One of the most common questions we get asked about our backpacking trips is "What do you eat?". I honestly believe that eating a good meal in the backcountry is one of life's great pleasures. When it comes to trekking food we have found people can generally be catagorised into one of three groups. There is the freeze dried food camp (lightweight & expensive), the part fresh-part dried camp (midweight & cheap), and then there's us in the go-all-out camp (heavy & affordable).
Our philosophy is this: When you are slogging up a hill and its cold and raining and your feet hurt and you're tired, do you want to be thinking about eating a can of beans for dinner or a steaming bowl of spicy ramen soup? We find it pretty easy to justify the extra weight because the promise of good hearty food is enough to get us up any hill and through any storm.
One Pot Gnocchi
Easily our favourite and most commonly cooked dish. We often substitute pasta for the gnocchi (its a bit more filling).
Ingredients: 500g Potato Gnocchi, Garlic, Onion, Olive Oil, Chorizo, Carrot, Pepper, Oregano, 1 x Chicken Stock Cube, 3 tbsp Tomato Paste, Rosemary, 400g water, parmesan to serve.
Method: Chop up and fry up the garlic, onion, chorizo and carrots. When the onion is softened and the chorizo crisped, add 400ml of water along with the stock cube, tomato paste and herbs. Bring to a boil then add the gnocchi. When the gnocchi is cooked through, remove from the stove and dig right in!!
Spicy Ramen Soup
One of our favourite meals for the trail. Its lightweight, hot and spicy and never fails to warm us up after a big day!
Ingredients: Rice or ramen noodles, soy sauce, hoi sin sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, chicken stock, spinach, egg, mushrooms, spring onion, carrots, chillis, 1.5L water.
Method: Fry the eggs in a pot and set aside. Bring water to a boil then add chicken stock cube, sauces to taste (best to premake a sauce and put in a small bottle), mushrooms, carrots and noodles. When the noodles are ready, serve on a bed of spinach and top with spring onion and egg. Add chillies to taste.
Super easy and quick. Bit of a pain to get those pesto smells out of the bowls so expect a pesto infused hot chocolate or breakfast the day after.
Ingredients: Pasta, Pesto, olive oil, parmesan cheese, mushrooms, pepper, salt, goats cheese, garlic, red pepper.
Method: Cook the pasta and set aside. Fry up the mushrooms and red pepper with the garlic in plenty of oil. Add the pasta and stir in the pesto, cheese, salt and pepper over a low heat.
Fast becoming one of our go to meals, this is probably the most filling meal on the menu. Unfortunately it is rather fuel intensive if you don’t pre-soak those lentils.
Ingredients: Garlic, onion, carrots, tomato, vegetable oil, cauliflower, lentils, milk powder, chicken stock cube, turmeric, cumin, curry powder, rice, coriander.
Method: Fry up the garlic, onions, carrots and tomato in more oil than you would normally use. When the onions have softened add the spice, again more than you would normally use, and toast them for 1 minute. Add 400ml of water, stock cube, cauliflower and lentils. Stir in the milk powder a couple of minutes before removing from the heat.
Red Thai Curry
Always tasty and somewhat luxurious. Its a perfect meal for night 1 of a shorter trip. Plus you can use the left over lime in a whiskey.
INGREDIENTS: Onion, garlic, ginger, chicken, red curry paste, green pepper, zucchini, coconut milk, coriander, lime.
METHOD: Fry up the onion, garlic and ginger in plenty of oil. Add the chicken and cook on a high heat. When cooked through, add the curry paste and toast for a minute. Add the green pepper, zucchini, coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with coriander and lime.
Since almost everyone out there who backpacks eats oatmeal for breakfast, we thought we’d share a few ideas we use to break up the monotony.
- Milk Powder
- Walnuts or Pecans
- Dried fruits: cranberries, raisins
- Fresh fruits: the ultimate luxury for those shorter trips.