Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Bargain VG10 Kitchen Knife Review

Many of you have written in to jeer at the amount of money I drop on gear, no offence is ever taken because my off-line friends mock me even more savagely, but in my self image I see myself as something of a bargain hunter so for this post I'm reviewing something that's such great value for money that it actually challenges Mora of Sweden's crown as 'best bang-for-buck outfit on the planet', effusive praise I know, but deserved!

When my pal at Edenweshops told me he had a range of kitchen knives I must admit I was a little underwhelmed, everyone and his uncle are selling kitchen knives and most of them are terrible, then he said 'They're in VG10' now as regular readers will know that made me sit up and pay attention, VG10 is one of the super steels that hold an edge long after the competition has been rendered blunter than the cold-word from a plumber. Then he showed me the price list! In the parlance of todays young people OMG! WTF!!

Up until a year ago VG10 was always at a fairly hefty price premium - prices starting at $100/£100 a blade and rising very steeply from there. With kitchen knives inexplicably costing even more than survival knives and stalking knives, more like $150/£150 and very quickly reaching double that and beyond

Because Eden are a relatively new name in knife sales, and this is their first foray into manufacturing, they've priced the knives at the level known as 'no-brainer'. Yep finally you can have a whole set of chef's knives for what one of the better known brands would set you back for just one knife.

Edge Holding? VG10 steel takes care of that.

Blade geometry? Cuts like a lazer, really like an effing lazer.

Fit and finish? 95% of what you'd get for several times the price, and nothing that you couldn't smooth out with a few sheets of wet-and-dry in and hour or so.

Kitchen Brag factor? Way way cooler than Global Knives for a fraction of the price

I've got one of the posher Damast series knives in the 'Santoku' blade shape, the perfect all-rounder for kitchen duties, and with its oil-on-water damascus pattern blade very very sexy, but if you're just after function rather than entering the 'kitchen tools arms race' with the other foodies, you can forgo the damascus option and just have plain VG10 blades for even less money! Personally I'm saving up to take advantage of the Whole-Set-For-30%-Off offer they're running at the moment.

Good Stuff, from nice guys, at silly cheap prices.

Very soon McShug and your pal SBW will be field testing some of Eden's own label binoculars against one of the better known names in American glass

More soon


Monday, 12 July 2010

The Wild Gourmets Book Review

I quite liked the first series of the TV show and watched a couple of the second series but it didn’t really capture my imagination. So when MCP gave me 'The Wild Gourmets: Adventures in food and freedom' for Crimbo I was intrigued. The authors have managed to pull off the difficult trick of showing hunting in a positive light on mainstream TV. The show is aimed at a foodie audience who, while liking the idea of wild food, may still have some trepidation about up-close-and-personal knowledge of their dinner’s demise.

Guy Grieve is a good deal more interesting a character than the series lets on. Bored of his desk-jockey life at the The Scotsman newspaper; he actually did what so many of us occasionally dream of doing and de-camped to Alaska to live in a self built cabin for a year. I know he’s Scottish and they’re tougher up there, but it’s still no small achievement. You can read more about his adventure here.

Tommi was a former winner of ‘Masterchef’ a TV show with a self explanatory title.
Where ‘Tommi’ shines is that she shows just how frikkin’ easy it is to cook nice food over burning wood. I’ve never believed that campfire cooking should automatically be burned around the edges. She makes some really nice looking food and clearly has a sense of adventure with ingredients.

All great cooking TV has to be to succeed is to show the audience how small the step beyond their comfort zone is, and then entice them to take the step with pictures of the result and the cook being praised for the result. She makes a good fist of it.

Most TV cooks in the UK have used ‘Chocolate and Chilli’ as a cipher for adventure, the mindset that chocolate is always served as a sweet food is so completely ingrained in UK food culture that even when it’s become a cliché of foodie TV it’s still able to elicit a fission of excitement and squeals of unexpected delight at the dinner table. Here’s Tommi’s take on Venison and ChocolateFeeds 10

2kg shoulder or haunch of venison
olive oil, for browning
2 medium onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
5 celery stalks, diced
2 parsnips, diced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 dried chillies, crumbled
500ml game stock (or stock made from bouillon cubes)
½ bottle full-bodied red wine
100g dark chocolate, finely grated or chopped
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
For the marinade
1 bottle full-bodied red wine
4 garlic cloves
1 sprig of rosemary
4–5 sprigs of thyme
2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 juniper berries, crushed
salt and pepper
How to make venison braised with chilli and chocolate
1. Make sure your fire has lots of hot embers (or preheat an oven to 190°C/gas 5).

2. Cut the venison into 2.5cm cubes, removing large bits of fat or gristle. Put these into a double-layered plastic bag, along with all the marinade ingredients. Set aside for a day in a cool spot in the river (or in the fridge if you have taken your quarry home), turning every so often so that all of the meat comes into contact with the marinade.

3. When you are ready to cook, remove the venison from the marinade, setting the marinade aside for later.

4. Heat a large casserole over a high heat until it is smoking hot. Pour in a tablespoon of olive oil and when it is very hot add the venison cubes, 6 or 7 at a time, so that you are not overcrowding the pan and thus bringing down the temperature of the oil.

5. Brown the meat on all sides for 1–2 minutes, letting the pan get hot again between each batch and adding more oil if necessary.

6. When the meat is all browned, set it aside while you brown the vegetables.

7. Add a tablespoon of oil to the casserole and sweat the onions for 5 minutes before adding the carrots, celery and parsnips. Cook for a further 10 minutes, allowing the vegetables to start caramelising without letting them burn. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.

8. Return the venison to the casserole, along with the reserved marinade and the rest of the ingredients. Bring up to a gentle simmer, stirring to melt the chocolate into the sauce. Cook in the Dutch oven (or preheated oven) for about 90 minutes or until the meat is tender and falling apart.

lf you're a regular reader  I think you’ll quite like this book as a read, and find the recipes easy to follow and delicious to eat. If you’re looking to expand someone’s foodie horizons I think you’ll find its the perfect gift.

I’m still waiting for our friends, those bon viveurs afield, NorCal and HAGC to hit our screens. 
I can see it now ‘She Kills it & He Grills It - The Holly & Hank Show’.

Your Pal

Friday, 24 October 2008

C'Mon You Redz!

Went to the football to watch Charlton play some bunch of no hopers from the west country.
That was a mistake, Charlton were the no hopers. Two- effing -Nil!

Though at last there is some good news for beleaguered Blighty, those cheeky chappies the native British Red Squirrels, if not bouncing back, are at least no longer circling the drain.
Over the last few years Red Squirrel populations in England and Wales have been declining rapidly as grey squirrels spread squirrel pox virus, which does not appear to affect the greys.

Happily Steve Connor, science guy at the Independent reports
Wild red squirrels have developed an apparent immunity to the squirrel pox virus, which was killing off the last their remaining communities in England and Wales, as well as threatening the much larger native squirrel population in Scotland.
Although it's not practical to count them all, a common guess would have it that there are about 140,007 red squirrels left in Britain. With about three quarters of them north of the border with Andy Richardson and our Caledonian cousins. Across the country there are about 2.5 million delicious grey squirrels, (a convenience food introduced from the Americas in the 1800s). So as you can imagine things are in a perilous state and the British Reds need all the help we can give them.
Meanwhile well-meaning numpties are doing their muddleheaded best to make the natural world more like it looks on TV. Lindsey Maguire, who runs a squirrel rescue centre with his wife, is reported to have said:
"We are involved with animal rescue and if someone brings you a [grey] squirrel what can you do? You can’t just throw it in the bin."

No Lindsey, you numpty not in the bin, in the pot!

I'm calling on Patriots, Nature Lovers, Gun Owners, and People who are just Peckish, to help bring about a 'culinary solution' to these pesky (yet delicious) interlopers and in doing so, save our British Reds.

Even on his days off James has been doing his bit, with delicious consequences.

As they are originally from the USA here's a few pointers on how to organise a
squirrel camp from Rex and his Dad at the Christmas Place Hunting Club, and a report on how this years proceedings went.
Scoutin' life has also been hard at it, read
squirrel-sniping here.

Fight back and Tuck In!


Saturday, 11 October 2008

Looking And Seeing


Maybe I was a little pessimistic about my suburban smallholding skills?
Maybe I 'looked' without 'seeing'?
Maybe cucumbers just grow very very quickly?

There are two more fat qukes!!!!

Cucumber sandwiches for tea.

Yours delightedly
PS In between writing this post and taking the picture, two more have appeared. One of them is already half the size of these. It proves something - I'm just not sure what?

Friday, 26 September 2008

Horse Drawn Blogging

I know a few of you read James' blog, but for those of you how haven't been reading it lately or are living under a stone it's well worth a visit. Due to his coverage of what are known here as 'country pursuits' he comes into contact with all kinds of colourful characters who most of the year shun political correctness and the modern world, choosing instead to base themselves beyond the reach of 'health and safety'. Only breaking cover to attend rural pow-wows such as horse fairs, game fairs and county shows. The kind of places where Ferrets are 'legged', food has taste and texture, and you can buy everything from home made jam to 8 bore wildfowling guns. They're great!

The reason I mention all this is to set the scene for a blogger James has just introduced.
Simon Mulholland writes Saddle chariot, a blog about horses, buggys that you tow from horses, his run-ins with the establishment and cooking meat.

His advice is forthright and he has a great turn of phrase.

"When I used to cook Venison and Wild Boar round the County Show circuit, I was always being asked how to cook Game. "Count the legs!" I used to say. "Then think of something you can already cook with approximately the same number of legs, and do the same thing.""

Horses, the Saddle Chariot and the elite horse breeding establishment
Some of the more perceptive may have picked up a hint of frustation with the British Horse Establishment. My opinion hasn't changed. If they were horses, I would say they must have been cruelly mistreated as youngsters, because no horse is naturally devious, vicious or deceitful. And no horse is naturally snobbish, racist or in favour of incest, all characteristics that appear throughout the British Horse establishment.

Could he be the new Albert Rasch?

Thanks for dropping in-let me know your thoughts-leave a comment or two
Your pal
The bushwacker

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Forks and Roasting - Online!

I've been a fan of, and occasional poster on, the site for a couple of years now, and while it's full of really useful information, it's much like human nature itself; a mix of the good the bad and the ugly. It's also not short of moments of high comedy

There are some people who can't seem to think about bushcraft without buying yet more tat to drag around with them.

(sound of glass house resident throwing stones)

As a wise man once said 'there's a seeker born every minute, two to teach him, and another two to sell him 'must have' accessories on the internet'

The Swedish company Light My Fire sells some really cool stuff, but sometimes people get a bit carried way and 'it's a really cool idea' gets confused with 'it's going to be a really cool product'. You know what sales and marketing people are like.

(another stone flies past)

This toasting fork is a case in point. You get some wire and you bend it, it becomes a really sweet way of keeping the bread, sausage, or marshmallow stable on the end of your stick while you're toasting it over the fire. It's not rocket science - but it is the kind of cool idea that the internet is so good for sharing. Barry Crump would be proud of you.

A chap whose forum name on bushcraftuk is Cobweb has gone to the trouble of posting a straightforward tutorial showing exactly how to make one in 12 photos. Nice one mate.

Then follow 3 pages of sad, angry men telling each other how each of them believes they know best. After a while the guy who started the site asks them to play nice, they don't listen!
It's hilarious! Boys and their toys! What can you say?

thanks for reading

PS the toasting forks absolutely rock - and are very very easy to make
PPS have a look at the silly poll I posted about an English TV show and the responses it got!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

A Tale Of Two Bushmen AKA Bargain Alert

I've been reading the blog written by the American Bushman for ages and marvelling at his knife collection - he doesn't just think 'that looks cool I wonder what it's like to use' he buys one and finds out just exactly how cool each design is. As you probably know after a while it's easy to end up with more stuff than one bushman can practically carry so he's decided to lighten his load by having a bit of a clear out.

Good news for us!

Inspired by the Backyard Bushman's posts about his EDC I've snaffled the Mikro Canadian II by the Bark River Knife and Tool Co. and a few other bits which I'll review as usage allows.
There are still loads of handsome blades for sale - take a look.
Happy Hunting

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Jus' Like That!

After my recent outburst on the comments section of Andy's Blog, and this weeks exaltation of the biscuit there are two reason to show you the picture at the top of this post.

One: Tra-la! They really are as easy as I said, and if you get down to the shops later today you've still got the chance to be a hero tomorrow morning.

Two: Andy's point about the farm shop being the best place to buy your eggs from is so true. Look how flat the yolk is on that egg. It's perfectly cooked, but being from a supermarket, it's not really fresh and so instead of being a perfect hemisphere the yolk has sagged.

Such is suburban life

PS Here's how I poach eggs

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Breakfast - It's All Good This Weekend

This one you gotta try!!

American readers will already know this, so this post is really for those of us not residing in the USA. America leads the world at breakfasting, really, and here's for why...

It's not just a legend, there really are special breakfast beers brewed in Germany, a wonderful idea, shows real imagination, but no. It's not quite what I'm looking for.
A croissant, even a chocolate stuffed croissant or pan au chocolat, washed down with a bowl of hot chocolate is good. But not good enough.
The 'full English' while a fine thing in itself could do with a few additions. Those additions hail from the US. The American take on the pancake, all risen and fluffy is a wonderful thing too, and may well become the subject of a future blog, but this post and this weekends breakfasts are dedicated to the majesty of the Biscuit.

By biscuit I don't mean the English word for cookies, I mean the half way house between bread and scones that ANYONE can make in TEN MINUETS. Transforming themselves at a stroke from kitchen lummox to culinary hero in less time than it took me to write this post. TRUE.

I've eaten biscuit with American family's and in dinners loads of times but it never occurred to me just how easy they are to make.Until I read A Proper Breakfast by GWH (the Great White Hunter). His recipe cannot over state just how easy they are to make!

Shortening isn't that easy to come by in the UK so I use vegetable suet which all the big supermarkets sell. You'll find it in the baking section it looks like this

The only things I would add are;
Don't make them too thin. At first I was nervous of making them too doughy and rolled them a little thinner than the recommended three quarters of an inch, as soon a I started to roll them out a little thicker I got a perfect biscuits.
A sponge tin (round and not very deep) is perfect for making one large biscuit which you can serve slices of.

This weekend you're a hero, even if it's only until the end of the meal!
Thanks for reading

PS This summer while camping out, at the music festivals or later in the year at deer camp, this recipe makes a good alternative to banock -you can mix and bag the dry ingredients and take them with you. While the others are lamenting the state of the squished, soggy loaf they brought with them, you can bake your biscuit in a Dutch oven over the fire. How bushwacker will you look then!

Monday, 23 June 2008

Knots And Brolly

BoB was in town over the weekend and was appalled to hear how bad a job I've been making of learning to knot my own purse nets for Ferreting. Ever the gentleman he limited his disappointment to a weary sigh, and offered to set me on the road. As James had first said "just one knot, tied lots of times". With BoB's patient guidance I'm finally getting the hang of it. I would have a picture to show you by know if it weren't for a curious incident that took place. The Garden umbrella BoB is pointing at in the picture came tumbling over the garden fence and missed braining me by about six inches. Much to BoB's amusement. By the time we'd finished laughing about that the oven was beeping and it was time for me to make the gravy and get dinner on the table. Such is suburban life.

Your pal
The Bushwacker.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Digging That Victory

Since I put up that post about suburban homesteading it seems that; either the great and the good of English journalism are reading my witterings or (more likely) I had my finger on the pulse of the weeks Zeitgeist. According to this weeks papers there are now as many people growing their own foodstuff as did during WW2!

If like me you've been thinking about getting started here's some food for thought.

If we were all to follow the advice of eating five portions of fruit and veg a day, we would probably spend at least £1 every day, or around £400 a year, at supermarket prices. But seeds for vegetables to keep a family going for a year usually cost less than you would pay for one kilo of the same product in a shop.

You can pay £1.29 for two beef tomatoes in Sainsbury's [This should be a joke surely - I checked it's true!]while a packet of 30 seeds from costs £1.25.

A Sainsbury's shopper buying a kilo each of courgettes (AKA Zucchini), beetroot and radish this autumn would have paid around £8 while packets of each of these seeds from costs a total of £3.75. And if you have neighbours with vegetable patches, you can always swap packets, as they always contain more seeds than you need.

If your aim is to save money, then you should grow more exotic produce

'Growing main crop potatoes is insane if you look at it economically,I don't think there is any more lucrative crop than hot peppers. Garlic is very expensive to buy. Rocket is quick and easy to grow but can be expensive to buy. Herbs are good. Rosemary and thyme - you can't have too much of those.'

Young apple, cherry and other fruit trees or berry plants can be bought for under £20 each, while organic raspberries, for example, cost more than £23 a kilo in Sainsbury's this year.

Richard Murphy has been growing vegetables for 18 years. This year, he has included pumpkin, salad crops, beetroot and carrots in his vegetable patch.

'For the price of one bag of salad you could grow 50,' he says. His main aims are eating well and introducing his two young sons to this part of the natural world. 'The skill level you need is pretty low. My six-year-old can quite happily plant seeds.'

All sourced from

Thanks for reading

PS for picture credit and loads more cool home front posters

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

SubUrban Harvest

After my own efforts with chestnuts and blackberrys I'm pleased to report that one of my friends has taken the urban foraging in a new direction, with delicious results.
Last night I popped in on R&E of Stoke Newington and was delighted to try their Sloe Gin. Made with Sloes gathered on Hackney Marshes and gin gathered in from the off-license (liquor store) at the end of the road. Much better than the commercially available stuff. Interestingly E has booked herself on one of Ray Mears' six day courses. And after a bit of arm twisting WILL be writing a guest review of proceedings.

She also under taken a bit of guerrilla gardening, well more guerrilla small holding actually. She came to know where the local council were planting ornamental plants in areas where the public could see them but not walk all over them. These beds are weeded watered and fertilized by the council, she has already harvested her first crop of gooseberrys with more variety's on the way this summer!

Well Played E!!

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Show The Bushwacker To The Rabbit

Sunday morning dawned cold and transport-less, so I dressed up in a base layer of nylon sportswear, hoping the static generated would act as on-board central heating, with a layer of cotton work wear on top to keep out the thorns. I chose a bag that I'd be able to hose down if I needed to and said goodbye to the kids. As I was leaving the house I could hear Mrs SBW sniggering and singing Simon and Garfunkel's well known ode to successful rabbit hunting

'Bright eyes,Burning like fire.Bright eyes,How can you close the pain. How can the light that burned so brightly Suddenly burn so pale? Bright eyes.'

After three changes of train due to engineering works I was finally on my way to meet James for a spot of old-school rabbit hunting. With Ferrets.

And what a great way to spend the day it is,James and Sara met me at the station and we drove through the Sussex countryside. For readers in the US - it looks just like the farmed parts of my adopted home of Northern Virginia, except the roads are narrower and the cars are smaller.

James's dad's place is big enough to have several warrens all in different states of occupation. The biggest coney conurbation we investigated had been flooded out by the recent rains and was unoccupied. Of the five warrens we tried, two yielded a total of three bunnies.

The Ferrets are charming, they have an animated curiosity about them and while I'm sure rabbits view them as dangerous thugs, to me they look very pet-like and from what I've been reading are easy to keep as companions and hunters. Here in the UK their role in feeding a hungry nation is quite well documented with references in court papers going back at least as far as the twelfth century when a ferreter was listed as part of the Royal Court. Today Ferrets ownership and hunting counjours up an images of working class countrymen in flat caps and long coats (to hide the booty) with bulging trousers using them for poaching for the pot or pest control for the land owner but it wasn't always the case. In the 1300's you'd have needed an annual income of some forty shillings (I'm not exactly sure of the exchange rate - but it was quite a lot of money) to own a ferret and the penalty for unlicensed ownership would have been harsh. King Richard II issued a decree in 1384 allowing one of his clerks to hunt rabbits with ferrets and they're mentioned again in 1390 with a law prohibiting the use of ferrets on Sunday when feeding your family wouldn't be allowed to interfere with marshal archery practice.

Ferreting is very simple, at the end of the afternoon I asked James if there was anything more I needed to know and he replied 'that's about it'.
First you need a business of ferrets, two seems to be the preferred number. I'd recently read that one male one female was considered the best ratio, with males being more aggressive and females being more through, James reckoned that whatever you had would do at a pinch. We used the modern locator collars which certainly made things a lot easier when it cam to the digging. In days gone by you'd have had to tie a tread to your Ferret and let it pay out as the Ferret went down the hole, when the Ferret stopped taking line you'd know that it had either killed a rabbit and was taking a nap (something they're notorious for), or it had backed the bunny into a hole with no exit and wasn't letting it out. Either way it would be time to start digging along the tread until you got to the action. With a locator you're spared a hell of a lot of digging as you can find the spot from above ground and dig directly down. In the wet clay laden soil it's still hard work. If your lucky and it all goes according to plan, you've put you ferrets into the right holes the rabbits bolt out of the warren into 'purse' nets that you've secured over the exits. As the rabbit barrels into the net it's own momentum pulls the drawstring tight capturing it. These bolted bunnies are the most highly prized as without teeth marks from the Ferrets their flesh is untainted by coagulating blood and the make slightly less gamey eating.

On the subject of eating special thanks and a commendation must go to Janet (james's mum) for the huge, hearty country lunch she served us that kept out the cold and the AMAZING bread and butter pudding she made.

James has posted a video of our hunt here.

As Ferrets usually come in pairs, they offer up some amusing naming opportunities.
James had a pair called Dead and Buried and a lad called Robin who lives in Scotland and has a Ferreting blog calls his business Purdey and Kalashnikov!

At the school gates I ran into young R, (well he ran into me) a lad in bushwacker jnrs class, he's absolutely fascinated with everything 'survival' and was proudly showing me his copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys when his mum showed up. She'd heard about the forthcoming trip from Mrs SBW and wanted to know if I'd been. I told her we'd gotten three rabbits
S. 'where are they? in a shed in the garden?
SBW 'No! they're in the freezer!'
S. 'NO!!!'
She scuttled off dragging young R behind her leaving me wondering is she still speaking to us or are we now a family of evil rabbit killing hillbillys?
As they say up north 'there's owt as queer as folk'
Thanks for reading

PS If your interested in getting started yourself Deben have a DVD, sell the locator collars and net making kits.

Picture Credit
Stained glass, Long Melford,Suffolk. Picture by chris chapman
Have a look at his fascinating site about the motif and it's appearance in medieval art across the world.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Really Actually Tasty?

Much to my surprise the office has yielded a lesson in preparedness and survival this week.

Due to the early January lull when the rest of the world seems to still be on holiday. Last weeks office life was at a much slower pace than could be productive. The morning football conversation extended beyond its mandatory 20 minutes and peaked on Friday at an hour and a half.
Work, as it was, centered around half-hearted researching, most of the day went on teasing each other and reading stuff out from the internet.
One viral email caught everyone’s attention and made me think about the nature of our dinner and our expectations of it.




As we watched to squeals of horror, the question everyone was asking, well more shrieking than asking, was ‘Would you? – Could you!”.
Mr. Bojangles (the resident song and dance man) has lived in Senegal for ten years so he speaks with an authority the others cant muster.
“In lots of the parts of the world people eat all kinds of stuff”
Would you? Have you? You didn’t!
“I wouldn’t be surprised if I had, in a lot of places people just need to eat, you never know what you’re being served ”

In the Southern US and much of eastern europe squirrels are well known as good eating, a few people shoot them to eat here, and a couple of the more adventurous London restaurants have them on the menu.

Well they call squirrels ‘tree rats’, maybe these fellas should be re-branded as ‘ground squirrels’. Hmmmm?

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

How Many Ways Shall I Compare BoB To A Battered Trangia?

As the times and my tastes have changed, I’ve had a few different lives, each of them symbolised by a ‘trademark’ item. Some people I know well from office life have never seen me not wearing my trademark old school pinstripe suits, that bushcraft knife was witness to many a boyhood adventure in the wilds. The rogue floppy shows great promise as a trademark of adventures yet to come.

Luke Skywalker had his Light Sabre, Mors Kochanski has his Mora, and Ray Mears has his Woodlore. If there’s one thing I’ll always associate with BoB (or inspector gadget as he was known in the day) it’s the Trangia field cooker.

It’s a sigil for the man himself - you can get something that’s a little bit shinier, more fashionable, one that maybe boils a little faster, a little lighter, more ‘technical’ even. But when you want one that ‘is what it is’ and will never ever let you down the Trangia is yer man.

For 75 years the Swedish company has been making these simple pressed aluminum and brass field cookers. Cheap to keep, utterly dependable, and with a zero failure rate. BoB and the Trangia are a reflection of each other.

For about 20 of those years BoB has been carting them into some of the most inhospitable places this planet has to offer to heat some of the worst grub served by mortal man. As our mum said “ I have two sons, one eats to live, the other lives to eat”
With that in mind I’m starting a series of posts about trail food too go to feed to a dog.

Thanks for reading

Picture credit and stove review

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook Joins My Blog Roll

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook has left this comment on a post

Bushwacker: I see it as my goal in life to get those who turn their noses up at game meats to shed their hang-ups and give it another go. If you ever need recipes for whatever it is you bring home this week, I have a fairly monstrous collection of wild game cookbooks and have a few tricks up my sleeve to make the wary drop their guard and pick up their forks...

His blog Honest Food: Finding the Forgotten Feast has made a great start, I'm looking forward to reading more, check him out!

Told you you wouldn't need to buy the papers this weekend!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Hunting Birds or should that be Birds Hunting?

I’ve started following a really neat blog where a grade ‘A’ foodie from northern California, who didn’t grow up around hunting, has taken up wildfowling and bird hunting. At the start of her adventure she suspects that being a woman taking up a male dominated activity will be the hard part….
Between the lunkheads and the professionally patronising, she finds the same challenges we all face when going into the great outdoors; finding clothes to protect us from the worst the weather can throw at us, weapons and tools that consistently do the business when asked, and someone to show us how to get a result.
Nor Cal Cazadora sites some recent research showing that while hunter numbers are down, the number of women afield is rising, and rising significantly.
Except at my house.
I’m forever trying to sell Mrs SBW the benefits of eating wild meat and hunting for it ourselves, she remains unconvinced. Meanwhile on the other side of the world BoB (brother of bushwacker) is married to a woman made of sterner (and more weatherproof) stuff. When Mrs SBW was pregnant she wanted to: reorganise storage and redecorate the house. When Mrs BoB was in the family way it was a different story. Just before they left for New Zealand, we all got together for a family dinner. At the table I saw her staring dreamily at a Sunday roast saying wistfully, “when I get home I really want to shoot a pig” Mrs SBW further endeared herself (although not to me) when she pointed at me and chipped in “you can shoot this one if you like”.

Thanks for reading

Translation ‘Birds’ is english for ‘Chix’
Photo Credit

Monday, 29 October 2007

Prometheus In My Pocket

“ ‘I'm a firestarter, a twisted firestarter’, (sigh) well that’s nothing to be proud of is it” DJ Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) reviews The Prodigy.

Due to our damp northern climate I tend to favor the firesteel as a means of ignition. As well as being waterproof: they are cheap and making handles for them is easy, satisfying, and gives you the kind of ‘bushcrafty’ vibe that makes you seem like you have a life outside of work.
The sparks they produce are way hot, and so bright you could signal with if you didn’t have a torch or signal fire lit yet. In the damp weather, and as good practice, I’ve been carrying kindling to give myself a head start when lighting a brew fire. So I thought I’d do a post about some of the gatherable options. But you know how it is; your pal the bushwacker has always had an inquiring mind (also known as a short attention span). So while I was thinking a about a fire, I started to think about something to cook on it (blogging often gives me an appetite) and something to keep fiddling fingers occupied while sitting by it.

The Sammi people of Finland have carried the dried hollow stalks of Angelica, and I’ve used Hemlock stems gathered from the roadside. Being hollow the stems draw air as they burn giving a very hot flame, handy when you need to dry out the rest of your firewood. There are plenty of alternatives you can easily gather and then carry with you. Here’s one I made earlier.

Birch bark is the classic all year round kindling, it’s cigarette paper thin and lights even more easily. It’s totally sustainable, and convenient as the tree is shedding it all year round!

Cattail fluff makes an ideal ‘spark catcher’ it burns very quickly, a little too quickly for use on it’s own but as a natural catalyst its fantastic.

Mixed with some of the Birch bark and wrapped in some bigger bits of birch bark it’s portable,

and ignitable!

While your gathering the dried out Cattails for kindling you can get a lot of other uses from the rest of the plant. The stems could be an ideal thatching material for a longer-term shelter. But lets head to the kitchen!
At their base Cattails have rhizomes (the root-like stem that grows horizontally sending roots down and leaves and stems up) that are ripe for eating at the moment. All you have to do is peel ‘em and cook them like spuds. In some culinary traditions the rhizomes are pounded into flour. I’ll let you know. The first time I ate them was in the spring, we plucked out the soft white core of the young stems, (known as Cossack’s asparagus) and they were pretty good raw as a salad vegetable eaten in situ and for our tea cooked in a stir-fry.

Thanks for reading