Camping, Fishy, Recipes, Spicy

Camp-side Kedgeree

This is one of my all-time favourite dishes to have for breakfast. It was created whilst camping in the glorious Vale of the White Horse a couple of years ago when my good friend Rich and I were musing on how we could posh-up our morning meal – we came up this and it is an absolute corker. In our humble opinion anyway.

There are lots of recipes for kedgeree and I’m sure several are similar to ours – afterall, how many different ways can you make curried rice and smoked fish? We use hot smoked mackerel instead of the traditional haddock so we don’t have to worry about poaching the fish – likewise, packets of pre-cooked rice save time and washing up. This is a one-pot version (we only have a single gas stove when ‘under canvas’) but you can add as many processes and pans as you feel necessary – we sometimes get organised and hard-boil the eggs the previous evening but most of the time we do it this way. Whichever you fancy.

Serves 2.

Ingredients

1x250g pack of pre-cooked rice (pilau or similar)

2-3 fillets smoked mackerel, skin removed, flaked

1 small onion, finely sliced

1 clove garlic – chopped

2 eggs

2-3 tsp curry powder

150g pot plain natural yoghurt

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped coriander (optional)

 

Method

Fill a saucepan with boiling water over a medium heat and pop in the eggs – cook for 6-10 mins depending on how runny you want the yolk to be. Remove the eggs and set aside to cool then empty the pan and return to the heat.

Put a good slug of oil into the pan and heat gently then add the sliced onion and garlic, frying until soft and translucent but not too coloured. Add 1tsp of the curry powder at this point and stir vigorously until the onion and garlic are completely coated – if the pan seems a bit dry at this point add a touch more oil to loosen.

Add the remaining curry powder to the pot of yoghurt, mix well, and set aside.

Once everything is nicely curried, reduce the heat slightly and add the packet of cooked rice and mix the whole lot thoroughly then add the flaked mackerel and stir well. Keep an eye on the rice – a bit stuck at the bottom is fine but it will easily form a big, burnt mass if you’re not careful!

By now your eggs should be cool enough to peel and chop – slice as fine or as chunky as you like and add them to the pan, stirring through to combine and then add the spicy yoghurt to the pan and combine the lot – seasoning to taste.

Serve immediately – scattering chopped coriander as a gesture towards presentation if you wish!

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Camping, Soupy

Jim and Rich’s Nettle Soup

I love cooking outdoors. I love rambling about and finding stuff to make a meal with. Where we regularly go camping there are shops nearby and this has certainly helped to expand our repertoire. This is not wilderness cooking by any means (there is also a fridge on the farm we stay at) but there is something very special about creating tasty food whilst surrounded by fields and birds.

The first time I suggested making nettle soup to my long-standing camping companion he wasn’t overtly thrilled with the concept –

‘Why would we want to eat that?’ he said.

‘Well, apparently it’s really nice,’ I replied, ‘and if it’s horrible we can always go to the pub for dinner.’

Settled – nettles or beer. Although nettle beer is excellent…

I’d seen various chefs make it but didn’t have a recipe (nor any phone signal to look one up) so we had to make do with what we had – an onion, a bit of garlic, some water, and a bit of powdered stock I’d brought just in case. We also baked a potato in the campfire to use to thicken it up with (which added a lovely edge of slight smokiness) and I have to say the finished results were pretty fantastic.

The wonderful thing about nettles is surely not only the fact that they are tasty, rich with iron (and therefore very good for you), but the fact that they are FREE!!! They are usually at their best in the spring but can be picked throughout the summer – just make sure you choose the younger, shorter ones.

You need the nettle tops for cooking with and avoid picking near roads or where they might have sprayed (either with chemicals or by passing dogs). The part you are looking to pluck off it the top four or so leaves from the nettles and they come off quite easily but gloves are highly recommended!

You should be able to find a good crop of nettles in any park or green and it doesn’t take too long to gather enough to cook with. Wash them in cold water and wring them out before chopping (again, gloves essential here!) Go on, give it a go – you’ll be amazed at the results!

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

75g (or about half a carrier-bags worth) nettle tops, washed and chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil (or a good knob of butter)

1 pint (563ml) chicken or vegetable stock

1 medium sized potato, cubed

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp natural yoghurt

½ tsp grated nutmeg (optional)

Method

Add the oil or butter to a saucepan over a medium-low heat and when it is hot, throw in the chopped onion and garlic. Cook gently so as not to colour.

When the onion is soft, stir in the washed, chopped nettle tops and let them sizzle and steam for a minute or so.

Add the stock and cubed potato then turn up the heat to bring the soup to the boil then simmer, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the potato is soft.

Remove from the heat and blend to a smooth consistency with either a stick blender or in a food processor.

Return to a low heat and season to taste, adding the nutmeg if you like.

Finally, swirl through the natural yoghurt and serve with crusty bread.

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