I have this theory that even though people say they love going camping to connect with nature and experience the outdoors more intimately, it’s really all about the food.
There’s something undeniably charming about indulging in an exploration of culinary simplicity with fresh earth under your feet and wide open skies overhead. Preparing a humble meal from the comfort of a camping chair (because let’s face it – why would you stand hunched over a picnic table, when a sturdy chopping board allows you to sit?) and cooking it over the coals or in a trusty gas skottel brings a joy overshadowed by few.
However, this doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook where creativity is concerned. Sure, we all like a crispy chop-and-wors combo served with a juicy braai broodjie on the side, but if camping is more than a one-time thing to you, building up a repertoire of delicious campfire delights could come in handy.
Here are a few suggestions – some gained from personal experienced, others fished from a mouth-watering ocean of foodie posts on Pinterest and a few suggested by friends on social media.
Tell us – what is your favourite unlikely camping dish?
A bit of a twist on the classic brunch fry-up, this recipe mixes all of your favourite breakfast foods into one delicious panful.
Start off by frying chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic and peppers in olive oil and leave to simmer. Once soft, add mushrooms and bacon pieces. As soon as tomatoes start breaking down and the mixture starts taking on a saucy consistency, it’s time to add the eggs. Make four to six small holes in the relish and break your eggs into them. Cook until the eggs take on the consistency you prefer. Serve with toasted roosterkoek, rolls or plain old bread.
This recipe works well for both a gas cooker or over the coals.
Suggested by my friend, Kobus, these make a great breakfast, but can also be served as a snack throughout the day or a sweet-and-salty starter before dinner.
Wrap strips of bacon around chunky pieces of banana and keep in place using a toothpick. Fry in the skottel and serve with scrambled eggs and roosterkoek. Alternatively, you can pop a few onto a longer skewer and crisp on the griddle over the coals.
Luxe oats with herbal tea-soaked goji berries
Cacao oats with frozen mixed berries, coconut, coconut sugar and goji berries as toppings 🙂 #food #goodfood #eats #delicious #foodpics #oatmealporn #veganteens #veganteen #veganfood #vegan #f4f #healthyfood #healthy #healthysnack #vegansnacks #equality #friendsnotfood #crueltyfree #veganfoodshare #foodie #foodstagram #whatieatinaday #plantbased #oatmeal #veganbreakfast #berryoats #porridgebowl #oatbowls
Looking for something a little healthier? No sweat! Another brilliant suggestion by a friend – Remy’s goji berry oats will have you licking your lips without feeling an inch of guilt.
This is what she says: “We once made herbal tea in the morning and soaked goji berries in it for a while till they were nice & plump, then made oats with cinnamon, honey and cream. Super lux camping brekkie!”
Lunch & snacks
Mexican-inspired mielie salad
Tonight I made a fresh corn salad with a chili lime dressing. 🍅🍋 #todiefor #healthy #food #whatvegetarianseat #fitness #love #chipsandsalsa #cornsalad #invention #recipe #colourful #pretty #sogood #yum #iwantmore #foodporn #foodie #stopcreepingmypageforfirstlikekelly #fresh #kellywaspunchingtheairitwassogood#secretrecipe #vegetarian
Another great suggestion from Remy, this warm salad is the perfect addition to your braai.
“Someone made an amazing Mexican-inspired mielie salad for us on our last trip. Wrapped mieles in tinfoil and roasted till almost charred, cut of the cob, mixed with feta, coriander and lime juice. Really yum!” she explained.
For extra flavour, add a few black beans, salsa and onions!
Tuna + basil pesto delight
While you may think tuna – smothered in mayo – is only good for sandwiches, it can actually be quite a delicacy… if you just added the correct ingredients. According to Moné, the following recipe makes for a delightful camping treat:
“Mix a can or two of tuna with onions, basil pesto and sundried tomatoes and fry in a pan. While these ingredients simmer, prepare a suitable portion of couscous. Once both the tuna mix and couscous are ready, combine, then add feta cheese to add some flavour. It’s super easy to make and delicious!”
You can try this recipe in a gas cooker skottel or in a skillet over the coals.
Baked camembert dip
Who said camping means you can’t indulge your most decadent tastes? This recipe suggested by my dear cousin, Nikola, is sure to get your taste buds tingling.
“Cut a wheel of camembert in half and place each half in a piece of tin foil large enough to cover it. Add flavouring of your choice – thyme or rosemary are popular options, but you can also try chilli, cranberry sauce, olives or whatever creative taste you’d like to add – and then wrap the halves in the foil.
Place on the grill.
Check regularly and once it starts melting, remove from heat and use as a delectable dip for chips, crackers or bread.”
Whether you’re preparing veggies as a side dish to complement a braai or as a comprehensive meal, this is a quick and easy way to make sure you get the most delicious results.
Start off by choosing your combination of vegetables. Keep in mind that some tend to cook more quickly than others, so try sticking to those that share the same type of consistency.
A good combination would be: potato, pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, garlic and onion. Chop into chunky pieces and divide between three or four different pieces of foil, large enough to enfold them.
Add butter and spices, fold closed and place among the coals. Check regularly and remove from heat when soft, but well away from disintegrating.
Pizza on the grill
Sourced through cousin Lea, from a cookbook called Yummo, written by family friend and established chef, Carina, this campfire pizza recipe is sure to be a hit among young and old alike!
In order to make between 6 and 8 thin-based pizzas, you will need the following: 4 cups flour, 1 tsp (5ml) salt, 1 tbsp (15ml) sugar, 1 sachet (10g) instant yeast and about 250ml lukewarm water. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the water. Knead, mix, flex and stretch the dough thoroughly. Let it rise in a warm spot for about 40 minutes to 1 hour until it doubles in size. Once risen, punch it down again.
Prepare a surface with flour. Break off small fist-fulls of dough and lather in flour – press flat and stretch out on the surface. Use a wine bottle (who has a rolling pin when camping anyway??) to roll out the dough.
Place the pizza on the hotter coals for a few minutes until bubbles start to form, turn over quickly and place on cooler fire to complete cooking. Sprinkle the cheese on top and remove to add your unique combinations of fresh toppings before adding the final touches.
One pot pasta
While it’s all good and well to use a variety of pots and pans to prepare your pasta dish at home (where you don’t have to walk half a km to the washing-up sink), the ultimate goal while camping is to get it all done and dusted in one relatively effortless go!
The best way to go about this, is to make use of a classic cast iron potjie. Start off by sautéing a few slices of onion. Add a tin of finely-chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock and basil. Cover with the potjie’s lid and stay close by. Once you hear the ingredients boiling, remove the lid and add the pasta of your choice. Cook until al dente then remove from the coals. Serve with feta sprinkled over the top.
🌱 Enjoying the last of the vegan Easter treats at home before I fly to Brisbane in a few hours ✈️🐰 #vegan #hotcrossbun #easter #chocolate #lindt #bunny #plantbased #treat #crueltyfree -#food #vegetarian #sweet #foodporn #veganfood #whatveganseat #veganfoodshare #vegansofig #vegansofsydney #vegansofaustralia #🍫
Easter has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t save this recipe for next year’s long-weekend camping trip! According to my sister-in-law, Tamara, this is the ultimate rainy weekend dessert:
Cut open a hot cross bun, tuck a marshmallow Easter egg inside and place on the grill. Turn over a couple of times, as you would with a braai broodjie… and then BOOM! Delicious!
Have kids? This is a must-try camping trip dessert!
All you need is a couple of sugar cones, marshmallows and an array of toppings that would keep curious minds intrigued – think smarties, crushed Oreos, fudge shavings, 100s & 1000s… anything really! Allow the kids to fill their own cones and then wrap each in a piece of foil.
Place on the grill, turn regularly and check ever so often for when the marshmallow starts melting.
Once it looks gooey, sticky and decadent, remove from coals and HAND. IT. OVER. To the kid. Although you will be tempted to devour each and every one.
Amarula shots in marshmallow tumblers
Didn’t manage to nab one of those mouthwatering cones? That’s okay!
You can indulge in this equally decadent and fun, but slightly more grown-up treat: braai a marshmallow until it’s just perfectly crispy and brown. Remove this toasty outside layer with great care, making sure not to compress or crack it. You will notice that – if removed correctly – it takes on the look of a puffy shot glass. Now, fill it up with a liqueur of your choice (Amarula comes highly suggested) and pop it in your mouth!
So, tell us… what are your favourite, unusual campfire treats?