A few weekends ago I entered the unfamiliar, testosterone-fueled world of formula one racing. The grand prix ticket, which included track side camping, was a birthday present for Raph. I went along to keep the tickets safe, carry the beer, remind us to brush our teeth and, of course, to cook. So I decided to voluntarily chain myself to the rather posh camping stove, complete with 2 hobs and a grill. I had already prepared two salads the night before, tough salads designed to improve over time rather than shrivel and wilt. The first was carrot, finely sliced with a potato peeler, fennel, coriander, sesame oil and lemon juice. The second was quinoa cooked in vegetable stock with roasted asparagus and sweet potato, spring onions, finely chopped chilli, the juice of a lime and a sprinkle of paprika.
We needed something to keep us warm and fill us up so I turned to an old crowd pleaser; spicy sausage and tomato stew. I forgot to pack a sharp knife so the chopping was performed with a blunt instrument on a plastic plate… a rather tiresome exercise. To make this tasty stew chop and fry one white onion, 2 cloves of garlic and a large red chilli (keeping the seeds) in a saucepan with olive oil. Chop up a packet of good quality sausages into meatball sized chunks and throw them into the pan. Once the sausages have taken on some colour, add a can of plum tomatoes, some fresh cherry tomatoes and a sprig of rosemary. Cover and leave to simmer for as long as you can before the hunger takes over. Serve with tepid beer in a paper cup. Delicious and comforting on a chilly evening.
The next day’s menu was a little less ‘refined’ and rustled up after a few too many goldschlagers. Our ice packs had melted and there was a packet of steak sitting, dejected in a pool of water. We were determined to eat it. So we sloshed on some teryaki marinade and threw it in the barely warm pan impatiently with some soy sauce, chilli sauce and everything else we had left. I’m doubtful that drunken cooking on a camping stove at dusk can ever result in a well balanced, perfectly seasoned meal. I think the picture says it all really.