Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Outdoor Cooking in the Woods. Forest School & Blaeberry Bash.

I've been out and about in the woods this summer helping out at Kincardine Forest School and with 160 big and little kids over 4 sessions of the Mud Pies and Foodie Quine Blaeberry Bash. Nothing beats the fun of foraging, cooking and eating outdoors. 

Campfire Popcorn with Sieves
Popcorn over the campfire was a big hit with the Forest School participants. Fire gloves are essential to hold on tightly to a couple of metal sieves which make the perfect cage to contain the popcorn. Spray them liberally with oil before adding a small handful of popcorn kernels. It will take a wee while and a bit of patience over the campfire but once the popping starts it all happens very quickly. 
Campfire Popcorn with Sieves
Next to hit the fire bowl were Chocolate Brownie Oranges. These are very simple and taste amazing. Cut the lid off the oranges and scoop out the flesh. Make up a pack of Chocolate Brownie mix and spoon it into the cavity to no more than 2/3 full.. Wrap in tinfoil and carefully place in the fire. Ideally you want to have them nestled right in so there is heat both above and below. 
Campfire Chocolate Brownie Oranges
Campfire Chocolate Brownie Oranges
The time taken to cook is somewhat imprecise but around 20 minutes should do it. Occasionally check to see how they are doing and move those from the edge to the middle and vice versa. The end product is a squidgy, gooey, chocolately delight with a hint or orange and smoke. 
Campfire Chocolate Brownie Oranges
Campfire Chocolate Brownie Oranges
Our four Blaeberry Bashes completely sold out and we were joined at Countesswells Woods by an intrepid bunch of big and little adventurers all kitted out for a couple of hours of foraging and food fun. Bertha did her best to stop our second day but it takes more than a hurricane to put us off. 
With our base camp established it was time to head for the woods and seek out the berries. Blaeberries (Billberries) can be elusive wee things at first but once you started to spot them and get down to their level they were everywhere. They are however tiny and it takes a long time to time to get any amount. Wild rasps were much easier and we even found some yellow ones. 
Scottish Blaeberries Billberies
On our way back to camp we stopped to nibble from a veritable carpet of Wood Sorrel. A mixture of thumbs up and thumbs down for its sour taste. Some liken it to lemon but for me its a very distinct apple peel flavour hit.
Wood Sorrel
Our berry haul of wild rasps and blaeberries was pooled and decanted from bags and tubs into a communal jam pan. We boiled it up with sugar and amazing smells and colour ensued. Grateful thanks go to World Jampionships sponsors Pattesons Glass who provided us with mini jars for our outdoor jammy adventures. Our wildberry preserve was hailed a huge success. 
Wildberry Jam Making. Raspberries & Blaeberries.
Wildberry Jam Making Outdoors
Anyone who thought that the jam making was a sticky business ain't seen nothing yet. Bring on Toasted Marshmallow Fluff Strawberries. Definitely one of your five a day. Marshmallow Fluff is an American invention that's now widely available in UK supermarkets. Pop a large strawberry on the end of a carefully selected cooking stick, spread with fluff and toast over the campfire. Your life is now complete.
Campfire Toasted Marshmallow Fluff Strawberries
Campfire Toasted Marshmallow Fluff Strawberries
Last but by no means least it was pancake time. Scotch pancakes, bannocks, dropped scones call them what you will. Our sophisticated woodland recipe was 
1 cup SR flour 
1/3 cup caster sugar 
Pinch salt 
1 egg 
enough milk to blend to a dropping consistency
These were baked over the fire and eaten until tummies were full spread with an assortment of butter, honey, syrup, Nutella and our very own Wildberry Jam. Lots of lovely feedback from those who attended. Watch this space for a bramble ramble...

We had a brilliant morning, my daughter hasn't stopped talking about her adventures.
We had a fantastic time in the afternoon thanks and the kids were so delighted to mix up pancake batter in the woods then cook them on a fire!! We are greatly enjoying our jam and keen to go foraging again very soon
Thank you for such fabulous jam possibly my favourite now! Was great fun and the kids enjoyed it too we will definitely be back again
Just a note to say how much we enjoyed this morning’s Blaeberry Bash. We all had a great time, and thought it was a fantastic event. I hope we’ll be able to come to another Mud Pies/Foodie Quine event some time soon.

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