A crackling fire on a chilly night…. a picturesque woodland…..good company, laughter and story telling…..hot drinks or cold beer….pouring rain or beautiful sunshine…smoky food and lots of it.
Camp fire cooking can be a magical experience especially when shared with loved ones – and even better when the food is good. The temptation is to put some sausages and chicken legs over the flames, wait for them to blacken, stuff them in the middle of a roll and smother them in sauce.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a charred hot-dog, it has its place in life, but there is so much you can cook over a camp fire – you don’t need to limit yourself to grilling meat.
I was lucky enough to be doing a review of a camping holiday last week in the Cotswolds for a magazine. Me and the man were staying in a luxury Yurt in a beautiful glade in a place called Westley Farm, near Chalford.
With a double bed, wood burning stove and outdoor kitchen area it was seriously high-end camping (or glamping as they call it) – but it did have a fire pit to cook over and, of course, my other half went off to start a fire within 10 minutes of arriving (what is it with men and fire, there is a certain attraction they cannot control?)
To keep the hunger at bay I made some campfire nachos. All you need to do is lay the tortilla chips out in some foil, leaving plenty of foil around the edges. Add grated cheese, sour cream, salsa and jalapeños peppers. Get another piece of foil, place over the top and pull up the sides of the bottom piece of foil to secure them together into a bag.
Place on the grill over your fire and leave, the foil bag will get hot and steamy inside and will melt the cheese. You’ll have to keep having a cheeky peak to see if its ready.
For mains we had homemade burgers, which I made in advance and brought in a cold box (now that’s being prepared). I only add finely chopped cooked white onion, seasoning and a good dollop of Dijon mustard to my burger mix before forming, I don’t go in for breadcrumbs and egg etc. As long as you buy normal mince, NOT lean mince, then they will be juicy and delicious. Served with toasted buns, cheese and gherkins, plus some grilled vegetable kebabs on the side it was a feast.
And if you thought you couldn’t do dessert on a campfire then you were wrong. A simple chocolate sauce made from dark chocolate, double cream and a squeeze of golden syrup warmed in a pan over the fire is the perfect accompaniment to fresh cherries and skewers of mango and apricot, sprinkled with brown sugar and charred over the fire. Eat it like a fondue – totally irresistible.