Family Camping Cookbook Review

Family Camping Cookbook Healthy camping food Inspired Camping Cool camping campsiteThese days we are spoilt for choice when it comes to recipe books but it can still be a challenge to find those with the best and most versatile dishes for camping. We all want quick, easy, cheap and cheerful, but we also want the ability to produce a “Wow!” from friends and family.Inspired Camping was given a copy of the Family Camping Cookbook to flick through and sample some of the camping food recipes in return for an honest book review and we wondered if it would do the job of helping us produce a tasty yet simple camping menu for all to enjoy at the campsite, that was neither too simple or ambitious. The book contains 85 family friendly feasts that all work on a gas stove, barbecue or open fire and even gives shopping lists and advice on how to make the most of cooking outdoors, so we were off to a good start.Family Camping Cookbook Book Review at Inspired Campingcampfire quesadilla calzone Inspired Camping healthy camping food

Our first observation when we received the book was that it is not a coffee table book as it seems to have been designed to be taken out and about on camping trips. It seems durable and hard-wearing, so we don’t think it will suffer much from being stuffed into a bag with the rest of the camping gear. It’s of a medium size and full with useful information and healthy recipes so, as the title suggests, it’s perfect for families who camp and don’t have the need to travel light. As such it’s definitely not a book for backpacking or wild camping away from the shops.

The meal planning sections are fabulous. A super example is on page 63, when the reader is provided with a very bright and easy to read menu for kids, with references to pages where the recipes can be found. It then gives the reader a shopping list to take to the store so you don’t have to be bothered with the chore of writing one out yourself. These lists are incredibly useful and take away the burden of thinking about what to cook and what to stock up for. Anything that saves time when camping giving more opportunity to enjoy activities with the kids gets a BIG thumbs up from us. Actually this book would be useful at home too and not just on camping trips… now there’s a thought!

Family Camping Cookbook Healthy camping food at the campsite

Family Camping Cookbook smoked campfire aubergines

There are recipes for all ages, so even the kids could have a go at making a yummy sticky finger mess! For example on page 66 there’s Chapatis with fruit & honey and on page 169 chocolate fondue. However, mum and dad might want to think carefully about getting involved in this type of activity with the kids if they don’t want to spend the rest of their camping trip with sticky honey all over the tent and sleeping bag!

The Summary;

Good Bits… The book cover seems very durable and hard-wearing, perfect for being lugged around with your camping gear, but only if you don’t have to pack light. It ‘does what it says on the tin’ and the meal planning sections and menus are easy to read and fabulous.The shopping lists are also incredibly useful as they quite simply take away the burden of thinking about what to cook and shop for. There are recipes for every meal time for all ages so even the kids could have a go. There’s plenty of other useful tips throughout the book, including packing and pre-preparation tips.The price of the book has also been reduced if bought through our online store.
Not So Good Bits… The meals focus on fresh food, so it’s not ideal if camping light with basic provisions is a priority, you are wild camping away from grocery shops or you have no way of storing fresh food safely in a chill cabinet or cool box. However, if you are wild camping it’s unlikely you would want a cookbook at all! Some of the recipes are also a bit complicated for an inexperienced family camper, with some speciality items that won’t be easy to find on the road, but throughout the book there are helpful alternatives to these.This it isn’t a coffee table book, but we recommend it as a practical family friendly one ideal for the Camping Ready Bag if you don’t need to pack light.

So in summary this is a practical time-saving cook book that clearly shows the time, effort and hard work Tiff and Jim have put into it, which in turn will help save time and effort when camping with the family, and just for the shopping lists alone it deserves 4 stars. 

Tanya Brooks-Dowsett Inspired Camping Glamping Contributor
 A Book Review  By Tanya Brooks-Dowsett  
Tanya Brooks-Dowsett is a keen happy camper and lover of all things Glamping. Growing up near the North Wales coast and now living with her busy family of water sport enthusiasts, she lives for the beach life. Tanya is an adventurous idea generator who loves to hang out at some of the UK’s most stunning beach locations.

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The kids loved this Camping Recipe!

Butternut Squash Tagine and Nut & Raisin Couscous

For the Butternut Squash Tagine:

1 tbsp olive oil, 1 large onion (finely chopped), 1 tsp garam masala, 1 large butternut squash (peeled and cubed), 1 garlic clove (finely chopped), 1 tsp harissa paste (plus extra to serve), 1 tsp salt, 1 red pepper (deseeded and cut into large chunks), 800g/1lb 12oz/scant 3¼ cups tinned chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp pepper, 1 handful of coriander leaves (chopped)

For the Nut & Raisin Couscous:

400g/14oz/2 cups couscous, 125g/4½oz/½ cup raisin and nut mix (such as pine nuts, flaked almonds or shelled pistachios), 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper

 Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until it starts to soften. Add the garam masala and cook for about 1 minute, then add the butternut squash, garlic, harissa paste and salt. Cover with a lid and cook for another 2 minutes.
  2. Put the pan over a high heat, add the red pepper, tinned tomatoes and papper and bring to the boil. Put the pan over a low heat, cover with a lid and simmer for about 20 minutes until the squash is tender.
  3. Meanwhile, put the couscous, raisins and nuts in a large bowl and pour over 550ml/19fl oz/scant 2 cups boiling water.  Season with salt and pepper and cover immediately. Leave to soak for at least 5 minutes until the grains are tender. Fluff up the couscous with a fork, then add the oil and mix well.
  4. Stir the coriander leaves into the tagine and serve hot with the couscous and extra harissa paste.

From Family Camping Cookbook by Tiff & Jim Easton © Commissioned Photography by Ed Easton / Duncan Baird Publishers

Foraging

We love to forage for food with the children when we’re camping, and we rarely set off for a walk without a bucket or two in which to collect blackberries, figs, wild rocket, apples – all sorts.  However, we do stress to the kids how important it is to respect nature’s goodies, and only take what we need and what we know about.

Here we are in Tollesbury Salt Marshes on the Essex coast, which is probably one of the best places you can be to forage for samphire!

The mud banks are crammed with this delicious salty, tender, juicy sea vegetable . . .

 

Simply boil in water for a minute or two – without salt, and dress with a little oil and black pepper to serve alongside grilled fish.  It’s delicious!

 

 

The Ottolenghi Cookbook has a fantastic recipe we’ve used on many an occasion, where they make a salad of the samphire with asparagus, sesame seeds, sesame oil, olive oil, garlic, tarragon and black pepper.  We highly recommend it!

 

Family Camping Cookbook – Who’s it for?

As camping in the rain isn’t much fun, why not spend a bit of time stocking up on all the essentials needed for a great camping experience as soon as the weather breaks – and it will, it WILL!  And obviously I would recommend our own recently released Family Camping Cookbook to help you in your planning process and inspire you with lots of lovely recipes.   

This book is for people, who rather like us, make a last minute decision to go camping for a weekend, but don’t want to miss out on good food!  First of all, let it be clear that this book is NOT designed for people who intend to pack light and have all they need foodwise for a week when they set off, and it’s certainly not about freeze dried food and survival. 

Our shopping lists give you the food you need for three meals a day for 2 days. If you have a car, you can pile it all in before you go, and if you don’t, we would advise you to do a shop once you’ve a arrived and set up camp.  (You might want to do this anyway to source good local products). 

The other way you can use the book, if you are camping for longer, is to pack the key ingredients that we recommend (which won’t take up too much space), and shop for the rest locally every 2 or 3 days. 

If you want to travel light, but don’t mind eating unexciting food, then this ISN’T the book for you – but if you’re excited by food, you’ll realise that you can enjoy it camping if you plan your meals well.  In fact camping allows you the perfect opportunities of space and time to really enjoy and appreciate cooking and food.  Whatsmore, it’s the perfect place to get children involved in cooking and enjoying food, and from our experience, they’re far more adventurous if they’re involved in the cooking, and enjoying the great outdoors.

This book is for campers who want their meals to be central to their camping experience.  It is not for people who just want to sustain themselves whilst engaging in other camping activities.

Fun camping recipe for kids – Gorp balls and Moroccan mint tea

Gorp balls (Good Old Raisins & Peanuts) are great for kids to prepare and are ideal to make outside as they’re very messy.  You may like to try adding some Granola into the mix, in which case add a little extra peanut butter or honey, too.  Perfect as a snack with Moroccan mint tea (which our kids love – especially if they sneak in that extra teaspoon of sugar!)

From Family Camping Cookbook by Tiff & Jim Easton © Commissioned Photography by Ed Easton / Duncan Baird Publishers

SERVES: 4

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes

COOKING TIME: about 5 minutes

 

Gorp Balls

150g/5½oz/1 cup dried fruit, chopped

150g/5½oz/1 cup chopped nuts

4 tbsp peanut butter

2 tbsp clear honey

 

Moroccan Mint Tea:

4 handfuls of mint leaves

4 tsp sugar, any variety, plus extra to taste

 

1   Put 1l/35fl oz/4 cups water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Meanwhile, mix together the dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter and honey in a large bowl. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 12 golf ball-sized gorp balls or 24 mini gorp balls and set aside.

2   Put the mint leaves in a jug and sprinkle in the sugar, then crush with a wooden spoon. Pour the boiling water over the mint leaves and sugar and leave to stand for 5 minutes to allow the mint to infuse. Add more sugar, if you like, and serve hot with the gorp balls.

 

Alternatively, you could prepare ahead:  Make a chopped dried fruit mixture at home before you leave and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Use it to make the gorp balls, sprinkle it over your Granola with Yogurt & Fruit (see Family Camping Cookbook, page 142) or dip the pieces into a pot of Chocolate Fondue (see Family Camping Cookbook, page 169).

Family Camping Cookbook

Hurray!  It’s out there!  If you’re keen campers and you want some inspiration about what to cook, go and buy our book!   Just click on the link, and if you get it please tell us what you think . . . .

Easy Camping lunch recipe – Campfire Quesadilla Calzone

With the launch of our book imminent, here’s another easy camping recipe from our ‘In the Country’ section.

From Family Camping Cookbook by Tiff & Jim Easton © Commissioned Photography by Ed Easton / Duncan Baird Publishers

Campfire Quesadilla Calzone

This isn’t a pizza, but it’s a very good camping alternative. Our kids love this filling, but you can experiment with other fillings, such as salami, rocket and grated cheese.

makes: 8

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes

 

125g/4½ oz/½ cup tomato purée

 4 tbsp olive oil

 2 garlic cloves, crushed

 8 large soft flour tortillas

 250g/9oz cooked ham, finely sliced

 500g/1lb 2oz mozzarella cheese, drained and sliced

 120g/4¼oz/1 cup pitted black olives, halved

 1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

 salt and pepper

 

1 Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Put the tomato purée, oil and garlic in a bowl. Mix well, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is smooth enough to spread. Season with salt and pepper.

2 Put 1 tortilla in the pan and spread 1 tablespoon of the tomato mixture over the top. Sprinkle one-eighth of the ham, mozzarella, olives and chilli over half of the tortilla. Try to sprinkle the cheese around the edge of the tortilla – it will help the quesadilla hold together when you flip it. Using a spatula, fold the tortilla in half to enclose the filling, pressing down the edges to seal.

3 Cook for about 1–2 minutes, then flip the quesadilla over and cook for another 2 minutes until the cheese has melted and the tortilla is beginning to crisp. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 8 quesadillas. Serve hot.

Easy camping breakfast recipe – French Toast with Apricot Filling

Our Family Camping Cookbook is due to be released on 12th April. It’s a practical book packed with family friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch and supper, focussed around different camping scenarios.  This easy breakfast recipe comes from our ‘In the country’ section, and is a firm favourite with all the family!

From Family Camping Cookbook by Tiff & Jim Easton © Commissioned Photography by Ed Easton / Duncan Baird Publishers

 

French Toast with Apricot Filling

Here is a great opportunity to sample locally produced jam. We’ve suggested apricot, but any will do – our son loves it with greengage jam.  Alternatively, this makes a brilliant savoury snack. Just omit the sugar from the recipe and fill the sandwich with chutney.

Serves: 4      

Preparation time: 5 minutes        

Cooking time: about 10 minutes

 

8 slices of bread

3 large eggs, beaten

4 tbsp milk

1 tsp sugar, any variety, plus extra for sprinkling

4 tbsp apricot jam

4 tbsp butter, plus extra for buttering the bread

 

1 Butter one side of each slice of bread. In a bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and sugar. Use the buttered slices of bread and jam to make 4 sandwiches, each filled with 1 tablespoon of jam.

2 Melt half of the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Dip the sandwiches into the egg mixture, turning to coat on both sides, until the bread absorbs some of the mixture.

3 Working in batches, cook the french toast for about 2 minutes on each side until golden. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining butter and french toast. Serve hot, sprinkled with extra sugar.

 

Lebanese Kebabs with Chickpea Salad

This is one of our favourite camping recipes.  Although, at first glance, it may appear more complicated than your average camp cooking, in reality it’s very simple.  The marinade and garlic dip both have as their base a lemon/garlic mixture, a small bottle of which is really useful to have with you on any camping trip.  (By simply adding one or two different ingredients you can create a number of dressings, dips and marinades for all sorts of different meals.)  And in addition to the lemon and garlic, really the only other ingredients are the lamb, the pitta bread, a bit of yoghurt, olive oil and allspice, and the salad. Our kids love preparing this dish, partly because they enjoy anything that involves skewers, but also because they enjoy filling their own pitta breads. It tastes great too!

serves: 4
preparation time: 20 MINUTES, PLUS AT LEAST 1 HOUR MARINATING
cooking time: ABOUT 10 MINUTES

From Family Camping Cookbook by Tiff & Jim Easton © Commissioned Photography by Ed Easton / Duncan Baird Publishers

600g/1lb 5oz boneless lamb leg or shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
warm pitta breads, to serve

marinade:
juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp ground allspice

garlic dip:
juice of ½ lemon
½ garlic clove, crushed
4 tbsp thick natural yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil

chickpea salad:
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
½ cucumber, finely chopped
410g/14½oz tinned chickpeas, drained
2 handfuls of parsley leaves, finely chopped
juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp olive oil

  1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. To make the marinade, put all of the ingredients in a plastic freezer bag. Season with salt and pepper, then add the lamb and seal the bag. Rub the marinade all over the lamb and leave to marinate in a cool
    box for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  2. To make the dip, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
  3. To make the salad, put all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently but thoroughly.
  4. Thread the lamb onto skewers. Cook, turning frequently, over a high heat on a barbecue or in a griddle pan for about 8 minutes until browned and crispy on the outside but pink in the middle. Remove the lamb from the skewers and serve in warm pitta breads with the garlic dip and the chickpea salad.

prepare ahead: Take the lamb in the marinade if you’re planning to eat it on the first night.