I'd like to say that I'd spent hours refining my banana bread recipe but the truth is, it's the campfire that works its magic and does so on every recipe I've tried. Read on for a basic recipe and the all-important campfire method.
In this short video Jackie will show you how to use a pooter, part of our Investigate Invertabrates kit.
Just take a look at that! That's a rather yummy focaccia that one of my level 3 Forest School trainees made on the campfire this afternoon. There was spelt bread too. And banana bread.
On a separate course, somehow we came up with making bread in a bag and it's all too simple and easy not to share! Read on to find out how to make bread when you're outdoors without getting your hands all sticky.
To make the bread mix you will need:
500g strong white flour
5g dried yeast
10g fine salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Semolina flour for cooking
Extra salt and oil for finishing
A sturdy, sealable food bag (Ikea do great ones)
Some kind of water bottle
DO THIS BIT AT HOME. Put all the dry ingredients into the food bag.
Put the wet ingredients into a water bottle. Go camping.
Once you get where you're going and decide that it's time to start the bread mix off get someone to light a fire and then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and seal the bag with that little clicky thing at the top, pushing out as much air as possible.
Knead the bread mix through the bag. Give it to the kids, or someone else. It's a lot less boring when you're sat by a fire. You need to do this for about 10 minutes.
Put the bag somewhere warm for an hour or so. Put it under a coat, or in a sleeping bag, or just somewhere off the ground. Remember to check it occasionally to make sure it doesn't explode!
Meanwhile, once the fire has got some good embers going, preheat your oven' by putting the casserole onto the embers and put a few on the top and leave for at least an hour.
Once the bread dough has risen and the oven is hot, open the bag and knock back the dough.
Take the casserole off the fire and remove the lid. Dust the bottom with semolina flour so that the bread dough won't stick. If it goes black instantly your oven is too hot. Tip it out, wait a little and then try again.
Pour the bread dough straight into the casserole, spread out with your fingers and make those little dimples. Sprinkle with posh salt and drizzle with olive oil then put the lid on and put it back into the embers.
Put embers back onto the top of the casserole and leave for about 20 minutes, turning the pot around every 5 minutes to get an even bake.
And at the end of that you should have a lovely loaf of focaccia to munch. If not, it's a good excuse to light a fire and try again!
If I'm making popcorn and it's not on a campfire, along with writing posts about how to make it on said campfire, it must mean that I'm avoiding doing some kind of boringsittingstill admin or something. And indeed I am, in fact, I'm writing the terms and conditions of my Easter Forest School Course. It's thrilling.
So how do you make popcorn on a campfire? Easy-peasy, you just need to make yourself a specialist piece of equipment known as a shoogler. Thank Lily for introducing us to that term (and it always has to be written in bold italics where possible). Shoogling means 'to shake, sway or rock back and forth'. Which is exactly how you make popcorn in a shoogler.
How to make a shoogler:
The first thing you need is a big stick, think 'fat broomstick stick', hazel is best as it's straight and likes being cut down, but ash or sycamore are good too.
Then you need two metal sieves. You also need some metal wire. The metal bit is very important.
Once you've realised how expensive metal sieves are nowadays, and that you've had to buy two, place them one on top of the other so that they create a sphere, with the handles lined up. This bit is really hard to describe so I'm just going to cheat and show you a picture of the finished article. That'll save me a lot of words.
Hinge the two sieves together using the wire. Use the wire again to attach ONE of the sieve handles to the big stick of hazel that you cut when I told you to earlier. Cutting a small notch in the stick will stop your wire from slipping off.
Use your imagination and ingenuity to create some kind of wire fastening to keep the second sieve handle attached to the big stick once the popcorn is inside.
And - ta da! - you've got your very own shoogler. All you need now are some popcorn kernels, a bit of oil (I usually put some kernels in a cup, pour a little oil over them and give them a good shake), and a fire that has burnt down to embers (try it on a high flame, it's fun, popcorn burns well and flaming shooglers look great!).
Hold the shoogler over the fire and shoogle, shoogle SHOOGLE until all the corn is popped. The popcorn will have a lovely smokey flavour and won't need salt, sugar or any other flavouring.
Plus, if you're in the woods, you won't think that melting a huge chunk of salted butter over the top is a great idea. And then do it and eat the lot.
Like I've just done...
Apparently 'Play Champions are children’s centres, playgroups, schools and other settings where children find space and time for play of all kinds – creative, exploratory, imaginative, deep play, rough and tumble play, role play, mastery play – any type of play that involves children's natural creativity and being able to do lots of things without needing to focus on specific, pre-determined outcomes'. Which is a complicated way of saying that Play Champions give children the time and space to explore, create, discover, delve into their imaginations and have fun without telling them what to do... or being scared that they're not learning.
I think the same applies to adults too
Take a look at that right there! That's a labour of love that is. After a year of fundraising and planning and writing and spending days and days trawling the internet for a box that was made of recycled materials, the first Go Wild Nature Kit is ready to go! Woohoo!
To be honest, I'm sick of the sight of them at the moment but I'm sure in a couple of weeks I'll feel quite pleased with myself. And my friends. I really do know some talented people who have helped me in all kinds of ways on this journey. Thank you, you lot. You know who you are.
They're now sitting comfortably in our shop and will hopefully find their way to their new homes very soon.