We thought there would be nothing more brilliantly British than a Christmas inspired campfire cookout. When has glamping or camping been confined to warm weather conditions? We live in England, we’d never plan anything if we waited for the sun.
Picture this: a bell tent or yurt draped with ivy and holly, twinkling Christmas lights studding the foliage and warm sheepskins, a crackling fire and a warm mug of mulled wine in your hands. Love actually is a meal cooked over an open fire and a night under the stars for optimum Santa spotting.
Even if you don’t manage to book a glamping break, why not put a bell tent on the Christmas list. What a perfect way to spend the rest of the festive season, relaxing in your own luxury camping retreat. Home alone.
Merry Christmas campers.
Campfire Chicken Under a Brick with Lemons
You don't need an oven to make this chicken. Flattening the bird with a brick and cooking it in a skillet achieves a "roasted" finish.
1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
¼ cup plus 1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 lemons, cut into wedges
Pinch of crushed red-pepper flakes
Remove backbone from chicken using kitchen scissors. Place chicken, breast side up, on a cutting board, with legs extended on both sides. Press firmly on breastbone to break it and flatten chicken. Rub all over with 2 tablespoons oil, and season generously with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a cast-iron skillet set over a campfire. Place chicken in skillet, breast side down, and place a clean brick on top, pressing to flatten chicken. Grill until skin is golden and crisp, about 12 minutes. Remove brick, and flip chicken. Cover with foil, and grill for 20 minutes more. Flip chicken, and grill until cooked through.
Meanwhile, grill lemon wedges directly on grill, flipping, until caramelised, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a platter. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon oil, and sprinkle with red-pepper flakes. Serve with lemons.
Pretty much anything wrapped in bacon on an open fire is a thing of culinary beauty. Instead of pigs in blankets think bigger. Asparagus, prawns, halloumi, sausages or potatoes. Easy to prepare, easy finger food to eat whilst kicking back in your own glamping winter wonderland.
Potatoes will need some parboiling, either in a pot over the fire, or boiled before you set up camp. Everything else you can roll and go..
Ember-Baked Sweet Potatoes
4 medium sweet potatoes
Good flaky salt
Wait for the flames of the campfire to burn down. You are looking for lots of white coals and not much in the way of flames. Meanwhile, scrub the sweet potatoes and, while still wet, rub them all over with salt and olive oil. Then wrap each one tightly in tin foil.
Put the potatoes on to the coals using tongs and if you have a small metal spade or an old pan, use this to scoop coals very carefully on top of each potato so that they cook with a more even heat.
After about 40 minutes, the sweet potatoes should be soft throughout, and should have taken on some of the wonderful smoky flavour from the fire. You can check if they are done without unwrapping them by sticking a skewer into the potatoes: it should slide through like butter. If you like add some toppings such as mashed avocado, feta, coriander and pomegranate seeds.
Festive Cranberry Smores
250g fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
250g fresh cranberries
250g fresh raspberries
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds removed
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
Giant Roasting Marshmallows
Waffle cookies (or shortbread)
Milk chocolate bars
In a medium pan, toss together berries, sugar, vanilla and cardamom. Place on the fire with a splash or two of water and simmer down until soft. Allow to cool.
Roast marshmallows until golden brown and gooey. Place a piece of milk chocolate onto one waffle cookie. Top with roasted marshmallow and drizzle with reserved berry sauce. Top with second waffle cookie.
Mickey’s Chocolate Orange
Our take on Terry’s. However, we wouldn’t recommend these as a stocking filler.
Prepare the batter in advance or buy pre-made.
100g butter chopped
200g dark chocolate chopped
250g caster sugar
100g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
Caramel sauce (optional)
Crushed Crunchie Bars (optional)
Starting 1-2 inches down on the orange, slice off the top and set aside. Cut around the edge of the flesh of the orange and hollow out the orange with a spoon (use the flesh for a mimosa the next morning). Repeat with the other remaining oranges.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Cool to room temperature.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa.
Fill each orange with the brownie batter about an inch below the top of the orange and cover with the orange top. Wrap in heavy duty foil with at least 2 layers of foil.
Cook cakes in some campfire coals, rotating occasionally for 30-50 minutes depending on how hot your fire is. Unwrap cakes and top with chosen toppings.