Learning the easy art of living well under canvas

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Guyrope gourmet Josh Sutton introduces a holiday series picking out Yorkshire’s top spots for camping and eating.

Camping is so cool nowadays it’s hot. There are more than 1.2m seasoned regulars and 80,000 tent campers alone in the Camping and Caravanning Club.

So you want to give it a go, see what all the fuss is about, but don’t know where to start? This series will set you on your way.

The school summer holidays are here so it’s time to get away from it all with the children. And there’s no better way to escape than to spend a few nights under the stars.

You don’t need a passport and you don’t have to travel far – there are more 600 camp sites in North Yorkshire alone.

Camping is an economical way to discover what’s out there in your own back yard.

But hang on, I hear you say. Yes, I’ll go for the great outdoors but not for the food. Stodgy baked beans, floppy bacon and tinned soup don’t add up to a proper holiday.

That’s where the Guyrope Gourmet comes in. Camping cuisine needn’t make you queasy. Cooking under canvas provides an excellent opportunity to try some delicious local produce.

In this series, I will highlight some of Yorkshire’s coolest campsites and tie in details about them with nearby food producers and provide a recipe to rustle up on your camping stove.

There’s something magical about a sea view when you open up your tent in the morning. Hooks House Farm at Robin Hood’s Bay provides that magic (except when the sea fret is in).

At their working farm overlooking the bay, Paul and Jill Halder offer, in my experience, one of the best camping vistas in the county.

Their place is well run, relaxed and family-friendly. There are hot showers, washrooms, toilets and sinks, and the use of an electric kettle, microwave, fridge and freezer are included in the price.

The site is on a gentle sloping field framed by the bay below.

So you have the view, you have the seaside, but what about the food?

Bay Fisheries down the hill in the village, is run by John Brown, and his produce comes in daily from local fishermen. Five miles up the road in Whitby there’s Sandgate Seafoods, famous for its fish and amazing window display, complete with shark jaws and swordfish tusk.

Either of these should be able to supply the ingredients for the following recipes.

A starter of panchetta wrapped scallops

4 x king scallops; 4 slices of pancetta; A handful of rocket leaves; A scatter of shaved parmesan; Good olive oil

Method

Remove the corals (the orange tongue-like appendage) from the scallops. Keep the corals for the tomato sauce main dish.

Wrap each scallop in a piece of pancetta and impale on two wooden skewers (using two skewers makes it easier to turn the scallop over for cooking).

Drizzle lightly with olive oil and cook on a hot griddle pan for two minutes on each side.

Serve on a bed of rocket with a scattering of shaved parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Main dish of lobster and linguini with a home-made tomato sauce

One fresh lobster (1kg will be ample for two persons); 250g of fresh linguini (using fresh saves cooking time and gas); six fresh plum tomatoes (you could use a tin of chopped tomatoes); one onion finely chopped; Zest of half a lemon; A glass of water; The corals of four scallops (optional – I’d only add these if I’d had the scallop starter); Olive oil; Salt and black pepper

Method

Heat a good glug of olive oil in a saucepan and add the finely-chopped onions.

Simmer gently until the onions begin to take on a little colour, but don’t go brown.

While the onions are cooking, peel the tomatoes, quarter and de-seed them, then roughly chop and add to the onions.

Stir in the grated zest of half a lemon, throw in the corals if you are using them, add the glass of water and season well.

Place the half lemon, cut side down, in the sauce in the middle of the pan and simmer gently with the lid on for at least 40 minutes. Check from time to time. If the sauce is drying out, add a little more water.

While the tomato sauce is simmering, cook the lobster. Bring a large stock-pot filled with plenty of sea water to the boil.

Pop the lobster in the pot, head first and place the lid on, holding the lid down for the first ten seconds.

Bring back to the boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. A 1kg lobster will need to be cooked for 20 minutes.

Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

When cool enough to handle, remove the tail and claws.

Crack the claws with the back of a kitchen knife and remove the meat. Place the tail, underside down, on a chopping board and halve with a sharp kitchen knife, cutting along the tail.

Remove the meat and cut into 1cm slices.

Drop the linguini into a pan of boiling water and boil for three minutes.

Drain well and toss with a drop of olive oil.

Serve and dress with the hot tomato sauce, topped with fresh cooked lobster.

Let the ingredients speak for themselves and enjoy with a glass of Albarino.

Hooks House Farm, Robin Hoods Bay, Whitby, YO22 4PE. 01947 880283. www.hookshousefarm.co.uk

Follow the A171 to Hawsker, take the turning signposted Robin Hood’s Bay and follow the B1447 until you pass an old church at the Fylingthorpe turning. Hooks House Farm is about half-a-mile on right.

Prices per person from £6-£8.50 per-adult per night and £3 per child per night (3-15 years).

Electric hook-up £3-£4. Dogs allowed on leads. Barbecues permitted if raised off the grass. No campfires.

Essential for your outdoor kitchen

A KEY element for me to successful camping is food and the means to cook it.

So rather than start this series by recommending a tent, I will suggest you perhaps borrow one for a weekend and start off your camping kit box with a great stove that will set you on your way to becoming a guyrope gourmet and will last for many trips.

I have found the Outwell Chef Cooker Delux 3 Burner stove and toaster to be a superb piece of kit.

The ability to make toast in a field is priceless. A grill also means you can cook fish, croque monsieur, brown off omelettes and frittatas, and grill Haloumi cheese.

With two burners and a grill, you can move beyond the bangers and beans, steer clear of the ‘one-pot wonders’ and rustle up a tasty feast.

This cooker’s stainless steel construction makes it durable and easy to keep clean.

Packing into a neat, secure, self-contained unit, it weighs a little over 5kg and won’t take up too much room in the back of the car.

RRP: £59.99 (be sure to check the internet for best price).

You will also need to buy a gas bottle and regulator for your stove.

A butane regulator kit will cost about £7 and a ‘907’ bottle of butane, which will burn for about eight hours, will cost around £50.

Bear in mind that £25 of this is a deposit on the bottle, so replacements cost only £25.

With the this cooker as your first bit of camping kit, here’s a great way to ‘glamp’ up your camping breakfast in a matter of minutes.

Save the bacon sarnies for later and break your fast on smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.

You will need four eggs (to serve a family of four)

A drop of milk

Salt and pepper

Four English muffins

A small pack of smoked salmon bits

A knob of butter

Method. Scramble together the eggs, milk and seasoning. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the eggs, stir regularly.

While that’s cooking, halve the muffins and toast.

Serve the eggs on hot buttered muffins and top with a few bits of smoked salmon.

A few rocket leaves go really well.

There you go, you’re well on your way to becoming a guyrope gourmet.

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