system we use very effectively for our campfires so you could give it a go too.¬† It doesn’t go so high as a tepee structure so is easier to pop a grill over to cook on.¬† We place the smaller sticks in a crisscross square shape, placing a loosely crumpled piece of newspaper and cotton wool with Vaseline on in the middle.¬† Then place a larger log across the top of the stack.
  4. Once the fire is lit, make sure you top up the fuel before the flames die right down to get it really going at first.¬† If it dies down too much, you need to try blowing under at the glowing embers to get the flames going again.¬† Once it has calmed down a little you are ready to cook on it ūüôā

How To Put Out Campfires:

  1. Never leave a campfire before it is fully out as it may harm the environment and wildlife.
  2. Let the firewood all burn down to ash, and spread the ash and embers out a little
  3. Gently pour on some water slowly.  We carry extra water for this, to make sure we can always put our fires out. Or if we are by water we take a bucket with us.
  4. Mix the embers up with a stick, allowing the water to infiltrate more, and bring anything that is still glowing and alight underneath to the surface to be dowsed with water.
  5. Pour on a little more water; you will hear hissing doing this and produce smokey steam (watch where you are standing!).
  6. Again use a stick to spread the embers out and stir water in.
  7. Keep repeating until you are confident nothing is still alight/glowing.

Some Rules For Campfires:

  1. Use fire pits where you can, or carry a lightweight and portable stove with you.  By using provided fire pits, or carrying your own stove, you are helping to protect the habitat of creatures in the area that you have decided to cook in, plus reduced the risk of fire spreading.
  2. You need to consider any fire dangers for the time of year (e.g. is it very dry?) and bear in mind any local restrictions.  You don’t want to spread your fire.
  3. Take only wood from the ground, never from the trees, and gather it from a wide area.  You don’t want to remove everything from one small area as it has a job to perform in the ecosystem providing nutrients and habitats.
  4. Allow your wood to burn completely down to ash, and then spread them out when you are extinguishing your fire.
  5. Put out a fire with water not dirt,
  6. Avoid building your fire on rocks as it will scar them.  Also, if near coastal water that covers them after you’ve been and gone, when the water rapidly cools the rocks it may cause them to crack.
  7. Never leave your fire unattended, it is a fire risk and a hazard to any inquisitive animals.
  8. If you have moved any rocks, for example to make a bit of a wind break, make sure you return them to where they were.
  9. Make sure you take all your rubbish home again, to avoid harming animals and the countryside.

I hope these tips will help you to either give campfires a go if you haven’t before, or help you get more confidence if you are a newbie.¬† They really add to the outdoor experience and are so cosy to be around.¬† They also help teach children basic bush craft and outdoor skills (whether that be lighting a fire, looking after a fire, or thinking about nature and the environment when using a fire).¬† However, they must be made and used responsibly and always thinking about safety and nature.¬† Don’t forget to check out our¬†outdoor cooking recipes for inspiration for what to cook on your campfire!!¬† We have lots of ideas both savoury and sweet, so go take a browse and enjoy them ūüôā

Campfires the basics and tips, campfires, how to make a campfire, campfire rules, outdoor cooking, camping, hiking, www.mammasschool.co.uk

The Swedish Kitchen – Cooking Outdoors

The beautiful Swedish countryside is full of outdoor fire pits, making cooking outdoors very accessible to everyone.  They come in all shapes, sizes, and conditions, but there is no doubt about it, being able to do your cooking outdoors on a hike or a camp, safely and responsibly, adds to the experience and memories, especially for our three children.  

There is no knowing what you will find until you reach one.¬† Some are marked on trail maps, others are not, but they are little gems tucked away in the Swedish countryside, usually complete with a stunning view to admire whilst you eat your tasty treat.¬† Some are very basic, just a few rocks.¬† Others are luxurious, with the ability to set your grill rack at different heights, and complete with picnic tables.¬† Sometimes a kind person has provided wood for the fire and left it in a little shelter, and occasionally there is a bucket which you can use to collect water in (which we then have standing next to the fire as a safety precaution).¬† Due to not knowing what we will come across, and being out with three small children, I carry our fire wood (I’m getting quite strong!), just to be on the safe side.¬† As we get more experienced and the children get older, then we can think about rummaging around the ground for fuel supplies. There is something very special about being able to cook over an open fire, and we now have made a habit of doing this at least once a week, rain, sun, or snow…..in the winter it provides a well needed warming meal, and in the summer, a break in the hike to relax while the children play for a few hours.¬† If you need any ideas of what to cook (both sweet and savoury), I have lots of¬†outdoor recipes¬†that are quick and easy ūüôā The provision of the fire pits have benefits far more reaching than just being able to do your cooking outdoors.¬† They allow you to connect together, and pause a while from whatever adventure you are on.¬† Usually we are hiking.¬† The children either immerse themselves playing in nature, or are busy helping me, learning good bush craft and survival skills as they go along.¬† They have now all learnt what you need and how to start a fire, as well as looking after it, and putting it out safely.¬† Also, importantly, they have learnt how to behave around a lit campfire.

Top Tips for Cooking Outdoors

  1. Carry your food, water, and fuel for the trip
  2. Have a little fire starting kit ready made up.  You can see what is in ours here
  3. Allow lots of time.  This is not an activity that can be rushed, both for safety and enjoyment reasons.
  4. Be prepared to improvise, whether with cooking accessories, or fuel supplies.
  5. Let your children help.  It teaches them valuable skills.
  6. Leave no trace of you being there, so there is less impact on the environment.¬† If you’ve moved rocks to create a windbreak, put them back etc
  7. Use fire pits when you can, or a stove if there isn’t one.
  8. Take ALL your waste home.
  9. Put any fires out completely before you pack up and leave.¬† We don’t want wildlife hurt, nature harmed, or it to become a safety risk.
  10. If you are using firewood from the surrounding area, only use from the ground.¬† Don’t go chopping or tearing branches from trees and bushes.

We really enjoy eating our food cooked on a campfire, and I find the children tend to eat better too!!  Make sure you check out our outdoor cooking recipes, and next week I will go over campfire basics, and campfire problem solving here on the blog.The Swedish Kitchen-cooking outdoors, Campfire, campfires, outdoor cooking, campfire cooking, bushcraft, Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect Pizza Wraps

In previous recipes I have experimented using both¬†Swedish flat breads and¬†French baguettes to make pizza meals, and both have been a success.¬† However, today’s idea of pizza wraps wins hands down over those two, according to the taste testing panel of my crazy trio.¬† They were so easy to make, very quick to cook, and extremely tasty to eat.

Ingredients For Pizza Wraps

  1. Tortillas
  2. Tomato puree
  3. Grated cheese
  4. Salami

You can play around with the toppings and add in/take away what you fancy.¬† This combination was both simple and worked well.¬† Don’t forget your tin foil to cook in.

Method To Make Pizza Wraps

  1. Take a piece of tin foil and lie the wrap on the top.
  2. Spread tomato puree over half the wrap surface area.
  3. Then add your toppings….for us cheese and salami
  4. Roll it up, and then wrap it in the tin foil.
  5. Place them on the fire, but only leave a minute or two before turning, and then the same again.  These cook very fast.  Watch for the tin foil scorching and as soon as it does it will be ready.

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did if you give them a go ūüôāPerfect Pizza Wraps, Campfire Pizza, pizza, outdoor cooking, campfire cooking, camping food, bush craft food, outdoor food, Hiking food, www.mammasscholol.co.uk

Fruity S’mores

On Easter Monday we headed out for an outdoor adventure, and I was trying to rack my brain with a way of using up a little Easter¬† chocolate with a new campfire treat.¬† I came up with fruity s’mores!¬† They were given the thumbs up by my testing trio, plus Dadda on this occasion, and we will definitely be making them again.

Ingredients For Fruity S’mores

  1. Apples.
  2. Mini marshmallows.
  3. Mini eggs – but chunks of chocolate will work too if it isn’t around Easter time!¬† We also had vegan chocolate to use for Dadda.
  4. Foil to wrap them up in.

Method To Make Fruity S’mores

  1. Take an apple and a corer and remove the middle of the apple.
  2. Alternately stuff into the gap chocolate eggs (or chunks) and mini marshmallows, until the middle is bursting.
  3. Wrap in tin foil, and pack.  All ready to pop onto your campfire.

This is such a tasty and easy treat.¬† Give it a go and let me know how you get on ūüôā

Fruity S'mores, outdoor cooking, campfire food, hiking food, camping food, outdoors, s'mores, smores, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Apple and Cinnamon Porridge – A Warming Breakfast

This apple and cinnamon porridge breakfast is quick and easy (a big plus point when you are outdoors), tasty, and very filling.¬† It’s perfect for starting the day in the great outdoors, or as a snack to make when out hiking for the day as it will give you lots of energy.

Ingredients For Apple And Cinnamon Porridge 

(This is for one portion)

1 cup of oats.

1 cup of milk of your choice (we’ve made it with both cows’ and plant based milks).

Half an apple.

Teaspoon of raisins.

Teaspoon of cinnamon powder.

Teaspoon of vanilla essence.

How To Make Apple And Cinnamon Porridge

  1. Dice the apple, leaving the skin on is down to what you prefer.
  2. Then put all the ingredients into you pan and warm through
  3. Beware with cooking porridge on a campfire that it can quickly stick to the bottom and burn, so stir regularly.
  4. If getting a little dry just as some more milk.¬† For example, when I am using oat milk I seem to need more than when I use cows’ milk.
  5. Then serve and enjoy!!

I hope you enjoy eating this simple but yummy apple and cinnamon porridge recipe as much as we do, and let me know in the comments below how you found it.

Apple and cinnamon porridge, campfire breakfast, campfire porridge, hiking food, camping food, bush craft, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Raspberry And Coconut Porridge – A Fruity Breakfast

This fruity breakfast porridge makes a good start to any day, whether hiking, camping, or even in the kitchen at home ūüôā It is fruity, tasty, and healthy, and it certainly warmed me up the day I cooked it!¬†

Ingredients for Raspberry And Coconut Porridge

This will make one serving, so just multiply the ingredients by how many people you have….it makes a decent portion size too.

1 cup of oats.

1 cup of coconut milk – add more if it becomes too stiff, but one was fine for me.

Handful of raspberries – mine were frozen, but to be honest if I’d taken fresh out that day they would have frozen anyway!!

1 teaspoon vanilla essence.

Non essential:  cocoa powder (sprinkle) and desiccated coconut (spoonful).

Method For Making Raspberry And Coconut Porridge

  1. Pour in coconut milk and add oats.
  2. Stir until warm.
  3. Add raspberries and stir until mushy, then add in the vanilla essence.¬† At this point you can add desiccated coconut if desired. One of our trio doesn’t like strongly flavoured coconut food so we didn’t.
  4. Serve into a bowl and sprinkle cocoa over the top, but make sure it isn’t windy or else you might just end up wearing it!!!

Raspberry and Coconut Porridge, porridge, oats, breakfast oats, camping food, hiking food, campfire food, outdoor cooking, bushcraft, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Bastasjö Friluftsområde РAn Outdoor Family Haven

Bastasjö is a lake that is the centre piece of the Bastasjö friluftsområde, outdoor area.  It is very convenient being only about a 15 minute drive from the centre of the city of Karlskrona in the south of Sweden.  It is a huge area of hiking trails around the surrounding woods.  What makes this place so good for families are several things.  There are a lot of marked trails in a variety of distances, so you can pick what you think you can manage.  There are also good fire pits, surrounding the lake on all sides, allowing for you to build a campfire safely and cook in the great outdoors.  At the side of the lake where the main car park is, there is also a building, which houses toilets.  You can rent this out as well if you are running an activity in this location.  

We arrived at Bastasj√∂ in the depths of winter during the Swedish sportlov holiday, and although we were doing our own thing, it was interesting to see they had a “drop in” campfire with sausages cooking, everyday this holiday week from 10am until 1pm.¬† They also had other activities, for example a night run and orienteering.¬† There are illuminated trails, as well as ones you can use for cross country skiing when there is enough snow on the ground.¬† We chose our trail, the blue one that skirted round the lake, spotting a fire pit that looked good at the half way point, and we set off.

We had travelled inland for about 20 minutes to reach Bastasj√∂, so there was still a fair amount of snow on the ground compared to what we had at home on the coast, so it made for a scenic walk.¬† The lake was truly frozen over, and there were even some intrepid people having a mini ice hockey game on it…..but keeping very close to the edge still.¬† They obviously did not trust the ice thickness that much.¬† My trio were keen to use their binoculars to watch them (see my other tips for¬†hiking with children).¬† They have never known sea or lake ice so thick you can run, walk, or play on it.¬† They were memorised.¬† It all helped to take their minds off the fact they were hiking with backpacks, and were surprisingly perky!¬† They were even surprised to find themselves at our chosen fire pit thinking the first part of the walk had gone fast, and I was quite surprised to find us there without any whinges of “I’m hungry”!

The children dropped their backpacks, and although the little lady announced she was doing the Kelly Kettle, all three raced off and suddenly starting constructing a den in the woods behind the fire pit.¬† I was happy at my work in the peace and quiet sorting out a lunch of hot dogs and campfire toffee apples.¬† Whilst I was busy, a lady who had seen us light the fire from the other side of the lake where the building is, had walked round and started taking photos….apparently she needed photos of people out enjoying the area with their children during sportlov!¬† Once cooked, three hungry little den builders appeared and gobbled their food up.¬† There was a lovely wooden shelter at this fire pit, and although it was not windy today and not such a painful experience to eat outdoors, it was lovely to be a little sheltered while we ate.¬† I had not planned to stay at the fire pit for the whole 2 hours that we did, but the children were so happy¬†climbing trees and den building, that I left them to it until they were ready to leave.¬† Instead, I amused myself by trying to keep the fire going by using twigs from the ground, and although they were covered in snow I somehow managed, so was feeling quite pleased with myself!¬†¬†

Eventually the trio felt it was time to pack up and move off, and we set off to complete the trail and the loop around Bastasj√∂.¬† They tested the limits of the ice on the lake intermittently and tried to break it with large rocks……no luck in breaking it though, it was really solid ice.¬†¬†

I would definitely recommend visiting this lovely outdoor area beside Bastasjö if you are in the area, and for us it will be fun to return in the summer and see a totally different looking place to the one we had experienced today.  There are also geocaches in the area, but due to the cold, my phone battery dies very fast, so we never got to look for them today, so we will save those for the warmer months as well.  Something to look forward to coming back for, as well as maybe different organised activities we could try next time.

Bastasjö Friluftsområde, Bastasjö, Outdoors, Sweden, Hiking, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Country Kids
 

Snow Ice Cream

Snow ice cream is the perfect way to use some of that cold white stuff up, and turn it into a tasty snack while you are out enjoying playing in the snow. With only four ingredients (although you can add more/different making various other flavours), snow ice cream is very simple and your little ones will love it!!

Ingredients For Snow Ice Cream

(This will serve 2)

Four cups of snow

One cup of preferred milk (we have made it both with cows milk and plant based milk for the vegan in our lives)

Quarter of a cup of sugar

Vanilla essence as preferred to taste

Method To Make Snow Ice Cream

  1. Get milk, vanilla, and sugar ingredients into the bowl.
  2. Put snow in and gently fold it into the mixture.
  3. Serve as preferred….we added sprinkles and sauce ūüôā

You can see how easy this was to make as our little lady was in her element making it for everyone, not to mention the four portions she then consumed afterwards!!! Snow Ice cream, outdoor cooking, winter outdoor food, snow food, winter food, camping food, hiking food, ice cream, outdoor food, www.mammasschool.co.uk

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