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.

Campfire cooking – blueberry pancakes

Pancakes with maple syrup and blueberries, on a wilderness beach with a hot cup of fresh coffee first thing.

A breakfast hard to beat.

Ingredients

– 3 cups whole-wheat flour
– 2 tsp baking powder
– ¾ tsp cinnamon
– 6 tsp vegetable oil
– 3 fresh eggs (or 3 tbsp egg powder)
– 3 cups milk, made from powder
– handful of blueberries

Method

  1. Before setting out, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and egg powder and store in a plastic bag.
  2. When ready to make pancakes, combine the mix with the oil
  3. Add milk and stir until mixture is a thick soup like consistency
  4. Heat a griddle with oil, test heat with a drop of water
  5. Spoon circles of the mix onto the griddle, fry on one side until bubbles form
  6. Flip pancakes and cook for about half the time on the second side
  7. Add berries to the mix as an optional extra and top with maple syrup

To serve

Sieve icing sugar over pancakes

Campfire cooking – grill marinade

This marinade is perfect as it stands – one needs go no further in dressing ocean fresh* fish for the grill.

But equally it can be used as a building block to greater things, by adding thyme, oregano or marjoram, rosemary, mustard or fresh shoreline wild garlic leaves.

Good for a couple of meals for 3–4

Ingredients

lemon juice 100ml, 2–3 lemons
– extra virgin olive oil 150ml
garlic cloves 3 peeled and crushed
sea salt 1 tsp

Combine all the ingredients in an airtight container and store in a dry bag in a cool place and out of the sun and shake before use.


*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 – ocean fresh calamari caught, cooked and served in an hour.

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 deer stalk, 7) we seed the sea, 8) we seed the land.

 

Campfire cooking – Italian arrabbiata in wilderness Scotland

Bulked to the bulwark with a ballast of pasta and rice on sea kayak trips, this is a classic recipe on standby — just in case the fish don’t bite.

Arrabiata is a rich tomato based pasta recipe using basic ingredients such as passata and items from a boat’s dry-packed stowage larder. Most items are bottled or dried and impervious to the rigors of being at sea for stretches of time. It’s just the bruises on the onion that might need explaining.

Fresh herbs

In addition to the onion I prefer to pack some fresh items which make every bit of difference to morale – garlic cloves, fresh chilli and fresh parsley. And, depending on which shores an expedition passes, wild thyme can be found on a south facing, well drained sandy dune whilst ransoms garlic thrives on shady shorelines during early spring.

Lighter foods

Dried survival foods are handy for the likes of packing–light mountaineers but think of your kayak like a mule and it will do all the hard lugging for you – a sea kayak can pack as much as a yomping Marine, with considerably less effort. Just don’t let you’re beautiful craft know you think she’s a stubborn beast of burden.

Load capacity

A sea kayak with a carry capacity of 400 pounds and a paddler weighing 11 stone will safely allow for about 50 to 80 pounds of kit. There are online forum discussions on the matter of kayak load ratios but a sensible maxim is to ensure your combined weight (paddler and equipment) remains at about 50% of a kayak’s recommended load. That’s a lot of capacity for onions.

Load cap

Traditionally arrabiata is eaten with penne but I prefer spaghetti which is more efficient with space when packing a sea kayak. The very tubes enabling penne to hold rich sauces also pack air taking up valuable space in a small boat. On the other hand packing items containing air makes one’s bags more buoyant which is useful in capsize but that’s probably another discussion.

Penne prima

Don’t produce this recipe if you have Italians in your group, they can get awfully touchy about their penne.

Recipe feeds 4 people.

Ingredients

Olive oil
– Two onions, diced
– Five garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 1 x fresh red chili, deseeded and sliced
– 700g passata
– Fresh parsley
– 
Handful of ransoms garlic, chopped
– Sprigs of wilde thyme, ripped
– Handful of black olives
Salt and pepper
– 300gsm spaghetti
Parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Heat the pan for a minute, pour in three tablespoons of olive oil
  2. When oil is hot, add onions to soften
  3. As onions glisten, add garlic and chili. Sauté for another 2 minutes
  4. Pour passata into the pan
  5. Once bubbling, add olives. Add salt
  6. Simmer slowly for at least an hour with lid on. The richness comes from the amalgamation of flavours condensed over time – the longer this sits on the campfire, the richer the reduced sauce becomes
  7. About 15 mins from serving, get a water pan onto the coals for pasta
  8. Once simmering, add enough spaghetti to feed your crew – noting recommended cooking times (ave. 10 mins for dried spaghetti)
  9. Sieve the pasta and add to the sauce for 1 min whilst still on the heat. The porous pasta will absorb the sauce and combine flavours
  10. Serve with a few sprigs of fresh wild thyme, freshly chopped ransoms garlic leaves and parmesan shavings

To serve

If there are any disgruntled Italians about, agog at being served arrabiata with spaghetti, this is your chance to win them back – only now break out the pepper from the kitchen and offer some. Italians never cook pasta sauces with pepper, it is always added to taste on the plate. You might have just recovered the penne situation.

Forgiven

Apart from with Bolognese, Italians also never pour pasta sauce onto pasta on the plate. Pasta sauce is otherwise always added to the pasta in the cooking pot for a couple of minutes so it absorbs the juices and flavours of the sauce. If your Italian guest sees you do this all is forgiven.

Probably.

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.

Chorizo, the fridgeless expedition wonder

Chorizo’s coming about as a provision well suited to extended expeditions is due to the preservation qualities of the spices within.

Chorizo is an intensely flavoured hard Spanish sausage made using pork and, richly seasoned with smoked paprika, garlic, and salt, it’s delicious raw.

Deep flavour

However, when cooked, the oils and paprika diffuse and intensify to create a deeply rich and salty flavour.

Every boat

Chorizo can be finely chopped into scrambled eggs for breakfast or sauté sliced with kale, samphire or seaweed as a dish with rice. Chorizo is the perfect addition to staple camp recipes such as arrabiata but can equally be enjoyed lightly fried until crisp to enhance soups, stews, salads and rice dishes. A couple of recipe suggestions using chorizo follow, one warming stew and the other a salad:

Tender summer squid with chorizo + aioli
– Squid + chorizo with rice, beetroot + apple
– Squid, chickpea + chorizo salad

Under wraps

Indeed every boat, however small, should stow a large chorizo under the deck cover. But keep chorizo dry and well wrapped – the rigours of kayak confinement will otherwise surely challenge it’s hard earned reputation for endurance.

Keep one onboard, sometimes there’s just no guarantee of fish.

Gastro camp cooking – squid + chorizo with rice, beetroot + apple

These ingredients travel well on expedition. Although, if the squid is to be served ocean fresh*, you’ll have to drop a line one evening.

Catching squid, the hero of this wonderfully healthy recipe, is probably the easiest part of its making. In the evenings, when the Scottish Hebridean Seas have warmed by summer’s end, squid come to shallow coastal waters itching to leap on the griddle – click here to see the technique for catching squid.

The remaining recipe items pack, travel and last well for expedition. However, to truly make this dish taste of the shores from which the squid is caught, the salad leaves can be replaced with samphire, seaweed or wild ransoms garlic leaves.

Serves 4 to 6 people

Ingredients

– Six cleaned squid tubes cut into strips
– 2 × 150g air dried chorizo, thinly sliced on an angle
– 2 x peeled green apple + thinly shredded
– 400g beetroot, peeled + shredded
Salad leaves (or samphire / wild garlic / seaweed) to serve

– 2 garlic cloves, crushed
– 1 tsp. finely grated lemon rind
– 1 tsp. lemon juice
– 1 tsp. sherry vinegar
– 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
– 2 tsp. honey
– 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
– Half tsp. of smoked paprika
– Sea salt and cracked black pepper

– 300g short grain brown rice

Method

1. Place the rice and 750ml water in saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 20 mins or until tender. Set aside, covered, for 5 mins

2. While the rice is cooking, place the garlic, lemon rind, fennel seeds, squid, salt and pepper in a bowl and combine. Set aside

3. Place the honey, paprika, lemon juice and vinegar in a medium bowl, add the beetroot and toss to coat. Set-aside

4. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a high heat and cook half the squid for three minutes or until lightly chard. Set aside and repeat with the remaining squid

5. Add the oil and chorizo to the pan and cook, turning, for four minutes or until golden and crisp

6. Placed the rice, squid and chorizo in a large bowl and toss to combine. Divide between plates and top with the beetroot, apple and salad leaves to serve

Other squid and chorizo recipes:
Tender summer squid with chorizo + aioli
– Squid, chickpea + chorizo salad

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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 ausk 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.