Why does food baked and eaten whilst camping taste so much better than the average weeknight supper?
I have my hypotheses. Now there's a word I haven't used such I was approximately 14 years of age and regularly attending Mr Stewart's science class.
Anyways, my hypotheses:
1. The Great Outdoors seems to add an extra layer of flavour. Think of fresh air as a complex seasoning.
2. More often that not, picnics/BBQs/campfire meals are social occasions. And more often than not, food tastes better eaten in company.
3. Food outdoors is a bit of an adventure. Trying to figure out how to cook a roast dinner/souffle/croquembouche on a camping stove with a plastic cutlery set is no doubt described as some as an adventure...
By now you are probably wondering why I'm writing about camping food in the middle of one of the stormiest spells of weather this winter. Well, I was contacted by Thompson Al Fresco and asked to develop a healthy eating recipe that could be baked whilst camping.
(I like a challenge I do)
Harking back to my childhood camping experiences, in the main experienced through the Girl Guides and Duke Of Edinburgh Award, our camping diet consisted almost solely of packed flavoured-pasta that a drop of boiling water would bring (sort of) to life and Mars Bars. In later years the Mars Bars would be carefully chopped, added to a banana, wrapped in foil and baked in the campfire. The height of sophisticated camping food West Wales circa 1994.
Determined to be a little more ambitious this time round I've baked a nice-n-easy, super tasty, healthy treat. I give you:
Caramelised Baked Apples with Almonds and Sultanas
Six nice, big as you can find 'em eating apples
75g unsalted butter
75g soft brown sugar
50g chopped almonds
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp of cinnamon
You'll also need:
Six segements of foil approximately 20cm x 20cm
Frying or saucepan for use over the campfire or camping stove
1 sharp knife and a pair of tongs
Cream to serve
1. Using a sharp knife remove the core from each of the apples, being careful not to split the apples when doing so. Score a line around the middle of each apple to prevent the skin from splitting and place each apple in the centre of a piece of the foil
2. Mix together the dried fruit, nuts, zest and cinnamon in a small bowl
3. Heat the butter and sugar gently on a camping saucepan or frying pan until melted and nicely caramelised. Stir in the fruity, nutty mixture
4. Pour the nutty caramel mixture into each of the cored apples, drizzling any extra mixture over the top of each apple
5. Carefully wrap each apple in foil and place the apples on the coals and, after 10 minutes, roll them over using a pair of tongs. Roll them out of the coals after 20 minutes, letting cool for a few minutes before unwrapping and serving.
- It may be helpful to weigh out the ingredients beforehand and store in reusable plastic containers to save faffing around trying to figure out exactly how much 75g of sugar weighs...
- Although I've used almonds in this recipe, pretty much any nut with do!
- Chopped raisins, cherries, apricots, dried mixed fruit would also be lovely additions.
- If baking at home, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and bake for 20-30 minutes in the centre of the oven.
- What's your favourite camping recipe? Roll on the summer please, so I can be putting them all to good use!
This post was sponsored by Thompson Al Fresco (self catering mobile home and family camping holidays in Europe) who sent a selection of cooking utensils and products for use in the development of this recipe.