Friday, 25 February 2011

Little Abington - February 2011

A weekends camp at Little Abington, with the Bushcrafters of Cambridgeshire. A small but cosy turnout in the 'Birch Field'. This weekend I successfully baked over an open fire, a fresh yeast raised white loaf, and a fresh pizza.

The 'Birch Field' Site
A Panoramic of the' Birch Field' open grass area.

Our communal tarp where most of the weekends activity happened.

Lee's Polish Lavvu.

Inside Lee's Lavvu with his raised camp bed.

Our British Army 5 man TeePee.

A Panoramic section of the 'Birch Fields' wooded area, great for hammocks.

Some beautiful 'Snow Drops' in bloom.. a first sign of spring!

The 'River Granta' that flows into the 'River Cam' borders the 'Little Abington' site and the 'Birch Field' we were camped in.

The 'River Granta' is a very clear stream and quite wide at this point.

Panoramic. Another great section of woodland within the 'Birch Field' area great for hammocks.

Bake-Up Time
Toasted Crumpets and tea for lunch time snack.

'Raised White Bread Loaf' on an 'Open Fire'
Time to start baking on an open fire. Today's menu is a raised white loaf and a fresh pizza for dinner.
To start with the yeast has to activate by pouring into blood warm water. I used powdered yeast, and half a cup of hot water from the kettle, topped with cold water from my canteen. Leave for about 15-20 mins to activate. This is shown by bubbles on the surface. The picture above show the start of the process, it actually came to the rim of the cup before I added it to the flour mix!

Then all the dry ingredients were mixed together in a pan, and the yeast added. Adding water along the way until a dough is created.

This was a little harder than I first thought!

Pre-ping the main deep pan with baking paper to act as my bread tin.

The dough mixed to a good consistency, not too dry, not too sticky!

Placed in the pan/tin, the dough's yeast then had to warm at blood heat for 20-30 mins, before baking proper.

What a mess!!

Once the dough had warmed through and risen slightly, it was time for baking! My theory was to get as much consistent heat around the entire pan as possible. It help first by being inside a fire box which reflected the heat. Secondly, I placed the pan onto a thick plank, so as it was not directly over the coals. Thirdly, it wasn't directly in the heart of the fire, but to one side. With a constant turning of the pan, a more even heat was achieved throughout the mix!

Looking good after the lid was taken off!

Perfectly raised white loaf..

Baked well on the outside, with a lovely airy texture in the centre!

'Fresh Pizza' on an 'Open Fire'
 Using the the same dough as the white bread, I placed the flat dough onto my griddle with some olive oil to cook. It was covered with tin foil on a low heat, as the aim was to partially bake it as well as crisp it up a little.
 Adding some tomato puree and the salami meat slices to the fresh base, while the onions, mushrooms and red and green pepper lightly fried.
 All the toppings added with the Mozzarella cheese too! It was then placed at an angle to the open fire to grill the top.
Turning on a regular basis they all grilled nicely!
With a sprinkle of salt and pepper.. the finished pizza ready to eat!

Ricky cooking up some beef hash! Lasted him all day and was very yummy!
A great simple bush recipe soon to be added to my cook recipes!!
 Lee went for a huge amount of bacon! You just cant beat the flavour of bacon in my opinion!
 Jason went for a fresh steak and mushrooms.
All served on a slice of my white bread I make earlier.. you cant get fresher than that!.. Unless of course you have a cow at hand!!
 A beautiful gas lantern of Lee's! One for my kit list!
 Chilling out in the TeePee with my Vargo Titanium wood burner.
It kicked out a lot of heat with just some small twigs. Placed on a lump of thick wood, and with all the doors, chimney hole and vents opened fully for ventilation.