Let me start by saying I don’t want to become a camping bore, although I suspect it may have already happened, but I wanted to write about camping again because – hear me out – we did different things on our trip this time. NO! Not that. (Maybe that.) I just mean that we cooked food this time and it was pretty bloody exciting.
I am that camping bore already aren’t I?
We decided very last minute to book a pitch in Crowborough again on Saturday, namely because the hotels we normally stay in were fully booked and they’re over £100, and we just can’t afford it. We knew rain was due, but not until the early hours, and as much as I always thought I was a fair-weather camper, the thought of it raining was actually quite romantic. (Don’t worry, I also make myself sick.) We met there at lunchtime and because we’ve camped there before, the owners recognised us and we got a lovely, warm welcome.
Where to pitch? We spent longer than you probably should deciding on just the perfect pitch. Not next to the first pond again because of the noisy ducks, the water rat and the bastard squirrel (all given a mention in THIS post), but then we didn’t want to be too far away from the loos. Part of the field is on a slope, and we wanted to be in the sun, but not too much in the sun. Ridiculous aren’t we? We eventually pitched on a slope. In the full sun. Next to the other pond. Furthest away from the loos. Such professionals.
We followed our usual routine of my man-friend putting up the tent whilst I pottered, sunbathed, drank and served beer, and by the time he’d finished, we were hungry. Now as I mentioned, we’re on a budget, and eating out all the time has become something we really need to do less of, so we decided to pop to the supermarket and cook. I know! I’m a changed woman! We had two options for cooking. I had bought a small BBQ-in-a-bucket. Literally, a metal bucket. But also, a company called Simply Hike had gifted me a small stove to cook on … which was much more exciting. As an aside, if you’re looking for tents yourself, they also sell a great range of tents. They sell an amazing 12-man tent which is totally unnecessary for the two of us, but that I desperately want! Anyway, check out the site if camping is your thing, in particular, the two of my readers, you know who you are, who have booked camping trips since reading about mine, and blame me entirely. Sorrynotsorry.
The first supermarket we came to was M&S and, £52 later, we were back at the ranch/campsite. Now that sounds a lot of money, but bear in mind £30 of that was on Prosecco, and we ended up eating lunch, dinner, breakfast and lunch the next day – so that worked out at around £3.50 per head, per meal (as he’d brought some burgers and buns with him.)
I set up the stove but ran into a couple of … issues. The first one being, we’d left in such a rush we had no cutlery, no pans and no utensils. The second issue was that I had bought some gas canisters that I (wrongly) assumed would fit. They didn’t. But it’s a good job I wasted twenty minutes trying to make it fit *eye roll*. Anyway, we’ll just have to put the stove on the … (ready for it) … backburner, and try again next time. So, BBQ-in-a-bucket it was!
I completely annihilated the first meal. I say meal, it was a sausages in a roll, but I really mis-judged how hot the BBQ was. I waited until the coals were grey, and figured we’d be good to go. They were literally black. I’m not joking. Black and hard. *snigger* But, being the gent he is, he ate them anyway. We didn’t have any condiments of course, but thankfully I had the foresight to borrow some sachets of HP from the garage café, so we smothered our charcoaled sausages in that. Pure class.
Don’t let that photo fool you by the way. That was only halfway through cooking them. They were absolutely cremated five minutes later.
Next up on Kate’s culinary menu was dinner, which consisted of a pre-dinner snack of toasted Yum-Yums and these gorgeous chunks of spicy cheese wrapped in chorizo. Which looked like dogs’ willies, but we’ll gloss over that. In fact, they look so gross, I can’t bear to even share a photo. Oh, and the diet’s clearly going well. I found some skewers in the boot of the car that I’d reserved for marshmallow toasting, that I’d forgotten along with everything else, so we basically used sticks to cook with. That’s right. Just shoved them in every food item we had and whacked them on the BBQ. I even found a foil tray in the boot (from now on, we will refer to it as my magic boot), that I cooked the bacon in the next morning. I’m a genius, I have to admit it.
And the best bit? We were camping next to a farmer’s field that had chickens on it and bought half a dozen laid fresh that morning – absolutely delicious, but you should have seen me trying to get the egg out of the foil pan with a plastic spoon. It did NOT go well.
The lovely campsite owners very kindly let us stay as long as we liked the next day at no extra cost, so for lunch we ate cheeseburgers in the sunshine, lying on the inflatable mattress we’d brought out of the tent, sharing a final beer each. It was absolutely wonderful. I did come home looking like the Wild Woman of Borneo though.
I love good food, and bearing in mind I only had a foil tin and a wooden skewer to cook with, I think I did OK. I didn’t poison us anyway, but I’m looking forward to cooking a decent meal on the stove we have next time.
So until then, if you have any al-fresco recipes you’d like to share with me, please do. I couldn’t bear to eat another black sausage.