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Cooking tips

Getting to the hut or to a nice camping spot is one of the best moments of a tramping day. It is the time to relax, rest tired muscles and joints, enjoy the views or the atmosphere and eat an appetizing meal. We have seen some pretty revolting billy contents being wiped clean by hungry mouths but we still believe there is no good day in the bush without a three course meal. We usually start with soup to renew the fluids lost on the track. The choice is large, the packets are light and the resulting mixture satisfying. Then come the main, noodles, mashed potatoes, rice, couscous or peas. Apart from dried sausage and speck, meat is not convenient to carry, powdered eggs are fine. Last comes dessert, stewed fruit or pudding.

We are not strong enough to carry fresh or canned food. We do not like to carry out empty cans or leave them in the bush. Dehydrated food is the only choice, it is light to carry and with a little effort it can be made appetizing and nourishing enough.

Packet soups are generally good but it pays to read the list of contents. Some of them like Oxtail soup have wheat flour as the main ingredient and better buys have more vegetables, like Spring vegetable or Tomato soup.

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SAMPLE MENU FOR FOUR DAYS

Day 1
Soup
Noodles
Instant pudding

Day 2
Soup
Spuds
Stewed fruit

Day 3
Soup
Rice
Custard pudding

Day 4
Soup
Couscous
Stewed fruit

Basic Recipes for Two

RICE: For speed, and consequently fuel economy, choose parboiled rice. Bring to boil two cups of water, add salt or stock cube for flavor and one cup of rice. When the water boils again turn off the heat and cover the pot with lid and towel. The rice will be cooked nearly as fast as if it would have been boiled vigorously while saving energy.
Dried vegetables and/or a soup packet added in the cold water (add one more cup of water) makes a good meal. Use rich soups with a lot of vegetable.

NOODLES: The fastest cooking, of course, are the two minutes noodles but any kind could be used and cooked as described for rice. Two packets of two minutes or 200 g of noodles should feed two people. As for rice, a rich soup packet will make it look like an oriental meal.

MASHED SPUDS: Bring to the boil one and a half cup of water, add salt or stock cube for flavor. Meanwhile make a sort of cream with a 1/4 cup powdered milk and a 1/4 cup of water. When the water boils turn off heat, empty 250g of potato flakes in the water, add the cream and mix slightly. A sort of gravy made with a soup packet using half of the suggested water quantity, make the mashed potatoes appetizing. Tomato, onion, mushroom soup are suitable.

PEAS: Dried peas with corn or carrots, mixed vegetables cook faster when left soaking in hot water for an hour or more. Use two cups of water for one packet of vegetables, add salt or stock cube and garlic and/or onion for flavour.

COUSCOUS: Prepare a tasty soup including vegetables (in France, Chorba is ideal, elsewhere beef or chicken and vegetables) When near ready add a cup of couscous semolina and let it absorb the liquid until tender

CUSTARD PUDDING: Bring to the boil one and a half cups of water and half a cup of powdered milk. Meanwhile mix in half a cup of water three heaped table spoons of custard powder and three table spoons of sugar or drinking chocolate powder. when the milk boils pour the mixture in and simmer until thickened. Eat when still warm with a lace of brandy or rum if you dared bringing some of it.

 

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