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The title of The Great Outdoors Cookbook could have been It Tastes Better Outdoors. As anyone who has tried it knows, somehow even very ordinary food tastes better outdoors.
TV chef Phil Vickery is clearly passionate about food cooked outdoors and the recipes in this book are far from ordinary, despite being relatively simple to cook. The Great Outdoors Cookbook is divided into sections based on how the food is cooked, rather than what type of food it is.
The result is section headings such as ‘Barbecues On The Go’, ‘Feast On 1 or 2 Rings’ (particularly good for campervans) and ‘Cooking On A Wood Fire’. Vickery also covers Dutch oven cooking, picnics and food that can be put in a flask and kept hot for later.
Phil Vickery makes no secret of the fact that advance preparation is the key to successful outdoor cooking and emphasises this point throughout the book, even though he admits that this isn’t always convenient – especially if you are camping. I’d also add that there are a decreasing number of campsites (or other places) where open fires are allowed. The recipes in this book are hugely varied in style, complexity and cooking duration and there is almost certainly something for everyone.
He also suggests ways in which you can get more mileage from your barbecues – such as cooking desserts over the embers while you are eating your main course. Here are a few examples of the 150+ recipes on offer:
- Simple Brined Chops with Bacon and Chicory Salad – definitely motorhome do-able
- Soupy Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Gnocchi and Shiitake Mushrooms
- Simple Grain Salad with Dried Meats, Fruit and Pine Nuts
- Hamburger Hash with Fresh Sweetcorn and Pickled Cabbage
- Warm Golden Syrup Muffin Cake with Strawberries
- Grilled Thai Prawns
The list is endless and also includes some American-style smoked barbecue dishes. These take several hours and Vickery recommends using a gas barbecue with a smoker – probably not motorhome fare but terrific at home.
The book is lavishly illustrated and the recipes do not generally require any obscure or exotic ingredients. Many of them will also lend themselves well to adaptation and provide inspiration for cooking your own favourites in new ways.
Title: The Great Outdoors Cookbook
Author: Phil Vickery
Size: 250 x 210mm
Price: £18.99 (RRP)