Penne with smoked chicken and peas

Ok, let’s talk about comfort food. Sometimes you just need it, right? And the ultimate in comfort food for me is pasta.

This recipe has it all – carbs, creaminess, the smokiness from the chicken…I could go on… It’s also an easy one to do when you’re on an adventure – as long as you have a gas burner, a frypan and something to cook your pasta in, you’re right.

This should feed 4 people generously – or 6 if you’re not in quite that much need of comforting. You can usually get smoked chicken at most supermarkets, but if you can’t get it – or don’t want to go to the effort of it – a couple of chicken breasts will do the job nicely instead. You will, of course, have to cook them through before chopping them up and adding it to the sauce. Also sage can be difficult to get hold off – especially in country supermarkets. Make do with parsley – or maybe even basil –  in need.

As an aside, the pesto is a handy jar to keep in your fridge/esky. A couple of tablespoons stirred through some cooked spaghetti with a handful of grated parmesan and maybe a squeeze of lemon.makes for a super-quick meal.

What you need

  • 300g smoked chicken breast cut into small cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 sage leaves, finely shredded
  • 2 tsp good quality pesto
  • 100ml white wine
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 400ml cream
  • 150g peas, blanched in boiling water for a few minutes
  • 500g penne pasta
  • freshly grated parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano to serve (optional)

What you do with it

Saute the chicken pieces in a little olive oil until golden. Set aside.

In a pan deep enough to take all the remaining ingredients and have room for stirring, saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until the onion is translucent.

Stir in the sage and pesto.

Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half.

Stir in the chicken stock, cream and chicken, season to taste and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the peas to the sauce and cook a further 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente and drain.

Toss the pasta with the sauce.

Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.


Best Ever Jaffles

the spag bol jaffle

I think it’s time that we talked more about the mighty jaffle.

For hundreds of years, people have been putting fillings between two pieces of bread and putting it all in a cast iron jaffle maker and sticking it into an open fire. Ok, perhaps I made most of that up, but it could very well have been true.

The question of what to put between those two slices of bread is an enduring one – and one that needs more scientific research. Clancy started with a poll of sorts – on Facebook. Some seriously good suggestions came up. We had (amongst others):

  • The roast lamb dinner jaffle
  • The breakfast jaffle
  • The eggs bennie jaffle
  • The banana cheesecake jaffle
  • The banana and Nutella jaffle
  • The apple pie jaffle
  • The Peking duck jaffle
  • Mexican pulled pork, taco sauce and guacamole
  • The ham and pineapple pizza jaffle
  • The meat-lovers pizza jaffle
The meatlovers pizza jaffle
  • The plastic cheese and peanut butter jaffle…yes, really…apparently late at night
  • The kid’s favourite – the spaghetti bolognese jaffle
spag bol jaffle


  • A good jaffle has to be able to be eaten in one hand
  • The jaffle has to involve either leftovers or basic esky and pantry staples.
  • The jaffle shouldn’t involve the pre-cooking of any filling for the express purpose of being used in the jaffle (see the comment above about leftovers)
  • Any sort of bread or bread-like product is permitted in the jaffle
  • The jaffle can be cooked either directly on the fire or on the hot plate.

The best sort, though, are the jaffles you make on your final lunch when you have a heap of leftovers that need to be used up before you pack up. Think chicken and camembert, chicken, chorizo and cheese.

Chocolate Self-saucing Pudding

I’ve been making this pudding since I was about 10 years old. It’s one of those recipes that never gets old. It’s also such a classic that it never gets old. It also works just as well in a camp oven as it does in a conventional oven.

Obviously, being glamping, we don’t have mixers or beaters or any fancy measuring equipment, so I used mugs. I also took with me some super good Dutch cocoa and used heaped tablespoons of the stuff – just to ramp up the decadence of the whole thing.

I use a 2-quart cast iron camp oven. As for the fire? I believe the official temperature of the coals was medium. We’ve also cooked this in the camp oven on top of the oz pig, with a few coals (or heat beads, if you prefer) on the lid.

What you need for the cake

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 80g melted butter, cooled – you can do this in the billy. Use the markings on the slab packet to measure.
  • ½ cup milk
  • I teaspoon vanilla
  • 1egg, lightly beaten

What you need for the sauce

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups boiling water

What you do with it

  • Grease a 2 quart cast iron camp oven with butter.
  • Sift flour and cocoa into a large bowl, stir in the sugar
  • Combine the egg, milk, vanilla and cooled butter in a jug and slowly add to the dry ingredients, mixing until well combined and smooth. Spoon into the prepared camp oven.
  • To make the sauce, sprinkle combined sugar and cocoa over the pudding
  • Carefully pour over the boiling water and put the lid on.

  • Bake for about 30 minutes. It should be crusty on the outside and soft and squidgy on the inside.
  • Serve with cream, custard or both.