Camp outs and dirty burgers

Camp outs and dirty burgers

Despite my love of cooking over fire I am absolutely not a camper. I like decent water pressure from a hot shower and sleep on high thread count cotton sheets. Sitting around a camp fire in a snuggly jumper is definitely enhanced by a hot bubble bath being a short walk away. Still, Mini Chef was desperate to camp and given his father was less likely to take him than me (and can’t even light a fire), it was on the to do list. Lock down gave me the perfect opportunity to give him that experience and make some really delicious dirty burgers.

I’m a member of the brilliant Facebook group, Share Your Outdoors, and as outdoorsy folk are liable to do, there have been camp outs. Delightfully for me, lock down means we have to do them in our gardens. No hauling stuff across fields and no deprivations if you forget to pack something. Mini Chef and I strung up an old curtain and I inflated some air mattresses before making them up with sheets and duvets. A few floor cushions, an ice bucket for my wine (obviously), one of my fire pits, and we were ready to go.

Garden camp out

It wasn’t the best night’s sleep of my life but it was sufficiently enjoyable that I bought proper camp beds for future camp outs. I’ve not changed my stance on actual camping but it was a beautiful bonding experience for Mini Chef and I (Lola could happily never do it again). I woke with the birds while he slept in and throwing my bedding (which was damp with morning dew) in the washing machine and making a cup of tea to keep me warm while I lit the fire for our morning steak and eggs made it all feel very civilised.

While watching Mini Chef play with sparklers before curling up on my knee to read a story wearing a head lamp was wonderful, the food highlight was our dirty burgers. I definitely went low key and the only thing I made myself was the buns which were the scones from my Kale Towers recipe from The Pyromaniac Chef Cook Book (which by now you surely know is only £1 when the code COVID19 is used at checkout). The burgers were bought from Over Farm and topped with cheese before going into the scones with gherkins and chipotle jam. They were pretty messy to eat but were all the more delicious for it.

I hope you’re all finding ways to have fun at home.

Flame on.


Kale Towers

This was one of my favourite meals when I cooked everything I ate for a week over a fire. It could easily be adapted for vegetarians with slabs of halloumi and sliced of aubergine. They can be secured with a skewer if desired but I like the challenge of piling them.

Serves 4



100g kale

1 tbsp paprika

200g self-raising flour

50ml milk or buttermilk

2 eggs



4 slices of black pudding

4 rashers of smoked back bacon

4 Portobello mushrooms

20g butter



  1. Finely chop the kale. Mix with the paprika and flour.
  2. Add the milk and eggs and stir with a knife.
  3. To cook the scones, heat a little oil in a pan and fry a spoonfuls of the thick batter for five minutes then flip over and cook for another five minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
  4. To cook the filling, fry mushrooms in the butter in the pan, adding the bacon when almost cooked then the black pudding at the end.
  5. Smear the scones with mustard and build a stack.

Kale Towers

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