Parragon Book Buddy – “The Camping Cookbook”

Parragon Book Buddy -- “The Camping Cookbook”

It is summer time and I have the perfect cookbook for this time of year – The Camping Cookbook – Recipes for the great outdoors.

Like most of the time with Love Food cookbooks there is more to the book than just recipes. The Camping Cookbook – Recipes for the great outdoors contains a lot of great tips for your outdoors living including:

  • What to take – the equipment list
  • Hints & tips for pitching your tent
  • Campsite cooking – cooking with gas, cooking on the barbecue and cooking over the campfire
  • “Don’t forget” check list
  • Store cupboard essentials

It even offers some advice on why skipping breakfast is bad for you and how to beat bad weather blues.

So you see it is like a great outdoors guide all in one 🙂

The cookbook part in itself is split into five main chapters:

  1. The big breakfast
  2. Lunchtime
  3. Seriously filling dinner
  4. Something on the side
  5. All things sweet

There are over 70 yummy recipes in there or how I would describe them as a list of our favourites.

Some of the recipes are simple meals that we might do everyday anyways like Bacon Butties, Apple and Spice Porridge or a Rice Pudding but despite this fact I really like this book. I think it offers a great selection of dishes to pick from and it is written purely with outdoor cooking in mind, so you know the recipes will be fairly easy and will only require a minimum number of ingredients.

I picked few of my personal favourites to share with you.

Parragon Book Buddy – “The Camping Cookbook”  Spicy Fried Eggs

Spicy Fried Eggs – this reminds me of all the camping trips I took as a child with my parents. I actually still cook it from time to time but Mark isn’t so keen on it. He thinks that all the additional trimmings do not belong with eggs… but hey what does he know?

Parragon Book Buddy – “The Camping Cookbook”  Tomato Bruschetta

Tomato Bruschetta is my next pick. It is so quick and simple yet so delicious. I totally adore the taste on nice fresh toasted bread, sweet juicy tomatoes and basil. This is a perfect lunch meal… anytime and anywhere.

Parragon Book Buddy – “The Camping Cookbook” Sunshine Risotto

Sunshine Risotto makes for a perfect dinner meal; it is light and healthy, fabulous looking and full of goodness. This might not be the quickest meal but once camping we shouldn’t be in any rush. It is good to take your time and prepare your meal with love. This particular recipe features sun-dried tomatoes, which give the biggest flavour burst but it can be adopted to suit any pallet. If you are not a tomato fan you can try and create for example a mushroom risotto, especially if you are close by to some nice woodland and can go and pick your the wild mushrooms yourself.

Parragon Book Buddy – “The Camping Cookbook” Meatballs on a Stick

There are Meatballs on a Stick. This is my favourite recipe from the book. I totally love it and I just can’t believe that I’ve never thought about doing it before. The recipe calls for pork and herb sausages, fresh minced beef, breadcrumbs, onion, fresh herbs, egg and some salt and pepper to taste. It couldn’t be any easier. It reminds me of my Polish Meatballs 😉 I am sure cooking it on the BBQ will enhance the flavour and provide a great dining experience.

Parragon Book Buddy – “The Camping Cookbook” Fruit Skewers

Fruit Skewers is my choice for a pudding. I love fresh fruits and I love chocolate, so these two paired together makes for me a perfect combo. You are supposed to brush your fruits with a little maple syrup, which will make them caramelize over the fire. Then just drizzle over them some melted chocolate and enjoy the fresh sharp taste of the juicy fruits mixed with the sweet chocolate. Oh, this really sounds great!

So what do you think about my choices?

Would you like to try any of these dishes?

Parragon Book Buddy  “The Camping Cookbook”

***
The Camping Cookbook – Recipes for the great outdoors
ISBN 978-1-4723-5619-2
Published by Parragon Books Ltd in 2014
Part of Love Food
Number of pages: 192
RRP: £8
Hardback

*  I received this book for free from Parragon as a part of my Book Buddy pack.

How to hold a successful garden party

How to hold a successful garden party

Summer is here, which means a perfect time to open our windows and bi-folding doors and connect more with the nature on our door step.

Bi-folding doors or patio doors are the perfect connector between the indoor and the outdoors part of your house. Once open they will allow your garden to flow indoors creating the illusion of one huge open space. They are the perfect solution for creating an airy and light environment to live in; an almost perfect solution for enjoying the summer time to its fullest.

It is summer time so what could be better than a party full of friends and laughter to share in this huge open space you have just created?

A garden party!

They are always so much fun. They provide us with endless opportunities to do something different, to entertain our loved ones and to change an ordinary day into a potentially unforgettable one.

I have a list of things to consider when planning a garden party… here it comes…

Party spot

As it is the UK and the weather is quite temperamental it would be wise to pick a spot in the garden which has some cover above our heads. This will protect us from the sun and keep us cool (or cool-er) and when the worst comes to the worst and Mr. Rain decides to join us, it will help keep us dry. One of those big garden umbrellas should do the trick. If you happen to have a large garden and own a gazebo or a garden tent then of course set the main tables inside them.

Party furniture

Chairs are the key. Yes, it is a garden party and so your guest will most likely be either running around and playing or standing and mixing in the garden but at some point they will all want to sit down and relax and have something to eat and drink… make sure that the chairs have soft covers on them and are comfortable. It is really not very pleasant to sit on hard, uncomfortable chairs for hours and this can kill the good mood around.

Tableware

Whatever the theme or the occasion of your party do not use the best family china or even the silver, there is always an increased possibility that something will get broken. A garden party will tend to relax people a bit more than a standard party and thus we are prone to being less careful. Use your everyday tableware set or even better use disposable ones or even a plastic picnic set. Now a day’s disposable tableware can be so pretty; no more of that boring white all around… they can be purchased in a variety of different colours and patterns.

How to hold a successful garden party

Food

It is BBQ time! I am not joking, a garden party is meant to be coupled with a good BBQ, but you will need some more things to round out your feast… Make sure that you have plenty of light fresh dishes, which are easy to eat and do not require you to sit bolt upright and use a knife and fork. Salads, finger foods, fresh fruits and of course some veggies are always a good choice… oh and remember to do some vegetarian options just in case one of your friends has converted 😉

Drinks

For a garden party you will need plenty of them especially if it is a hot day. Keep them cool but not freezing cool and make sure that there is a lot of water. If you serve alcohol, serve some water just next to it… alcohol will speed up the dehydration process so your guests will need to drink a bit more. Keeping drinks on ice in hot weather is not very practical but pour some cold water into a bucket, place in a shaded spot and put your drinks in… They will stay nice and cool and all you need is a cloth to dry them out before serving.

Decorations and light

Make sure that the surroundings are all neat and tidy and all surfaces are clean. Cut the grass the day before, hide all the gardens tools, remove any dry or “dead” plants… this all helps to make the space look nice and presentable and will help save you time and money on additional decorations, sometimes a lovely looking garden is all you need.
Like with most parties we never know when it is going to finish, so be ready for an evening / night time. Prepare some lampions, garden lamps or just a bunch of candles, ready to light up when the sun starts to set.

Fly’s / Wildlife

Summer time equals a global invasion of fly’s, wasps, mosquito and tons of other little creatures which are out and about and will want to join in, pretty lights attract them. Protect your food with covers at all time. Buy some insect repealing candles or smelly sticks and keep them burning.

Noise and neighbours

If you neighbours aren’t invited then be polite inform them about your party. It is the nice way to be with your neighbours, and who knows it might just help to avoid that two hour long session with his chainsaw he had planned for that day. Give them fair notice that this day / evening will most likely not be as peaceful as usually and the noise level may well be much higher.

I think that’s all.

Now that all the basics have been covered – go invite your friends… and I mean it… friends. No one enjoys those parties that are full of guests who were invited because it was the polite thing to do… These parties are never as much fun as the parties with your friends, people you trust and love.

So have fun!

And if you have any further tips for a successful garden party, please do share.

* Post written in collaboration with expressbifolds.co.uk.

A Hunter Wish List from BushWear

Hunters preparing for action

And yet again we are returning to the topic of Christmas Gifts. This time let’s talk about something for outdoorsy people; people who like nature and adventure and need something more rugged and specialize then your standard supermarket equipment.

One of persons like this in my family is my dad. When I was growing up I always had a problem with Christmas, birthday or a fathers’ day gift… now this problem has gone. About 10 years ago my dad took up hunting and now whenever an occasion comes, there is a long list of stuff needed waiting for us to pick from. He is a very active hunter so yes, he has quite a good collection of equipment and gear in general, but there is always something new on the market he wants, something broke and needs replacing and so on…

Dads current wardrobe
Dads current wardrobe
Some of dad current equipment
Some of dad current equipment

Doing my Christmas gifts list preparations I came across BushWear. BushWear was born in 2003 in Scotland due to frustration regarding the lack of quality products for hunters and other likeminded people who wanted and needed more than the current market was offering. Currently BushWear stocks a huge selection of clothing including waterproof clothing, clothing accessories, footwear, gun care, stalking, knives, larder, books, DVD and gifts. They have it all in one place… and if there is something they missed, you can always ask and if possible they will source it for you.

Dads current rifle with scope
Dads current rifle with scope

The first thing on my dad’s wish list this year is a new rifle scope. I was told not to buy anything below 2.5-15×56 specification. Apparently 56 is a very important parameter as it marks lightness of the scope. My dad’s eyes aren’t as good as they used to be so he requested something which will help him hit the target easier, which is the main point of hunting as an activity 🙂 I did find the perfect scope, but it is way outside my price range, so unless we can get some help from other family members, a new scope is out of the question for this year.

Oooo that looks comfortable...
Oooo that looks comfortable…

Next item is a rifle rest… and this is where I hit my first bump… there is so many of them… and they are all very different… I always thought that a wish list is supposed to help you make a good decision regarding gifts, but sometimes all they give you is a bigger headache. After making some additional sneaky enquires I found out that ideally he would need 2 of them – one for the shooting range, as the bags of sand he currently uses are not ideal, and a second one to take with him whilst out hunting… with this information at least I can realistically pick something which hopefully will be of use to him.

Dads current knife.  Classic case of form over function.
Dads current knife.
Classic case of form over function.

The third item on my part of the wish list is a new knife (there is much more to the list than this portion. The full list is huge but we split the list between all our family members and everyone received three options to choose from). I know what dad is currently using so I am opting for a multi tool pack. I especially like this one,

New multi tool pack
New multi tool pack

which seems to have everything; it includes a 12 component multi-tool, flashlight and fire starter rod. Every tool in the kit is outfitted with durable rubber handles for easy gripping, even with gloved hands. All of the multi-tool features are locking – needle nose pliers, wire cutters, wood saw, pierce, scissors, partially serrated blade and more. It really looks like a perfect tool. Actually the more I am thinking about it, the more I want one for myself as well. You never know when you might need it. Even though the last thing I hunted was a tissue.

Do you have any outdoorsy people in your life you are buying Christmas gifts for?

If so, what are you going for this year as the perfect gift idea?

* Post written in collaboration with BushWear.

Review – The Running Mat… not only for runners

The Running Mat as featured on Dragons Den
The Running Mat as featured on Dragons Den

When I was sent a Running Mat to review I thought to myself this is a sign! Today I am going to birth the new me, the fitter, younger and happier me. I am going to eat better, smoke/drink less (or not at all), sleep longer and develop that mythical deep sense of well being. That decided I needed a first step on my journey to becoming the new me, what better way than a run, I can start slow, say 5km. I looked at the dogs as I tied my shoe laces, the look of overwhelming anticipation was tangible, they knew, running shoes meant something big was about to happen, a walk of legendary proportions. I grabbed my Running Mat that simply wraps around you like a big soft cosy belt that just clicks together, easy, I reckon less than 5 seconds to equip, and in just a short while I will discover, a useful use of 5 seconds as we will see.

As the front door clicked behind me, I was already stretching and warming up, the dogs bounced around me like demented grasshoppers, even the sun was shining, this was a perfect start.

And we are off….

What seemed like an eternity later, I reached the end of our close, time to re-evaluate that 5km run length, I was shattered and breathing like a steam engine.  Remembering why I was standing there by the road in an ever increasing river of sweat, I unclipped my Running Mat and unfolded it, on the floor and I had somewhere to rest. No worries about chewing gum, dog mess, puddles or little creatures, I was warm, dry and comfortable. The dogs realised that the ultimate walk was off. Sat there looking at each other a bargain was reached that we would go for a long walk, but at a more sedate rate.

As we wandered across the rolling hills of Bedfordshire it did occur to me that although this is called the Running Mat it could be used in a variety of situations. Festival goes, day at the races, dog walkers, and the queue for the Harrods sale, watching Andy Murry defend his Wimbledon crown on the big screen in the park, picnics, beaches or anywhere on a bench after it has rained.

Now I take it everywhere, used it just the other day to rest my foot on as I changed from practical shoes to my dressed to impress shoes, it is very versatile, light, comfortable to wear, you can literally forget you are wearing it which is far more annoying when you realise you could have just used it if only you had remembered it was there. It is definitely my new best friend on walks.

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Features of The Running Mat:

Portable – the compact unit easily fastens around the waist/hip area to enable the user to run/exercise whilst carrying the mat.

Outdoor Protection – the compact unit opens up to a cushioned exercise mat to protect the joints and clothing whilst exercising outdoors.

Waterproof – the Running Mat is waterproof and easy to clean.

Holds the heat – the material used holds in the heat in the area using the exercise mat.

 

* Product was provided by The Running Mat via FuelMyBlog free of charge for review purposes. The opinions expressed in this review are honest and my own .