Paul and Rebecca launched their new outdoor cook book in Christchurch to a group of interested cooking enthusiasts on 14 December. This was followed by a live Radio NZ interview with Kathryn Ryan’s Nine to Noon programme – listen to the interview here.
This is a lovely spicy soup with all the flavours of South East Asia, combined with easy to prepare rice noodles. The dried shrimps are best with a little pre-soaking but otherwise this is a simple and quick soup to make. You can use the selection of spices below or just buy one of those excellent Laksa Soup packets from the supermarket. The fresh spring onions make a nice garnish but you can use those dried fried onions or shallots which are available at most Asian food shops.
½ cup Rice noodles
¼ cup Dried shrimps
¼ cup Freeze Dried Beans
1 tablespoon Dried Onion
1 tablespoon Coconut milk powder
¼ teaspoon Ground Ginger
¼ teaspoon Ground Coriander
¼ teaspoon Red chilli
¼ teaspoon Curry paste
1 Chicken stock cube
Spring onion as garnish
Pour 1½ cups of warm water into a pot, add all the ingredients (except the rice noodles) and soak for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile pour 1½ cups of boiling water over the rice noodles and sit to one side.
While the noodles are soaking, slowly bring the soup mixture to a low boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Combine soup and rice noodles (including water). Season to taste.
This is a very simple little stir fry meal from my Fast and Light cook book that serves 2 people and has a dry weight of only 185g, plus noodles. I have used thick egg (Hokkien) noodles, with some interesting background flavours and this makes a pleasant change from other standard pasta dishes. It is very quick and easy to prepare, using only one pot. You can mix and match the vegetables, using either fresh or dehydrated to suit your taste. If you use fresh vegetables, then stir fry them in the normal manner with a little cooking oil. The recipe below is for dehydrated vegetables. Use dried egg noodles if you want to keep the weight down.
Home made stir fry sauce: make up this sauce at home and store it in a small plastic screw top bottle. Combine 1 tablespoon of each of the following – clear honey, sweet soy sauce, oyster sauce and sweet chilli sauce, with 1 teaspoon of crushed ginger and crushed garlic. Otherwise just buy a small packet of stir fry sauce.
½ cup dried mushrooms (try porcine or shitake)
½ cup dehydrated green beans
¼ cup dehydrated red peppers
¼ cup dried onion
2 cups Hokkien or dried egg noodles
1 teaspoon cornflour
Soak all the dried vegetables in 2 cups of hot water for 15 minutes, add the noodles and then bring it all to a low boil for another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Drain off any surplus liquid. Mix the cornflour into the sauce, then stir the sauce mixture into the vegetables and noodles. Warm it through gently again before serving into meal bowls.
If you are staying in a backcountry hut during your next tramping trip or just want to make better use of your log burner at home, then here are a few tips that you might find helpful.
Generally most types of modern wood burning stoves are very effective in providing a steady heat source for both heating and cooking. The main problem that most trampers face in backcountry huts is the availability of dry fire wood, but if you can overcome that issue, then your wood burning stove is one of your best cooking tools. They can take a little while to heat up, but once they hot you can be assured of a good supply of constant heat.
To get the best use out of this heat source for cooking you will need to plan ahead and be prepared to be a little more flexible in your meal preparation. Here are a few points to consider if you starting from scratch with a cold wood stove.
- Light the wood stove at your first opportunity, even a small fire will start things warming up and you can add more wood later to get to full heat.
As soon as the stove is going, put on a pot or two of clean drinking water. Meal preparation is so much quicker if you have warm water available and even if you don’t use all the warm water yourself, someone else will be happy you made it available.
- If you have dehydrated food to prepare for your next meal, then add some warm water to it as soon as possible, or start off with cold water and put it on the stove to warm up. The longer the soaking time the better you meal will rehydrate.
- Consider starting your meal (particularly evening meals) as early as possible. Some popular huts can get very crowded at meal times with everybody wanting to use the wood stove at once. Most stove top meals can be cooked in advance and then just warmed through again when you are ready to eat.
If for whatever reason the wood stove is only putting out a low heat, then start your meal off on your gas burner to bring it to the boil and then transfer it to the stove top. It is surprising how effective a low level of heat can be at cooking food.
- Finally, once you have cooked and eaten your meal, and the demand for stove top space has diminished, then start thinking about preparing your next meal. Don’t let good heat go to waste. Maybe consider cooking up some of those food items that require longer cooking times, like chickpeas, beans, lentils. Even when you are tramping many meals can be partly cooked in advance.
This is an easy no fuss cooking option and has been a long time favourite over many camping trips. Normally we would use a frying pan or camp billy, but sometimes we are lucky enough to find a camp oven left behind in some of the older backcountry huts. These camp ovens are great for cooking risottos, as they retain the heat well and are unlikely to burn as quickly as lightweight cooking pots. Also they are great to use over an open fire.
¼ cup Arborio Rice
¼ cup Rissoni
4 strips of Streaky Bacon (chopped)
2 Kranski Sausages (chopped)
¼ cup dried vegetables (peas, beans, etc)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon dried Tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried Onions
1 beef oxo cube
If you have the opportunity then add 1 cup of warm water to the dry vegetable mix and stand aside for 10 minutes to rehydrate. Otherwise just add them to the meal after the rice is added.
Heat the oil in a pot and cook the bacon until brown, before lightly cooking off the rice, rissoni and sausage for a minute or two.
Add the rehydrated vegetable mix to the rice pot and bring to a slow simmer. Add more warm water, a little at a time, as the rice absorbs the liquid.
Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender and enjoy.
There are a lot of fresh vegetables suitable for this stir fry that travel really well (2 or 3 days) and are surprisingly light. Green beans, snow peas, spring onions, baby carrots, celery, asparagus, baby leeks, diced red peppers are all fairly robust and give you some good fresh options. Make sure they are garden fresh, wash them well and dry them off thoroughly before packing them into a plastic bag.