Friday, April 24, 2009

Cooking While Camping?

As I've already mentioned, I'm going to be going travelling with my fiancé for a few months soon. Camping, in fact. Previously when camping we've mainly stuck to cooking sausages and other simple cuts of meat on our gas stove or free barbecues. We're also experts at knowing a wide variety of vegetables to barbecue (zucchini, sweet potato, snow peas and eggplant are some favourites). We've also realised that simple pasta dishes, using just a billy and a frying pan, will be good for quick and easy meals made on our gas stove, although I'm not sure how I'd manage stirfrys (one of my favourite dishes) without something like a small wok.

So, what suggestions do people have for more meals that are easy to cook on a 2 burner gas stove (or free barbecues when available)?

Pikelets

I've started cooking pikelets each week to use up the flour and sugar in my pantry. It's been so long so I was a kid and regularly made them, and I'd forgotten how easy it was! Here's the recipe I've been using lately:

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
Butter, for greasing

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, beat egg and sugar until thick. Add egg mixture and milk to flour. Mix with a spoon until ingredients are just combined.

Lightly grease a heavy-based frying pan with butter. Heat pan. Drop tablespoonfuls of mixture into the pan once hot. When bubbles appear and start to burst on the top surface, turn pikelets. Cook on the other side for about 1 minute or until golden.

Serve with butter, honey or jam when still warm. Makes 12-15.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter-cleaning the panty

I'm going to be moving out of my apartment and going travelling for a few months at the start of May, so I'm currently going through the contents of my pantry and fridge and using up a lot of the food that we won't be taking with us. However, you don't need to be doing something so drastic as this to clean out your pantry: ideally I've found that you should do it about every 3 months, or every season.

Go through all your sauces. Is there anything that is past its best before date and should be chucked (or used up immediately)? Is there anything approaching its best before date and should be used soon? Is there anything that you've completely forgotten about and will now plan to use? Are there any bottles that are virtually empty and have been put back (by someone else of course) and should be chucked out?

Go through all your dry goods. Is there anything that is past its best before date or has pantry moths and should be chucked? (I've found some sticky traps that work great for moths.) Is there anything that has been untouched for ages and you should plan some recipes that uses it soon? Are there any opened packets that haven't been put into jars and should be done now?

I find it's good to take everything out of the pantry and clean down all the shelves before putting everything back. (This also ensures you don't miss anything.) Do the same with the fridge (although ideally do it more often, and before you do a grocery shop when you don't have many fresh items in it).

At the moment I've got a list of meals and recipes (from having risottos and soups to use up the stock in the freezer to sticky date pudding) to cook in the next month. And a great bonus is it also means I don't need to spend much money on grocery shopping, leaving more money for travelling!