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

An afternoon cuppa, come hell or high water

Although carry on kayaking sounds very British, to do so at 4pm, simply wouldn’t do.

Tea is as British as some of our most famous exports including punk rock, queuing, fair play, football and hooliganism and, Octane being miles from civilisation is no reason to lower standards. Come hell or high water, the Scottish seas offering much of both, we stop for a cuppa at 4pm.

Boiling water

For its pure simplicity the Kelly Kettle is much loved means of boiling water the world over – it can be fuelled with small twigs and eliminates the need for transporting heavy fossil fuels or prolonged sessions gathering driftwood and boils water more quickly than any camping gas cooker on the market.

When in need of a cup of tea, with no wood fuel available as is often the case on Hebridean islands, the Kelly Kettle comes into its own. So efficient is its conduction of heat the process of making tea can be done with minimum fuel (such as dry sprigs of heather or small twigs) and with minimum time. I know of no other method of boiling water as quickly.

Sheltered flame

Furthermore, the fire heating the water within the kettle is sheltered from wind by the internal chimney shape of the kettle itself – a most useful feature on exposed wilderness Hebridean islands. Once the water is boiled the hot embers can be used to light a campfire which otherwise might be challenging in the wind or rain.

Avoiding dehydration

A 5% reduction in the body’s hydration levels can result in a 50% reduction in paddling performance. In summer months in Scotland an active sea kayaker should not only be drinking about two litres of water a day should also be eating well for dehydration is caused by the loss of water, sugar and salts combined.

Drinking little and often is the best method of avoiding dehydration and two or three litres is quite a few cuppas – not necessarily not a problem for the British who like to busy themselves drinking 60 bullion cups of tea a year.

It started with tea

Many other countries were as technologically advanced as Britain in the early nineteenth century yet the industrial revolution started here – why so?

The manning of industry’s factories required an urban density never achieved before elsewhere because plague and pestilence traditionally limited urban population growth. Accordingly, densely populated areas were often decimated by plague during population peaks. However, because the British started to boil their drinking water first to make new found Indian and Chinese teas, their water was purified killing all harmful bacteria and protozoa. Furthermore, as belt and braces, the tea leaf itself is a natural disinfectant.

Manpower

Empire links with India gave Britain tea and trade links with the West Indies gave the same people sugar soon making a virtuous circle of tea lovers, sugar addicts and shopkeepers. This holy trinity enabled urban populations to increase to unprecedented levels thus supplying manpower to those dark satanic mills.

Food for thought

So, the discovery of a rather modest drink created a virtuous circle of trade, cleanliness and addiction fuelling the industrial machine to define the modern world in which we live today. Worth pondering next time you sip a cup of afternoon Rosy Lee.

 

Campfire cooking – blueberry orange muffins

After a day catching lobster for the pot this simple campfire pudding almost cooks itself and, for entertainment value, these babies are bulletproof.

Don’t beat yourself up over the instant nature of this pudding — after all it’s not often one gets to bake cakes around the campfire.

Ingredients

Muffin mix
– Blueberries
– Four empty half orange skins

Method

  1. Squeeze four oranges, keep peeled halves and put juice aside for breakfast
  2. Fill one emptied orange half with blueberry muffin mix
  3. Cover the filled orange half with the empty half and wrap in three layers of foil
  4. Place on hot embers
  5. Turn aluminum balls every minute, baking may take 10 minutes
  6. Check one after 8 minutes, return to heat until firm at the centre

When these blueberry orange muffins are ready they will emerge from the campfire like victorious steamed puddings that have just been Tangoed.

Unwrap and eat with a spoon.

 

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

Wilderness Hebridean holiday heaven

Octane expeditions venture to World Heritage Coastline islands – the closest true wilderness of note to London. Our expedition bothy is an hour from Oban which in turn is a sleeper train journey from London.

Octane is located within one of Britain’s last remaining traffic warden free zones. There are no roads or cars and, if frappuccino is de rigueur with your wifi there’s going to be tears. That having been said, with solar powering our connection with near space satellite orbits, we’ve probably got wifi covered.

Wilderness beaches

Despite our apparent lack of mochalatte frappiatos we do have a wilderness coastline with azure blue waters and pristine white coral beaches. There are sea eagles and golden eagles soaring gracefully above world famous basalt pillar rock formations and seals diving alongside if eyes are averted whilst practicing the art of looking bashful.

Wildlife

Passing whales will gently and gracefully make your paddling efforts look pedestrian and there are famous basalt caves people have traveled from the farthest corners of the world to marvel at.

The archipelago of Staffa and the Treshnish Isles is some of Scotland’s most protected coastline – home to little otters and enormous orcas alike. Dolphins, seals, porpoises and basking sharks pass alongside whilst gannets fold their wings to dive from 60 feet in the air through the waves like spears to catch smaller fish below.

Gastro wild camping

We eat the wild food we catch and do not believe campers should survive on a diet of baked beans, biltong and instant coffee. Our gastro campfire recipes keep guests fuelled for each day ahead:

  1. Tender summer squid with chorizo + aioli
  2. Seaweed rosti with baked trout + wild garlic
  3. Baked cod with tomato, garlic + shoreline herbs
  4. Shoreline crab linguine and wild garlic
  5. Squid, chickpea + chorizo salad
  6. Hebridean hobo haversack
  7. The scallop diver’s dram
  8. Blood orange seared wild scallops
  9. Baked wild sea trout and shoreline herbs
  10. Wooded shoreline double garlic risotto
  11. Blueberry orange muffins
  12. Cinnamon breakfast buns

Live light

So kick back and relax – all food, provisions and equipment are included. If you forget to pack something it’s more than likely it can be purchased from our store. Not that much requires bringing – sleeping bag, waterproofs, torch, walking boots, swimming trunks and some money for your train or plane home. Sourcing food amongst stunning, wild remote islands is most enjoyable whilst traveling light – an Inuit saying ‘live life like you are in a kayak’ is a good starting point for packing a bag for expedition.

The folding kayak

Our craft of choice is the Folbot Cooper Expedition. Folding Kayaks give Octane the ability to travel more lightly and to be more mobile. Other kayaks types don’t fit on a rib or indeed in the pickup truck rear bucket.

Aluminium has long since replaced the wooden frames making it lighter, stronger and smaller when stowed. Furthermore it is more buoyant at sea giving the craft a superior load capacity for expedition provisions.

Closer to the sea

I prefer folding kayaks because the give of the canvas makes me feel closer to the sea. Others prefer the sleekness and sheen of fibreglass kayaks making them a great deal faster and I love them too – they save energy in paddling and are the Formula 1 of the kayak world. But they still don’t fit in the rib or in my truck.


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.

Storm-proof matches

Samuel Jones’ invention of the first self-igniting match made fire on the move infinitely more accessible to many – for the scientific elite it was a leap towards the light enabling the masses to stumble less in the dark.

Previous attempts and formulas were dangerous, using asbestos and sulphuric acid and did not really take off but the Promethean Match, invented by a Londoner called Samuel Jones, was utterly reliable and is the match we use to this day. Subsequent modern improvements made the same match a reliable tool for wilderness travel.

Storm matches

Storm matches, also known as lifeboat matches, are simply an extended version of the same and are often included in survival kits. They can be longer than standard matches and the combustible coating extends down the match giving it a longer burn time. They can also be coated with a waterproof layer making them slightly harder to light.

Last cigarette

No matter the weather, it is now possible to light a grill, hurricane lamp, Kelly Kettle or campfire. I use UCO Stormproof Matches, which light quickly, consistently and reliably in driving rain, heavy winds and falling snow — they relight even after being submerged in water which is useful to the sea kayaker having his very last cigarette.

Slippery when wet

Each rubber sealed and waterproof box includes 25 matches that burn for up to 15 seconds each giving a total of over 6 minutes of constant and reliable fire per box. They are not friction matches so, if the striker is wet or soggy, they will not light – they are reliant upon a chemical reaction only attainable with a dry strike of the two surfaces. However, the strike is usable if allowed to dry and extra strikers are included.

 

 

Frittering time

Someone once told me time should never be killed so I’m wondering whether instead it’s fine to fritter? So long as apples are involved I’m told.

Either way, I believe cooking this quick and easy recipe for apple fritters is time well spent.

Sugar, fruit, dough and syrup after an energetic, if tiring, day spearfishing is a reward much anticipated.

Ingredients

– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1 large egg
– 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
– 4 apples
Vegetable oil, for frying
– Canadian maple syrup + icing sugar

Instructions

– whisk flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar + salt
– in a separate bowl, whisk the egg + buttermilk
– whisk together the two mixtures
– slice apples into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, discard centre core (keep slices in water to prevent discoloration)
– add 3 inches of oil over medium heat
– prepare a surface with paper towels
– when the oil reaches heat, dipping each apple slice in batter, carefully lower rings into the oil
– flip the apple slices occasionally to brown on all sides
– transfer fritters onto the paper towel
 

To serve

Serve immediately with Canadian maple syrup + a dusting of icing sugar. Alternatively the fritters can be coated in cinnamon and sugar.

Notes

Ensure the temperature of the oil is between 325 and 360. However, if no thermometer is available check the oil is ready for frying by inserting a dry wooden spoon into the oil — if it is up to temperature bubbles will form around it. Otherwise place one drop of batter to the pan, if it sizzles the oil is up to temperature.

It’s important to shake off as much excess batter as possible to ensure the apple rings fry quickly. Maintain the oil temperature to avoid soggy fritters, do not overcrowd as this will lower the temperature. Do not let oil smoke.