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Campfire cookery

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default Campfire cookery

Post by Chilli-head on 13th August 2010, 12:30 pm

You lot are probably just the right people to ask ...

So, Chilli-head jnr (aged 7) is an enthusiastic beaver scout, and I have to take him camping. He likes campfires and wants to cook on one ... I've found a suitable campsite where we can kindle a fire, but although I can do barbecues, but I've never done campfire cooking. Any suggestions ? I'm hoping for something more nutritious than marsh mellows, whatever scouts make as campfire bread (shudder) and hot dog sausages !

I have a sweetcorn glut that I'm hoping to use, any other good ideas ?
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Post by polgara on 13th August 2010, 1:07 pm

Any sort of stew is great. or a corned beef hash either of which is a 1 pot dish. A billy & a fry pan, & you can do chops, fish cakes etc with vegg. A frying pan also means you can do a pizza
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Post by Mike on 13th August 2010, 2:31 pm

Success (normal cooking but over a campfie) is a matter of set up. Although ideally a "campfire" and a "ccok fire" are quite different you can use one fire pit with even more care in set up.

For cooking you need something to hold the pots or pans at a suitable distance above a rather small fire. So you find two large rocks (or four smaller ones, etc.) that you can set up to make a channel a little less wide than your pots and pans. Maybe a tapering channel so wide at one end (large pots) and narower at the other (small pots). You take the time to get the tops level and steady with shim pieces as needed. Worth it to take the time over that as a a rocking rock can spill your supper.

You make a fire at one end of the channel (out side one end; that is your "campfire" later) and wen you have some you can rake enough coals and fire into the channel for cooking over. If that dies down too much you remove the pot, rake in more, and put the pot back. In campfire cookery too much fire under the pot more common than too little.

If just cooking (no campfire) you just build a small fire in the channel with twigs and stuff up to about the diameter of your thumb. Have a supply of the latter to keep inserting as the fire threatens to die down too much.

If baking you want a "Dutch oven" of the original type with a rim around the outside of the lid as this is the type for cooking in an actual fire. You have a campfire, then rake a bed of coals to one side, place the Dutch oven on top and lid on to preheat (some coals on the lid). When preheated, carefully lift the lid (rim should let you do that without getting coals/ashes inside the pot), place the dough or whatever inside, replace the lid, then rake coals around the outsde and onto the lid. Don't overdo it.
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Post by Compostwoman on 13th August 2010, 2:33 pm

Roast the sweetcorn in the embers.

THIS is a good link for some ideas.

As is this site

Also, take a double BBQ rack ( the sort that folds over itself? it looks like a square tennis racquet?) ) and use it to tosst bread, sandwiches, tea cakes etc. Also can use for bacon, chops etc. Or veg slices. Or whatever, really.

Hope you have fun!

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Post by budburst12 on 13th August 2010, 3:42 pm

Sounds like great fun!

You could set up a little camp kitchen and get them to make up their own burgers - then you can put all kinds of more healthy things in than usual - onions, herbs... maybe experiment with different kinds of meat - pork and lamb make good burgers too. Collect some wild herbs to go in the burgers - sorrel and wood sorrel are lovely zesty herbs and go great with all meats and you can find them growing in most places. But of course only do this if you're confident you've got the right plants!

I'd use two long and thick logs (about lower leg thickness will do) laid parallel with the fire in between them instead of using stones to settle my pans on - stones can crack in the heat and you don't want any shards flying off anywhere near young eyes! Using large logs will avoid them burning through too quickly. Keep some spare ones at the side for if you need to replace them.

Have a good time!
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Post by Compostwoman on 13th August 2010, 3:46 pm

If you use green logs they won't burn through at all probably

Agree about stones /rocks they can explode and its not nice.

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Post by Chilli-head on 13th August 2010, 4:41 pm

I knew this would be the right place to ask - thanks for all the ideas.

Now you mention it, I had forgotten that I have got both one of those barbecue "tennis racquets" ( ) which normally sits unused in the garage, and a Dutch oven ! Quite how I'm going to get this lot in the car I don't know.

I am intrigued as to how to cook a pizza in a frying pan Pol .... I liked the idea in one of CW's links of using pittas with pizza toppings inside and toasting - a sort of improvised Calzone. I'm sure that would be well received (pizza always is !)

I'm sure it will be fun
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Post by Compostwoman on 13th August 2010, 6:05 pm

I have had great success putting pitta pockets filled with cheese and tomato between the "tennis racquet " thingy ( what IS it called?) and toasting them. Very yummy toasty/pizza ish!

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Post by polgara on 13th August 2010, 6:20 pm

Just get a ready made base, put it in the pan to just start browning, take it out put your topping in the pan & pop the base on the top , cook till the bottom is heated through, best use some ready cooked meat,. Best idea would be toms, peppers, meat & cheese then top with the base cook off till hot & flip the whole thing onto a plate. Voila pizza.

definately logs & not stones. A lot afer when you have smalls around.
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Post by Compostwoman on 14th August 2010, 12:54 am

re Pizza, what Pol said is how I have done it!

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Post by budburst12 on 14th August 2010, 9:03 am

mmm, thanks Pol, that pizza sounds great! Always wondered how the topping bit worked on a pan cooked pizza and now I know! Very Happy
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Post by polgara on 14th August 2010, 9:56 am

LOL realistically at home you put it under the grill.

However camping calls for a slightly different approach, & believe me I am good at that.

Remember having 2 hours to cook & clear up at camp, & that included lighting the fire.
We managed a full meal & a trip to the pub in that time, that was when we were camping with Rangers & Rover Scouts. I have been involved in cooking every type of meal on a camp fire, cooking was not so much fun when we got camping stoves though.
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Post by Chilli-head on 29th August 2010, 9:10 pm

Well, camping trip to an exposed spot on the Welsh coast survived. I now understand what they mean by a 5 man tent - it is not the number of people you can fit in it, but the number you ideally need to pitch the thing when it's blowing a bit !

Anyway, wind dropped enough for three nights of campfire cookery. Special thanks to Mike for such useful advice on building the fire, really helpful.

So, we had:

Baked in foil: Sweetcorn, potatoes, apples.
Grilled in the "barbecue tennis racquet" (still don't know what it's called): Sausages, pitta pizza pockets (very well received by Chilli-head Jnr, - thanks CW !)
I also remembered to borrow the toasting fork which usually sits by the woodburner - toast and strawberry jam never tasted so good.

Thanks to you all for your suggestions Very Happy
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Post by polgara on 29th August 2010, 9:55 pm

Glad it all worked out for you.

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Post by Compostwoman on 29th August 2010, 11:42 pm

Really pleased you sound like you had a good time!

And am pleased the Pitta pizza pockets Tennis racquet thingy worked really well! ( always raises a smile, does the use of that!)

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Post by Chilli-head on 30th July 2012, 3:44 pm

We had another go at campfire cookery last week. I took one of those orange net bags filled with a mix of woodworking offcuts of oak and some smaller oak logs. The latter have only been seasoning for about 12 months, so the fire was on the smokey side - oak smoked sausages grilled in the "tennis racquet" came out rather nicely Very Happy
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