Sunday Lunch under pressure

Camping cook books always seem to be one pot dishes like stew, curry or chilli. I have been known to like my food and I must admit to being a meat and two veg man. Cooking a meal that was equivalent to a Sunday roast lunch in a campervan with only two gas burners and a grill was going be a challenge.

Stepping forward to save the day is our trusty Hawkins pressure cooker.

We have used the 2 litre capacity cooker for sometime now and it has proved to be invaluable.

https://escaperoutetales.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/the-pressures-on/

The evening meal we were preparing was Beef Brisket, Minted potatoes, mixed vegetables with a rich beef/onion gravy.

The small brisket joint (800grams was about the maximum size that could fit in the pressure cooker) that I bought from Morrisons was seared and browned in the Boaty frying pan.

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Looking and smelling suitably ready the joint was placed in the pressure cooker with onions, stock cube and water. It was cooked for 40 minutes on a very low flame, then allowed to depressurise in its own time.

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It was removed and left to rest.

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The new potatoes were cooked in the pressure cooker taking 5 minutes on a low flame while the vegetables were cooked in a small saucepan. The potatoes were coated in butter with mint sauce and the beef stock made gorgeous rich gravy. The Brisket was so tasty and succulent it just pulled apart. I had the last of the Bacardi & coke that I had saved especially for this meal.

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The down side was that it produced a lot of washing up with three pans to clean, but as there was a pot wash area on site it wasn’t a problem.

You don’t have to rough it in a campervan.

High on a hill

At last we were travelling again after a long lay off. The Malvern Hills in Worcestershire being our weekend destination.

Campsites that are open this time of year are few and far between, so we opted for the Camping and Caravan Club site at Blackmore.

We arrived on the Friday afternoon and settled in. Club sites can be a little regimented, but this one has a lot of grass pitches that make it seem more natural. Ruby was treated to a good walk on the campsite dog walk and we spent the afternoon reading and listening to the radio then settled down for a quiet night in the campervan. The meatballs made an appearance for our evening meal along with my customary Bacardi & coke.

I know it seems like we eat nothing but meatballs in a homemade tomato sauce, but we only have them on our first camping night because it is a easy meal that can be prepared at home to make life easy. There can be weeks or months between our trips, so it was 2 months ago when we last dined on meatballs.

Saturday morning started slowly with a full English breakfast then we set off to Great Malvern and parked in Waitrose to take advantage of 2 hours free car parking. After a wander around the town taking in the farmers market we returned to Waitrose and purchased goodies for our evening meal.

p1120795Farmers Market Great Malvern

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The Extreme Knitter having a meaningful  discussion with some geezer called Elgar who wrote a few party tunes. 

Ag a do & the Birdy song I think.

We drove towards British Camp situated at the southern end of the Malvern Hills where we had sandwiches for lunch whilst parked in the visitors car park.

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Suitably fuelled we tackled the long steep pathways up to British Camp that are the remaining earthworks of an Iron Age fort built about the 2nd Century BC.

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Getting nearer to the top of British Camp

The walks around Malvern are hilly and it had an impact on us all. The three of us had chicken for the evening meal and promptly collapsed for the night totally shattered.

Sunday morning and we were leaving the campsite heading for home. We decided to take the pretty way home firstly calling into Upton on Severn.

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The Dog poo Fairy

These vintage wreckers have stood for sometime at this garage in Upton.

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Pershore was our final stop off before we finally headed home.

I hear the sound of breaking glass

Don’t you hate that heart wrenching moment when you hear the crack of breaking glass and the thought of an expensive repair?

I bent down to pick something up off the floor and my phone slipped out of my shirt pocket onto the hard tiled floor. It dropped about half a metre and landed screen down on a hard tiled floor. The cracking sound made me wince.

The result of the fall

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Luckily because of my work, my phone is protected by a silicone skin and has a tempered glass screen protector. I carefully removed the screen protector to reveal an unbroken phone screen

 

The relief

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The tempered glass screen protector cracked.

This screen saver cost £2.99  from e bay and has saved me from having to replace my phone.

With the cost of phones and tablets they are worth fitting and they don’t affect the touch operation of the screen.

As you can see. Its been an uneventful month, work and commitments stopping us getting away.

Puffin past her MOT test without any advisories. We are road taxed and have renewed the insurance, so we are legal and ready to travel.

I did mange to successfully reseal the leaking roof vent, but in all the excitement I forgot to take loads of photos.

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The hole in the roof after I had cleaned the old sealant away.

I took Puffin to the local weighbridge and she weighs in at a lightweight 2150 kg which gives us a useful 500kg payload allowance.

I can highly recommend anyone in the Warwickshire/Worcestershire area to use the Public weighbridge at Simon & Deans Ltd in Brickyard Lane, Studley B80 7EE. cost £3.50

A night by the stones

The last few weeks have been challenging and we needed to escape again even if it was for one night.

The school holidays were over and weekday travel was less of a hassle. A fairly late start for us saw Puffin hurtling down the M5 motorway towards Bristol. We turned off at junction 19 for the Gordano services and drove towards the Clifton suspension bridge that crosses the River Avon Gorge. The extreme knitter likes to be surprised and I always try to include a fear factor if I can as it keeps the blood pumping. I excelled myself this time as I’m not good with heights and as we had never driven over the suspension bridge before I felt it had to be done. Crikey it’s high, Bum cheek clenchingly high and to pick up the road to our next destination we had to turn around and go back over it.

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Safely back on a lower ground level we drove towards Cheddar Gorge where we stopped in one of the lay-bys in the gorge for lunch.

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Next destination was Wells for a little sightseeing and retail therapy for the extreme knitter.

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Wells is a small city with an amazing Cathedral and lots of nooks and crannies to explore.

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Back on the road again and we joined the east bound A303. The signs for the Stonehenge visitor centre appeared at a roundabout, but I wasn’t going there. A little further along the A303 we turned left into a bye way called the Drove. It is just a dirt track that runs up beside the famous Stonehenge. The drove is used by campers from all walks of life to wild camp with a view of the stones across the field. New age travellers, Hippies, Over Landers and Motor home owners and now us.

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The look on the extreme knitters face was priceless when I announced that this was our campsite for the night, but as always she’s a game girl and embraced the madness.

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Stonehenge has become a major tourist attraction that can only be visited by paying substantial amount to the English Heritage. They had the roads around closed and blocked off to stop the common people sneaking a crafty look, but the Drove has survived for now. It’s a Bye way running close by with a public right of way. I’ve been wanting to stopover here for sometime and I thought that if we didn’t do it soon the powers that be will eventually close it and our chance would pass.

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The Autumn Solstice occurred on Friday 23rd September, so it could have been a mistake visiting so soon after the mass visit by hundreds of Druids on Friday. I expected it to be messy and littered after so many people had visited, but it was a pleasant surprise to find it litter free. There weren’t many campers and it was easy to find a fairly level place to park with a good view of the stones.

The paying visitors arrive by bus from the visitor centre having paid to park, then coughing up £18 a head to wander around the circumference of the stones, never getting close enough to touch them.

The meatballs in tomato sauce made another appearance, but sadly no Bacardi just in case we needed to drive off in the middle of the night.

It was suggested that I should dance naked in the middle of the stones at sunrise, but sadly I cancelled the dance as the sun didn’t rise in the morning. Well I suppose it must have risen, but I couldn’t see it for the rain and mist.

We had a peaceful, quiet and safe night. The extreme knitter was at ease there, which is a good sign because if she’s not comfortable with an overnight stay she will say so.

Bacon sandwiches for a late breakfast. We then wandered down the drove to the point where the visitor buses stop. This entrance was guarded and gated off. After walking on a little further we found a public footpath that appeared to lead to the stones.

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Not only did it lead to the stones, we were only about 15 metres further away than the paying punters and only separated by a wooden fence.

We had briefly passed through Marlborough when we had previously visited our Grandson at his Larkhill barracks and said we must visit when we had time to explore. We did try to park there on the way back, but failed.

On the trip back, just north of Tidworth we saw a tank coming down the road towards us with a squaddie under driving instruction. The extreme knitter suddenly waved to them out of the blue. I dread to think what the instructor said to the Squaddie.

 

The Nooz

One of the things that comes with the passing years is our inability to read the small print in newspapers and I’ve wore reading glasses for a few years now. I hate having to use them. Carrying reading glasses is a hassle and I always forgot to take them with me when we were out. I have to get the extreme knitter to read menus for me or she carries a pair in her handbag.

I ordered a new pair of reading glasses and they arrived the other day, all the way from France.

They are called Nooz and just like the Pince-nez from the 19th century they clip on to your nose without the aid of ear pieces, but using modern materials.

https://www.nooz-optics.com/en

The Nooz are available in several colours, but a little expensive for reading glasses.

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They are made from polymer making them comfortable and flexible. They come with a slim case that fits in the shirt pocket.

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On the plus side:-

Extremely light 6g

They don’t pinch your nose

The case is small and unobtrusive.

 

Against:-

Well there are no faults really.

It’s easy to forget you’re wearing them.

After years of removing ordinary glasses by pulling off with the side ear pieces it takes a little while getting used to lifting them off by the bridge. I still sometimes forget and grab at non existent ear pieces.

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Of course the infamous Hercule Poirot wore Pince-nez and there was a Sherlock Holmes story called “The adventure of the golden pince-nez”

I can’t decide whether I will look trendy or just a prat.

Adventure Overland Show 2016

It’s late September and here we are again driving Puffin to the Adventure and Overland show at the Stratford on Avon racecourse.

On the way we had called into the local clinic for our Flu jabs and returned some clothes to Marks & Spencer’s.

I like to be productive. I did think about dropping a load of rubbish at the local tip as we passed by, but they have height barriers.

I look forward to this show every year. It fuels my dreams, makes me want to travel more and perhaps push some boundaries.

The stands selling natural products made from leather and wood always draw me in.

I can wander the tools and parts stalls all day, trying to stop myself from buying that must have set of spanners.

Obviously the vehicles are the stars here and the mix is so varied.

I will just let the photos tell the tale.

The French made Gazell demount caught my eye. It’s being sold in the UK by SBS

SBS Adventure Campers

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There was a good turn out of Ex army conversions

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beetle

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This Unimog is Mowgli as seen on the blog

http://mowgli-adventures.com/meet-our-unimog-camper-named-mowgli/

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Cooking was high on my agenda. I was hoping to find the Hawkins pressure cooker. A simple, but effective cooker made in India since 1959. The small 2 litre capacity cooker would be ideal for our campervan allowing us the cook fresh local produce in a greatly reduced time. If there was one there, I didn’t find it.

Hawkins Pressure Cookers

I was also looking for a silicone mould for our Omnia oven, but it seems that Omnia don’t have any in stock in Sweden, let alone the UK.