Before I became a mother and gave up the comfort of holidaying in places with at least four walls, I had a sketchy idea of camping and in hindsight, an absolute ignorance of the practicalities – the sheer amount of organisation and equipment needed to have a ‘simple’ holiday. Granted, this is not the same for everybody as I do like a little more luxury than some, and having three boys there is more clothing and bedding and…well just everything, than many would need. But even disregarding this, the picture in my mind was a tent with sleeping bags on the floor, or even under the stars on a warm night, and not much else. The reality is very different.
The one thing, however, that is simpler than I anticipated, is the cooking. I believed that you had to subside on a diet of sausages and marshmallows and anything else that could reasonably be held on a skewer over a campfire. How wrong I was! Of course, you can factor in the camping gas stove and therefore cook as if in your own kitchen, minus an oven, but even without this facility there really is plenty you can do. All you need is a roll of kitchen foil. Below are four of my favourite camping recipes, all of which feature cheese and offer a really tasty and satisfying alternative the traditional barbeque (and don’t forget your Halloumi if you are barbequing!). All require a campfire that has been built up and allowed to bed down until it has accumulated a bed of coals. These should be raked flat to one side of the fire, creating a hot plate of sorts.
Cheesy Potato Bake
Ingredients (quantities are not specific as all ingredients are variable depending on your tastes and the number of people you are cooking for):
As many potatoes as required for your party – thinly sliced
Onions to taste – chopped
Garlic and bacon are optional and work very well.
Salt, pepper, butter (cubed) and olive oil.
Create a double layer of foil – this is for sturdiness.
Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on to the foil to coat it.
Layer the potato slices over one half of the foil, placing pieces of bacon in between if using.
Herby Feta Parcels
Ingredients (to serve 2 people):
One packet of Feta PDO
1 large red onion, sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced
1 pepper, thinly sliced
A small handful of olives
Any fresh herbs you can find – thyme, oregano and basil all work well
Olive oil and pepper
Place half of the sliced onion, tomatoes, pepper, herbs and olives on to half of a good-sized piece of foil.
Place the feta block, whole, on top.
Place the remainder of the ingredients on top of the feta, and drizzle well with olive oil and a good sprinkling of pepper.
Fold up the foil and seal all sides well, and then wrap it up again in a fresh layer of foil.
Place the packet directly onto the flat coals of your campfire and leave it to cook for around 30 minutes until the cheese and peppers are soft.
WARNING – the packet will contain a lot of very hot liquid once cooked – this can be drained or sopped up with some fresh bread.