Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And as it happens, I also think it’s the best one. Even more so if you get multiple breakfasts in a row!
In honor of Finland turning 100 Metsähallitus is co-ordinating the Nature Days 2017 project, which is meant to encourage togetherness and enjoying Mother Nature.
On a beautiful Winter day we arranged a family trip to Leivonmäki National Park with a theme of Glamping Outdoor Brunch (glamping meaning glamorous camping). Brunch goes well with doing stuff together and every family member can bring their individual skill-sets along.
We planned out a menu with the idea of simplicity without sacrificing flavor:
Someone wanted bacon, another something fresh and one wanted toast. I had a few recipes in mind: outdoor-chai-latte and outdoor croissants.
In case you don’t know, the breakfast/lunch hybrid called brunch usually consists of breakfast foods but with more stuff. And you get to enjoy sweet and savory goodies. You can seldom go wrong with sausages, eggs and pancakes.
Coffee, tea, juices and smoothies usually accompany the meal. Since this one was an outdoor brunch, fresh water was a crucial part of it.
Transporting the ingredients outdoors follows the same rules as in a normal situation. Preservation isn’t an issue in Wintertime, however, but you could pack them in a frost bag just in case.
Fresh vegetables might freeze in low enough temperatures, so I suggest packing them in an insulated space, or in other words: wool socks.
The idea of glamping is to camp with style and finesse and luxury, whether it be in the form of a nicer accommodation or luxurious food.
Our take on this was to create an experience that would combine a culinary memory with a good time together. Since we didn’t have a long way to traverse, we could carry even the heavier stuff with us. We had:
- A small cast iron pan and a plastic spatula
- Sticks for sausages
- A griddle
- A cutting board
- Plates, cups and utensils
I wasn’t going for a Mother of The Year award, so I didn’t make everything from scratch. All the ingredients could be found from your local supermarket.
The crepe batter and the powder for the chai-latte were the only selfmade things.
We divided the food and accessories into the backpacks. The strongest carried the heaviest stuff, naturally. We all carried water and food, so the weight would decrease evenly during the walk.
To maximize our enjoyment we transformed the brunch into a three-course meal.
- Fruit smoothie
- Savory snack (salami)
We got the first fire going at Joutsniemi campfire site. We chopped wood and whittled kindling.
The logs were wet but burned nicely after being chopped into small enough pieces.
It was good to eat something because it took a while for the fire to simmer down and we’re not good at waiting while hungry.
I was considering a salad to replace the smoothie but convenience won this time.
In the baby-food section of the store you can find these small smoothie portions in a variety of flavors. They’re very handy should you start to feel fatigue or if you feel like something sweet after your actual meal. Or you can just make one from scratch and throw some protein powder in the mix.
Instead of the salami snack you can always have dried tofu or a strong cheese. Both last pretty long in the backpack.
- Fried eggs
- Bacon and wieners
- Tomato and salad
The main item in the first serving was stuffed toast.
We fried bacon and wieners and toast in the griddle and fried some eggs in the cast iron pan. We had packed the tomatoes in a small plastic container and packed the container in the middle of other stuff in out bags.
The idea was to have salad but I sort of forgot it in the fridge. You should choose a thick-leaved variety because that can take more of a beating. Had I not forgotten it, I wouldn’t pre-torn it and packed in in a separate plastic container.
We placed the eggs, bacon, tomatoes and wieners on the crusty toast pieces and went to town. This amount of nutrition would sustain us until we made our way to the next campsite, which was a whopping kilometer away!
After the delicious toast we made some tea and added the chai-latte powder. So good! The spicy tea was perfect after the smoke-flavored bread.
I’ve added my own twist in the following recipe, which I’ve combined from several and for example, replaced milk with milk powder.
You should always make a bigger batch on one go because you might want more after you get back home.
(serves about 8 tea cups)
2 dl milk powder
2 dl fine sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
0,5 teaspoons of ground allspice
0,5 teaspoons of ground carnation
0,5 teaspoons of ground cardamom
A dash of ground nutmeg
- Mix all the ingredients in a blender. The end result needs to be a fine powder in order to dissolve into the liquid.
- Store in a dry and cool place. Pack into a Minigrip bag.
- When serving 4 people: boil water, add two bags of black tea, let it stew. Pour the tea in the cups and add about 2 tablespoons of the chai-latte powder. Stir and enjoy!
- Outdoor croissants
- Jeam, whipped cream
Brunch, part 2: the dessert, took place in the Lintuniemi half-lean-to.
The crepe batter was pre-made at home and was in a plastic bottle, ready to go on the pan. The batter had a splash of oil in it but we added some butter on the pan as well to give it flavor and to achieve that lacy surface.
They were delicious! The following recipe is for your basic crepes but you can always go with pancakes as well!
For added taste you can have berries or bananas or a dash of cinnamon. Or chocolate chips. Or all of the above.
(about 12 midsized crepes)
5 dl milk
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
0,5 teaspoons of oil
Butter for baking
- Heat the pan. When using a cast iron one, the handle heats up as well. So be careful!
- Pour batter on pan. Bake those bad boys, thick or thin, however you like. Should the pan overheat, you can cool it down in the snow.
- Dig in!
Croissants have been a family tradition for years so we wanted to try and make them now as well.
We added some cinnamon in the pre-made batter and wrapped it around a stick. They turned out great!
In addition to sweet things, you can fill the croissants with savory stuff, such as cream cheese or ham and veggies.
1 pack of croissant batter (should be kept refrigerated)
2 dl sugar
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
whipped cream in a can
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a ziplock bag. Pack the bag with you, it’ll last a while.
- Open the croissant batter pack according to instructions.
- Grab a piece of the batter and put it in the ziplock bag and wiggle the bag around.
- Remove the piece of batter from the bag and wrap it around a stick – not too tight!
Squeeze shut from both ends.
- Roast on embers while turning steadily. It burns easily, so be patient.
- Remove the croissant from the stick, stuff with jam and/or whipped cream and enjoy!
After the second serving we were filled with whipped cream and jam.
We did bring marshmallows and chocolate chip cookies along as well for the s’mores but no one felt like more sugar at this point. We headed back home, across Rutajärvi lake.
Our Nature Day trip was a combination of peaceful hiking and appreciating the wonders of the Winter scenery. We had a plan and we saw it through.
And isn’t the best kind of culinary trip the one where you start planning your next outing already?