We've finally got sunshine on our shoulders and it is making me happy! Summer is all about long walks, picnics, camping, and cooking outdoors. It's also about a houseful of grass and mud from the garden, thanks to an overzealous and very demonstrative dog! But we're not going to get distracted by that right now.

Back to camping. We discovered a great love for it about three years ago when I set off on my maiden camping break with Dad, up in the Himalayas. Quite different to camping in the UK! When I returned to London, over the moon about that wonderful feeling of freedom and the stars and the great wide open and the glorious sunrises and sunsets, it didn't take Arunn too long to get his gear sorted, and very soon we were off camping in Wales. Then there was Northern Ireland. And then Norfolk, Cheddar, the South Downs, and Lincolnshire! We're hoping to make it to Cornwall next month, and then maybe round off the summer with a break in September.

One of the most fun things about camping has been the outdoor cooking experience. There is something very comforting about watching campfires dotting a field, as the sun starts to go down, while you're huddled over your own (blowing and coughing and sputtering, and fanning frantically. I just ruined the mood there didn't I? Sorry!). Over the last few years we've made our fair share of meals over a campfire and on our handy portable hob (purchased after much research. About as much as went into buying the cute camp cooking set and toaster!).

If you're a camping newbie, here are 5 really easy and tasty camping recipes. It's quite amazing actually, the things you can do with your portable gas burner/ on the campfire! And I'm not even talking about campfire potatoes with oodles of butter - those deserve a blog post all to themselves :D

1. Simplified full English breakfast!

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This sounds far more complicated than it actually is. But there is always the option of making just the eggs and toast if you can't really be bothered or aren't terribly hungry (neither of which is ever an option for me: clean air and the outdoors always make me hungry).

Ingredients you need:

  • Eggs
  • Block of butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sausages
  • Mushrooms
  • Baked beans
  • Bread
  • Milk

Equipment you need:

  • Portable gas burner - 2 ring more helpful, but you can manage with a single ring too
  • Frying pan
  • Saucepan
  • Knife
  • Spatula
  • Mixing bowl (if you're planning on scrambling your eggs or making yourself an omlette. Oh, get some cheese too if you're doing either of those!) 

What you do:

  1. If you're scrambling or going the omelette way, crack and beat your eggs. Add a little milk. Cut bits of cheese into this. Season with salt and pepper. Mix through. Set aside
  2. If you're boiling your eggs, heat water in a saucepan on the hob (you won't have a campfire first thing in the morning!) and add your eggs to that. Boiling takes too long though, so unless you have a spare burner, I'd avoid it
  3. If you're frying, do nothing just yet
  4. Add your sausages to the frying pan, and cook all the way through. Serve up onto plates. We're doing the sausages first because they take the longest, and you don't want everything else getting cold while they cook.
  5. Cook the baked beans in a saucepan. Season, stir, set aside
  6. Then melt some butter in the frying pan you made the sausages in. Slice the mushrooms into this. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until water evaporates and cooked through. Serve up
  7. Then pour your egg mixture into the pan and cook through, or fry the eggs. Serve up
  8. Finally place your bread slices on the frying pan and brown on both sides - takes less than a minute if the pan is hot

It helps to have 2 burners, so you can do the tomatoes and mushrooms along with the meat, and the eggs and toast together. 

2. Prawn skewers

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Dead easy. 

Ingredients you need:

  • Prawns - cooked, ready to eat
  • Garlic butter
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon 

Equipment you need:

  • Skewers
  • A small bowl
  • Teaspoon
  • Campfire/gas burner/portable BBQ
  • Frying pan

What you do:

  1. Skewer the prawns
  2. Place in a heated frying pan on the gas burner, or on the campfire wire mesh/portable BBQ
  3. Melt some garlic butter in the small bowl (hold over the heat, it's probably plastic and it's easy to forget it'll melt if you hold it too close)
  4. Pour over the grilling prawns evenly. You could also cut slices of butter and skewer those along with the prawns instead, like we did in the photo above!
  5. Sprinkle pepper
  6. Allow to char slightly
  7. Turn over and repeat
  8. If you've got some lemon, squeeze over the prawns

3. Halloumi and aubergine pittas

Ingredients you need:

  • Halloumi cheese
  • Aubergine
  • Red peppers
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mixed leaf salad
  • Olive oil
  • Hummus
  • Pittas

Equipment you need:

  • Campfire/gas burner/portable BBQ
  • Frying pan
  • Spatula
  • Knife

What you do:

  1. Make a pocket in your pittas, by slicing along the long edge, or slicing in half and then separating the layers
  2. Heat the frying pan if you're using one
  3. Slice the halloumi
  4. Chop the peppers into chunky pieces
  5. Slice the aubergine
  6. Arrange the vegetables and halloumi on the wire mesh if using a campfire/ portable BBQ, or do this in batches on the frying pan
  7. Drizzle a little oil on the peppers and aubergine and season them lightly with salt and pepper
  8. Cook till they char slightly. Turn over and repeat
  9. Spread hummus inside the pitta pocket
  10. Stuff with mixed leaf salad
  11. Stuff with grilled cheese and vegetables
  12. Drizzle with a little olive oil

4. Chorizo, mushroom and spinach pasta

Ingredients you need:

  • Fusilli or penne
  • Olive oil
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Chorizo
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Garlic granules

Equipment you need:

  • Saucepan
  • Frying pan
  • Knife
  • Spatula
  • Large bowl
  • Campfire/hob

What you do:

  1. Boil pasta in a saucepan, with a little olive oil and salt, on the hob or on the campfire
  2. Drain and transfer into bowl
  3. Heat the frying pan on the campfire/hob
  4. Slice the chorizo into this and saute till the meat gives out fat and is beginning to get crisp
  5. Slice the mushrooms into the pan, and saute till the water evaporates and the mushrooms have cooked
  6. Roughly chop the spinach into the pan and saute till the water evaporates 
  7. Sprinkle garlic granules and mix through. Allow to cook for 30 seconds
  8. Add to the pasta and mix through

5.  Paneer tikka

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This is a really easy version of this eternal Indian favourite.

Ingredients you need:

  • Paneer cut into large-ish, flat-ish pieces. Too thick and it'll be difficult to cook through
  • Olive oil
  • Chilli flakes
  • Carom seeds
  • Salt
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (available in any Indian grocery store)

Equipment you need:

  • Campfire/hob/portable BBQ
  • Frying pan
  • Bowl
  • Knife
  • Spatula/tongs

What you do:

  1. Make slashes on both sides of the paneer pieces
  2. Marinate the paneer with the oil, chilli, carom seeds, fenugreek leaves and salt
  3. Set aside for 30 minutes
  4. Heat the frying pan if using the hob
  5. Place the paneer pieces on the pan/on the wire mesh over the campfire/on the portable BBQ
  6. Cook till starting to char, and soft
  7. Turn over and repeat on the other side

Tell me how those turn out for you if you give them a go, and share your easy camping recipes too!

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