Friday, July 18, 2008

Camp Bars Polly

Okay! You guy's; I know I just disappeared off the face of the earth without so much a "by your leave" and for that I apologize. The week after my last post was really hectic; what with preparation for a weekend Scout camp and then our annual holiday...

While we were at Scout Camp I wasn't allowed near the kitchen. I think that this may have something to do with my insistence on cooking real food and talking about dissecting a chicken for a curry and boiling up the bones for soup the following day. Apparently it's far too time consuming and too much trouble altogether; perhaps this is why we had to wait over an hour and a half for a chicken curry which consisted of bought chicken fillets, a jar of yellow sauce and some Easi-cook rice from Dunne's Stores?

While we were away we were presented with a little challenge; which at the time was quite worrying however a nice evening of cooking together soon calmed us both down. DG's lovely car decided to temporarily give up the ghost; try as he may it steadfastly refused to start. Hence the challenge; the local shop bore little evidence of suitable foodstuff's for a hungry family of four. It was down to a choice between frozen Birdseye NOT Donegal Catch fish (very strange) and a can of corned beef; maybe I could knock up a Red Flannel Hash?

It'd have to do; but was a poor replacement for the drooled over thought of shopping in the local butcher's shop up in Carrigart. This is a proper butcher's where they chop the meat up right there and then; generously sending the scraps and bones home for the dog. We'd been so impressed the night; before we had seriously been thinking of barbecuing some top notch steak...

I had more or less surrendered to this when nestling beside the sausages and rashers (we'd had a fry earlier; for breakfast) I spotted a pound weight of burger meat. In the absence of any other kind of meat I grabbed the package and ran; all the way back to the campsite.

Polly's Spanish Meatball's

Take one 5" piece of left over smoked paprika chorizo and a 3" peice of salami. Dice each finely and set aside. Finely dice 1/4 Spanish onion and one clove of garlic.
Mix all ingredients by hand in a bowl, seasoning generously with salt, pepper, oregano and a large squidge of double concentrated tomato puree. Add one packet of burger meat and continue to mix until even.
Shape mixture into 1 1/2" balls. I made 26 balls; after all one has to taste them to ensure that they're edible!

Simmer gently for around five minutes in fresh water. Drain through travelling colander and allow to dry. Save water containing any onions/garlic which have floated free, add pork knuckle bone secured from butcher's previous day and continue to boil.

Once 'dry' pour a small quantity of chili oil into frying pan and gently brown pre-cooked meat balls; once cooked add to saucepan cover with lid and hide under sleeping bag for half an hour or so to keep warm.

Piquant Tomato Sauce
Dice remaining onion and one clove of garlic. Saute in left over chili oil until transparent. Add four large tomatoes, roughly chopped. Season with salt, pepper and a bayleaf.
Cook uncovered on high, until tomatoes begin to liquefy. Stir. Cover and simmer on low until colour of tomatoes changes to a rich orange/red colour. Remove from heat and pour over reserved meatballs stored underneath sleeping bag in children's tent...


Prepare vegetables; I used broccoli - including stalk, mushroom and carrots. Add to stock left over from meatballs; bring to boil and allow to simmer for approx twenty minutes. Strain vegetables and place in covered saucepan under sleeping bag to keep warm until serving.

Soup (to be served the following day)
Return broccoli stalks to stock pot and add a cup of lentils; continue to simmer for a further twenty or so minutes.

Papas Arrugadas
Send eldest child and friends down to sea to wash potatoes. Ensure that they return with potatoes immersed in sea water in saucepan.
Place saucepan on high, bring to the boil and simmer for approximately twenty minutes. When cooked pour most of water from pan and return to heat to cook the rest of the water off.
From time to time roll the potatoes around the pan, covering them with the sea water as it reduces and forms a light salty crust around them.
Although the original recipe suggests that it might be advisable to remove any surplus salt from the potatoes we didn't find this step necessary.

Serve with Spanish Meatballs in Piquant Tomato Sauce, vegetables and a nice glass of Spanish Rioja; enjoy...


Strawberry flavoured instant whip mousse dessert. Pour 1/2 pt whole milk into bowl. Sprinkle Angel Delight powder over milk. Beat lightly with a fork. Allow to set for twenty minutes and serve in individual bowls if this tasty but junk dessert escapes the attention of visiting hoards sheltering from the rain/wind!

Do please bear in mind that this meal was cooked under a variety of difficult circumstances. As well as car failure, a limited selection of meat and only having two gas rings to cook on; it was also very windy, immediately prior to a heavy shower. This meant that I couldn't use the methylated spirits cooker to supplement the breakfast cooker; the fumes are too much to use indoors. We also were over run by visiting children sheltering in our tent from the rain; at one point the head count was ridiculously high two adults, six children and one dog.

Because I had foolishly decided to use one of the boys sleeping bags as my low oven; to keep the cooked food warm, we couldn't allow the kids into the boys side of the tent making the central area somewhat cramped. Regardless, we had a lovely meal; the kids enjoyed robbing us of our dessert and the wine was excellent.

All in all good memories for all; and yes it was well worth the trouble especially because I enjoy a challenge and love to cook...

Wouldn't it be a boring world if we were all the same?

Polly Peirce

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