Although we’re very solidly into autumn now here in New Zealand (autumn! In April! I’m still not quite getting my head around it) with little prospect of camping ahead, Nicola Saker’s Blue Sky Kitchen: Creative Cookery For Kiwi Campers still caught my eye, despite the sickly image of the nuclear family that feature on the cover. Although not a Kiwi, I certainly am a camper cooking for a Kiwi so I figure I fall into Saker’s target market. Anyway, I’m always looking for good things to cook over our wee gas burner (one-pot options only need apply) and this has plenty of great workable ideas for campsite cuisine.
Saker isn’t one of these super-efficient, scary women that you sometimes see in campsite kitchens, whipping up a three-course meal with nothing but a billy can and tin opener. As she says herself, “I’m not a trained cook, and I’m not a hugely experienced camper” – sounds like someone on the same end of the scale as myself, then. The start of the book concentrates on good advice to do with food storage and, most importantly, food safety – something which is often forgotten or disregarded while camping. There are also handy lists of cooking utensils and stores for those who, unlike myself, dare to go under canvas with more than one generation.
For family camping groups, the book is full of practical suggestions for dishes that everyone – including kids – will love, burritos and meatballs being just two of many examples. But Saker also considers options for special occasions – Extra Quick, Extra Expensive Dinner for Two with duck leg confit. There’s even a pudding section for those campers who are not content with ending on chunks of chocolate (my camping pudding of choice – so long as it’s dark chocolate).The recipes, which make use of native New Zealand foods such as puha, tua tua, pipi and kina, are both her own and gathered from friends and family so this book is also a picture of a summertime Kiwi way of life. Now if only the weather would get over this cold snap so I could try out some of these recipes in the surroundings for which they’re intended. I’ve my eye in particular on some Corn Fritters and a Lentil and Rice Salad with cinnamon and allspice…Blue Sky Kitchen is published by New Holland Publishers (NZ) Ltd.