With the upcoming course season celebrating our 35th anniversary, the Woodlore field team assembled to share tales of adventures over the winter and maintain skills and knowledge in preparation for a very exciting year, with Ray leading a selection of time-honoured courses.
Our outdoor team spend much of the course season out in the woods where they rely on their clothing and equipment through all weather conditions. Every now again the team express a real passion for a particular product and recently Fundamental Instructor Keith Whitehead has been very impressed with his Littlbug Junior Camping Stove. Here is a review he has put together for us:
In this edition of our outdoor cooking guides we focus on the method of steaming your food between two layers of moss. While not often seen, this technique happens to be one of the simplest ways of cooking in the outdoors, particularly with fish. It requires very little in the way of utensils or equipment (which also means minimal washing up), and is very hygienic.
To us though, the greatest benefit of using this method is the way that it leaves you feeling truly immersed in the outdoors. The act of reeling in a fresh catch and cooking it just minutes later over the campfire, using little more than the materials nature provides us with, gives a profound feeling of self reliance and respect for nature that is hard to match.
This particular dish requires just two ingredients – trout and wood sorrel, the latter being a very pleasant stuffing when working with fish. In order to cook this meal, you must first prepare a hot fire with a good bed of embers, preferably of oak.
- 2 x trout
- 1 x handful of wood sorrel
At this time of year the hedges are blooming with elder, and the flowers are now at their prime. It is a wonderful sight, and for generations countryfolk have used the plant to make cordials, champagne and wine, amongst many other uses, and for many it is seen as the true taste of the season. In this article we demonstrate how to make one of the tastiest and easiest dishes of the summer.
The flowers, berries and finest stems next to the flowers are safe to eat; simply take care not to consume too many of the larger stems, as this can cause an upset stomach.
The dish shown here would serve three to four people.
- 20 x elderflower heads
- 4 x handfuls of flour
- 1/2 a handful of sugar
- 4 x tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 x egg whites
Bannock, as many of you will already know, is a traditional Scottish bread that has become a perennial favourite of the outdoorsman. Its popularity has much to do with its relative simplicity when it comes to the ingredients required and the method of preparation. When cooked correctly, the end result is a filling, warming bread that is packed with energy to sustain you on the trail.
There are numerous ways of cooking bannock, with each region commonly having its own take on the standard method. In Australia (where it is referred to as ‘damper’) it is sometimes cooked straight on the embers of the fire; in the far North it is more often cooked in a frying pan. In Northern America, the dish was quickly adopted by indigenous peoples after it was introduced by fur traders. In order to free up cooking equipment for other jobs, the Cree and other First Nations utilised a less common technique of cooking their bannock skewered on a stick, and this is the method we have followed here.
The dish shown in this article served three people.
- 4 x handfuls of flour
- 2 x handfuls of milk powder
- 4 x teaspoons of baking powder
- Sugar (to taste)
- 1 x handful of mixed fruit
Last month we shared our guide on how to cook a Hunter’s Stew in the outdoors, in which we suspended a small Dutch oven over the campfire using a tripod made from natural materials. For those who haven’t made one before, here’s a quick guide on how to make your own cooking tripod.
The various ways of suspending a pot over the fire are almost endless, but the adjustable tripod hanger is one of the simplest and most effective options, particularly when you encounter hard or rocky ground. Not only is it a practical tool, it is also an elegant addition to any camp. Requiring only basic tools and a few simple skills, it is quick and easy to make. Continue reading
When we hunt for our own food, we can rest assured that the animal has led a free and natural life, that has come to an instant and humane end. Deer have been hunted in the woodlands of Britain for thousands of years and, as such, their meat forms a very natural part of our diets.
Venison is one of the leanest and healthiest of red meats, and a casserole provides a great way of cooking it outdoors. The Hunter’s Stew is a hearty, warming meal that is perfect for the cold evenings of winter and early spring. The dish shown here was cooked in a small Dutch Oven suspended over the fire, and served two people.
- 2 x small venison steaks
- 1 x handful of flour
- 1 x knob of butter
- 1 x large onion
- 2 x cloves of garlic
- 6 x rashers of bacon
- 1 x handful of mushrooms
- 2 x sticks of celery
- 2 x carrots
- 1/2 bulb of fennel
- 1/2 bottle of Merlot
- 2 x bay leaves
- 1 x sprig of thyme
- 1 x tablespoon of honey