Monday, 25 January 2010

Camping out under a harvest moon

To get myself through the grey days at the start of the year I  dream of summer (past and future). This August we camped on a friend’s farm just below Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor. We pitched our tents in a wide, open field with the moor stretching up and away behind us. The first thing we did was dig out a large rectangle of turf for our fire, making sure to stack the sods neatly so that we could replace them when we left and leave the field as we found it. We edged the fire pit with some large flat stones and whilst we waited for the fire to burn down to cooking height we got our tents up. The first night we cooked a flattened chicken that I marinated before we left home. Saffron and chopped red onion are combined with the more usual lemon and oil mixture to add a Persian feel to an English summer evening.  Whilst we ate our chicken we watched a huge harvest moon, opaque and orange swim out from behind the trees at the edge of the field and glide upwards.

Grilled chicken with saffron and lemon
1 free range chicken
1 red onion chopped finely
a pinch of saffron threads crushed and steeped in a 1 tbsp of boiling water
3 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
long green pepppers for grilling

Cut the chicken down its breastbone and lay it on top of a chopping board. Using your fist break the joints and flatten the chicken out. In a large tupperware combine the marinade ingredients and add the chicken, mix well and refrigerate until you are ready to use it. For campers a cool box should be fine.
When the coals are glowing nicely put a grill over the fire and allow any residue to burn off. Place the chicken skin side down and cook for a good ten to fifteen minutes on each side you can cook a pot of rice alongside the chicken and some long green peppers. We ate the chicken and the peppers torn up in great oval flat breads from the Turkish bakery.

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