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How to master the art of camp cooking

Tayla Camping Eating

Sunshine? Check! Car? Check!Tent? Check! Kids? Check! It’s a blissful 27 degrees. The petrol tank is full, the tent shoved haphazardly into the boot and the kids are piled in the back, ready to start fighting over an iPad. It’s time to go.

Culinary camping

We all love different things about camping, though food doesn’t immediately spring to mind when we’re considering a favourite. However, venture beyond the humble toasted marshmallow and you might just surprise yourself with new and exciting culinary delights.

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Sam preparing some delicious camp cuisine

So, what do you need to be a budding campsite MasterChef?

Let’s start with the obvious – a campfire. Most campsites have them, but it’s how you start the fire (and keep it going), that counts. A water resistant flint stick is ideal for all weather conditions, ensuring you can not only cook, but keep warm when camping through the cooler months.

Preparing you equipment is key to successful campside cooking

Planning makes perfect

Failure to plan is planning to fail! Before you head off on your next adventure, spend a little time online and research recipes you know the family will love. Save them down on your phone, or, if you’re forgoing technology on your trip, simply print them out and pop them in a display folder for protection against the elements.

All about the oven

Next you’ll need a fry pan and Dutch oven. The oven should preferably be cast iron and definitely pre seasoned, allowing for easy release. Look out for styles with easy-pour spouts, as this can be helpful with stews, soups and sauces. If you’re spending hours away from the campsite and are looking for a quick meal, an oven will quickly reheat anything you’ve prepared ahead of time; consider making a simple chilli con carne and keeping it in a cooler until you’re ready.

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A plate of expertly prepared camp food, ready to enjoy!

Transportable tucker

As a word of advice, make sure the meals you choose are the kind that are easy to make away from home. Think of recipes with ingredients that don’t need to be frozen, meals that can be made in one pot, and options that don’t require utensils (such as wraps) so you can save on cleaning time! Chilli, spices, salt and pepper are easy ways to add serious flavour, but won’t take up much room in your food bag. Don’t take your entire spice rack! Just pop what you want in zip lock bags for easy access, and you’ll be ready to go.

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Daylight is essential for good (and safe) camp cooking

Salute the sun (use it while it’s there)

With sunrise and sunset dictated by timing and location, it’s important to avoid darkness come dinnertime. There isn't much trickier than trying to cook a meal in the dark, especially when you’re at one with nature! Start too late in the day and you could find yourself competing with your nocturnal neighbours come suppertime. To help you dodge potential mishaps, make the most of the ample daylight and do your prep earlier in the day. If that’s not a possibility, a compact and wearable head torch won’t impede on your cooking prowess but will allow you to see what you’re working with.

Minimising your footprint allows everyone to enjoy our amazing environment

Minimise your footprint

In the interest of leaving no trace, remember that what you waste is just as important as what you consume. Keep your trash separated too. You should have a bag for general rubbish, a bag for recycling and a bag for fruit and vegetable waste that can go into your compost bin when you return home. Avoid overusing plastic bags and cling wrap by keeping leftovers in reusable containers.