Bushcraft Days – Memorable Meals

I have started on my Bushcraft Days blog to write a few posts on some of the memorable meals I have had while out bushcrafting.

imageimageMy second post on the subject of memorable meals was titled ‘Before and After’. In it I tried to show different foods, cooking methods and how the foods looked before and after they were cooked. I did not go into any great detail but just let the pictures speak for themselves.

There will be some more posts on this subject in the future.

 

I hope you enjoy it? I know I enjoyed eating it all.

Link to the post – Bushcraft Days Memorable Meals – Before and After

Cheers

George
Bushcraft Days

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Bushcraftage – Food

My friend Dave Lewis has a pet hate – Pot Noodles. I can vouch for the fact that they can be drop kicked quite a distance ;-).

Food is a subject that is very close to my heart. I cannot call myself any sort of chef but I am more than capable of cooking in a variety of methods while outdoors. Thankfully though, I do have a number of friends in the world of bushcraft who are chefs and so I regularly eat like a King when out and about (have a look at my blog page on Memorable Meals). The downside to creating outdoor feasts is the time it takes to prepare them. When you have a dozen kids to teach over a weekend with lots of activities to cover, too few staff and little money to spare (welcome to the world of the Sea Cadets), then you need to think out of the box a bit more. I would love to always get the kids to prepare fresh foodstuffs and cook it themselves, for example ponnassing fish. This takes time and it’s not always possible, but when we can do it, the bushcraft experience gained is well worth it.

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The ideal

The reality much of the time is quite different. With time constraints and limited fresh food available then just heating your food over the fire may be the limit of your bushcraft culinary experience.

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The reality

Thankfully most kids are more interested in lighting fires than cooking the perfect bushcraft meal.

I personally try to walk a middle path here making do with what I have (is that not what a lot of bushcraft is about?) and give the best bushcraft food experience I can.

Before we light fires and cook food I love to head out for a mooch, either to teach navigation or to do a bit of tracking. Along the way we will introduce the cadets to some of the foodstuffs they can forage. I love to see the looks on kids faces as I pinch off a piece of nettle leaf and munch on it. The thought of eating anything in the wild is alien to many people these days. It is not long though before most of them are trying some foraged food.

One of my favourites is to eat Hawthorn leaves and buds in the early spring. The Hawthorn is also named the ‘Bread and Cheese’ tree because of this delicacy. The picture says it all.

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Bread and Cheese

The lovely fresh taste of a Spring Beech leaf. Another favourite.

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Beautiful Beech

A nibble on a Primrose leaf. I make sure we identify this plant to the cadets where they can also see a Foxglove (not edible) as they can be similar when not in flower.

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Primrose nibbling

Back at camp a firm favourite is to sit around a fire with your mates and chat while you cook a sausage.

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Sausage on a stick

Always puts a smile on their faces.

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Smile

Wherever possible we will get the cadets to make up some bread mix and cook some twizzle stick bread.

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twizzle anyone

When time is of the essence (too many other activities to do), thankfully we have a large Muurrika to cook a lot of food fast.

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Fast Food – Bushcraft style

We also have a large cooking rack with a tripod that is good for cooking for many people. This set up was donated to the Sea Cadets by my friend Mark Beer.

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Camp Kitchen

A simple system cadets can set up themselves is to drive four stakes (green wood) into the ground and use them as a platform to cook on.

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Simple cooking

On more advanced courses the cadets will cook in different ways.

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Advanced cadet cooking

A recent experiment was to bake pizza under a fire tray. It worked a treat.

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Experiments in campfire pizza making

For puddings the favourite is chocolate oranges or chocolate bananas.

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Cadet Cakes

Melting chocolate is always a chore that is over-subscribed.

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Choclate melting tins


And lastly you must never forget the ‘Must Have Marshmallows’
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The all important mallows

I like to think our cadets are fed well on bushcraft courses. They have fun but their traditional comfort zones are extended every time they come out.

The next Bushcraftage will be on some of the knife skills the cadets and instructors are taught.

Cheers

George

Bushcraft Days

Making squash

I purchased a second hand saft maja (squash maker) and decided to try it out last week.  I have drunk Birch leaf squash recently which was really nice and so I gave it a try.

I collected Birch leaves and put in the maja

The base of the maja you fill with water and put on the cooker to boil. The part to the right of the picture which collects the squash is then placed on top

The next part to go on, is the sieve that holds the Birch leaves & sugar and finally the lid goes on

As the water heats up and boils, the water vapour rises through; in this case birch leaves, but I used Lingon berries also and as they steam, the juices drop down and eventually the juice runs out of the rubber pipe into a bottle.

Here are bottles of Lingon and Birch squash, with Teres’ Sill Torte or Herring cake which is traditionally eaten at mid-summer.

Preserving food

Other work on my cabin has included building a new cupboard for food storage.  You can see how work began in this picture the new cupboard will be to the right of the broom

Here is the cupboard now and it includes a worktop you can pull out when cooking on the stove ad slide back in when you do not require it.  I just need to build doors now

Recently I wrote about collecting berries for the winter and while at the cabin I made some apple and blueberry fruit leather

You can read how I make it in one of my previous posts.

Ingvar caught 21 fish in his net so we decided to smoke them to preserve them.  The fish were gutted and then salted (plus a little sugar added) and left for one day.

The next day we made fire in my smoker and added Juniper and Alder to give flavour to the fish.

Anki smoked the fish for one hour

and they tasted very good.

Food and firelighting

My friend Dirk called me one day last week to say he was sick and to ask if I could act as a guide for the group he had staying.  Of course I agreed.

I took the group to the Polar Circle near to Nattavaara, where I talked about some useful plants for food and medicine, talked a bit about Sami culture and demonstrated making fire without matches and then of course we made coffee

The group were very friendly and keen to learn and have fun

We returned to Dirk’s where I demonstrated a variety of ways to make fire and tinders to use and two people were successful at producing fire with the bow-drill.  We were planning to cook a meal in the ground so we built a large fire and put in rocks to heat them

I prepared a hole into which the hot stones and food would be placed

and after the fire had been burning for two hours the rocks were very hot and ready for cooking the food

The food to be cooked was Salmon, wild mushrooms and berries and herbs from the garden

The Salmon was cut into pieces and wrapped in Birch bark with berries, herbs and mushrooms

The parcels were tied up with Birch twigs

The hot rocks and bark parcels were then placed in the hole and turf put on top

While the parcels were cooking I demonstrated a primitive way of boiling water and cooking using some hot rocks in a Birch bark kettle I had made

After about 50 minutes the parcels were cooked and ready to be removed

and here is the end result

Gathering food

Here’s one prior to my camera stopping working…..

August is the time that the berry collecting season gets underway,

beginning with Clouberry (Hjortron in Swedish).  Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) is a member of the same family as Blackberry, but grows close to the ground and only bears one fruit.  But not all plants bear fruit as some are male and some are female.

The fruit is orange/yellow in colour and has a distinctive smell which travels for some distance when the fruit are ripe.

This is a typical area where Cloudberry grows.

Once home, the Cloudberries are cleaned and divided up into small bags for use during the long winter.

The Blueberries will be gathered next and shortly after the Cow Berry/Lingon.

We are also harvesting our potatoes now after our first frost last week.  The first ones we harvested were at the cabin

There was a surprisingly good crop from ten plants, which were set in June.

We store the food in a cold store in the cellar.

We found this while out collecting

So thanks to Jonas we now know that this is “gul parasollmossa (Splachnum luteum) which is Norrbottens landskapsmossa”…..Thanks Jonas :>)

Rådjebalges/Gränsleden Guiding Course – Part 7

Hundreds of mosquito’s came into the laavu during the night.  I was fortunate enough to have a piece of insect netting material to put over me, but the others were not.

We awoke at 7am, made fire and cooked breakfast

After breakfast we were soon packed and on the trail again.  Very soon we located an old camp with an old fire site from in a kåta, defined by a ring of stones

The camp site was located in an area surrounded by rock on all sides and so sheltered from the worst of the weather

We also found an old turf kåta and discussed the idea to repair it as shelter for people walking the trail, where they can either sleep or just make fire and cook coffee.

Late morning we encountered a heavy thunderstorm and heavy rain.  The rain continued when we stopped for lunch and so it was challenging conditions to make fire.

Per-Erik demonstrated that a piece of Juniper stem split into quarters and the centre which has a high turpentine content removed

can be ignited very easily, even in the wet.  And it was not long before we had a small fire going

We arrived back in Ritsem at 7pm and for me it was a great relief as I had been suffering with pain in my hip and back.  I am now seeing a chiropractor who found that my pelvis was twisted and had to be re-aligned with my back.  This may unfortunately mean I cannot attend the second week of the course from Norway back to Ritsem…..we shall see.

The soul of my boot also split along the route and so I had to buy new boots when I arrived home.  Per-Erik has used many different makes of boots and his recommendation was a pair of Viking Hunters

At least when I arrived home Teres had some good news for me……..I’m going to be a dad/pappa!!!!!….:>)