Below is our first ever guest blog post, from the lovely Zara – the newest addition to the Piper’s Farm team.
Piper’s Farm is one of my favourite clients, and I have been working with them for a very long time. I am a huge fan of their company, which you can read more about here, and they also have a great blog, which I always enjoy reading. It was late last year, when we were shooting some of the new products in the woods with a bonfire, that the idea for this blog post was born – cooking over open flames is a topic very close to my heart, and I feel that Zara’s enthusiasm definitely does it justice. Enjoy!
On a dreary Sunday afternoon there is nothing better, in my opinion, than chucking wellies and a coat on and getting a fire stocked ready for cooking an exciting meal outside.
Cooking over open flames is a joy, and can create some intense flavours!
There are so many different options for cooking without needing a kitchen at all.
Whether it is as simple as spending a night in the woods and cooking supper on a camp fire, or cooking a flamboyant meal for an event on a roaring firepit; cooking this way is just such fun!
The attraction of cooking over naked flames is heightened by the opportunities of experiencing an alternative environment. Whether in the garden or enjoying some of our stunning British coastline with a BBQ, cooking up a storm in this way really brings you back to one with nature.
One of the main difficulties of cooking over flames rather than using a hob or oven is control. However, allowing the logs or ambers to almost burn out achieves a medium heat which is gentle enough to cook fish, vegetables, or delicate meats such as sausages and chicken breasts perfectly.
Stoking the pit up into a roaring blaze achieves an intense heat which, when cooking meat, create a fierce outer flavour, leaving the centre beautifully warmed through.
A particular favourite of mine, which is one of the most primordial cooking methods of all, is cooking directly on top of glowing coals. For this the option is clear, get a whopping great steak from a good quality butcher; such as a hanger steak, or some thick cut rump steaks and chuck them straight onto hot coals. This creates a beautifully charred crust and a juicy, tender interior. Perfection!
Cooking over open flames often attracts people to use alternative cuts of meat they wouldn’t usually opt for. Meat on the bone being so popular during the summer when everyone has dragged their BBQ out of hibernation but these don’t just need to be an option for summer. Chicken thighs on the bone, marinated in honey and soy and wrapped in foil to protect them. Then buried in a bed of hot coals or logs and left to bubble away in their own juices is so simple yet so flavoursome.
The same method can be used to make the most amazing crunchy skinned yet fluffy jacket potatoes.
Shellfish is another favourite, which I would usually cook on a firepit. Lay grills on top of the pit and let them get pipping hot. Place prawns or scallops in the shell on the grill and cook for 30 seconds or so, flip, and do the same. Adding a generous dab of garlic butter never does these any harm either. Delicious! Watching the prawns turn from a dark grey to a wonderful auburn colour and start to burst with juicy flesh is mouth watering.
Barbecuing can be as simple or as complex as you want. Popping burgers and sausages on a bbq is fun for all the family, and mixing it up with a variety of sauces is always a crowd pleaser. Smokey chipotle goes so well with pork sausages, and a honey, mustard and crème fraische sauce for steak burgers is easy and scrumptious.
Being a ‘foodie’ isn’t just about having an ardent interest gourmet food, its about enjoying food in every aspect of the word. So I would suggest turning back the centuries and enjoy some traditional, simple food, cooked in a primal yet exciting way!