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Outdoor Cooking

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 11 July 2010

As the sun continues to blaze Sheila Dillon looks at the ups and downs of Outdoor Cooking. Do you remember when only slightly unusual people went camping? Not any more. It's dead fashionable, thanks partly to music festival culture. It's also reasonably cheap - or can be - and of course the warmer summers help, along with all the new gadgets and toys you can buy for life under canvas. But what to eat? Are you an empty-the-whole-kitchen-into-the-car camper? Or an I'll-make-my-own-fire-or-die-in-the-process type? And is it lamb, barley and rosemary hotpot, or instant noodles all the way? We hear top tips from campers at the 7th Cornbury Music Festival. Meanwhile Simon Parkes visits the Amateur BBQ World Cup, and Sheila and food journalist Richard Johnson hang out in the back garden of Annie Bell, author of The Camping Cookbook, and marvel and drool as she produces gourmet dish after gourmet dish from her camping cooker. Jelly baby kebab anyone?
Producer Sukey Firth.

  • Gail about to enjoy her cornbury fry-up

    Gail about to enjoy her cornbury fry-up

    Photograph by Rona Potter

  • Annie Bell's recipes - see the photo gallery for pictures

    Fish Baked in Newspaper

    Season each fish liberally all over with sea salt, including the cavity, and wrap in about 5 sheets of newspaper, wetting each sheet first. This gives a more secure parcel than if you simply wet a wodge of paper. Cook the parcels for about 15 minutes a side in a covered barbecue – there is no likelihood of the paper actually bursting into flames, even though you might think there is, but you may need to flick some water at the parcels now and again if the edges of the paper start to smoke. By the end the newspaper will be blackened, but once cut open the skin of the fish should come away with the paper, revealing beautifully cooked milky white flesh.

    Butterflied Leg of Lamb

    1 leg of lamb, approx. 2.5kg, butterflied
    5 tablespoons Camping Marinade (see below)
    1 heaped tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
    sea salt and black pepper

    Open out the butterflied leg of lamb, cut it in half, place the two halves in a bowl or dish and using your hands, coat it on both sides with the Camping Marinade and the thyme.

    Season the lamb and barbecue half at a time in a covered kettle barbecue (e.g. a Weber using the indirect method), allowing about 20 minutes each side, and placing it skin down first. It’s always an inexact art, so use this as a rough guide – if you stick a knife into the thickest part it should still appear pink. Set this half aside while you cook the second half – first adding another few briquettes to each side, and leaving for about 15 minutes for them to heat up. Carve the lamb across the grain, spooning any juices over the meat. Serve with a selection of breads, a green salad, and some chutney or perhaps the aioli below.

    Camping Marinade
    100 ml lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
    150 ml extra virgin olive oil
    3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed to a paste
    1 tsp sea salt

    Combine all the ingredients in an airtight container, such as Lock and Lock and shake to use. Store in a cool place.

    To make the aioli, put the mayonnaise [6 tbsp] and Camping Marinade [4 tbsp] in a bowl and blend with a spoon.

    Camping Glaze
    Combine it with the above and you have a delicious honey mustard salad dressing. It’s easy to whip up more of this should you require, but this is a good amount to start off with.

    4 tbsp Dijon mustard
    4 tbsp set honey

    Blend the two in a bowl and store in an airtight jar or container such as Lock and Lock.

    Campfire Tagine Tomato Sauce

    For 4 people

    A deliciously smoky sauce for ladling over any grilled meat or fish, which is baked within the
    tomato shell. It can also be made in advance and gently reheated, adding the coriander at the last minute.

    3 good-sized beefsteak tomatoes
    sea salt
    1 teaspoon Moroccan Spice Blend (below)
    1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed to a paste
    extra virgin olive oil
    a handful of coarsely chopped fresh coriander (optional)

    Slice the top off each tomato and scoop out the core in the centre, about 2 tablespoons of the flesh in total. Season the cut surface with salt, scatter the spice and garlic in the cavities, and refill with olive oil, almost to the top. Replace the lid, place the tomatoes in a shallow pan such as a Trangia frying pan, and cook in a covered barbecue for 30–45 minutes until softened – you may find there is a pool of juices and some oil in the pan. You can also cook these over an open grid.

    Scoop the softened flesh away from the shells, discarding the skin, and stir in the coriander if you have some.

    Moroccan spice blend (La Kama) can be ordered from www.seasonedpioneers.co.uk or you can make it yourself by blending these spices:
    2 tsp ginger
    2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp tumeric
    1 tsp cinnamon
    ½ (half) tsp nutmeg

    Jelly Baby Kebabs

    Thread 4 jelly babies, of different flavours, through the waist on to a metal or soaked wooden skewer. Gently heat them close to the embers of a fire – a barbecue in its dying hour will do fine. You need to catch them just at the right moment, while they still have the composure of their shape, but are liquid gel within, the consistency of one of those beautiful glacé fruits, a whole clementine for instance, that drips with a viscous syrup once you’re past its candied shell.

    The Camping Cookbook by Annie Bell (Kyle Cathie, £12.99) with photography by Jonathan Bell.


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