You may call it wishful thinking but I am really looking forward to spring and then summer and cottage and camping season. For almost all of my life, we have holidayed on Lake Winnipeg. Most communities on either the east or west side of Lake Winnipeg have a public beach where families trek at least once a day and spread out their blanket or set up their lounge chairs and have a swim or a picnic lunch. When I was growing up, we always had to wait until the afternoon and could not venture into the water until the mandatory 20-30 minutes after eating. When our own family was young, I used to pack up a beach lunch in the hopes that the kids would nap after lunch and then my husband and I could enjoy some adult time on the beach without having to get a sitter! Then we would get out our paperbacks for a read or play a couple of rounds of gin rummy.
Our beach lunch would typically be a juice box, sandwich, some veggies and pickles, a “summer” fruit like watermelon or cherries and then a cookie or a square. Nuts and bolts, taco chips and salsa or sunflower seeds would come out later as a snack. Our beach routine was so firmly entrenched in our families’ heads, that I think that they still pack these things up for themselves, to take down to the beach.
So too, we had food traditions for around a bonfire in the evening: popcorn and smores were typical but as the kids got older, we would get more elaborate and roast a spicy sausage and then wedge it in between a couple of triscuits with a piece of sharp cheese. We also had nifty, long-handled sandwich grills where we could muster up dessert made with apple pie filling inside two pieces of grilled buttered bread. It tasted like a fast food Hot Apple Pie only way, WAY better.
So this got me thinking that there are likely scads of campfire foods that could be shared in anticipation of the coming summer. I asked an old friend who has been a wilderness camper for years. She shared her Bannock bread recipe with me. She serves it with a high protein soup or stew for supper and then toasts the remaining pieces of bannock in the morning for breakfast.
Here is her very flexible bannock recipe:
- 4 c all purpose flour
- 2 c whole wheat flour
- 4 T baking powder
- 2 t salt
- ½ c canola oil
- 2 ½ c water
- Mix the dry ingredients together.
- Combine oil and water.
- Make a well in the flour mixture.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry well, all at once.
- With a wooden spoon, draw the dry into the wet centre until most of the dry is mixed in.
- Run spoon around the edges until all the floor is mixed in.
- The mixture should be flexible and but not sticky.
- Flour a surface, and then roll out the mixture.
- Gentle bring opposites edges to the centre and press, then repeat with other edges two or more times until the top surface is smooth.
- Work out to a long rectangle, and then break in half.
- Grease baking sheets or use parchment paper.
- Spread half the mixture lengthwise in the pan.
- With rolling pin, gently roll out to the edges of the pan.
- Repeat with second piece.
- Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 10 minutes until top is lightly brown.
- Cut into desired bread sizes.
- Use as desired or save for future use by turning onto drying racks to cool.
- Place into sealed plastic bags to freeze if desired.
Bannock dough is very versatile. Get the kids to pick some blueberries and add them when wet ingredients are being combined with dry. Raisins and other dried fruit work well too. If you really want to get into the outdoor spirit you can fry the bannock in a cast iron pan on a well established camp fire. For a special taste, use a wee bit of lard to melt in the pan first. Or if your kids are a bit older and can handle the task, get them to cut green branches from the bush and wrap the dough around the end of the green stick (so that it looks like a hot dog bun). Then have them slowly turn the stick over top of a well established fire. The baking process takes some time, but the results are delicious and very satisfying. When the bannock is done, it can be pulled right off the end of the stick.
So here’s to spring and summer and camping! Love-that is all.
Kathryne Grisim grew up in the hospitality business and she and her husband of almost 30 years, owned their own family restaurant at one time. She currently teaches social media and hospitality and is a food, travel and restaurant writer for Winnipeg Women Magazine, the Canstar newspapers, and her own blogs: www.foodmusings.ca andwww.boomchicaboom.ca. Food Musings was selected Winnipeg’s favourite blog by Uptown Magazine in 2012 and is Urban Spoon’s number one Manitoba Blog. Kathryne is proud to be a regional ambassador for Food Bloggers Canada, Canada Beef and Sobey’s. She is an imaginative cook and especially enjoys preparing food that will demonstrate to her family how deeply she cares for them. In Kathryne’s world food=love!