This Christmas I got a tent. Not just any old tent but the one I have been dreaming of for the past couple of years. Heavy like a baby elephant but oh so dreamy and cosy.
Truth be told, I am not your hardcore camping chick. I find packing all the gear for 5 people tedious, and the unpacking of all the filthy gear at the end even worse…But what happens in between is magical. We have a little hidden gem of a spot that we go to, that is secluded enough, surrounded my forest and the most amazing beach and river inlet. The moment we arrive and set up our tent, the kids disappear into their own world of exploration and play. I unpack my book and just slowly start to unwind. Until someone calls for food….
And here we come to the other important factor for successful camping with yours truly.
While things have to remain basic, I tend to spend more time on food prep the days before we head off then making lists of things to pack. I am the meal planner here, so my list is the menu for the week. As you can see from the pic before, we are still basic campers (ie. we spent all our $$ on the tent, so the table and chairs will have to wait). One pot meals are best, but sausages and bread are my absolute last resort. The first 2 dinners are usually pre prepared. It could be a curry, bolognese or a soup. Simple curries are great to whip up on the camp cooker and if you are able to have a fire, then baked potatoes with bean are pure comfort food. I also make up a big batch of Granola to take, which the kid hoe in for breakfast before we even get up and also makes a great afternoon snack over some yoghurt.
Las weekend we stayed local. Just a short 20 min drive and we found ourselves in a magical spot in the bush. There is nothing better for the souls than wake up in nature. Sometimes, all we need to recharge is a change of scenery and sleeping in a tent.
A made the best ever Chilli con Carne for our dinner. I made a few tweaks to a tried and true recipe and it took this staple to a new level I think, so here I am sharing the secret ingredients with you all.
If you want to stick to the vego version, follow the same principle with 3-4 different kind of beans (ie black beans, kidney, soy and chickpeas), add more veggies and you are in for a treat.
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 large carrot
- 1 celery stick
- chilli flakes or fresh
- 1 tbs ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- red and yellow capsicum
- 1kg organic beef mince
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 1 cup of black beans (or more if you like)
- 1/2 balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup coffee
- 2 tbs raw cacao
- salt and pepper
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes
In a heavy cast iron pot and 1 tbs of coconut oil, saute onion, garlic, celery and carrot till translucent. Add chilli, paprika, cumin and oregano. After a couple of minutes, add capsicums, carrots and other veg you like. Saute everything until the vegetables soften, then add your mince, saute till cooked and not pink anymore.
Add balsamic and tomatoes, paste and season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer until the liquid is reduced a bit and meat is cooked.
Add black beans, coffee and cacao and check for seasoning. At the very end, I added a big handful of baby spinach to add something green.
This chilli has an incredible colour along with depth of flavour and body. To keep it simple, we served it over some rice with sour cream and cheese for the kids. This pot served about 9 people, so a perfect camping dish.
The holidays are slowly but surely coming to an end but summer here for a while longer. I can see a few more trips ahead of us and more meals shared with friends.
I hope you are having memorable holidays, surrounded by nourishing friends and food.