Home smoked wild mackerel and homemade pasta with peas

This healthy recipe contains lots of nutrients, is full of flavour and packs slow release energy good for glucose hungry expeditioners.

Smoking fresh fish* on the beach is a good way of preserving a catch for the ongoing journey whilst dried pasta stores well for long sea journeys.

One we prepared earlier

Making pasta is an uncomplicated process and enables one to closely scrutinise the ingredients of the food we consume. Our pasta is made from organic flour free from bleach, preservatives and insecticides. The pasta is then dried and stored for stowage in the sea kayaks for expeditions to remote islands, coves and beaches. The process is described here – making home made pasta

The process of smoking the mackerel used in this recipe is equally simple and is described here – smoking mackerel in the wild

Ingredients

  1. 175g of pasta
  2. 100g frozen peas
  3. 125g smoked filleted mackerel
  4. 3 rounded tbsp Greek yogurt
  5. 2 rounded tsp horseradish sauce

Method

  1. Boil the pasta in a large pan of boiling water, adding the peas for the last 3 mins. Meanwhile, flake the wild-smoked mackerel and set aside, then mix the yogurt with the horseradish, salt and pepper.
  2. Drain the home made pasta, return to the pan and stir in the wild-smoked mackerel and yogurt, letting the heat of the pasta warm the sauce.

Serve

Season with a pinch of parsley some black pepper and parmesan shavings 


*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 calimari caught, cooked and served in under an hour

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

Fattoush, a paddlers’ bedou banquet

I first ate fattoush with bedou tribes in desert sands besides warm Arabian waters and, as I sit on Mull looking seaward, I realize the two landscapes are similar (aside from the cool breeze, regular and intense rainfall, lush green grass, rich biodiversity, cold nutrient rich water, staggeringly high cliffs, abundant wildlife, driving winter snow and merciless winds) – both are utterly deserted by man.

Why choose desert bedou fattoush to tackle the cold Atlantic swell you might ask. Arabs controlled the spice trail through the Middle East and, if anyone can pimp a salad an arab can. Besides, despite lobster, scallop, salmon and muscles all busy idling below our kayaks, one shouldn’t eat such luxuries too regularly lest they become the everyday we seek to surpass.

Salad pimping

This version is therefore a pimps salad, pimped. The added feta and hard boiled eggs, both add slow release energy to the recipe – much needed for tackling the swell.

Extra calories

Qataris refer to Fattoush as gulf salad but this may have been simply a palatable phrase for tourists for it is known regionally as fattoush (fattush, fattoosh or fattouche). The bedouin version included finely sliced hard-boiled eggs and, being far superior for a calorie hungry sea kayaker, this is the version I am describing. I can however find no reference to eggs in other fattoush recipes. My second addition is feta cheese, diced to cubes. Whilst, in Qatar, the cheese may not have been a feta, it was doubtless a goat or sheep white cheese, so feta will do.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Dressing

– 4 Tsp. ground sumac, soaked in 4 teaspoons warm water for 15 minutes
– 3 Tbsp. (or more) fresh lemon juice
– 2 Tbsp. (or more) pomegranate molasses
– 2 small garlic cloves, minced
– 2 Tsp. (or more) white wine vinegar
– ½ Tsp. dried mint
– ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes

Salad

– 2 x 8-inch-diameter pita breads, toasted until golden brown, diced
– 6 x hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced smaller than quarters
– 100g feta, diced to cubes
– ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 
– 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
– one x 1-pound cucumber, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
– one whole red pepper, finely diced
– 6 x spring onions, thinly sliced
– 2 x little gem / baby romaine lettuces cut crosswise into ¾-inch strips
– 2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
– 1-cup fresh mint leaves 
– Ground sumac (optional)
Sea salt flakes

Preparation

Dressing

  1. Combine sumac mix, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, garlic, vinegar and dried mint in a bowl
  2. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly, until well blended
  3. Season with salt; add more lemon juice, molasses or vinegar to taste

Salad

  1. Mix tomatoes, cucumber, spring onion, lettuce, parsley, red pepper and mint in a bowl
  2. Add ¾ of dressing, toss to coat, adding more dressing by tablespoonfuls as needed
  3. Add pita, toss once
  4. Carefully place diced eggs
  5. Place pita pieces over salad
  6. Sprinkle extra sumac over, if desired
  7. Season with sea salt flakes to taste

 

Campfire cooking – French onion soup

This easy to prepare version of the timeless French classic provides perfect warming lunch respite during chilly spring or autumn sea kayak expeditions.

Whole onions keep well in the hold of a sea kayak as long as they are kept in a dry bag and the crunch of fresh vegetables can provide a welcome break from dried boil in the bag foods.

The following recipe feeds 4 people.

Ingredients

– 2 onions, sliced
– 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
– 8 cups (2 litres) water
– 2 beef bouillon cubes
– ½ tsp pepper
– ½ tsp salt1 ½ cups croutons
– 200 gm cheddar cheese, grated
– Fresh chives to taste

Method

  1. Heat the oil and brown the onions and garlic
  2. Add the maple syrup to sweeten the onion
  3. Add water, salt and pepper, beef bouillon cubes and simmer for 20 minutes
  4. Serve topped with fried croutons, grated cheddar cheese and chopped chives
  5. A large thermos flask will keep the soup hot for 8 hours whilst kayaking

Serve

Huddle under tarp in the lee of your upturned kayak and drink the soup from a mug using both hands. Bask in luxury as the feeling returns to your fingers.

Gastro campfire cooking – crab cakes

The brown crab is the most popular edible crab in the British Isles and, with a lung full of air and a wet suit, catching one for a delicious campfire treat is an afternoon well spent.

The brown crab has a dimpled edge to its body giving this guy a comic resemblance of a Cornish pasty but all playfulness stops there – this crab has the charm and nuance of a British army battle tank.

Rust coloured, robust and heavy set, with a bone hard shell and a low gait defensive profile it has powerful claws menacingly accentuated with black tips at the business end. These pincers are used to sever flesh and break bones on the seabed and can take a finger – for this reason it’s best to dive his domain to his rules – with a heavy pair of gloves.

Ingredients

For the crab cakes
– 2cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled
– 2 red chilies, seeds removed
– 250g white crabmeat
– Handful fresh coriander
– 2 spring onions, finely sliced
– 2 free-range eggs
– 7-8 tbsp breadcrumbs
– Plain flour, for dusting
– 25ml olive oil

To serve
– Sweet chili jam
Salad leaves
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– One lemon

Preparation method

1. Finely chop ginger and chili
2. In a bowl combine the chili and ginger with the crabmeat, coriander and spring onions
3. Crack in one egg and mix well, then stir in 4 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs
4. Divide crab cake mixture into 6 equally and roll to patties
5. Place on a tray and chill in fridge for about 20 minutes before cooking
6. Prepare good campfire embers (Preheat oven to 180C / 365F / Gas 4)
7. Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with one tablespoon of water to make an egg wash
8. Place some plain flour and the remaining breadcrumbs in separate shallow dish
9. Dredge crab cakes in flour, dip into the egg and coat with breadcrumbs
10. Heat oil in frying pan and fry crab cakes for 2-3 mins each side, or until crisp golden-brown all over
11. Wrap crab cakes in tin foil (or place on baking tray for oven) and bake for 5-10 mins, cooked when piping hot through to centre

Serve the crab cakes with a slice of lemon each and a sprig of dill. Sweet chili jam, a few leaves of dressed salad, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Eat the ocean fresh* cakes from a cliff top looking out to sea.


* 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 made a new, differentiated and entirely transparent definition – Ocean fresh. Simply put, it means caught and eaten same-day.

Campfire baked fish in newspaper – tastes better than it reads

We arrive ill–prepared – Hebridean beaches are known for their absence of banana leaves yet we have brought no substitute foil to bake our catch. We make do with a well–thumbed copy of The Scotsman.

This method of cooking small whole fish keeps the flesh moist and traps all the flavour within the paper shell whilst allowing our catch to steep in the fresh herbs. Catching wild fish and baking it that same day on the shore from which it’s caught makes it, in my definition ocean fresh*.

Cocoon

Season each fish liberally all over with sea salt and stuff the fish cavity with slices of lemon, garlic and fresh herbs. Wrap the fish in about five sheets of paper, wetting each sheet first before applying the next layer.

Cook the parcels for about 15 minutes a side (longer for larger fish) in the hot embers of a campfire – the paper won’t burst into flames, but you may need smear some water on the paper once in a while if the edges smoke.

Fish parcel

The parcel will blacken and the fish skin should come away with the paper to reveal beautifully cooked and succulent white flesh within.

Thankfully, by this stage, The Scotsman might be entirely illegible.

 

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* 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 your fish 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.