As much as we all love summit sandwiches, food in the outdoors can be a much more enriching experience – if you know your meatballs from your munros. We’ve recruited Harrison Ward, aka Fell Foodie, for his advice on creating meals in the great outdoors.
Barring a summertime BBQ, your outdoor cooking portfolio likely extends no further than most others: a cheese sandwich at the summit of Snowdon; a Pot Noodle boiled over a gas cylinder on a microadventure; some blackened sausages on a beach in the South West. And while they’re all experiences to be cherished, those dishes are all several sandwiches short of a picnic.
Not that outdoor cooking needs to be complicated – even the simplest meal is made far tastier by the virtue of being prepared and eaten in the great outdoors. But there is a happy medium between boiling instant noodles and lugging a spice rack to the summit of Blencathra, and preparing a simple, hearty meal to be eaten hot in the shadow of a mountain is an experience guaranteed to enrich your time outdoors.
If you’re unconvinced about cooking outdoors, allow us to introduce someone with culinary skills and adventure credentials to change your mind: Harrison Ward, aka the Fell Foodie. “I’ve always been a keen cook,” says Harrison, “and with a recent love of the fells being ignited, it seemed only right to take the pots and pans outdoors. There is something primal about cooking over a real fire in the wilderness, often quite simply with a stove, a pan and your respective ingredients. The homage to ancestors of old is certainly not lost on me.”
To help get you started, Ward has created two delicious recipes that are easily cooked in the outdoors with few ingredients and even fewer pieces of kit. Check them out here:
Part of the attraction of cooking outdoors is that it forces you to cook simpler meals with fewer ingredients and less complicated methods of cooking – it’s not exactly going to be Masterchef on the slopes of Swaledale. There are, however, a few pieces of equipment that are going to make your meals far, far more appetising, without weighing down your pack.
Cooking over an open flame isn’t just perfect Instagram-fodder – it’s a surefire way to infuse your food with deeper flavours, as well as being an incredibly cathartic experience. This Bushbox from German brand Bushcraft Essentials is modelled on classic ‘hobo stoves’ but engineered to hugely rigorous standards; it can burn twigs and branches found around camp – generating high temperatures thanks to its chimney shape – and folds down flat to slot into your pack without taking up much room.
Don’t be fooled by the mention of ‘glamping’ in this iron pot’s name – it’s a seriously impressive piece of kit that can handle roughing it in the great outdoors. Hand spun in rural Shropshire, it’s built from high-quality iron and oak, all pre-seasoned with natural flax oil to create a non-greasy and easy-to-clean coating. The handle is easily disattached using brass wingnuts, too, for easy carrying. With a capacity of 1.37l, it’s perfect for rustling up single meals over a campfire.
No, it’s not going to help too much with the actual process of cooking – what it will do, though, is help to keep your food warm for up to 12 hours. And with almost a litre capacity, that means that last night’s stew will still be able to warm you up after a night of wild camping, making that sunrise view even more satisfying.