Campfire cooking – shoreline crab linguine and wild garlic

This is a Hebridean pimped version of the Italian favourite so it can easily and quickly be knocked up on a remote shoreline or cliff top.

The original Italian version of this recipe uses a rocket garnish which I normally replace with wild ramsons garlic picked fresh from the shoreline. Attempting to keeping rocket or any other loose leaved salad garnish fresh in the hold of a sea kayak during the heat of summer is only to end in disappointment.

Catching the crab is an entirely separate affair. These underwater battle tanks have strong opinions regarding being taken from their sea bed home – click here to see how to catch a brown crab.

Red pesto (Feeds 4)

– 500g of sun-dried tomatoes, in oil
– 100g of garlic purée
– 20ml of lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
– 500ml of olive oil
– 250g of pine nuts, toasted

Emulsion

– 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
– 1 onion, sliced
– 3 celery sticks, sliced
– 1 leek, green leaves only, sliced
– 500g of butter
Salt
Pepper

Pasta

– 300g of linguine
– 5l of water
– 200g of table salt

To serve

– 1 red onion, thinly sliced
– 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
– 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
– 50g of wild garlic
– 1 tbsp of crème fraîche
– 10g of pine nuts
– 1 lemon
– 50g of white crab meat, picked and cooked
Olive oil
Vegetable oil
– 1 red chili, sliced at an angle
– 50g of chopped flat-leaf parsley

 

  1. Pesto. Blitz a third of all the ingredients apart from the olive oil with pestle and mortar until a paste forms. It is best to make the pesto in three batches, so only use a third of your ingredients at a time
  2. Slowly pour a third of the oil into the mortar and blitz. Repeat these steps until all ingredients are used then set-aside
  3. For the emulsion, melt half the butter in a hot pan until it starts to foam. Add the carrots, onion, celery and leek, season the mixture and cook until golden brown. Fill the pan with cold water and bring to the boil
  4. Simmer this vegetable stock for 20 minutes, then strain off the vegetables. Return the liquid to the heat, whisking in the remaining butter until smooth and emulsified
  5. To cook your pasta, bring 5 litres of water to the boil in a large pan and add the salt. Separate the pasta as you drop it in and leave to cook for about 4–5 minutes. Strain off the pasta and add a little olive oil to stop it from sticking together
  6. Add a little vegetable oil to a hot sauté pan and add the red onion and spring onion. Once golden brown, add pine nuts and sliced chili. When pine nuts have begun to colour, deglaze pan with 50g of your vegetable emulsion
  7. Squeeze in juice of half a lemon and bring to boil. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of red pesto with the crème fraîche and mix thoroughly. While sauce is coming back to boil, drop the linguini into a pan of boiling water to heat up
  8. Once sauce thickens, add parsley along with drained hot pasta. Toss in pan to ensure pasta is well coated
  9. Using tongs, twist pasta to give it shape and place in a bowl. Sprinkle the white crab meat over the top along with the cherry tomatoes and rocket, then finish with a final splash of olive oil and lemon juice

This pasta recipe is a wonderful source of slow release energy carbohydrate suitable for long paddling stints across open water.


Octane offers gastro wilderness expeditions and, employing Octane’s Eight* methods of sourcing wild food for the pot, we eat the world’s best food, ocean fresh**.

*Octane’s Eight is our philosophy. We believe our travelling guests, being closest to the world’s wildest fresh foods, might quite like to eat the world’s wildest fresh foods.
1. we line fish, 2. we lobster pot, 3. we spear fish, 4. we sea forage, 5. we land forage, 6. we stalk, 7. we seed the sea, 8. we seed the land. Why is it campers and ramblers feel obliged to consume biltong, baked beans and instant coffee?

**The term fresh fish is of course relative. On the high-street, at supermarkets and in city restaurants fresh fish really means days old so, when patiently waiting for your number to be called at the fish-counter, be ready to ask where your fish is from and how many days ago it was likely caught. Supermarkets invent terms to suit their needs and, as a discerning consumer, it really is your right to challenge nonsense. At Octane we have therefore made a new, differentiated and entirely transparent definition – Ocean fresh. Simply put, it means caught, prepared, cooked and eaten same-day.

See ocean fresh in practice with the post ‘Drive through calimari’ – ocean fresh calimari caught, cooked and served in under an hour

Campfire cooking – cinnamon breakfast buns

Sitting on wilderness white sands with a hot cup of coffee in the morning as the sun rises over Ben More, these piping hot sweet buns, filled with exotic aroma, remind me how wonderful the Scottish Hebridean coastline is.

The following recipe feeds 6 people.

Dough Ingredients

– 4½ cups flour
– 2 tbsp baking powder
– 1 tsp salt
– ¼ cup sugar
– ½ cup butter
– ½ cup milk powder
– 1½ cups of water

Filling Ingredients

– 2 tbsp butter
– ½ cup brown sugar
– 2 tsp cinnamon
– ¾ cup nuts
– ¾ cup raisins

Method

If you are out in the wild you will need to build a campfire large enough to create large embers for your Dutch Oven.

Making the dough

  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
  2. Use a fork to work the butter into the mixture until the consistency is crumb like
  3. Add milk powder, water and egg powder, stir and combine. Consistency should be pliable but firm, not sticky. Add more water or flour if necessary.
  4. Place mixture on a floured surface (use the bottom of a kayak hull if necessary) and knead gently until smooth.

Assembly

  1. Use a wine, beer or water bottle to roll the dough into a ½ inch (1 cm) thick rectangle
  2. Spread butter across the dough, leaving 1 inch (2cm) bare at one end
  3. Sprinkle remaining ingredients evenly across the dough, leaving 1 inch (2cm) bare at one end
  4. Roll dough into a sausage toward the bare end and pinch the end into the side of the roll to seal
  5. Cut the roll into 1 inch thick pieces. Lay slices in a greased baking pan in Dutch Oven
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 mins, or until golden. Insert skewer, if clean when removed buns are cooked

Grilled codling with pistachio pesto

It’s always handy to have a pot of sauce in readiness for any fish caught and I choose to keep pistachio pesto – an expeditioner’s green–sauced flavour wonder punch.

Others include horseradish and aioli but this is perhaps my favourite.

Ingredients

Pesto
– 1c pistachios, shelled
– 1c fresh basil
– 1/4c cilantro
– 2 garlic cloves
– zest of 1 lemon
– 3T grated parmesan cheese
– 1/4-1/2c olive oil
salt to taste

Halibut
codling steaks
olive oil
salt and pepper
lemon wedges

Method for pesto

– Finely chop all the ingredients and add to a pestle, using just 1/4c olive oil to start
– Mortar to blend and drizzle olive oil until desired consistency is achieved
– Store in an airtight container in cool place until ready to serve

Method for codling

– Rub codling steaks with olive oil, and season both sides with salt and pepper
– Grill on one side, about 5 minutes, then flip and repeat*
– Top with Pistachio Pesto and serve over mashed potatoes or rice with lemon wedges

*Cook until there is nice color on the steaks and the fish is just about cooked through (opaque), being careful not to overcook and dry out. The fish should flake easily with a fork. The time it takes for your fish to cook will depend on the thickness of your steaks and the temperature of your grill


Octane offers gastro wilderness expeditions – employing Octane’s Eight* methods of sourcing wild food for the pot, we eat the world’s best food, ocean fresh**. 

*Octane’s Eight is our philosophy – we believe our travelling guests, being closest to the world’s wildest fresh foods, might quite like to eat the world’s wildest fresh foods. 1) We line fish, 2) we lobster pot, 3) we spear fish, 4) we sea forage, 5) we land forage, 6) we deer stalk, 7) we seed the sea, 8) we seed the land. 

**Ocean fresh – the term fresh fish is of course relative. On the high-street, at supermarkets and in city restaurants fresh fish really means days old so, when patiently waiting for your number to be called at the fish-counter, be ready to ask where your fish is from and how many days ago it was likely caught. Supermarkets invent terms to suit their needs and, as a discerning consumer, it really is your right to challenge nonsense. At Octane we have therefore made a new, differentiated and entirely transparent definition – Ocean fresh. Simply put, it means caught and eaten same-day.

See OCEAN FRESH in practice – with the post ‘Drive-by calamari’ – ocean fresh calamari caught, cooked and served in under an hour.

Flaming banana banock

Sautéd sizzling banana in butter, maple syrup and cinnamon stacked over a pile of banock. Served with whiskey aflame

And, if that’s not enough dramatics, stand on the cliff-top with a set of bagpipes and play Mull of Kintyre waving your sporren to America.

A banana too far

Extra ripe bananas in a sea kayak’s stowage compartment are unwelcome. However, this recipe is one of my favourite ways to utilise them whilst making breakfasts noteworthy.

Banana state

There are two methods in producing this recipe and both are dependant upon the state of your banana as follows: If the banana is mushy it can be added to the pancake mix for whiskey flaming maple syrup over banana pancakes and, if the banana is in a respectable state, it can be dice-cubed for flaming whiskey sauté bananas in syrup over pancakes. 

For the pancakes

– 1 cup flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 2 eggs
– 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
– 2 tablespoons melted butter
– 1 ripe banana, mashed / diced

For the syrup

– 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
– 3 tablespoons butter
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
– 3 tablespoons Whisky

To make banana pancakes

– Heat a non-stick* griddle or skillet over medium heat
– In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter (and mashed banana). Whisk until the batter is combined
– Using a cup for consistently sized cakes, scoop batter into preheated pan
– Flip the pancake when the bottom is golden and bubbles form on top, about 2 minutes per side or until cooked through. If your cakes brown before being cooked through, turn your heat down a notch. Repeat with remaining pancakes
– Serve the pancakes with whisky syrup (instructions below)

To make syrup

To a small saucepan over medium heat, add the syrup, butter, and cinnamon. When the butter is melted and the syrup begins to bubble, add the whisky. Simmer steadily for 60 seconds to allow the alcohol to cook off. Remove from heat and serve the hot, dark, buttery, boozy sauce poured over a giant stack of banana pancakes – a little piece of banach banana breakfast heaven.

*Note: I use a non-stick skillet for pancakes and I do not grease the pan with butter or oil, because I have found that I get prettier, more evenly-coloured pancakes when I do not grease the pan. However, if you are using a griddle or skillet that is not non-stick, I recommend greasing the pan for easier flipping

All in a roe – 5 campfire supper ingredients when the fish aren’t biting

Spaghetti with bottarga, pistachio and lemon zest is perhaps the biggest flavoured of all quick-cook suppers using dry packed ingredients.

Bottarga is an Italian cooking staple never cooked, being used instead very simply, as a topping. Think of it as being not unlike parmesan in character: strong, savoury and also fishy and can be used as a final touch to enhance many simple foods, such as scrambled eggs or risottos. Often mixed to a paste with olive oil it is used on bruschetta as a paste.

You say bottarga

There are many variations of the name – botargo, buttariga, boutargue, poutargue – but all are recognisable as stemming from the same Arabic root, bitarikh which is an ancient, sunbaked ingredient belonging to the Mediterranean coastline.

I say botargo

With Phoenician roots 3,000 years ago, it is now found in north African, Greek and Provençal food, but is most often associated with Italian cooking, particularly that of Sardinia.

Bottarga

However you choose to call it, this rich amber-coloured mouthwateringly savoury ingredient is also wonderful served in thin carpaccio–like slices drizzled with olive oil as an appetiser or grated over a simple pasta with a tomato based sauce. Personally I prefer bottarga of mullet as it has a more delicate taste, but that of tuna is fuller–flavoured and both are ‘Sardinian gold’.

Either way this recipe can be completed in 8–12 mins, the time it takes to boil the pasta. Recipe serves two.

Ingredients

– 200g of spaghetti (and salt to cook)
– 100g of good quality bottarga
– 50g of crushed pistachios
– extra virgin olive oil
– 1/2 a lemon, juiced and peeled in thin strips (no pith)

Method

– Cook spaghetti in salted water 8–12 mins
– Grate the bottarga in a bowl and season with olive oil, pistachios, lemon peel and lemon juice (mix with sufficient quantity of oil to dress pasta)
– Drain spaghetti al dente
– Sauté spaghetti in the pan with the mixture of pistachios and bottarga
– Serve and garnish with another sprinkling of pistachio

To serve

Sit back, soak up a shoreline sunset and relax in the knowledge you are joining a Phoenician fisherman’s tradition of 3,000 years — the bottarga brings deep umami flavour, the pistachio and pasta are packed with energy and all pack dry in a rucksack — a perfect food to eat whilst contemplating when the fish may bite.

 

Hebridean pistachio financiers

A little slice of pinstriped luxury from the less than formal Hebridean islands.

The financier cake is said to derive its name from its popularity in the Paris Stock Exchange district in the C19 as it could easily be kept in a pocket during work without damage.

Others say its because the rectangular shape resembes a bar of gold and, whichever story is true, this light and moist cake is as rich as the name suggests and, like a financier on his way to work, I pocket one before the day ahead.

Pocket rocket

As with financiers among workers of the exchange, these Dutch Oven baked equivalents are pocket sized gold bars of sweet energy bullion — they stack in tupperware, store below deck in a kayak and and, due to their modular shape, waste no space in a mountain rucksack. One might not say the same of a Madeleine for example.

Provenance

With the cake’s defining ingredients being almond flourpistachios and brown butter lightened with whipped egg whites — one might ask from where does the recipe owe its Hebridean provenance?

The delicate layer of rich-emerald coloured sea-lettuce specs hint at the cake’s shoreline credentials and gives the cake its unique look and healthy mineral content.

Instructions

Build a fire to create a good quantity of embers. This process will require a good wood fuel supply and a minimum of an hour and a half. This being the time required for the creation of a settled cake mix and baking time for the golden cake bullion.

Ingredients

12 cup flour, plus more for pans
12 cup finely ground pistachios

– 12 cup finely chopped pistachios
– 2 tbsp. finely ground almonds
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, more for pans
12 cup sugar
12 cup light brown sugar
– 4 egg whites
– 1 tsp. Dry flaked sea lettuce / dulce
12 tsp. salt

Cooking instructions

Grease and flour financier moulds
– Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat; cook, without stirring, until butter begins to brown, about 5 mins (making beurre noisette or hazelnut butter*). Pour through a fine strainer; cool
– Whisk sugars, salt and egg whites in a bowl until smooth
– Add flour, ground pistachios, almonds and baking powder; stir until combined. Add browned butter; stir until smooth
– Put mixture in a cool place for 1 hour
– Heat Dutch Oven to 200 °C / 390 °F
– Pour batter into moulds; sprinkle with chopped pistachios and seaweed flakes
– Bake for 15–20 mins (depending on size) until golden brown

Method for beurre noisette: Beurre noisette (or hazelnut butter) is simply butter cooked until golden brown, which gives off a delicious nutty aroma. The process is simple: Place butter slices in a saucepan and let it melt. Continue cooking until the butter becomes golden brown. The butter is ready when lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan. Smell the butter; it should have a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat and stop the cooking process by pouring the nutty butter into a cold bowl. Pour through a fine strainer for consistency

Chef’s perk

In keeping with the wise and age-old traditions of the Paris Stock Exchange, cook’s prerogative is to pocket a couple of bars for those long working hours ahead!

Barter value

These little bullion bars can be stacked, with interleaving greased paper, in Tupperware and dry-bagged for stowage in a sea kayak — I don’t haggle hard but current exchange rate is a two pound sea trout for two bars!

Capaccio of sea bass crudo with tomato seed jus, lemon and sprouting fennel

There are but a handful of recipes one tastes and remembers forever, for me this is one.

Sea bass is a beautiful fish and this method does the muscled ambush predator justice.

I remember where, when and with whom I first tasted this delicately fragranced recipe which I was soon reverse engineering to reveal its secrets. Incredibly it never lasted the restaurant’s menu edit and was rudely replaced with gurnard ceviche of all things.

The seabass is sliced so thinly it is like velum, the delicate milky pink flesh is lightly dressed in enough olive oil to allow the smoky, late-blooming heat of espelette pepper and bright lemon and fennel to shine.

This sea bass is so good you might not want to share. I certainly didn’t.

Ingredients

– Two skinless sea bass fillets, thinly sliced crosswise on the diagonal
– two tomatos
– 1 x radish, finely sliced
– 1 x small spring onion, thinly sliced
– Taggiasca olives 
– fresh chile
olive oil
lemon juice
fennel seeds, germinating
– cracked black pepper
sea salt
– Toasted thin baguette slices, for serving

Method

– In a bowl, combine the lemon juice, fresh chile, salt and pepper

– Arrange the sea bass slices on a plate. Drizzle with the dressing. Let stand for 3 minutes

– Pour on tomato seed jus and scatter the diced spring onion, radishes and olives on top. Finally sprinkle sprouted fennel seeds

– Serve with toasted thin baguette slices


OCTANE offers gastro wilderness expeditions – employing OCTANE’s 8* methods of sourcing wild food for the pot, we eat the world’s best food, OCEAN FRESH**

*OCTANE’s 8 is our philosophy – we believe our travelling guests, being closest to the world’s wildest fresh foods, might quite like to eat the world’s wildest fresh foods. 1) We line fish, 2) we lobster pot, 3) we spear fish, 4) we sea forage, 5) we land forage, 6) we deer stalk, 7) we seed the sea, 8) we seed the land

**OCEAN FRESH – the term fresh fish is of course relative. On the high-street, at supermarkets and in city restaurants fresh fish really means days old so, when patiently waiting for your number to be called at the fish-counter, be ready to ask where your fish is from and how many days ago it was likely caught. Supermarkets invent terms to suit their needs and, as a discerning consumer, it really is your right to challenge nonsense. At Octane we have therefore made a new, differentiated and entirely transparent definition – OCEAN FRESH. Simply put, it means caught and eaten same-day.

See OCEAN FRESH in practice – with the post ‘Drive-by calamari’ – ocean fresh calamari caught, cooked and served in under an hour with a gunard ceviche  of all things.