Thermomix kitchen robot can replace all your small appliances

If I said one device could replace nearly every kitchen appliance you own, you’d probably think I was starting a late-night infomercial. But an appliance I’ve discovered may actually be able to deliver on that promise. It’s called a Thermomix, and though it’s very popular in Australia and Europe, it’s virtually unknown in Canada and the US.

The Thermomix is a kitchen device that looks like an oversized food processor that’s been bred with a huge blender.  And while it can blend, puree and liquefy, it can also chop, grate, beat, whip, knead and shred.  But Thermomix also has some other properties that will blow your mind; it can steam vegetables and fish, cook rice, make risotto, sauté onions and garlic, weigh your ingredients, and even go as far as cooking not just a dish, but an entire meal. I received a newer model Thermomix TM5 for several weeks to test and review.

What is a Thermomix?

Thermomix is a kitchen robot that combines the functions of 12 kitchen appliances onto one unit. The device comes with a cookbook and computerized recipe chip which is installed into the side of the Thermomix, and that means the Thermomix can automatically execute a variety of recipes — with your help. Of course you can also make food from scratch and use it as an appliance without computerized direction too. Included with the device are a small steamer basket for use inside the mixing bowl, a spatula, a two-level steamer basket for use on top of the device and a whisk.

What can Thermomix do?

cooks
-mills grain
-grinds spices or coffee
-scale
-blender
-whisk
-warmer
-food processor/chopper
-mixer
-steamer
-dough kneader

Thermomix Cookbooks & Recipesthermomix tomato soup recipe erin

If you like the freedom of having pre-programed recipes, know that there are several cookbooks produced by Thermomix. The Basic Cookbook is the quintessential Thermomix bible and comes with the device.  You can purchase other books that come with recipe chips, such as a British Cookbook, gluten free recipes, vegetarian foods, a ‘taste of Asia’ book and even one for lunches and after school snacks. Prices range from about $15USD to $38 USD.

I tested several recipes from the Thermomix Basic cookbook.

One of my favourites was a Creamy Tomato Soup. The recipe sautées onions and garlic, then used canned tomatoes and fresh cream to create a fast and easy hot soup that’s absolutely delicious.

Mashed potatoes in the Thermomix are so easy; they’re steamed in milk in the basin, then whipped to perfection; and all with just one ‘pot’ that needs washing.thermomix broccoli salad erin robot kitchen

I also repeatedly made a broccoli salad that took just minutes; broccoli florets, apples, peppers and all the ingredients for a dressing get tossed in the Thermomix bowl and in 4 seconds (not even exaggerating) you have a perfectly chopped and dressed salad that tastes fantastic.

Cook an entire meal using Thermomix

thermomix 7 review recipes

A fun and easy feature of the Thermomix is its ability to cook a whole meal in the device. Thermomix will have you load the steamer basket with potatoes and some water, then the 2-tier steamer basket gets added on top; veggies in the bottom and fresh fish on top. The device lets you know precisely when to add each set of ingredients so that each gets cooked properly to perfection.

Powerful blending with Thermomix

The Thermomix has a very powerful motor and large sharp blades.  While devices like the Vitamix (read my review of that here) get all the press for making the best blended drinks and smoothies, the Thermomix is just as good at shredding and liquefying frozen fruit and seeds into drinkable meals. I have used the Vitamix and the Thermomix and as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to smoothing making and blending functions, I’d be hard pressed to pick a winner. They’re both fantastic.

Cleaning the Thermomix

All the parts and pieces of the Thermomix are dishwasher safe, but one of the easiest ways to clean the basin is to add soap and hot water, then to run the motor for 10 seconds. It cleans the inside instantly!

How Thermomix works

With the recipe chip installed in the device, you use the dial on the front to select the meal you’d like to make. With the recipe loaded, the device takes you through the steps necessary in order; from adding ingredients, to chopping or whipping sauces, then walking you through the rest of the process. A chime lets you know when you’ve completed each step, and the recipe.

You can also go fully manual with the device, so you can chop, sautée or blend on your own.  A word to the wise; the machine is very powerful; it’s easy to turn potatoes into glue, or whip cream into butter. Until you’re familiar with the device, start out slow and work your way up.

How can I get a Thermomix? Where do I buy Thermomix in Canada or US?

Sadly for some of you, you can’t just go online and order a Thermomix.
Thermomix is only available directly from Vorwerk’s subsidiaries or official distributors.  You must see the device privately demonstrated and order from the authorized rep to get one. Think the Amway, Avon or Tupperware sales model.  It’s not for everyone, but I will say having a personal demonstration allows you to ensure you’re going to make the most of this device.

Overall review of Thermomix

I really enjoyed my Thermomix experience.  I found it easy to learn and use, and the recipes I tried were delicious from the cookbook. Making guided recipes was simple and fun, and even using the machine manually was easy.  I found it quite handy, particularly for things like sautéing onions, whipping cream, grating cheese ad pureeing soups.

If I have my druthers, I’d definitely look at replacing some of my older small appliances with this one device, but it’s not an inexpensive prospect.  A Thermomix costs about $1700 CAD so it’s certainly an investment.  But considering a good food processor will cost you $100-200, a good blender like a Vitamix is upwards of $500, a hand mixer is about $75, a KitchenAid stand mixer is $200-300, not to mention of you want a hand blender or chopper kit ($150) you can see how it might make sense to just have one device.

If you’ve got the budget to invest in a machine like this, I have no doubt you’ll love it.

Get more info on Thermomix here in Canada, or here in USA.

Using technology to help your diet – Reviewing Harbour Foods Calgary’s meal delivery

With all the technology that can help you do just about anything these days, I thought it was time to try letting technology help me with food. I love to cook and generally eat healthy, but I’ve recently cut out foods like gluten, starch, grains and sugar to help me feel even better. It’s been a challenge to come up with nutritious meals that are filling and healthy. Continue reading “Using technology to help your diet – Reviewing Harbour Foods Calgary’s meal delivery”

Get these great food apps

Our food and our phones have become indelibly connected. It started with snapping photos of amazing meals, then devolved to Instagramming every meal no matter how mediocre. Now our phones can order food, search recipes and even show us video tutorials for the perfect risotto.

There are a number of great apps that can do all kinds of food-related tasks. Download these to make cooking, booking, or ordering food quicker and easier. Continue reading “Get these great food apps”

New pay-at-the-table app means never waiting for the cheque

SAMSUNG CSC

Paying the cheque at a restaurant can be… awkward. From first dates, to business lunches, who buys can sometimes be fraught with complexities.  A new app may change that for good.

JOEY Restaurants launched a new mobile payment app today called JOEY Pay, and while at first it may seem unnecessary (Why an app? Will EVERY restaurant need an app soon??), it does seem like a good idea for many situations.

Pay faster; no waiting

“JOEY PAY allows customers to “Dine and Dash” by paying their bill using their iPhone, ultimately saving time by paying faster. JOEY Restaurants created the JOEY PAY app in response to growing customer demand for speed of bill payment,” says the company’s news release.

Avoid awkward cheque grabs

The app not only lets you easily pick up the cheque without argument or fuss, it will also allow you to use multiple credit cards for bill splitting among larger groups, and also track receipts for business expense purposes. It’s actually a pretty smart idea when you’re dining and trying to get going to a movie, the theatre or just to get one with your night. It also lets you sneak the cheque away from that friend who never lets you pay, or from a pal who always wants to argue about whose turn it is. It’s kind of brilliant for first dates, since you can pay by phone and then make an impression when you usher your date to the door, saying, “it’s all taken care of”. JOEY 2

Here’s how it works:
·         The guest inputs a six digit code from the bottom of their bill, into the app
·         From the app guests have the ability to pay with multiple credit cards or JOEY gift cards within their profile
·         Guests receive a message letting them know payment was successful
·         The receipt is emailed to the guest instantly and stored in their profile for easy reference
It must also alert the server in some way, otherwise you’d get stopped at the door trying to leave. claiming, “I paid with the app,” and pleading techno dummy probably wouldn’t work.  There may also be questions in the future about whether people will cheap out on the tip because there’s no doe-eyed server standing next to them while the tab is being paid.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

JOEY says the app is just as secure as any other credit card payment platform, and will be in use in their 26 locations across Western Canada, Ontario, Washington State and California. It also allows you to make reservations (it takes you to a website outside the app) and even add a gift card to apply that to your bill. You can even scan your credit card to avoid tedious typing.

JOEY is giving you $10 to try the app

Everyone that downloads the app and creates an account before April 21st, 2016 at midnight will receive a $10 gift card loaded into their profile. Feel free to spread the words with friends, family or on social as we want to give away as many gift cards as possible! The app is available on the App Store or Google Play.

Grandma & Mom’s Shortcake Recipe

Everyone has a food that reminds them of childhood, and comfort. For me, it’s this basic shortcake recipe which couldn’t be easier and basically is totally foolproof. The cake makes a perfect base for strawberry shortcake, with fresh fruit and whipped cream, or it’s great eaten on its own with coffee in the morning.

I love the nostalgia of having this recipe, on its food spattered recipe card, written in my mother’s hand, copied from a recipe her mother used for decades. This recipe is the real definition of tried, tested, and true!

I’d love to hear your feedback on it if you try it.

Grandma’s Shortcake

2 eggs            1 heaping tsp baking powder
1c white sugar    dash salt
1 c flour            1tsp vanilla

Scald:   ½ c milk
1 tbsp butter

Beat eggs and sugar.  Add flour mixed with baking powder and salt.  Add vanilla and milk mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Your Dad’s Likeness.. in CAKE!

superdadWhat a BEAUTIFUL and DELICIOUS idea from Calgary bakery extraordinaire!  They’ll whip up some of their delicious creamy and moist cupcakes, to look like your dad! They’re calling this, “SUPER DAD Cupcakes” for Father’s Day.

“Customize a cupcake to look like your your awesome Dad! Print the order sheet or pick one up in store. Fill out the details and send it back to us by email, fax or in person. SUPER DAD cupcakes are available individually gift wrapped  or are a great addition to an assortment of cupcakes. Please note these cupcakes are available only by pre order.”

Check out Crave Cupcakes for info and orders.  They’re a great Calgary based company.

They even created a Lanny McDonald cupcake in honour of one of Calgary’s former hockey greats!

lanny2

Cookie Confessions and Peanut Butter Cup-stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is an example of why wasting time on Pinterest can pay off.  I Found two recipes snooping around one day.  The first was for something called the “Infamous Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies”.  The other was an idea from a peanut butter cup lover about stuffing PBCs INTO your cookie.  I was intrigued.  But daunted.  After all, I’m the girl who SUCKS at baking chocolate chip cookies.

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Yes, I have a confession to make.  I absolutely, positively suck at baking chocolate chip cookies.
So I give up on them.
You probably think, “How can you throw in the dishtowel on COOKIES?”  It’s because mine never turn out the way other people’s do.  I mean, sure, I’ve tried dozens of  recipes over the years, varied the cooking times, and adjusted ingredients.  And my cookies still never taste as good as my sister’s.  Or my best friend’s.  Or my mom’s.  So I’ve finally decided enough is enough.  There are some things in life you just need to accept you’re not good at.  Some people shouldn’t attempt flambé, for obvious reasons, others should never bake bread, because it  comes out as toast:  My name is Erin, and I can’t bake chocolate chip cookies.
No I don’t give up on this lightly.  I kept trying for years to bake them right, because I loved the sweet taste of the thick batter, all sugary and creamy, speckled with chocolate chips.  It was fun to stir it all together, dropping it by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet, and enjoying the blast of warmth as the oven opened up, ready to turn mushy dough into crispy-chewy bites of heaven.  As kids, we’d hover beside the oven, waiting for those eight-to-ten-minutes to tick by, then waiting six-to-eight more for them to cool.  And those cookies were sooo good.
My mom taught us all to bake them, but my sister Megan’s always turned out better, somehow chewier—just a bit raw in that really delicious way.
My chocolate chip cookies were always too crunchy, just overdone, way too raw or just, ho-hum.
I eventually  found a flawless way to make chocolate chip cookies—I buy a plastic covered roll from the dairy aisle:  My name is Erin, and I buy pre-fab cookies.  doughboy33Because I have to admit the roly-poly little guy with the natty neckerchief and the pasty (err, pastry?) complexion can do it better.  Granted it’s taken me decades to realize this, but I’ve finally decided there can’t be any shame in this—even for a dedicated home cook like me.  The lesson is that if you try and try, and try and try, and you’re still unhappy with the results, why waste more ingredients, and time on something that so obviously isn’t working?  It’s like a relationship, if it just doesn’t feel good anymore, it might be time for a drastic change.

And that’s what I’ve been using for cc cookies.  Until now.

 

 

I made a date with Jacques after reading about his cookies on a blog.   The recipe for his chocolate chip batter is from Crepes of Wrath, which in turn credits The New York Times. To save you the clicks, it’s here:

The Infamous Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies

The infamous Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookies from The New York Times.  Prep time:  24 hours // Cook time:  20 mins// Total time:  24 hours 20 mins// Serves: 20 cookies

Ingredients
•    2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
•    1⅔ cups bread flour
•    1½ teaspoons baking powder
•    1¼ teaspoons baking soda
•    1½ teaspoons coarse salt
•    2½ sticks (1¼ cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
•    1¼ cups light brown sugar, packed
•    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
•    2 large eggs, room temperature
•    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
•    1⅓ pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
•    sea salt or fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Instructions
1.    Sift together the cake flour, bread flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
2.    In the bowl of your mixer, cream together your butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add in the vanilla and mix. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, until just moistened. Fold in your chocolate until evenly added throughout the dough. Press plastic wrap against the dough, making sure it is completely covered, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or as long as 72 hours (I left mine for 36 hours). This is an important step, as it allows the gluten in the dough to loosen up (you know how if you beat your dough too much, your cookies will be rock hard? Allowing it to rest for a period of time helps to undo some of this damage). It also helps the cookies to not spread out too much; warm dough spreads, cold dough stays in nice, uniform circles.
3.    When you are ready to bake, bring the dough to room temperature so that you can scoop it out (I usually let it just sit on my counter for an hour or two), and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line and/or grease your baking sheets. Scoop your dough out onto the sheets. I used a #40 ice cream scoop, which is about the size of 2 tablespoons, but you can make them even larger, if you like. Do not press the dough down – let it stay the way it is. Sprinkle the cookies lightly with a bit of fleur de sel or sea salt. Bake 10-12 minutes for smaller cookies (mine took about 11 minutes), or 18-20 minutes for larger cookies.
4.    Allow the cookies to cool slightly on your baking sheet, then move them to another surface to cool completely. You can enjoy these warm, room temperature, or cold. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

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So I made this batter, and had excellent results.  It produces a moist and rich cookie.  I prefer slightly underbaked for a chewy cookie, but they can also be baked longer for a crispier bite.  Both were delicious.  Then,  I used the trick I read on Pinterest from Love and Olive Oil to jam Peanut butter cups in the centre.  This combo will change the way you think about cookies forever.   Creamy, rich and absolutely delicious.photo 1

Take the suggestion and buy the best ingredients you can.  The batter, when rolled into balls, freezes very nicely too.  I laid the rolls out on a cookie sheet, and froze that, then put them all between layers of parchment in a sealed container.  Now I can have fresh cookies (stuffed or not), any time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Food & Drink: The BEST Meatloaf You’ll Ever Eat

With winter coming, we’re looking for quick, easy and hearty meals.  One that never disappoints is Mom’s Meatloaf.  Now, before you click away in horror and disgust, this meatloaf is not your ordinary hard beef brick.  It’s moist, tender, flavourful and such a favourite in our home we have it at least monthly.  It freezes so well, I’ll make up half a dozen meatloafs, freeze them and pull them out for a quick and tasty dinner. 
FUN FACT!
Meatloaf has been around in various forms for centuries.  it apparently features in ancient roman tome  Apicius — a collection of Roman recipes. In medieval Europe, using scraps and odds and ends from around the kitchen was common for creating leftover meals for hungry mouths, though that could be where meatloaf started to get is bad rap. America adopted meatloaf with gusto, though trying to trace when and where it first gained popularity is a bit of a crapshoot.  And honestly, we probably don’t care that much.
Meatloaf Elements
Fillers:  Meatloaf became a budget staple during the depression years, as it’s quite easy to stretch the use of the meat by adding fillers like bread crumbs, rice, cereal like cornflakes, or as my recipe uses, oatmeal.  But believe me, when you cut into the finished product, you’d never be able to tell there’s oats inside it.
Egg/Dairy Additions: Some people don’t like adding eggs; I’m in the group that thinks it makes it bind together much better, and I don’t think it toughens it at all.
Meat Selections: There are as many meatloaf recipes as there are families.  Some people swear by beef alone as your meat contribution.  Others, particularly in the US south like to add ground pork.  Of course you could add lamb, bison, ostrich or just about any other meat that catches your fancy, either in whole or in a mix.
Topping: The last step in a great meatloaf is a topping; it keeps it moist and adds flavour and dimension.  Some people love ketchup, others prefer BBQ sauce, mustard, even mashed potatoes or a bacon wrap.  What works for me, is soup.  yes, soup.  Condensed canned soup.  Now, before you cry ‘sacrilege!’, it’s moist, flavourful, and creamy.  Everything you want in a winter meal.  My weapon of choice is Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom, but you could also use whichever your favourite creamed soup happens to be.
The Recipe:
Mama Linda’s ‘No-Fail’ Meatloaf
1lb ground beef
1 c milk (2%, but anything will do.)
1 egg, beaten
1 finely chopped onion
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce/Lea & Perrins
1 cup rolled oats
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup (do not add the water/milk)
Blend all ingredients together in a bowl until well mixed.  Put into loaf pan (1 large or 2 small) and bake at 350 for approx 45 minutes or until meat thermometer says its cooked through. Apply condensed soup and bake about 15 minutes more or until topping is golden and thickened. I had a question about this Tweeted to me.  I thought it was a good one, and I had a couple creative answers (or so I think).

deadmau5 @agthsmkt

@tvchick13 Do you have ideas for replacing the soup with a “clean eating” alternative? Also, I’d use ground turkey.

I replied: @agthsmkt Hmmmm.. Pureed spinach with a touch of cream & salt? Mashed celeraic & parsnip spread over top? I’d eat both of those.

Coffee Lust: Debating between the Rancillio Silvia and Jura Empressa E80

The debate raged a year ago; which espresso machine to choose?  And my narrowed-down choices couldn’t be more different; the Rancilio Silvia is a fully manual machine that relies heavily on the skill of the operator to make a great cup.  The Jura Impressa E80 is fully automatic, and there’s little you need to or can do to alter your espresso in this machine.

Both get very positive reviews online in their respective classes.  My decision was basically a simple one; did I want to work for my espresso each morning, or did I want is handed to me on a silver… shot glass?

Rancilio Silvia espresso machine_1

The Rancilio costs about $700 new.  It also, however, requires an expensive burr grinder to be able to finesse just the right coffee coarseness.  I went with the very well-rated Baratza Vario, which itself retails for about $400.   By comparison the Jura retails for about $1700 new (and up from there, and requires no special grinder, as it’s built right in.

VARIO-W-2

In the end I went manual.  Mainly because I want to learn how to make a great cup of coffee, and all the intricacies and factors that go into making it properly.  I’m no coffee expert; save for knowing what I like and what I don’t, and occasionally being known to import coffee from my favourite California coffee house, Urth Caffe.  Even being a novice, the Rancilio has been fantastic.  While it’s a wee bit on the noisy side when pulling a shot, they’re always piping hot, and with the right bean and the right grind, the shots are always delicious with just the right amount of creamy crema. The water tank hold plenty for my needs, and the machine is easy to clean. The only downside if it can be considered one is that the machine is fincky.  Many online reviews told me this and they’re correct.  Heat, humidity, beans (roast, grind), tamping pressure and even time of year make figuring out what grind setting to use to get the beans just right a challenge.  Once you’ve got it, you’re usually good; unless the weather changes drastically, then it’s back to the grinding board.

Now I didn’t mind this process so much because as I say I want to learn.  But I have gone through a good amount of (fine, pricey) beans to get things just right.

jura images

So when I was able to pick up a used Jura Impresa E80 for a song, I snapped it up, figuring now would be the time to see if I was missing anything.  If I elected not to keep it, I could always put it back on the block.

The Jura, as I say takes the human factor out of the espresso.  While some things (grind, shot size, auto-off) are all somewhat adjustable, the Jura leaves little for the operator to do.  At the push of a single button I get a fresh espresso, with beautiful crema.

The machine heats up quickly; within a minute it’s ready to go. With the hopper loaded with beans, there’s nothing to do but press a button for your mild/regular/strong espresso.  The shots are pulled in seconds.  This machine will be a major advantage when we’re having dinner parties.  My biggest complaint about the Jura is I feel the water is not as hot as the Rancilio.  With the Rancilio I’d need to leave the shot for a moment to cool before I could take that first sip.  With the Jura, it’s at a drinkable temperature right away.  This is where i find pre-heating the cups is very important or it cools off much too quickly.

On a bleary-eyed morning, there is some definite advantage to poking a button and ending up caffeinated quickly.  But I do miss the process and the love-labour of the Rancillio.  As a result, both are currently snuggling on my kitchen counter, much to my husband’s dismay.  I’m still deciding who stays and who goes.

if you have any insight.. please post below.  I could use some help!

Food & Drink: Campicurean

A campfire roast we dubbed The Mona Lisa
A campfire roast we dubbed The Mona Lisa

So it may soon be too cold to pound a tent stake through the topsoil, but I’m always thinking about camping season.

The best thing about it for me; the food.  I’m not talking hot dogs on a stick or popcorn, no.  Our camping trips are a gourmet showdown of the highest order.

Making really, really good food at a campsite (and I’m talking over a FIRE) isn’t hard.  If you can barbecue some dogs or smokies, you can cook a roast, a whole chicken, or chili.  If you’re careful, you can even bake.

When my pals and I head for the hills, we divide up the weekend’s meals; every couple signs up to prepare 2 meals .  We’ve had everything from campfire chili, to scrambled eggs and bacon, German Apple pancake, to a double-stuffed roast beef with all the fixins. Not to mention grilled pineapple on waffles.

It starts with the prep; throw some decent pots and pans into your kit.  We always have a car, and make sure a large cast iron frypan is in the mix.  it works wonders for keeping food from burning over the hot fire. It’s super-easy to fill it full of ground beef, kidney beans and tomatoes and spices, and whip up a delicious, spicy smokey campfire chili with whatever recipe you normally use.

That same pan can do wonders for pancakes, french toast, scrambled eggs. or even a favourite of mine; German Apple Pancake. (Recipe below)

Gourmet dinners can be simple too; beer-can chicken is easy, fast, and guarantees a moist and crispy bird pretty much every time. Just rub the bird with oil and your favourite spice combo, and bake. I also love stuffing whole garlic cloves or lemon wedges under the skin for added flavour and moistness.   (ProTip: bring some heavy duty rubber gloves or sturdy tongs to make moving the chicken around easier). You can also grab one of those new beercan holsters that keeps the bird and the beer from tipping into the inferno.  Handy.

Stews are also the Campicurean’s friend; jambalaya, cajun stew, beef or bison stew, and even paella all lend themselves to the campfire, or even the campstove.

The key to not setting your meal ablaze is to build a big fire first, then allow it to burn down to hot coals; and that means getting the fire going in advance.  Keep it going with small pieces of wood that don’t re-ignite a bonfire.  That helps give you an even heat, with a bit of smoke for flavour.

The other way to go campicurean is in your appetizers.  A small block of cedar, a wheel of brie cheese, some garlic paste, or chopped garlic and a splash of rum make a pretty mean warned cheese & crackers appy.  Just oil the plank, place the cheese on it, paste it over with the garlic, mixed with a wee bit of butter or oil, then leave it to warm through on an edge of the fire.  Warm up a shot of rum in a tine or a cup.  When it’s done, pur the rum over the cheese plank, and light it up, flambee-style.  When the flame goes out, voila!

Another favourite campitizer is rumaki, or bacon wrapped chicken livers. (Shopping list: bacon, chicken livers, sliced water chesnuts, maple syrup)  Buy the livers frozen, so they keep in the cooler. Chop them small, wrap them in bacon with a slice or two of water chesnut.  Cook them on the edge of the campfire grill to about halfway, drizzle with maple syrup, then finish the cooking process.  Dee-lish.  (And for my squeamish friends,  if I didn’t tell you there were livers inside you’d NEVER know it!)

The bottom line is, cooking gourmet meals at your campsite is easy, with just a little planning and creative thought!

Do you have a favourite camping recipe or cooking method?  Please share it on the comments.  I LOVE finding new gourmet ideas.

German Apple Pancake
recipe image
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 45 Minutes
Servings: 4
“A wonderful country style baked pancake that’s filled with apples and spice.”
Ingredients:
4 eggs
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large tart apple – peeled, cored and
sliced
Directions:
1. Try to bring a cast iron pan with a lid.  If not, pack some heavy duty foil.  In a large bowl, blend eggs, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Gradually mix in milk, stirring constantly. Add vanilla, melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Let batter stand for 30 minutes or overnight.
2. Make sure the fire is ready, ie hot but not a raging inferno.
3. Melt butter in a 10 inch oven proof skillet, brushing butter up on the sides of the pan. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture over the butter. Line the pan with apple slices. Sprinkle remaining sugar over apples. Place pan over fire until the mixture bubbles, then gently pour the batter mixture over the apples.
4. Cover with tinfoil or a lid and let it “bake” for about 8-15 minutes. Check it.. you’ll notice it should be puffing up. Depending on your fire, it may need another  10 minutes. Slide pancake onto serving platter and cut into wedges.