Cooking on Cycle Tours

I am often asked what we eat while we are cycle touring so I have put together some of the recipes and methods for the food we cook. The different types of equipment we use is covered in a separate blog https://wraggemorleycycles.com/2020/09/28/cooking-equipment-for-cycle-touring/

If we are passing through a town or village with a shop everyday then we buy a days worth of food and eat a varied diet. We are omnivores which makes life easy. We keep away from too much unrefined sugar (sweets, chocolates etc.) preferring slow release sugars from green and white carbohydrates or nuts. Your body will normally produce all the sugar it needs from carbohydrates. If you don’t pace yourself properly and over do the level of exercise a sugar hit can get you out of trouble and we use dates or bread and honey or an apple.

Of course in the end you can only eat what you can buy in stores on the way. On more remote parts of tours when we are going to be away from shops for 3 or 4 days. We restrict our diet to provide enough calories but at the same time reduce the weight of food and the amount of fuel we have to carry.

Recipes – ingredients then methods

Stir Fries
Eggs, Fish, Meat, Veg as available
Oil / Fat

Pasta
Spaghetti, Pasta, Rice, Qinoa, Bulga Wheat, Noodles
Tunafish, Salmon, Cheese, Salami, Meat, Fish, Eggs
Sauces: Tomato, Chile, Garlic, Herbs

Pancakes
1 egg
50g flour = 0.25 cup
75ml milk 0.25 cup
25ml water 0.125 cup
pinch salt

Fritters
2 eggs
50g flour = 0.25 cup
50ml milk = 0.25 cup
add veg – corn, courgettes, egg plant, salt
or fruit – apple, banana, sugar

Fry 3-5 mins each side

Drop Scones
125g flour = 1 cup
1/4tsp salt
1/4tsp bicarb of soda
1/2tsp cream of tartar
1 egg
1tsp honey or sugar
150ml milk = 0.5 cup

Fry 3-5 mins each side

Dumplings
125g flour = 1 cup
1tsp baking powder
pinch salt
60g butter or suet
water
optional add herbs

Put in stew cook 30 mins
Leavened Bread
125g strong flour = 1 cup
1/4tsp salt
2g dried yeast
1tbsp olive oil
80 ml water = 0.33 cup

Baked bread 35 minutes
Flat breads Fry 3-5 mins each side

Soda Bread
125g strong flour = 1 cup
1/4tsp salt
1/4tsp bicarb of soda
1/2tsp cream of tartar
80ml milk = 0.33 cup

Baked bread 35 minutes
Flat breads Fry 3-5 mins each side

Victoria Sponge cake
1 egg = 60 g
62.5 g Marg or 0.25 cup oil
62.5 g Sugar = 0.5 cup
62.5 g flour = 0.5 cup
1/4tsp bicarb of soda
1/2tsp cream of tartar

Baking time 22 mins

(for fruit cake add 62.5 g dried fruit or grated carrot and add 5 mins baking time)

Scones
125g flour = 1 cup
2 tbsp oil
1/4tsp salt
1/4tsp bicarb of soda
1/2tsp cream of tartar
62.5 ml milk = 0.25 cup

cook time 15 mins (10 in an oven)

Measures
Flour 1 cup = 125 g 1 heaped spork = 30 gWater 1 cup = 250 g 1 spork = 22 g
sugar white 1 cup = 220 g
sugar dark brown 1 cup = 180 g

Stir Fry

If using chilli, garlic or ginger chop finely and gently fry to release the natural oils. Dice meats and fry then add diced vegetables. Add the hard veg like carrots and swede or turnip first when they begin to soften add soft veg like tomato and courgette. The soft veg will give you liquid with which to make the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with spaghetti or noodles after cooking in boiled water these can be drained and tossed with the stir fry in the pan if you like.

Pasta

For the pasta, rice, wheat etc. follow the directions on the packet. They all involve boiling water. As we only have one flame we will bring the water to the boil then let the pasta stand in the hot water while we cook the sauce. Re heating the water from time to time. This does extend the cooking time required by about 10 percent. After draining off the excess water add sauces or diced cheese or ham. Packets of flavoured tuna or salmon. Crack in an egg or add diced hard boiled eggs. If you like garlic then you can boil a clove or two in with the pasta and squeeze out the soft flesh to stir in with your other flavouring.

Pancakes

Crack an egg into a bowl, slowly stir in the flour and pinch of salt then slowly add the milk and water stirring constantly to produce a smooth thin paste. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir again. Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan then add enough mixture to thinly cover the base of the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes turning when first side is brown (not black and burnt). Fry second side. Add fruit paste, jam or cream cheese then roll and serve. Best eaten straight from the pan!

Fritters

Crack the eggs in a bowl slowly mix in the flour then slowly add the milk stirring to a smooth paste. Leave to stand while you prepare the main ingredient. For savoury fritters dice and fry the veg until soft or boil the corn. For sweet – peel and slice the apples and cook with a little sugar and a table spoon of water for 5 minutes then drain off any excess fluid, you can keep this as a sauce. Add the fruit or veg to the mixture making sure it is well coated. Heat some oil in a frying pan and when hot add a tablespoon full of the mixture to the pan cook for 3 to 5 minutes on both sides until brown.

Drop Scones

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl then crack in the egg and mix in. Slowly add the milk. If using powdered milk can add the powder to the dry ingredients and add water. Mix to a smooth paste then add the sugar or honey.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan then add a tablespoon of the mixture and fry on both sides for 3 to 5 minutes until brown.

I love to serve these coated in butter and honey!

Dumplings

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl or plastic bag then add a small amount of water and knead. The mixture should bind into a dough. If you want you can flavour the dumplings with salt, pepper and herbs. Roll into balls 2 to 3 cm in diameter. Add to a stew and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

Bread

There are two recipes for bread they can both either be fried as flat breads in a frying pan or baked in an oven. The leavened bread takes much longer as it needs to prove for several hours depending on the temperature. I often make it in the morning to cook in the evening or in the evening to cook at breakfast time. The soda bread is ready immediately but does not keep so well after cooking so for best results make and eat straight away. When camping I like to make bread in a plastic bag, saves a lot of mess and washing up!

Oil the inside of the bag then tip in all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add the oil and mix then add the water or milk. If you are using milk powder add the milk powder with the dry ingredients and add water. Knead for several minutes until a smooth dough.

If making leavened bread leave for several hours until doubled in size then knead again. I usually leave it hanging on my bike handle bars over night or through the day.

If making flat breads press out into a thin circle like a pizza then cut in 4 and fry a hot oiled pan for 3 to 5 minutes each side until brown.

If baking make into a round loaf cut a cross in the top and bake in an oven for about 35 minutes at 180 deg C. May need a little longer in a “Dutch Oven”.

Scones

You will notice that the ingredients for scones is very similar to soda bread but with the addition of some oil or fat and a little less liquid.

As with soda bread I like to make this in a small oiled plastic bag. Put in all the dried ingredients and mix thoroughly then add the oil. You can rub in a 5 g knob of butter or margarine instead of the oil if you prefer. Then slowly add the milk and knead into a dough. Divide into approximately 4 and shape into squat cylinders.

Bake in an oven at 180 Deg C for 10 minutes or for about 15 minutes in a “Dutch Oven”

I like to eat these with cream and jam or honey but butter and honey often have to suffice while camping. For a savoury version mix in some grated hard cheese with the dough before baking and serve with cream cheese or Boursin.

Victoria Sponge Cake

Victoria sponge is probably the simplest cake to make. It is a 1:1:1 recipe. Same weight of butter, sugar and flour as the weight of eggs. So you don’t need scales just a balance which can be made from a twig two small plastic bags and a piece of string. Put the egg in one side then measure out the other ingredients until you get a balance. Measure the flour last and mix in the bicarb of soda and cream of tartar or baking powder. Make a small baking bowl from aluminium foil to fit in your “Dutch Oven.

First beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until it becomes light and creamy. Then beat in the egg. Don’t worry too much if it splits just do your best to beat it in then slowly add the flour mix. Spoon into your baking bowl and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

I like to serve this with jam or soft fruit.

I have a few photos of cooking from a bike packing trip to Exmoor where we cooked Chicken stir fry for supper with spaghetti. I hard boiled the 6 eggs while cooking the spaghetti which saves fuel. I made bread with yeast that I hung on our handlebars overnight then cooked in the morning. For breakfast we had porridge then I kneaded the bread and flattened it out before frying. The bread we ate for lunch with soft cheese. On this trip we were using the Sea to Summit X3.1 set with Xpan and the Primus Omnifuel fueled with petrol.

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Chicken Stir Fry, Spaghetti in the pan with 6 eggs in their shells hard boiling.
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Flour, salt, sugar and yeast mixed in a plastic bag, add the water and knead leave overnight to prove.
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Finished dish
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Porridge for breakfast, add sugar, sultanas and nuts to taste.
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The bread dough in the morning after kneading.
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Flatten and make into 4 patties.
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Fry on both sides, try not to burn it!
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Cut in half and spread with Boursin Garlic Cheese for lunch. Eaten with the hard boiled eggs a tomato and carrot.

Time away from shops for 4 or 5 days

You need to maintain enough calories to keep you going while carrying the lowest possible weight of food. However we compromise usually taking some fresh food with us to eat at least for the first two days even though it is relatively heavy as it contains it’s own moisture. It also helps to keep our bowels moving correctly.

Our diet tends to be: Breakfast of porridge with nuts and sultanas added, tea to drink. Sometimes we also make bread which we fry as flat breads making enough to have with Avocado, cheese or ham and tomato or other salad for lunch. Evening meal is usually spaghetti boiled up with a tomato using just enough water so that after 10 minutes we have enough fluid to add flavoured tuna pouches or tins or cheese and herbs. You end up with a thick flavoursome pasta soup with added protein. Then tea to drink. Apple, dates and walnuts for dessert. The fresh food goes in a small cool bag.

We try to take Pasta because it is made with flour, semolina and egg so it has a higher calorific value per 100 g than Rice, Potato, Noodles, Quinoa or Bulgar Wheat and it is much quicker to cook than ordinary rice.

A typical shopping list.

Dry
Spaghetti
Tuna packs
Muesli / Oats
Milk powder
Tea bags
Honey
Sultanas
Walnuts
Dates

Fresh
Avocados
Carrots
Tomato
Cheese
Salami
Apples
Bread

Other
Clingfilm
Kitchen towels
Toilet paper
Fuel

Jacobs Creek, New South Wales, Australia. Cooking pasta with tomato in two billycans clipped together on the Primus Omnifuel. Also see:- https://wraggemorleycycles.com/2020/09/28/cooking-equipment-for-cycle-touring/

Freeze Dried Ready Meals

We don’t use these at all. We have tried a selection over the years but they have major failings.

In anything other than first world countries they are simply not available. They taste awful. Most of them require you to pour boiling water into the packet and leave to stand for 5 minutes so by the time you come to eat them they are luke warm at best.

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