Nutritious meals and snacks to make at home before a day in the hills

August 08, 2023 5 min read

Nutritious meals and snacks to make at home before a day in the hills
Sometimes you just want to go for a plod, paddle, picnic or play for a couple of hours with some lightweight food ready to go. This selection of recipes from Fell Foodie offers a variety of nibbles to be made in advance of your adventures. There's no need to pack any outdoor cooking equipment, so there's more room for refreshments. 
All recipes are featured in Cook Out. Get your hands on a copy HERE.

Mushroom and lentil rolls and sausage rolls
Makes 5 of each
Allergens – mushroom & lentil rolls: gluten, milk, soy, egg; sausage rolls: gluten, milk, mustard, egg

Anything encased in pastry is a winner in my book (see what I did there?). The nostalgia of a hot pasty or freshly baked pie following a cold Sunday morning playing sports as a child still brings a smile. Pastries also have history with transportation even if the pastry itself would often be discarded. Romans used pastry like foil, to trap in juices during cooking and then prevent contamination when the food was carried. Medieval communities are thought to have baked items within pastry cases to create a means of carrying stews and fare to a table. Here are two portable pastry snacks to help sustain your saunters.

Mushroom & lentil filling
1 shallot
2 garlic cloves
180–200g chestnut mushrooms 100g spinach
1 tablespoon yeast extract
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 can green lentils
125g cream cheese
30g parsley
black pepper

Sausage filling
1⁄2 leek
1⁄2 green apple butter
200g sausage meat 1 teaspoon mustard salt
black pepper

320g roll of shop-bought shortcrust pastry
1 egg yolk

To make the mushroom and lentil filling, finely dice the shallot and garlic before adding to a frying pan with a little butter on a medium–low heat. While they are softening, finely chop the mushrooms or whizz them in a food processor. Add to the pan and cook for 4–5 minutes so that they release a lot of their water. In a separate pan, wilt the spinach then squeeze and wring the excess water out of it and roughly chop it. Add it to the pan along with the yeast extract and soy sauce. Drain the lentils and add to the mix along with the cream cheese. Finely chop the parsley and add with some freshly ground black pepper; no need for salt as the umami seasonings of yeast extract and soy sauce will provide that flavour. Allow to cool and store in the fridge until you are ready to use.
To make the sausage filling, thinly slice the leek and grate the green apple. Add to a frying pan with a little butter and fry over a medium heat until the leek has softened. Add to a bowl with the sausage meat, mustard, salt and black pepper. Mix together and leave in the fridge until you are ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 180 ̊C. Cut the pastry roll in half lengthways to create two strips. Add the mushroom and lentil filling down the middle of one in a cylindrical shape. Paint beaten egg yolk on to either side of the filling on the bare pastry. Fold the pastry over, encasing the filling and creating a roll. Lightly press to seal the pastry, or create a lip and crimp it with the back of a fork. Repeat the process with the sausage filling on the other pastry strip. Paint the top of the pastries with beaten egg yolk and transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Garnish the rolls with mustard seeds (optional). Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is cooked through. Allow to cool before packing.

Beef jerky
Makes 15–20 slices
Allergens soy, fish

Jerky is synonymous with nomadic tribes and ancient ramblers, particularly in hot countries in the days before refrigeration. It remains a long-lasting, high-protein morsel that is enjoyed at home and in the outdoors all around the world. Different cultures have different variations, but essentially it is meat which has undergone a drying process in order to preserve it. Smoking and curing are also meat preservation techniques which have been done for centuries and are prominent in most countries’ cuisines. This recipe is actually closer to South African biltong than American jerky, but you might be more familiar with jerky. It uses a modern oven for the drying process, rather than air drying. Give it a go and perhaps then move on to carne seca, droëwors, charqui or pastirma.

1kg lean beef joint 200ml soy sauce
200g brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried chilli
1 tablespoon Chinese
five spice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
1⁄2 white onion 2 garlic cloves thumb of ginger

Place the beef joint in the freezer for 4 hours – it will firm up and be easier to slice. Remove and cut, not against the grain, into slices around 1⁄2cm thick. Continue until the whole joint has been sliced.

Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, chilli flakes, five spice and Worcestershire sauce to a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Thinly slice the white onion, crush and halve 2 cloves of garlic, and roughly slice a thumb of ginger – no need to peel it first. Add all the chopped aromatics to the sauce mix. Now add the beef slices to the marinade in a bowl or tray so that all the meat is covered. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.

Place a tray or some tinfoil in the bottom of the oven to catch any dripping marinade. Lay the meat on a wire rack, a wired tray or – my personal favourite – drape the slices over the metal bars of the oven racks so that they hang. Ensure you leave gaps in between the slices to allow for heat distribution for efficient drying. Turn the oven on to 80 ̊C and dry the meat for around 4 hours. Leave to cool on a fresh wire rack or the tray you dried it on. The slices will have shrunk in size, shed around half their weight and have a dark leather-like appearance.

Once cooled, take a bite from a slice – it should be firm and chewy. Consume the jerky within a week – it will keep at room temperature or, as desired, in a rucksack.

Chocolate truffles
Makes 20–22
Allergens milk, nuts

A deliciously rich cocoa hit when out on the trail. This one here is a simply flavoured truffle, but for variety you could add citrus oils, ginger or booze. Similarly, feel free to mix up your toppings – honeycomb, biscuit, matcha or sprinkles would all work really well, or you could mix some dried fruit into the truffle as you roll it. As well as a luxury snack for your wanderings, this also makes for a simple and speedy dessert to follow your camping meal.

300ml double cream 25g butter
300g dark chocolate cocoa powder
50g pistachios

Add the double cream and butter to a pan and heat on the hob over a low flame until it begins to simmer. Remove from the heat. Chop up the chocolate – the smaller the pieces, the quicker the melt. Add to the pan and stir constantly until all the chocolate is melted and incorporated. (It is possible for the fats to split if you overheat the chocolate in the cream. If this happens, heat a small amount of milk and whisk it into the ganache to emulsify the fats.) Allow the mixture to cool and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Take the mixture out of the fridge. Lightly oil your hands with an odourless oil such as vegetable oil and scoop out a small amount of ganache. Roll it in the palms of your hands until it comes together into a ball; you are aiming for a golf-ball-sized truffle, or smaller. Roll it in cocoa powder or some finely chopped pistachios and set aside. Repeat the process until you have used all your mixture.

Pack out and enjoy.

All images © Kenny Block.