Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Recipes

A compilation of my various successful recipe posts (recipes that haven’t made the grade don’t get published).  The recipes are only a guide; more often than not each individual batch gets tweaked to suit what in the store cupboard, experiment!

General Hints

  • Reducing the fat content of the intended meal substantially increases the storage life.
  • DO NOT add salt in the preparation of the meals, salt hinders the rehydration.
  • Canned vegetables dehydrate/ rehydrate better than fresh or frozen since they’re effectively pressure cooked but you could pressure cook your own. Some canned vegetables may be in salted water, best to drain & rinse well.
  • I’ve taken to producing mostly sauces, rather than complete meals, adding the appropriate carbohydrate to the mix in the field.
  • I store the dehydrated sauces in Ziplocs in the freezer, a low humidly environment, it seems to work well.
  • I’ve found that soaking the hydrated sauce mix in 250ml of cold (or warm) water for ½ hr plus, reduces the ‘cooking’ time in the cosy & particularly helps the rehydration of dishes with larger meat pieces, canned pulses, beans, etc.
  • Generally once boiled up I’ll ‘cook’ the meals in a pot cosy meals for 12 – 15mins if pre-soaked & 20 – 25mins straight from the ‘packet’.
  • Adding 25-30g of ‘fat’ (butter, oil, suet, cheese) during rehydration or to the finished meal enhances the flavour and increases the calories (~200).

Tomato Leather

Tomato leather is probably the simplest, easy to make & very versatile addition to the backpacker’s larder, 30g added to a pot of pasta makes a rich tomato sauce, infinitely better than dehydrated soup or store bought mixes; you can also add to other meals to enhance their flavour.  There’s probably a 1000 recipes, usually along the lines of ‘make your favourite tomato pasta sauce and dehydrate’ but here’s my recipe and method.

Ingredients: 4 cans (440g) of plum tomatoes, 2 small (140g) cans of tomato paste, 6 medium onions, garlic (to taste), 2 (or more) red pappers;2 tbsps of paprika and dried Italian herbs, 2 table spoons of balsamic vinegar; 1 teaspoon of chilli powder, blackpepper.

Method

Rough chop the onions and peppers and steam in the microwave until well softened.

Blitz the onions, peppers, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, garlic, paprika, herbs and chilli in a food processor, empty into a sauce pan, bring to boil and simmer until quite thick.

Add the tomato paste, mixing in well, simmer until really thick (adding the paste earlier risks a pot bubbling lava erupting around the stove).

Dehydration

Spread the warm sauce 3mm thick on silicone paper, dehydrate at 55C for 8 – 9 hrs, after around 4 hrs the leather can be peeled from the paper and turned directly onto the grills, yield is around 300g.

Preparation

Just add to the pot at the beginning of cooking and stir occasioning while bringing to boil.

E.g. A simple tomato and cheese pasta: Add 125g whole-wheat pasta, 30g of leather and 500ml of cold water to the pot.  Bring to boil over a medium heat and then place in a pot cosy for 15 mins; add cheese.

The variations are endless: add cooked meat (mince, bacon bits, etc), chorizo, sausages, tuna, sardines, etc.  For a backpacking quick meal I’ll often just grab leftovers from the fridge, leather + pasta & head to the hills; very economical & still lightweight.

Bolognese Sauce

 Ingredients: 750g of lean minced beef, 4 cans (440g) of plum tomatoes, 2 tubes (200g) of tomato paste, 5 medium onions, garlic (to taste),4 tablespoon of paprika, 2 tbsps dried Italian herbs, 2 table spoons of balsamic vinegar; 1 teaspoon of chilli powder, black pepper.

Method

Sauté the minced beef in a dry frying pan, drain any fat produced & then blot with kitchen paper to remove as much fat as practical & then thrown in a big pot.

Add the remaining ingredients except the tomato paste, NO SALT, to the pot.  Bring to boil & simmer until really thick, remove from heat & stir in the tubes of tomato paste.

Dehydration

Once cooled a bit the thick sauce can easily be spread over the trays, dehydrate at 60C for 6 – 8hrs.  Yield should be sufficient for around 7 or 8 * 70-75g portions.

Preparation

Add the ‘sauce’ + 125g of pasta (I prefer the Fusilli as I’ve found it doesn’t stick so easily to the pot as Spaghetti or Penne) + ~500ml of water in a pot (I‘ll fill to the 600ml mark), bring to boil & sit in the cosy for 20-25mins.

Add salt to taste AFTER ‘cooking’, I also like to add 25g of Parmesan.

Chilli Con Carne

 Ingredients: 750g of lean minced beef, 2 cans (440g) of plum tomatoes, 3 (400g) cans of kidney beans (cutting the beans in half helps the rehydration significantly), 2 tubes (200g) of tomato paste, 5 medium onions, garlic (to taste),4 tbsps paprika, 2 tbsps dried Italian herbs, 2 ‘Knorr’ beef stock pots, 2-3 teaspoon of chilli powder, black pepper.

Sauté the minced beef in a dry frying pan, drain any fat produced & then blot with kitchen paper to remove as much fat as practical & then thrown in a big pot.

Add the remaining ingredients except the tomato paste, NO SALT, to the pot.  Bring to boil & simmer until really thick, remove from heat & stir in the tubes of tomato paste.

Dehydration

Once cooled a bit the thick sauce can easily be spread over the trays, dehydrate at 60C for 6 – 8hrs.  This made ~700g of dry product giving 10 * 70g portions.

Preparation

Add the ‘sauce’ + 125g of pasta/ rice + ~500ml of water in a pot (I‘ll fill to the 600ml mark), bring to boil & sit in the cosy for 20-25mins.

Don’t forget to add salt to taste AFTER ‘cooking’, I also like to add 25g of grated Cheddar.

Moroccan Lamb

Ingredients: 750g ground Lamb (lean); 2 – 3 Medium onions, finely chopped; 200g dried mixed fruit (sultanas, raisins & peel); 3 cans chopped plum tomatoes; 2 cans chickpeas

4 – 6 cloves of garlic; Ground spices: 4 tsp cumin; 3 tsp coriander; 3 tsp cinnamon; 2 tsp paprika; 3 tsp turmeric; ½ – 1 tsp chilli. NO SALT!!

Cooking

Slowly cook the minced lamb in a non stick frying pan, no oil; once browned drain any fat that has been produced, turn out the mince onto kitchen paper & blot dry.

Add all the ingredients to a pot bring the boil & slowly simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until really thick.  Tip: squashing the chickpeas a little with the spatula during cooking will help rehydration

Spread onto the dehydrator grills & dehydrate for ~ 8hrs @ 60C (140F)

Divide into 75g portions

Meal preparation

I’ll usually try & add a little cold or warm water (~250ml) to the dry ingredients in its ziploc as soon as I get pitched up this does save a bit of ‘simmering’ time (sitting in the cosy) & allows me to get the coffee/ soup on the go.

Add the pre-soaked (or dry) lamb to the pot & top up with water to ~400ml; the quantity of water is down to personal preference, adding less water will make a drier finished meal.  Bring to boil & sit in a cosy for 15mins (longer if not pre-soaked).  Bring back to boil & dump in 100 – 125g of couscous, stirring well; pop back in the cosy for 5mins; done!

A simple & tasty addition (+ calories) is to add flaked or ground almonds to the meal after cooking.

Ginger Beef/ Pork Noodles

A ‘Chinese style’ sauce that the noodles are cooked up in, then liquid condiments, Soy or Fish sauce, are added after rehydration to balance the dish.

Ingredients: 750g ground beef or pork; Large piece of root Ginger, 7 – 8cm,  grated; 6 – 8 garlic cloves, crushed; 3 – 4 medium onions, finely chopped; 2 stock pots; 1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed; 6 star anise; 100 ml sweet chilli sauce; 2 – 3 tbsp tomato puree; 360g drained canned peas; 360g drained canned sweetcorn

Method

Cook off the ground meat in a dry non-stick frying pan until browned, strain off any excess fat & either blot dry with kitchen paper or rinse with boiling water through a sieve.

Brown the onions, then add the ginger & garlic for a minute or two.

Combine all the ingredients into a pot & simmer until very thick; fish out the star anise at the end.

Dehydrate @ 55C for ~ 8hrs.

Yield was about 600g which I divide into 8 portions, ~ 75g.

Preparation

Take a portion of ‘sauce’ & add  ~400ml of water, bring to boil & place the cosy for 10min.

Bring back to the boil, add the dry noodles (100g) & place back in the cosy for another 4 – 5min.

Add 10 – 15ml of Soy/ fish sauce (to taste) & consume; for a real gourmet version add some chopped spring onion at the end.

Beef Stew

This is a simple recipe that I’ve found easy to prepare using the left over Sunday roast; using roast meat reduces the fat content and helping the dehydrated product keep longer;

I’ll normally divide into 6 portions, each will provide around 550 kcals.

Ingredients:

450g Roast Beef; 1 tin Chickpeas; 1 Tin Baked Beans; 200g Pearl barley (dry); 500g Potatoes; 200g Parsnip; 200g Onion; 200g Carrots; 1 tin Tomatoes; 150g frozen Peas; 150g frozen Sweetcorn; 2 Beef ‘Stock pots’ + mixed herbs and garlic to taste.

Method

Fine chop the onion and sauté in a little olive oil until soft, alternatively steam in microwave.

Add the tomatoes, stock pots, garlic, herbs and 500 ml of water to the pot.

Wash the pearl barley and add to the pot, boil for 10mins and then simmer for 20-30mins.

Dice (6mm) the potatoes, parsnip and carrots add to the pot and bring to boil, simmer until cooked, 15 – 20mins.

Slice the roast beef, I find that 2mm is about right, and then cut into 20mm * 8-10mm pieces.

Add the beef, chickpeas, beans, peas and sweet corn to the pot; simmer for 5mins

Add only sufficient water to stop the food sticking, it will make dehydration easier.

ADD NO SALT.

Dehydration

If the consistency is right the food can sit on the mesh trays OK, if too runny you can reduce on the stove or place on baking sheets (dehydration will take longer)

I’ve had good success dehydrating at 70C for a couple of hours and then reducing the temperature to 60C for a further 4 – 5 hrs.

Rehydration

Add ‘stew’ and 500ml water to the pot bring to the boil and sit a cosy for 20-25 mins.

Add salt to taste after ‘cooking’.

Adding 25-30g of butter to the finished meal enhances the flavour and increases the calories (~200).

Another route to bulking up the meal is to add some Orzo (rice shaped pasta) or soup pasta to the pot before heating (50g of pasta will add around 15o calories but remember to add a little extra water.

Wild Rabbit Casserole

A variation of my beef using a couple of rabbits shot by my neighbour, wild rabbit is very low in fat so idea for dehydration. I divided into 6 portions, each will provide around 550 kcals

Ingredients: 500g Rabbit; 250ml red wine, 2 tins of Flageolet beans; 200g Pearl barley (dry); 500g Potatoes; 200g Parsnip; 200g Onion; 200g Carrots; 1 tin Tomatoes; 150g frozen Peas; 150g frozen Sweetcorn;  2 tea spoons mustard powder, mixed herbs and garlic to taste.

Method

Joint the rabbits and brown in a no-stick pan with a tiny amount of olive oil, cover with the wine and water add the mustard, herbs and garlic; simmer until tender, ~45mins.

Remove the Rabbit pieces and when cool de-bone and shred the meat.

Wash the pearl barley and add to the pot, boil for 10mins and then simmer for 20-30mins.

Add finely chop the onions, carrots, potatoes, parsnip and tomatoes to the stock, bring to boil, simmer until cooked, 15 – 20mins.

Add the rabbit, beans, peas and sweet corn to the pot; simmer for 5mins

Add only sufficient water to stop the food sticking, it will make dehydration easier.

ADD NO SALT.

Dehydration

If the consistency is ‘right’ the food can sit on the mesh trays OK, if too runny you can reduce on the stove or place on baking sheets (dehydration will take longer)

Dehydrate at 70C for a couple of hours and then reduce the temperature to 60C for a further 4 – 5 hours; break up the larger pieces during the process.

Rehydration

Add ‘stew’ and 500ml water to the pot bring to the boil and sit a pot cosy for 20-25 mins.

Add salt to taste after ‘cooking’.

Another route to bulking up the meal is to add some Orzo (rice shaped pasta) or soup pasta to the pot before heating (50g of pasta will add around 15o calories but remember to add a little extra water).

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