Adventure Overland Show Sept 2018

Saturday morning and I’m making my annual trip to the Adventure Overland Show at Stratford on Avon racecourse.

Adventure Overland Show

The weather forecast wasn’t good, predicting rain at 4 pm. Well they lied, it rained at 12 pm. In typical British spirit, a drop of rain wasn’t going to put me off, especially as I paid an entrance fee.

I find it difficult to judge whether the show is bigger or busier than the previous show as the layout varies each year.

It’s always a good show with a laidback feel and some interesting characters. I must admit after a long conversation with an overland travel writer he showed me places off the beaten track in Spain that were stunning and accessible in our campervan.

There is always something in the car park that catches the eye and this VW T4 Doka certainly did.

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I managed to meet up with fellow blogger Mike Brailey the director and editor of the Overland Journal European issue.

Overland Rover

Overland Journal

Overland Portal

The Overland Journal is a massively popular publication in the States and finally the UK has its own edition published 5 times a year and edited by Mike.

It’s easy to think of it as just another magazine, but it is a journal in the truest sense, imagine an oversized paperback book and you would be nearer the mark.

It’s not all about size though; the content gives a fascinating insight into travelling the world by various means of transport with superb photographs.

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The Overland Journal Landrover

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I’m a glutten for teardrop trailers and this example made by Boondock Trailers was perfect. Comfortable and rugged.

Boondock

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The Mercedes Sprinter 4 x 4 van has really taken off here and in the States as the must have campervan.

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This Ford Transit by Lifes Adventure Overland had the best Raptor paint finish I ever seen and their bespoke fabrications were top quality.

Lifes Adventure Overland

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Gull wing side door, a powerful BMW engine and large split rim wheels make this Renault Traffic van a jaw dropper

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Unimogs galore this year

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The Camper Van Culture Managon

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And finally the arse end of the post A bumper dumper and a rifle case, just what every camper needs.

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The Cheeky Monkey and a Toad in the Hole

Our latest cooking gadget is a Toasted sandwich maker or Pie iron made by TF Gear, but more commonly know as a “Ridge Monkey”.

The TF Gear iron is identical to the Ridge Monkey, so we have nicknamed ours “The Cheeky Monkey”.

TF-Gear-Sandwich-Toaster

I was hoping that this would be the camping nirvana after all the good reviews I had read. We don’t have an oven in the campervan, so it limits our possible menu.

I tried the Omnia oven, but I couldn’t get on with it and it was a little oversize for our campervan hob.

Omnia Oven

We have a similar sandwich toaster called “The Diablo” that toasts sandwiches, but they were small and you had towaste a lot of bread cutting it to fit the round shape. The TF Gear is a square shaped pie iron that makes toasted sandwiches using a gas hob, open fire or barbeque. It is very popular with fishermen who cook breakfast on the river side. So far I have cooked Bacon, Burgers, Eggs and a small Pizza, well warmed one up. As the cooking process is enclosed, the top gets a chance of being cooked.

A Chicago pie pizza approximately 3 “diameter fits nicely. I heated one side of the iron until hot then turned it over and placed the defrosted pizza on the unheated side. The theory being that as the pizza base was directly on the bottom of the iron, preheating the top would give the cooking of the pizza top a head start before the base burnt. It actually worked. I did turn it over once just to brown the top. I shall be asking the extreme knitter to make some homemade pizzas that fit the Cheeky Monkeys shape and size. If they are thinner they might cook quicker and more thoroughly.

I’ve tried McCann’s frozen oven fries as they were thin. These cooked perfectly. I think the trick with frozen food is to thaw it out first, so that your cooking time isn’t taking up having to defrost first.

The next try out was Toad in the Hole, an easy to make quaint English recipe that is basically sausages cooked in a dish of batter mix using a very hot oven. The batter would normally rise in an oven enveloping the sausage in a crispy Yorkshire pudding. Cooking it in the Cheeky monkey was going to be a challenge.

 

Start by cooking 3 or 4 sausages in the Cheeky Monkey. I like to butterfly mine to make sure they are thoroughly cooked.

 Monkey toad in the hole (2)

While the sausages are cooking make your batter mix

1 cup of plain flour

A pinch of salt

300mls of milk

Whisk these ingredients until you’ve got a smooth liquid (without any lumps)

This will make approximately 450mls.

Boil some water.

When the sausages are cooked take them out and pour a good glug of veg oil in the Cheeky monkey and heat until smoking hot.

Pour a small layer of the batter mix into the hot oil that will seal the underside, them place the sausages in and pour some more batter mix over them. I used about 250mls. If the mix is too deep it will burn before the middle is cooked. I cooked it on a low flame for 20 minutes turning the Cheeky Monkey over regularly to stop the mix from burning.

 Monkey toad in the hole (5)

Monkey toad in the hole (6)

Monkey toad in the hole (7)

Make a small amount of gravy using gravy granules and the water that you boiled earlier. (yes, I know, but we are camping so short cuts are allowed).

 Monkey toad in the hole (9)

Much to my amazement it worked out and tasted good. I didn’t rise as it would in an oven, but because it was thinner it cooked all the way through.

The batter mix could be made at home before setting off on your camping trip to save time.

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll be asking what about the 200mls of batter mix that I had left?

Well that’s for pudding, three Pancakes to be precise. Even though it was Sunday I like a Fat Tuesday

These can be made in the Cheeky monkey by pouring in a small amount of veg oil and pouring a third of the mix on top. They can be made sweeter by slicing some bananas into the mix or possibly pineapple chunks. The beauty of the monkey is that you just turn it over to cook the other side.

Monkey toad in the hole (12)

The experimenting goes on.

 

 

 

Adventure Overland show 2017

 

 

The end of September again means only one thing for me. My annual visit to the Adventure Overland Show held on Stratford upon Avon racecourse. This year I visited on my own some. The Extreme Knitter had other commitments.

The show gets better each year with many varied trade stands, displays and so many interesting vehicle in the camping and parking area.

As always, I will just leave a few of the photos for you to digest.

Landrover 1963 Series 2A forward control camper

This beauty was a work in progress. It just oozes classic Landy.

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Just a little electrical work that needs tiding up. One of those five minute jobs

wiring

Nice Arse end

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Xplora Overland were showing their new Ford Transit conversion. If only I had the money.

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I’m trying to convince the Extreme Knitter that we need to tow one of these buggies behind our campervan.

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VW  T5s LTs T4s

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Ex Military Trucks were well represented

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Series One Landrovers

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Our Old Series One Landrover

I do regret selling our Series one Landrover. The beauty of hindsight.

Landrover series one

45 years and we still don’t know each other

Our kitchen sink has a draining board and on that draining board sits one of those draining trays that you can stack the cups, cutlery and dishes to dry off. We’ve had several replacements over our married life.

Today I plucked up the courage to ask the extreme knitter why we had one.

She said “because you wanted one”.

I said “I never wanted one, I hate the dam thing”

She said “I hate it as well”.

45 years of married bliss and all this time I thought the E/knitter wanted it and she thought I wanted it. Lack of communication I think, but we are still getting to know each other.

The dish tray is now in the dustbin and all is well in the household.

 

Ham Burger

Following on from the last post about Faggots, I remembered that it used to be rumoured that the Ham burger was originally invented in the Black Country. The story went like this.

The History of the Ham Burger

In 1925 on a cobblestone street in Dudley, butchers boy “Billy King” rode his delivery bike. His cargo of freshly made Black Country faggots sat proudly in the bicycles wicker basket.

His bicycle ran over a discarded horseshoe. Hiss!! His front tyre sprung a leak.

He placed the faggots on a nearby wall, removed the tyre and repaired the puncture in double quick time. Unfortunately a gang of grubby urchins from the Priory came along and set about him.

They called him a Wimp. in fact he was such a weakling that his nickname at school was “Wimpy King”. They pushed him backwards against the wall and he landed on the faggots and squashed them flat.

Disaster! What should he do, he decided to ride on to his destination or he would have been in great trouble back at the Butchers shop.

He finally arrived at Mrs McDonalds house and presented her with the tray of squashed faggots.

She stared at the tray in disbelief.

The faggots were for a special evening supper party she was holding in her garden for the orphans of Dudley.

“What shall I do” she exclaimed.

“I know I’ll put them in a bread roll and call them? O bugger what can I call them” she said.

“That’s it, I’ll call them buggers, Ham buggers,” she cried in her strong Scottish accent

She clipped the butcher’s boy around the ear and sent him packing, then proceeded to cook the squashed faggots on an open fire in the garden.

The Orphans enjoyed the Buggers so much that it became a regular trip to Mrs McDonalds every Saturday to saviour the tasty delights.

She felt a sense of pride as she watched the skinny orphans start to put a bit of meat on their bones.

Mrs McDonald would sometimes give away a toy with her Ham buggers, perhaps a spinning top or a hoop & a stick.

Her Ham buggers became famous through out the Black Country and indeed all the land.

Her nephew Ronald was travelling on a World tour with the circus as a clown and so it was that her Ham buggers reached the shores of America in his packed lunch.

The Ham buggers became an overnight success with the Americans and Ronald set up restaurants through out the USA selling McDonalds Ham Buggers, although he was a successful businessman, Ronald couldn’t forget his true vocation and still dressed every day as a clown.

Because the Americans couldn’t speak proper English or Scottish for that matter they pronounced Bugger as Burger.

Back in the Black Country “Billy King” the butcher’s boy who sat on the faggots was now a Butchery tycoon owning a chain of butchers shop through out Great Britain.

Being the entrepreneur, he set up a chain of Ham Bugger restaurants in England and called them Wimpy’s.

Alas the Wimpy restaurant chain hit hard times and he had to sack all his employees and close it down.

The disgruntled employees decided to set up a new restaurant chain and because they hated Billy King so much they called it “Bugger King”.

And what became of the orphans? They grew into extremely large pillars of Black Country society, know as “The Buggers of Dudley”

V Southall ©

Pie or Parcel

As I have a follower from America I need to explain from the onset that here in the UK a Faggot is basically a large meat ball made from Pork and offal. Their origins date back through the ages and was a poor mans meal. Fast forward to 2017 and a Faggot is now a foodie’s delicacy.

However, back in the sixties with the advent of frozen food, Mr Brains started producing frozen faggots. These became part of a staple diet for us kids.

http://mrbrains.co.uk/home/

I’ve sampled faggots from various butchers around the country all adding their own twist on the recipe, but just like Beanz Meanz Heinz  there is always going to be Mr Brains faggots. Although as kids we were teased that they actually contained brains (I don’t think they do), hey when you’re hungry you will eat anything.

Mr Herbert Hill Brain

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Pubs in the Black Country used to have Faggots and peas nights, now it seems to be Curry nights.

(Again for my American reader). The Black Country is an area in the West Midlands where the industrial revolution started. It was called the Black Country because of the soot, smog and grime from the steel and coal industries. Black country dwellers speak a totally different language to the rest of the UK. Queen Victoria hated the area.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Country

This language difference can be awkward. I’m not even going to mention that the word Trump in the UK is another word for Fart.

When we were away in Scotland I had a couple of light bulb inspiration moments, one of them was a Faggot pie. Not just any old faggot pie, but a Mr Brains Faggot pie.

After a lot of pleading and cajoling, I convinced the E/Knitter that this was the ultimate pie and she needed to make one or perhaps two.

I present you with Faggot pie or parcel

Obviously you start with a pack of Mr Brains frozen faggots that are packed precooked in a foil tray ready to reheat. These were allowed to defrost at room temperature.

The pastry of choice was puff.

Now you could prep your puff pastry using up valuable eating time or like us buy frozen prepared puff pastry.

After a lot of debate, the E /knitter convinced me that it would be easier to place the faggot in a pastry parcel and tie the top like a sack. Ok it’s technically not a pie because it doesn’t have a lid on top, but it’s going to taste the same.

A large circle was cut from the pastry.

The faggot was placed in the centre and the pastry was gathered at the top.

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An off cut of pastry was rolled into a long worm and used to tie the top.

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On to a baking tray and placed in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes at gas mark 7 or until the pastry is golden brown.

faggot parcel (13)

Ideally they should be served hot straight from the oven with any of the excess sauce that was left over.

I thinking sauteed potatoes, marrow fat peas and faggot parcels.

The results exceeded even my expectations. The faggots have a rich taste thanks to the West Country sauce and combine that with puff pastry it becomes food for the gods.

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If Mr Brains wants to contact me with a royalty payment offer, I’ll gladly let him use my idea.

There was some puff pastry left over from the pie making event, so I suggested to the E/knitter that she might like to make some sausage rolls with added sage and apple stuffing. The results didn’t last long enough to be photographed. mmmmm!!!

Oh and the second light bulb inspiration moment is being worked on as we speak.

All I can say is forget fidget spinners, this one is destined to become the next world wide craze, but the E/ knitter isn’t so convinced and I need her expertise to create it.

Watch this space.