Whilst on our five-month trek across Europe, my brother and I conjured up a number of recipes perfect for hikers camping in the wild. We named one such dish, Walker’s Risotto.
Perhaps a far cry from a Michelin star mushroom risotto, this dish does at least have a couple of similarities; it’s stodgy and it fills you up! Here’s how to do it:
Settling down for the night with a Walker’s Risotto
- a handful of couscous (weighing scales are ill-advised on a long distance hike)
- a sachet of soup powder
- two glugs of water
- heat water until it begins to simmer.
- turn off burner to save fuel (couscous cooks very quickly, so water doesn’t need to be continually heated)
- pour powdered soup into water and mix
- throw in the couscous. Stir and then cover
- wait two minutes
And it’s as simple as that. Enjoy!
Every hiker is different
Every hiker is different. Some walk at unfathomable speeds, addressing the many gadgets that swing from their bodies – satellite phones, altitude watches, GoPros – packing light, breaking records and forever under the strain of burning thighs and beading foreheads. Whilst others step slowly through the landscape, barely breaking sweat and ill-prepared in the event of a storm with an ancient cagoule that lost its waterproofing a decade ago, if indeed it ever had any.
I like both, though I must admit, I’ve never used a satellite phone, altitude watch or GoPro, let alone owned one. What I mean to say is, both have their values (another story altogether).
One aspect of this crude categorisation, however, that appears to linger at a constant, is my diet. No matter what the distance, the number of days, the environment or the weather, the food I bring with me seems to remain the same. The reason? I tend to veer on the side of frugal. Put bluntly, I’m a tight-arse. For those of you repelled by expensive, pre-made, dehydrated meals as much as I am, here is a list of the items that usually find their way into my pack:
- a cured sausage – for a few grams of protein this is perfect, and doesn’t require refrigeration
- trail-mix, or as I know it, scroggin – high energy, dense and delicious
- instant noodles – not on everyone’s list, but great as a quick means to relieve hunger and warm up once you have set up camp
- powdered soup – very light, high in salt and a must for warming worn-out bodies
- cereal bars and biscuits – bursting with energy and yummy
- couscous – packs small, only requires water to cook and is an essential ingredient to Walker’s Risotto
- instant mash – again, quick and easy, and remarkably light for the stomach space it fills
- bread – I don’t like cooking my lunches. Bread lasts for days, though its morphology may alter
- Jam – yes, I know, anything in glass should be heavily scrutinized, but think of the sugar!
- tins of fish – packed with protein and omega-3
Five days of food – French Alps