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7 Star Tips For Your Outdoor Kitchen

  • Martina Wengenmeir
  • August 3, 2022
Credits cover image: Savannah Cummins

Of course, grilled meat and cheese sandwiches are absolute classics. But - you want to eat more sustainably and healthier outdoors, camping or on tour, as well as whip up finer dishes? Outdoor chef Kieran Creevy has shared his best hacks with us on how to take our nutrition on the road to a whole new level. And: You'll be reading more from him on in the future!

For more than 20 years, Kieran Creevy has traveled the world. He knows the range of dishes from all over the world - from North African stews to curries from the Himalayas to the asados of the Andes.

At first, he worked as an international mountain leader until a light struck him on a ski touring expedition in the Finnish Arctic. Since then, Creevy has been passionate about developing gourmet outdoor recipes for a wide variety of clients. For example, he has cooked a 6-course tasting menu with matching wines in a base camp tent, prepared homemade pumpkin and sage gnocchi with wild boar ragu at a snow hole camp in the Italian Alps, and served reindeer loin with smoked beet, skyr and pine needle salt in the Arctic. Not only did Creey reveal to us seven practical tips for your outdoor kitchen, but from now on, the adventurer will be presenting his best recipes every month on, which not only taste good at home, but also in the wilderness. Get inspired for a good meal on your next outdoor adventure.


Planning Ahead: Preparation Is Everything

Just like the tour organization, the meal planning should also be in advance. "I always think about what meals I want to prepare, then prepare what I can at home and pack accordingly. In my experience, you buy way too much if you get everything locally. You take five days' worth of food with you when you're only on the road for two," says Kieran Creevy.

He schedules one day a month to pre-cook, mix and finish what he wants to take with him at home. When it's time to go, all he has to do is pack the ingredients and take the ready-made spice mixes or the prepared snacks and homemade bars. This not only saves him money, but also protects the environment by reducing packaging waste, which quickly becomes rampant with store-bought muesli bars, chocolates and gels.



Think of the certain spice

Without spices, everything just tastes the same and bland. But with them, the most diverse dishes get a completely different twist. Porridge tastes different with vanilla than with cardamom, and breakfast is varied from day to day. That's why the outdoor chef never goes on tour without his prepared spice mixtures.

For example, Mexican spice, an Indian blend or even a sweet variant for the different flavors for breakfast, lunch or dinner come with him in round tin cans with screw caps. These mixtures are also prepared at home - preparation is (almost) everything.


Pack Properly: Safely and Tightly Stowed

Dry ingredients such as rice, flour and lentils, but also polenta and couscous, are easy to take along, they do not require refrigeration. Creevy stows them in Dry Bags, waterproof pouches that can be rolled up to save space. They do not draw moisture from the outside, nor do they leak. A Dry Bag also makes it easy to mix wet and dry ingredients when on the go, such as when making bread dough or tortillas. Coated material is also easy to clean up again.

He also measures out exact amounts to take with him. Olive oil, for example, he has exact doses in a soft bottle. Added bonus: Purchased without packaging or in bulk saves the environment and saves plastic.


Fresh Products From the Surrounding Area

"Depending on where you're traveling, it's a good idea to use fresh fruits, vegetables and other produce from there to have more variety," Creevy gives as another tip. For one thing, you support the locals and it keeps money in the region. On the other hand, fresh ingredients are often unbeatable in terms of taste, and a home-caught fish makes the barbecue experience something very special. Or the eggs of the free-range chickens from the rustic farm you just passed can be garnished with fresh herbs and make the perfect scrambled eggs for breakfast.


Indulge in the Little Luxury

When traveling, everyone thinks carefully about which things to take with them and which are better left at home. This logic works both ways. Of course, it is easier to carry only one pot when backpacking. But if there is a central base camp as a point of contact to which people always return, it can offer added value to have not only the essentials with you, but also one or two luxury items: This applies, for example, to the espresso pot that awakens spirits with its morning bubbling, hissing and unmistakable smell of fresh coffee. Or the one, special ingredient or even the item brought along that makes both cooking and eating better. After all, cooking and eating together always means fellowship and special memories that will linger for years after the trip.


Using Energy Cleverly

If you are traveling light and with as little luggage as possible, it makes a difference whether you have to take three pots instead of one or even one gas cartridge instead of three. Accordingly, it is good to know that oat flakes, lentils or even the classic couscous infused with hot water, refined with spices, swell wonderfully. Just cover. Creevy uses an insulated container for this, because it keeps the food warm longer, and even with longer steaming times for grains or legumes, everything cooks.

Boiling only water, by the way, saves the gas from the cartridge, because it takes less time. At the same time, you can put the dish in the insulated container on the side and do not have to watch out for something to burn while you take care of other components of the food.


Customize Favorite Dishes For Outdoors

Don't always think in terms of canned ravioli or pasta with tomato sauce. Creevy advises adapting favorite dishes from home for preparation and consumption outdoors.

Of course, not all of them are equally suitable. What works great, for example, is making fresh bread yourself, because flour as a basic ingredient can be transported easily and compactly. But wraps or soft tacos also cut a good figure outdoors, and local vegetables and other ingredients are the star.

All that said: don't try a completely new recipe when camping. "I always advise people not to cook the dish for the first time while camping if they've never tried it at home before." Because then the cooks would know exactly how long something takes, even if the dish does take a little longer when camping or you make certain shortcuts to simplify the dish.

Adaptability also applies to coffee in the morning: the small luxury of the espresso pot can sometimes be wonderful. But when it comes to lighter travel, cowboy coffee from the pot can taste just as great. For that special kick in the morning, Creevy simply throws spices like cardamom and cinnamon into the brew.

Find more delicious recipes from our outdoor chef Kieran Creevy here: 

You can also find inspiration on his website.

Image credits: Header image from Savannah Cummins, all other images from Lisa Paarvio. More also on Instagram from @lisapaarviophotography.