Easy Shakshouka.

Easy Shakshouka

Here is a easy recipe that can be done with minimal cooking equipment. Easy Shakshouka is a Tunisian dish which literally means mix up as it is made differently in every household.

I have added my own flavours to this Easy Shakshouka to make it easy to make whilst outdoors.

This recipe is being cooked over an open fire on a beach close to home.

You can change the recipe however you like to suit you tastes and what ever you have available but here’s my recipe.

Ingredients

1 x drizzle of oil

2 x cups of minced beef

1 x red onion

2 x eggs

1 x teaspoon of harissa

1 x handful of fresh or dried spring onions

100ml of tomato Passata (or tomato concentrate remember to water it down).

1 x red bell pepper.

Method

Heat your pan and add your oil into the pan and add the red onion and allow to sweat.

Eagle products camping Kettle.

Chop bell pepper and add to the onion for a couple of minutes before adding minced beef and cook until brown.

Add tomato passata, harissa and spring onions and stir regularly for about 10 minutes. You may need to add a little water.

Easy Shakshouka
Shakshouka being cooked over an open fire on the beach.

Crack to eggs into pan and allow the mix to simmer carefully spooning the mix over the eggs so that they cook all over.

Serve the Easy Shakshouka with a flat bread like hammock or tortillas.

This is one of my favourite easy recipes and can be done in many ways.  You could do this as a vegetarian dish by omitting meat and adding Chick Peas.

I cook this dish regularly at home and each time different ingredients are used but the base of the dish remains the same.

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Dutch oven Bobotie

Dutch oven

Bobotie is a very old South African dish with probable origins in Indonesia or Malaysia. The name derives from the Indonesian “bobotok,” and the dish was likely adapted by Dutch traders and brought back to the region around Cape Town.

Somewhat of a national dish, every South African cook has his or her own favorite version, some very simple, others quite elaborate.

Frontier stove
Bobotie cooked in a dutch oven on the frontier stove.

Bobotie is a very simple dish to make in a Dutch oven over an open fire or as I have done utilizing my Frontier stove from anevay.co.uk

Please have a look at my post on stove reviews.

The great thing about this dish is that it is really just a one pot dish (apart from preparation).

INGREDIENTS

Oil — 2 or 3 tablespoons

Onions, thinly sliced — 2

Ground beef — 2 pounds

White bread, crust removed and cut into cubes — 2 or 3 slices

Milk — 1 cup

Vinegar or lemon juice — 1/4 cup

Raisins — 1/2 cup

Sugar — 2 tablespoons

Curry powder — 1 or 2 tablespoons

Turmeric — 1 teaspoons

Salt and pepper — to season

Bay leaves — 5

Eggs, beaten — 2

Dutch oven on the frontier stove

METHOD

Heat the oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat ( a flat bottomed Dutch oven is best but I have a three footed Dutch oven and to get the heat I remove the metal plate to get more heat into the Dutch oven.

Add the onions and saute until translucent and just starting to brown. Add the minced lamb and break it up while sauteing until cooked through and crumbly.

Remove from heat, drain off and discard any excess fat.

Put the bread and milk in a bowl and soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bread and squeeze it dry, adding the squeezed milk back into the soaking bowl.

Add the soaked bread, vinegar or lemon juice, raisins, sugar, curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper to the bowl with the cooked meat and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings.

The meat should have a pleasantly sweet-sour flavor.

Pour the meat mixture back into the Dutch oven and smooth out the top. Lay the bay leaves over the meat in a decorative pattern and press down lightly to make them stick.

Dutch oven cooking over a fire

Place the dutch oven back onto the frontier stove or over the fire and place the lid onto the Dutch oven and add some coals onto the lid.

Beat the eggs with the reserved bread-soaking milk. After the meat has baked for 30 minutes, pour the egg-milk mixture over the top of the meat and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the custard is set.

This recipe is best served with yellow rice.

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Eagle Products 0.7l Kettle review

0.7l Eagle Products Kettle

I’ve seen many of these kettles posted by people in Scandinavia on Instagram and always thought they look great and then a few months later there is one in the hands of the postman.

Kettle being used over open fire.

They are designed and made in Norway by a company called Eagle Products The produce some fantastic outdoor products and have resellers across the globe. In the uk Ray Mear’s Woodlore is a reseller. These kettles come in 3 sizes 0.7l, 1.5k and a massive 4l. A well proven, solid and durabable kettle made from stainless steel. The lower section and base of the kettle is copper coated to ensure an efficient heat distribution and heating process over a stove or flame.

This kettle features two handles for a more secure and stable fixture when cooking over a fire. It can be used suspended above all types of outdoor heat sources, including a stove, bushbox and over a camp fire. The kettle comes in a nylon bag which will prevent the rest of your kit getting black with soot. These kettles can be purchased online from www.woodlore.co.uk

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Breakfast flatbread

Breakfast flatbread: Quick little recipe this is a variation to Bannock.

Bannock has been cooked over flames for many generations and still today.  Breakfast Flatbreads are easy to make and really filling.

The original bannocks were heavy, flat cakes of unleavened barley or oatmeal dough formed into a round or oval shape, then cooked on a griddle (or girdle in Scots). In Scotland, before the 19th century, bannocks were cooked on a bannock stane (Scots for stone), a large, flat, rounded piece of sandstone, placed directly onto a fire, used as a cooking surface.  Most modern bannocks are made with baking powder or baking soda as a leavening agent, giving them a light and airy texture.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of self raising flour and a pinch of salt.
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • Beef dripping or oil.

Add salt to flour I do this previously to heading out, scrape about a spoonful of dripping into mix.

Pour in a little water and knead in the bag.

Remove from bag and flatten out in hands and place rashers of bacon on the middle and fold edges over to envelope the bacon.

Place in hot pan or skillet and cook on a medium heat until well done.

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Tapping Birch Trees

Its that time of the year when winter is trying to release its grip on Northern Europe, with the odd slip of a frost and recently a lot of rain coming of the land and flooding the river valleys.  It is also the time when nature starts to wake from its winters sleep and life starts to flow through the veins of animals and plants.

I love this time of the year as their is a bit of warmth in the air and everything is waking up.  Willow and Birch are two of the earliests trees to wake up and one of my pointers that the season is changing is when it’s time to tap the Birch trees for their sap.

Birch sap is collected only at the break of winter and spring when the sap moves intensively. Birch sap collection is done by drilling a hole into its trunk and leading the sap into a container via some conduit: a tube or simply a thin twig: the sap will flow along it because of the surface tension.

Birch sap has to be collected in early spring before any green leaves have appeared, as in late spring it becomes bitter. The collection period is only about a month per year. Tapping a tree does not harm the health of the tree.

If the tap hole is not well plugged with a round tight fitting dowel there is a possibility that the sap continues to flow causing not only a loss of nutriment but also a risk of infection and fungal attack.

How to tap a Birch Tree

Tapping a birch tree

You don’t need much equipment for this all you need is a small knife, auger, small stick to act as a spile and a container to catch the sap in.

I personally don’t use an auger I use a small whittling knife which is perfect depth and diameter of hole.

 

 

Start drilling you hole, look at the colour of the bark if it’s dark and looks rotten then plug the hole and find another tree.

Drill at about a 30 degree angle no deeper than about 3cm, as you start you start drilling you will see the sap start to flow, clean the hole out to remove as much sawdust as you can as this will only start to flow with sap into your collecting container.

Your spike should be carved so it fits the hole snugly and that there’s a good nook carved to hold your catching container.  If you are looking at collecting a large amount then either attach it to the tree or rest it on the ground.

Once you’ve cleared the hole push in the spile and hang your collecting container on the spile.  Start collecting the sap and sit back and wait.

try reducing the liquid down to make a syrup it will probably be about 60:1 or heat it up and brew a coffee with it.

 

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Coffee and Bacon

Bacon cooking over open fire.
Simple method do cooking bacon over an open fire..

Quick morning out along the river with the chance to hang some bacon and have a brew after clearing a load of brambles on the land.

Lovely spring morning was warm enough to see a grass snake bathing in the sun.

Cleared a good section of brambles to clear the 3rd marsh then time to use the primitive fire kit, make a fire, release the bacon and have a brew.

Primitive fire lighting kit

My fire lighting kit consists of a steel striker, flint, Birch bark, char cloth and a piece of fat wood.

Cooking like this is fairly simple just a stick above the fire and slowly allow bacon to cook over fire whilst heating water in the fire.

Whittling.  Had a chance to find a piece of green willow to have a go a whittling a coffee measuring spoon for my next project which will be a leather ground coffee bag. I’m just waiting for items to be delivered before I start this project.

The whittling knife and spoon knives are hand made from a guy I found on Facebook and I’ve been trying to find his details but I can’t find them to tag him but the are wonderful items.

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The Beast From The East.

We where told be the media and the met office that we would get snow but no one really believed that we would be hit has hard as what we where.

We just can’t cope with more than a cups worth of snow in the uk. The first day we had a little then second it really came down and on the back of the beast from the East was storm Emma that really helped put East Anglia out of action.

Snow was drifting and blocking roads, cutting off small communities and making hard work for the emergency services.

I finally found a day to head out and enjoy the white stuff covering the ground. I love the snow and the cold weather, I would love to live up North where proper winters stay for the whole winter.

So after offering two of my three days off to help at work as people couldn’t get into work to crew ambulances I decided to head out for the day with the hound.

I’d planned a 8km circular hike where I could stop off in some woods to have lunch.

I have cold weather gear but neve really needed to use it in the UK but today I decided to break out the Swedish Army Surplus cold weather mittens. I’ve had these for a while and I used to have a pair I used for snowboarding years ago so decided to give these ago.

These a not a light weight pair of mittens but they work well to keep the inner mittens dry and warm from the wind. With a good length they go half way up lower arm and have cord on them that goes around your wrists to secure them when you have to take them off to use your hands.

Anyway…

I had my day pack packed with my usual bits and headed off with my sticks through the snow.

Lunch was planned to be the left overs from last nights Barszcz (beetroot soup with wild mushroom ravioli).

http://betweenthetrees.xyz/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/img_0364.mov

Now I was going to light my stove using a ferro rod but I had misplaced it so had to go old school and use a piece of flint and a steel striker I really was hoping this wouldn’t fail.

I was pretty impressed managed to get a coal in the char cloth first time and managed to get a flame in the Birch bark tinder easily.

Stove is a generic Chinese wood gas stove that I have really come to love as it packs down small and is really efficient but the only downfall is the need to keep topping it up with fuel regularly.

It was so quiet and peaceful no one was about. I collected some more Birch bark to replace the tinder I had used and sat and had my soup.

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Out of the two stoves I’ve been using recently I would say this I prefer as it is so efficient but the little bush box is really compact.

Within a day the snow had gone and I thought I would need to wait until this Christmas before I see it again when I plan to head up to Northern Sweden for a week.

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Simple things become fond memories

Children these days have so much, such a bigger connection worldwide, no need to move from one room, gadgets everywhere, they can become fixated onto what we think is an absolute waste of time like these YouTube channels that they sit and watch/listen to whilst playing games and to what benefit?
My youngest is a nightmare to motivate with all of this mush and fodder available to him at the press of a button but get him outside and he is in a different world, the world I grew up in where the simplest things become an adventure that you will remember and give valuable lessons.
This day we woke up early and like someone addicted to smoking he reaches and grabs one of many gadgets and sits in bed getting his first daily fix.
I shout to him “get dressed we are going out”. He’s up and dressed for some outside action and says “I haven’t had breakfast yet”
“We are going to make it in the forest” I reply.
So a 15 minute journey and we are out in the woods smashing ice on puddles until we get to an area I found the other day where there is a hunting platform and a good view of the marshes.
So it’s time to make breakfast I have brought with me fire kit, wood gas stove, oats, milk and maple syrup. First task I teach him how to prepare a tinder bundle made up of Birch bark we harvested on a previous trip and Bracken. So the next lesson is using a knife on a Gerri Todd teaching him not to push to hard and within 5 attempts the tinder is alight and he uses the saucepans lid to put the tinder into the stove and add the pieces of wood to create a heat to cook his breakfast.

Such a simple little micro adventure but has taught him a lot.
We played in the forest for a while, had soup and coffee together, made sure we cleaned up and headed back.
Excursions like this cost next to nothing, the adventure can be extended to spend some time on animal tracks, whittling, knife use and anything else that will help our children grow up similar to us.
Where we had no connection to the world apart from an AM radio, 4 channels on the tv and weekly magazines.
We spent our time covered in dirt, fish slime, grazes on knees, up trees, wet shoes after falling in dykes and went home having fantastic adventures.
Find time to give our children the chance to benefit from the outdoors it doesn’t cost much.

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Jerky

dehydrator beef jerky

I absolutely love jerky it’s so versatile and perfect for snacking when out fishing, hiking or at work.
The word jerky comes from the Quechua word ch’arki which means “dried, salted meat”.  All that is needed to produce basic “jerky” is a low-temperature drying method, and salt to inhibit bacterial growth. I use a dehydrator to slowly dry mine.
The method I use is as follows but you can vary the marinade which I do by adding more spice which stops the children from eating it all!
Find a lean cut of beef I find that silverside is the best cut, out it in the freezer for a few hours just to make it easier to slice.
Slice into thin steaks no more than 10mm, trim all the fat and gristle of it it then cut into long strips against the grain of the meat (otherwise it will be really chewy) then set aside and prepare to make the marinade.
Marinade
1 large ziplock bag
Worcester sauce
Teriyaki sauce
3 x garlic cloves
Liquid smoke
Coriander seeds
In the ziplock bag empty the hole bottle of teriyaki sauce, a good shake of Worcester sauce, smash the garlic cloves and about a teaspoon of liquid smoke and the same of coriander seeds.
Put the meat strips into the bag and make sure that the marinade is touching all of the meat by massaging the bag once all of the meat is in the bag.
Leave in the fridge for 24hrs turning the bag a few times and massaging the meat.
When you’re ready to start drying get everything laid out.
Lay out some kitchen roll, take meat from the fridge and I find wearing latex gloves saves a lot of mess.
Lay the meat on the kitchen roll, when the kitchen roll is full of meat, lay another piece on top of the meat and pat it down.
Remove the top layer of kitchen roll and get ready with your rub. I use Nando’s peri peri rub but use whatever you like. Sprinkle over meat then pat down with kitchen roll again then gently remove strips and place on the dehydrator tray making sure there is space between each piece of meat.
Once all of the trays are full turn dehydrator on full for about 4hrs then I leave over night on low then in morning it all done.
Make sure that the jerky is cool before bagging.
I vacuum pack some bags so it last longer and leave a big bag for Work and for the kids they prefer jerky to all this dreadful snacks available to them.

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Dutch Oven cooking

I’ve had a Dutch oven in my kit room for about 10 years now and dabbled in cooking with it quite a few times.

What a versatile piece of kit the only issue with it is the weight. It’s not the sort of thing you throw in your backpack and carry on a thruhike, it’s the sort of kit that you take with you in a car where you don’t have to worry about walking with it and can take out of the car to your camp.

There’s many Different types but the one most versatile for camp cooking is the three legged Dutch oven.

A camp oven sits on three stubby legs over hot coals or briquettes. It usually comes with a flanged lid (formed with a lip on the outer edge) to keep ash or coals out of the food when the lid is lifted.

Simple as it sounds, a camp oven is a wonderfully versatile piece of equipment. Use it as a pot or sauté pan. Flip the lid over and use it as a griddle.


Or place the food inside the oven and fit the lid tightly over the top controlling the temperature by regulating the amount of embers on the lid.

One of my favourite things to cook in a Dutch oven is a joint of lamb.

There’s many different ways to cook it some people wrap the meat in foil to save the arduous cleaning of the oven but I prefer resting the meat on sliced potatoes and if the oven is really charred inside put it on a high heat to burn any residue of welded to the oven.

Also if the outside of your meat is burning the embers are to hot.

Let’s talk about the lid. The lid is what turns this pot into a oven but also flip the lid over and stick it in your coals and you have a perfect skillet for frying Bannock, cooking breakfast or frying fish.


I recommend adding a Dutch oven to your kit and search some recipes. There’s many books available on Amazon about Dutch oven cooking.

Try a roast chicken then use the Dutch oven to boils down a broth with the carcass and make a great chicken stew with dumplings this is my children’s favourite known as camping stew!

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