I’ve always been inspired by a phrase or two in Raymond Mears’ very first book. In this he says how any fool can act the hard man and eat unnecessarily bland food and goes on to say how there is a real skill in transforming such food into something to make the mouth water. So, I’ll note down the occasional recipe and idea I have on such a subject starting with:
Potato and ? cakes
For these, take some powdered potato and mix in some flour (about five parts potato and one part flour), add a spoon or two of powdered milk and season (this can vary wildly – depending on what you have to work with – I have used mixed herbs, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika etc etc).
Then add water and mix to the desired consistency for such cakes – they should hold together but be moist enough that they don’t crack (not too runny though!) – I find adding water gradually is the way forward.
Now – the ? in the recipe. I’ve added crab meat, chorizo, etc and it is also possible to wrap the mixture around a thick slice of cheese.
To cook – this is the beauty of this recipe, it can be done in a bit of oil in a frying pan, or placed on a flat rock in hot embers. It really depends on what set up you have. Wait for one side to be browned, flip and do the other.
Can be served with pretty much anything you’ve got and tastes awesome.
For my next recipe, I’ll detail the meal I had this evening. This part of the piece is subtitled;
A quiet evening meal enjoying nature?
Firstly make sure you have enough split wood for the stove. Then light said stove – I generally use a combination of a bed of thumb thick pieces of oak, inner cone of matchstick thick pieces of pine and outer cone of pencil thick pieces of birch.
Add tinder – usally a small piece of Vaseline-soaked cotton wool, using flint and steel strike sparks into tinder.
Sit back, check on prepared fuel again.
Add water to billy can.
Once the cones have started collapsing, add a layer of birch, horizontal this time, then some one inch blocks of oak.
Put billy can on stove.
Pause to notice raven struggling against the increasing wind.
Once your water is boiling, make a pint of tea, add more oak and sit in the hammock, the wind gaining in intensity.
Add pasta (allow 200 grams per Vague) to water, add a little salt and allow to boil away merrily.
Pause as a squall of rain hits the camp, put out bowl under one corner of tarp, so as to collect the rain and save a trip down the hill to the burn. Empty bowl frequently.
Once pasta is done pour into another receptacle, find it is too small and put other half in yet another bowl. You can never have too many bowls.
Clean out billy can of any stray bits of pasta, add olive oil, enough to cover the base. Put back on stove, adding more oak.
Sit in hammock, waiting for flames to appear.
Pause, wonder whether the ten inch diameter oak the hammock is tied to at the head end will actually survive the gathering storm. Hope it will.
Go back to billy can, oil heating nicely, add two heaped spoons of flour.
Stir vigorously and continually until the flour and oil resemble biscuit crumbs.
Add two heaped spoonfuls of powdered milk and start adding water gradually, stirring constantly.
Pause, wonder what that noise was, accept it was a big branch falling in the storm and carry on stirring and adding water.
Once your mixture has achieved a consistency not dissimilar to custard, take the billy can off the stove.
Pause, another noise, same direction. Heart momentarily races before it comes again – the deer must have started the full rut, they are roaring and the other noise was antler crashing against antler. What’s more, they are in the glen below, next to the burn I fill my water bags up with. Glad it’s raining.
Return to the stove, add more fuel.
Add salt, pepper, Italian herbs, a squeeze of condensed milk and another of garlic puree. Stir.
Pause, the clattering below, to be heard above the storm and rain drumming on the tarp, must mean there is a titanic battle going on.
Pause, seriously consider donning poncho and taking the camera to get some shots. Decide it’s getting too dark and you are too hungry.
Add chunks of mature cheddar to the mixture, return to the stove and stir.
Once all the cheese is melted drain and return the pasta to the billy can and mix well.
When heated through, take off the heat, add more thick chunks of oak to the fire. Gather the pair of rigger gloves and sit in the hammock, using the gloves on your knee to stop the super hot billy burning you.
Enjoy and pause to notice that, although it is still torrential rain where you are, to the west the sky has cleared and a myriad of stars are out. Eat whilst listening to roaring and the clashing of antler.