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The knife

By Wild Chef Anders Klint 2014.07.30 in Equipement

Whether you are engaged in general outdoor activities, climbing, hiking or canoeing, it is always a wise choice to carry an appropriate outdoor knife with you. Even if you never need it for safety reasons, a knife is always good for a variety of everyday tasks. From the outdoor cooking perspective, my personal recommendation is a Victorinox, which has most of what you need in cooking: knife, fish scaler, corkscrew, can opener, etc.

Knives with fixed blades
Since there are no moving parts, solid knives are stronger and more durable than folding knives. Fixed blades are recommended for, for example, filleting fish, cutting and chopping vegetables. The main disadvantage of knives with a fixed blade is that they require a holster that is often hard to keep clean from bacteria. Select a knife with a plastic holster, it is easier to keep hygienic.

Folding knives
Many (but not all) folding knives have several blades of different lengths and types. This provides greater versatility. But folding knives are not as durable as knives with fixed blades. If several blades and features (scissors, saw, etc.) appeals to you as much as me, consider a Swiss Army knife or a Leatherman multi-tool.

Blade types
There are three common types of blades: straight, serrated and combination of straight/serrated.

Straight blade
Ideal for use around the camp kitchen, straight blade is a good general cutting tool. It is also relatively easy to sharpen and it keeps its edge longer than the serrated blade.

Serrated blade
A serrated blade can be distinguished by teeth that are embedded in the blade. Though not as apparent as the teeth of a saw, a serrated blade is much more efficient than a straight blade to cut through, for example, a fish. But serrated blades become dull more rapidly and are difficult to sharpen. Round files, usually of several sizes, and a lot of patience is required for sanding.

Straight/serrated blades
A straight blade near the pointed end and toothed blade near the grip; this combination offers the best features of both worlds. Let your intended activity determine the blade type, or if you really need the versatility, choose a knife or multi-tool with several blade options.

Blade materials
The most popular blade materials are alloy, carbon/steel and stainless steel. The blade of carbon steel is easy to sharpen and it maintains its sharpness longer than the blade of stainless steel, but it rusts if not treated with silicone wax or used regularly. The blade of stainless steel does not rust, but it requires more work to maintain its sharpness.

Knives for hiking/camping
In outdoor activities you want to keep the weight to a minimum. A good outdoor knife is small and lightweight, but sturdy enough to withstand heavy use, as the activities you practice outdoors can give the knife more wear than in your home kitchen. A blade with both sharp and serrated edge can be most beneficial here.

When you buy a proper knife, you will be amazed at all the uses you find for it. Whether you need to cut through the vegetation or make a barbecue stick, cut vegetables or fillet a fish, the knife should be an integral part of your equipment.

Greetings from Wild Chef/Friluftskocken!
Victorinox swisschamp

Combining flavors

By Wild Chef Anders Klint 2014.07.06 in Inspiration

I’ll give you cooking interested hikers some basic knowledge about combining flavors, so it is easier for you to understand why a recipe is composed in a certain way.

Sometimes good combinations are arising from a region or place simply because certain products or raw materials were available or produced in the region, such as wine and cheese, for example. Different countries and regions have their own specific dishes and drinks that have become valued combinations out of tradition and as a result of experimentation. In today’s international world we get impressions from all countries and the supply of raw materials is enormous. This can result in many funny new blends.

However, it is advantageous to have knowledge of some classic combinations in order to vary your own. It is your senses and your taste that determine whether something is good or not. Do not be afraid to experiment your own variants and compositions. An important rule of thumb is that food and drink will take the upper hand in taste, but both should be in balance.

When you want to experiment with different combinations, first taste and smell the raw materials and then consider how the raw materials change in different temperatures or when using different cooking methods. If the raw material is predominantly sweet in character and you want to break the sweetness with something spicy, the choices are endless, from white pepper to hot chili or even curry. Apple and curry, for example, is a classic combination, which leads to the supposition that curry should work together with pears or roasted root vegetables too.

With some experience of various experiments in the kitchen at home before a hiking tour, I hope that you will succeed in finding your own tasty combinations.

Balancing flavors

In order to find various combinations it is easier if you know what flavors a drink or food contains. There are two ways to balance flavors. One is to strengthen a flavor that’s a commodity, for example, to put a little sugar in the tomato sauce to enhance the tomato flavor. The second is to break off a taste, for example by mixing a little vinegar into the tomato salad to break the sweetness of the tomatos.

Basic principles for what breaks off or strengthens different flavors

It is the chef’s ability to bring together different ingredients that determine how successful the combination becomes, so it is good to know some basic principles for what breaks off or strengthens different flavors.

Salty
Sweet and fatty break off and mitigate saltiness. Spicy and hot are enhanced by the saltiness. Remember that all smoked products are quite salty.

Sweet
Tart, sour, fatty, salty, bitter and hot/strong break off and mitigate the sweetness. Sweetness can also be enhanced by sweetness. The sweetness increases with the raw material’s maturity and according to where exactly it is farmed. If a commodity can grow slowly with a lot of sun, it also becomes sweeter in taste.

Acid/Tart
Sweet, fatty, spicy and hot/strong break off and mitigate the taste of something sour or tart. We usually want to round off raw materials that are tart with any of the aforementioned flavors. It is not entirely successful to serve a tart snack with a sour drink.

Bitter
Sweet, tart and fat break off and alleviate bitterness. For our ancestors bitter taste was a sign of toxic raw materials.

Herbal
Salt and fat enhance the taste of herbs. Herbs can emit a certain aroma and flavor also with sweet and tart.

Spicy
Salt and fat enhance the spiciness. Spices with strong flavor, such as allspice, cloves, bay leaves and nutmeg, are difficult to mitigate if you happen to spice up too much. Some smoked chili varieties are also hard to tone down in case of over seasoning.

Hot/Strong
Sweet, tart and fat mitigate the taste of hot spices.

Fatty
Alcohol and acid alleviate the feeling of greasy food. Sweet, spicy and hot mitigate the taste of fat. Salt enhances the flavor of fat.

spices

Biltong recipe

By Wild Chef Anders Klint 2014.06.17 in Snacks

Biltong is a thicker, moister beef jerky with a secret ingredient: coriander. It provides a nice change from beef jerky, it’s home made so it doesn’t have chemicals and preservatives and in my opinion it tastes far better. The only problem is having to share it on the trail!

This recipe calls for the beef to be marinaded overnight.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg boneless beef roast
  • Apple cider vinegar (about 1/4 cup or so, plus a bowlful for rinsing in step 5)
  • Worchestshire sauce (about 1/4 cup or so)
  • 1 tbl sp rock salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (to soften meat fibers)
  • Coriander; roasted, ground. If you can’t find it roasted, plain ground coriander is ok but not as flavorful. A coffee or spice grinder will grind roasted whole coriander. Roasting them yourself is easy: 175 degrees C on an ungreased cookie tray for about 3 to 6 minutes = until aromatic.

    Marinade: apple cider vinegar & Worchestshire sauce
    Salt mixture: salt, sugar, pepper and baking soda

    1. Thaw the meat until you are able to slice it with very sharp knife – it should still be quite frosted. This ensures clean, neat, uniform thickness of slices. If you slice the meat with the grain, the biltong will be chewier, if you slice it against the grain, it will be easier to tear. Slice the meat into 1/4 to 1/2 cm thick slices. Cut the slices into any size you want. Trim off excess fat – too much fat, and the biltong will become rancid more quickly.
    2. Mix rock salt, brown sugar, pepper, soda.
    3. Marinade the meat in a large baking pan. Sprinkle little salt mixture on the bottom of the pan. Add a single layer of meat, sprinkle with salt mixture, then vinegar and Worchestshire sauce. Add just enough salt mixture, vinegar and Worchestshire to get the salt mixture to fizz. Not too much! Not too little! Repeat layers, ending with the salt-vinegar-Worchestshire on top. Use it all so so that in the end you have run out of the salt mixture.
    4. Marinade 12 hours in the fridge, not much longer than that. If you marinade too long, the meat dries out too much. If you marinade too little, the meat has not cured enough and will be flavourless and will spoil faster.
    5. Quickly dip each piece of meat in a bowl of apple cider vinegar to get off excess salt – not all the salt, just the excess salt. Lay in a dehydrator in single layers – no overlapping. Sprinkle with coriander. Dehydrate about 4 hours; the meat should be pliable but not gooshy and definitely not dry. If it’s stiff and hard while still warm, it has dried too much. Once the pieces have cooled, they should be fairly stiff but still at least a little flexible. I always eat a piece or two to test.
    6. Store the meat in ziplock bags with a paper towel to absorb condensation in fridge or freezer. If you freeze it for a long time, it tends to dry out a bit more. In warm and humid conditions the biltong will spoil very quickly.

    I recommend you to make a small batch (about 1 kg meat) to start with, to get the feel of things and to adjust ingredients to get the taste and texture you want. Make also sure you don’t prepare too much in one go, so that all of it does not fit in the dehydrator and the rest of the meat marinades too long and becomes too dry.When I do a big batch, I sometimes do as much as 6 to 8 kg in one go. 1 kg of fresh meat doesn’t make a lot of biltong (probably only about one small freezer bag)!

    torrkött

     

    Wanted: Good meals on the trail.

    By Wild Chef Anders Klint 2014.05.18 in Dry food

    Good meals on the trail. Must be hot and filling. Cannot take long to prepare because we just want to eat. Gotta include carbs, protein and fiber. Over-priced packaged meals need not apply; we’d rather spend our money on gear.

    Can you relate? If you’ve ever spent time on the trail, you can. Shelling out hard-earned money on packaged food when you can make it yourself is a hard pill to swallow — so don’t do it. Whatever you make at home you can take on the trail for small money on the ready-made-meals’ euros. Here are some ideas to get started from me and Patrik Blomkvist:

    Equipment:

    • Dehydrator or an oven with drying trays (trays can be made at home with cheesecloth stretched over cookie sheets; secure with wooden clothespins)
    • Pot to blanche food in or mix liquid foods (if necessary)
    • Ziplock bags or other airtight container (to store the food)
    • Easiest:
    • Supplement what you already bring. I like to add variety to my meals when I’m out for extended periods, so I buy the standards, including pasta, then dehydrates veggies at home in my oven. Since dehydrated vegetables are hard to find and fresh don’t make sense to carry, I think my combination is “like gold” on the trail.
    • How to do it: Patrik says: “Slice veggies thinly on aerated sheet/rack, put the temperature on the oven to just under 50 degrees, and prop open door a smidge. When they don’t stick to each other, they’re done.” For peppers, which are one of his favorite to dehydrate and add to pasta dishes on the trail, this usually takes between five and seven hours. Want to give your dish a taste of Spain? I use sliced tomatoes that you can season (or not). Just slice, scrape out the seeds, spread tomato slices on a rack, then dehydrate for around eight hours (pliable but not sticky when done) at 45°.
    • Intermediate:
    • Make a breakfast for your champions. Try dehydrating a classic eggs, bacon and hashbrowns breakfast for your next trip. These are easy to make at home and will be just nearly as simple on the trail — just add water, then cook. And the bacon can be eaten as is!
    • How to do it:
    • Eggs:
    • Grab six eggs and scramble them until whites and yolks are well blended. You can add some seasoning at this point if you like. Pour into an ungreased fruit leather tray that comes with your dehydrator and turn the heat up to 45°.  Dry until the eggs are brittle (overnight). You can then crumble into bags or grind into powder. To use, just add 2 tablespoons of water to every tablespoon of egg and cook!
    • Hashbrowns:
    • You can either grate potatoes by hand & soak in lemon water before drying (to preserve color) or, if you’re lazy, buy a bag of frozen hashbrowns & thaw. Either way, spread the hashbrowns thinly over your dehydration trays (or prepared cookie sheets — see “equipment”) and cook at 45° overnight. Rehydrate on the trail by pouring boiling water over the hashbrowns until they are submerged & let sit until soft. Then just season & cook!
    • Tip: do both of the above at the same time. 
    • Bacon:
    • Using thin slices, cook the bacon first, then blot off as much grease as possible (grease and oil lead to spoiling). Lay strips in a dehydration tray or prepared cookie sheets (see “Equipment”) and cook at 55° for six to eight hours until completely crisp. Blot again to remove any grease that may have appeared during the process. Eat as is — it’s bacon. Mmm!
    • Difficult:
    • Okay, you gourmet: No sissy eggs and bacon for you. It’s time to take it to the big leagues with full on recipes that will wow your campmates — or incite jealousy (but you’re sharing, right?). When it comes to cooking for the crew, look to Friluftskocken / Wild Chef. This outdoor adventuring father of four makes dehydrated deliciousness for all members of the family when they hit the backcountry for a few days at a time. The family favorite? Chili — with meat and all! Surprised that you can dehydrate a liquid-filled meal? Here’s a tip with which you can adapt the recipe below: “…pretty much any stew or sauce can be dehydrated,” says Patrik.
    • How to do it:
    • This will likely need to be done in two or three stages (depending whether you are adding beef and beans) unless you have multiple modes of dehydrating that can be used simultaneously. Plan accordingly!
    • Gather the ingredients from your favorite chili recipe. Place meat (ground beef in this case) in a frying pan and break up into small pieces — Patrik says they should be no bigger than beans to make reconstituting on the trail easier — adding salt to taste. Once fully cooked, drain off grease and blot with a paper towel to remove the excess oils. Layer the ground beef thinly on drying trays and dehydrate at the highest setting (50-60°) for 12-18 hours. The meat will resemble gravel when finished.
    • Beans should also be cooked and dehydrated separately. Once cooked (or if you’re using canned beans), layer them on trays and dehydrate for 10-12 hours at 40°.  They may crack in the drying process — no problem.
    • In a pot, mix the remainder the chili ingredients and cook. Once finished, line your dehydrating trays with parchment or use fruit leather trays. Pour carefully, making a thin layer on each tray, and dehydrate at 45-55° for eight to 10 hours. You can leave it as is once it is dry, or, if you’d like to make reconstituting it even easier, dry it until brittle, then break it up and put into a food processor, blending into a powder.
    • At camp, add the different parts together (meat, beans, chili sauce). Add one cup of water for every cup of chili and let sit for a few minutes until it is softened. Then heat and serve.
    • You’re now ready to hit the trail with delicious, lightweight food in tow. If you’re just starting, don’t be overwhelmed: try substituting one or two homemade meals for pre-packaged to get into the swing of things.
    • Final Tip: Before packing any dehydrated food, make sure to let it cool completely. Oh, and try not to let the accolades you’re about to get from your camp crew go to your head.

    Friluftsmat

    Wild Chef’s veg Pie

    By Wild Chef Anders Klint 2014.04.02 in Dinner

    This hearty meal is perfect for cold-weather camping and is ready in mere minutes.

    Ingredients
    7 ounce package baked tofu (savory flavor)
    4 ounce package mashed potatoes
    1 packet mushroom sauce
    1/2 cup dried mushrooms
    1/4 cup dried mixed vegetables
    1/2 teaspoon
    vegetable bouillon
    1/4 teaspoon
    dried sage
    1/2 teaspoon
    dried thyme
    Dash of salt and pepper
    Directions
    At home: Combine the vegetables, sage, thyme and bouillon in a plastic freezer bag. Place the potatoes in a second freezer bag. Carry the mushroom sauce and diced tofu separately.
    On the trail: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and pour 2 cups into the potatoes and 1 cup into the vegetables. While the vegetables are rehydrating, sauté the tofu. Add the vegetables to the tofu, but don’t drain the vegetables. Add the packet of mushroom sauce and stir well to help it thicken. Top the mixture with mashed potatoes before serving.
    Serves 2-4

    campfire

    Bacalao – Stewed Codfish

    By Wild Chef Anders Klint 2014.03.15 in Dinner

    Ingredients

    1 medium-size (about 8 ounces) dry salted codfish
    1 onion cut into round slices
    6 potatoes cut in slices
    1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 red pepper, chopped
    ¼ cup olive oil
    1 sprig Chinese parsley (Cilantro)
    Directions
    Soak codfish overnight in cold water overnight. Drain water and add fresh cold water. Boil codfish for 1/2 hour. Pour out water. Fry codfish, onion, garlic, red pepper and tomato sauce in hot oil. Simmer for 1/2 hour. Add parsley.

    bacalao dried

    Northern light coffee

    By Wild Chef Anders Klint 2014.03.07 in Drinks / warm

    1. Pour the whisky (the good spirits) and the kahlua (the night) into a coffee cup.Add the coffee (earth) until it is two-thirds full. Put some whipped cream (the snow) on top of the coffee.
    2. Pour grand marnier in a spoon, warm it up and set it on fire. Pour the burning liquid slowly into the coffee (this makes the the Northern Lights). Stir up the contents of the cup and serve the coffee.

    Cooks Comments

    • WARNING: don’t burn your lips!
    • This recipe is legendary in greenland, and has quite the kick too if you can afford the ingredients. 

    Northern light coffee

    Breakfast Biscuits

    By Wild Chef Anders Klint 2014.03.06 in Baking

    Serves 2 to 4

    Smoky bacon and the flavor of real maple make these biscuits a great breakfast treat on the trail.

    1 cup flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 1/2 tablespoons maple flakes or maple sugar
    4 tablespoons bacon bits
    1/2 cup water

    At Home: Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together once and place them in a ziplock bag. Package the butter separately, and put it in the ziplock bag with the dry ingredients. Wrap the maple flakes or maple sugar and bacon bits separately in a plastic wrap and add the packages to the ziplock bag of other ingredients.

    At Camp: Mix 1 tablespoon of butter (or shortening) with the flour mixture using your fingertips until the mixture looks like small beans. Add in the maple flakes and bacon bits. Mix in 1/2 cup of water until you have very soft dough. Do not knead. Shape into 6 biscuits.

    Place in a pan lined with parchment paper for baking. Bake for 20 minutes. If you are preparing these in a frying pan, cook until they’re golden on the bottom; then flip them and cook until they’re done.

    Bacon Biscuits

     

     

    Trail food, what you need to know

    By Wild Chef Anders Klint 2014.02.28 in Packing tips

    There are basically two kinds of trail food. You could get freeze-dried trailmeals, available in many delicious varieties but at relatively higher prices. Or, you can get food at your local grocery store, also with a wide variety of tasty choices, for less cost.

    Planning menus for a weekend trip isn’t difficult. You could get by with whatever you happen to have on hand that will keep unrefrigerated. You could even take some luxury items that normally would be too heavy or bulky.

    But for trips much longer than a weekend, particularly if a week or longer, food becomes more important.

    The Best Trail Foods
    The best backpacking food is lightweight, tasty, calorie-packed and quick cooking. However, each meal type is different — lunch is usually heavier, more bulky, high energy, and no-cook. Cooked dinners are typically dehydrated so they are lighter. I’ve found that good backpacking food for breakfasts consists of about half no-cook and half quick-cook. Don’t forget to bring liquid flavorings (hot cocoa, etc).

    A final critical characteristic of the “best” backpacking food is that you like it. On longer trips especially, food is important to your well-being psychologically. Tasty backpacking food helps keep the spirits up during physical stress, even improving the scenery!

    Plan and Organize!
    Food prepared for backpacking needs to be packaged and organized (rationed) out to balance weight against not having enough. Food and menus can easily become the most complicated and time-consuming part of trip planning!

    Save yourself a lot of hassle in camp (and possibly running out of something), by measuring out and packaging individual meals in plastic bags. Get rid of the cardboard. Add labels with cooking instructions. Squeeze tubes or wide-mouth bottles of various sizes are good for portioning out exact amounts of syrup, peanut butter, and the like. It’s wise to double-bag powdered foods, such as potato flakes or bulk hot cocoa.

    A flexible meal organization system that I’ve settled on is to put all dinners into one bag, all breakfasts into one bag and all lunches into one bag. This way, you can match the meal to the situation; for example, deciding on-the-fly when to use no-cook versus cooked breakfasts, instead of rummaging through sacks labeled by “day”.

    Calories and Energy
    Backpacking takes an amazing amount of energy (long trips are great weight-loss plan!). Backpacking food needs to supply your body with roughly 2,500 to 5,000 calories a day, the lower figure for easy summer hiking, the higher figure for cold-weather, intense mountaineering. The middle-ground, 3000 to 4000 calories, is right in line with the 1 ½ to 2 pounds of food guideline.

    Good backpacking food for quick, short-term energy are carbohydrates, starches, and sugars — such as breads, cereals, pasta, crackers and the like. You also need long term energy, provided by proteins and fats, such as canned or dried meat, cheeses, dried eggs, dried milk, cheese, chocolate and nuts.

    Good luck!!

    månadenstipsnr1

    My personal style; I do it all!

    By Wild Chef Anders Klint 2014.02.25 in Breakfast

    Wilderness meals are important and should taste good
    I’m Anders Klint, I work as an outdoor-chef it might sound a bit funny but I can tell you that it’s the best job there is! When I first started becoming more involved in hiking and canoeing adventures, I never expected that I would become a wilderness cooking instructor.

    I remember those first trips, over 30 years ago, digging into a typical hiking meal and thinking to myself, “there has to be a better way to deal with food in the backcountry”. With that in mind I set out to learn everything I could about wilderness cooking and making trail meals that would be more enjoyable.

    When talking to other outdoor adventure enthusiasts, I realized that many had the same question surrounding how to make delicious meals, with ease, on wilderness trips.

    I want to use my knowledge: to give you an insight into a outdoor chef’s daily lives, but also share good and bad dining experiences, fantastic recipes and to tell you about my passion for organic and fair trade products and services! My own first choice, it is obvious to choose organic food and fair trade.

    My personal style; I do it all!
    I like food. Point. Some (outdoor) chefs acquire quickly a very personal style, or specialize in a particular country’s cuisine, but it has never really worked for me. Of course, Italy, its food and especially the Italians approach to food is to my heart, but when I write it, I realize that I might as well say the same for France, Spain and many other countries. Classic meat stew gets me going as much as a simple margherita, a smooth sobrasada, or a refined croque-en-bouche. Because of my job I have to be quite broad, but it seems so boring to just do one thing!

    What I think we outdoor chefs have in common, whether we cook kimchi or sausage is that all chefs want to cook personal food. Food that says something about the one by the camp fire, tell a story, and that makes people happy. It is the feeling of success – or failure – with what I want to convey.

    The essence and the passion for me is my great love for the wilderness, camping and cooking. When I can experience these things in combination and in addition have it my profession, then happiness is complete!

    Campfire Breakfast = Protein Power!
    Something about an outdoor campfire adds such a unique and tasty flavor to any meal.  Here is an easy gluten-free breakfast camping recipe that’s packed with protein power (to get you through those amazing hikes and nature adventures).

    Ingredients:

    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 package of bacon (or maybe 2 )
    1 can of organic black beans
    5 eggs
    1 handful of spinach
    Salsa or Tapatio hot sauce

     

    Directions:

    1. Make a campfire (make sure you have paper, twigs, wood, and a lighter!).
    2. Once the fire is hot and steady, place a pan on the grill and add olive oil.
    3. Add pre-cooked sausage. Stir and heat for 3 minutes.
    4. Crack 5 eggs in pan, stir around to make it scrambled. Let eggs cook for 2 minutes.
    5. Add black beans (drain water from can). Stir constantly (don’t break the beans).
    6. Once eggs are cooked, add a handful of spinach. Heat for another minute then serve with salsa or Tapatio sauce!

    So easy and such a great way to start your morning in nature!

    If you would like to learn more recipes and more about how to cook great in the wilderness check out my blog: Friluftsmat and follow me on Facebook, “Wil Chef”. So far in English, you can also use the translation button in the browser.

    Eat well out there!

    /Anders Klint

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