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Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 4 Jun 2019, 12:15pm
by st599_uk
I finally got out on a camping trip a couple of weeks ago. I've a lot of experience camping (250 + nights as a kid/teenager all over Europe and some bits of Africa), but relatively little of using small gas stoves. I always cooked on an open fire or used a hexy stove to cook bacon/sausages.

I tried to make some healthy stuff, a packet of pre-made lentil dahl and porridge. Both welded them selves to the bottom within 20 secs and the porridge was inedible.

I suppose I could put the packet in a water and boil the water to heat the pre-made food and put the poriidge and milk in a freezer bag and do the same. Does that work?

Or I could put the porridge and in a food flask, add boiling milk (or add milk powder and boiling water), then leave for half an hour before eating whilst I break camp.

How do others do it? Does anyone have any favourite recipes?

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 4 Jun 2019, 2:14pm
by rotavator
The easy way to make porridge that does not burn onto the pan is to put the oats in a bowl, mix in dried fruit and/or dried milk if you like, boil the water separately then pour the water onto the oats mixture, leave it to "cook" and cool for a few minutes then eat it. I have a plastic bowl with a handle that works perfectly but there are plenty of options available including silicone ones that can be packed flat.

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 4 Jun 2019, 2:36pm
by LinusR
As above says for porridge, a good tip. Also the 3-minute porridge you can buy in sachets work well. If you are using an aluminim pan to cook it will stick very quickly. Stainless steel or a non-stick pan, obvs, are better. But maybe your gas stove does not offer much control. I've only cooked on an MSR DragonFly using petrol in recent years, but I would have thought you could get a better gas burner, maybe. What model are you using? Useful to know for others to avoid. :wink:

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 4 Jun 2019, 8:29pm
by st599_uk
It's a Vango unit, seems to be either on or off and struggle in the wind. Maybe time for a new one


I'll give the flask idea a go.

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 4 Jun 2019, 9:08pm
by Thehairs1970
I love Trangias - they were my stove of choice in my youth, camping and bivvying in the Peak District. However, they do have a tendency to stick, especially the aluminium variety pan. Coupling this with a fiercer gas burner could only make it worse. Get a non-stick pan. We spent about £40 on a Tefal non-stick set about 20 years ago and they are still going strong. Nothing sticks.

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 4 Jun 2019, 9:35pm
by whoof
I've got a couple of gas stoves one for camping Gaz clip on canisters one for screw on canisters, both allow the flame to be varied. There are stoves that are designed to boil water as quickly as possible with little control.
Recipes all veggie but easy to add meat out you wished.
Chickpea curry. Fry onion, add curry powder some chilli flakes and cook out then a little water and ketchup plus a tin of chick peas bring to boil and simmer. Can serve with rice, Nan or pitta (to heat breads see below).

Wraps and rice. Fry some peppers add a tin of kidney beans. Cook a sachet of microwave rice, boil about 1 cm of water add the rice quick stir take off the gas put the lid on and leave for 2 minutes. Warm tortilla wrap, I do this by draping the wind shield over the stove and putting it on the lowest setting. Fill the wraps with rice,beans, salsa,chilli sauce and Greek yogurt.

Spanish omelette. Cut a potato into 1cm cubes and boil. Doesn't take long as they are tiny. Fry peppers and onions. Add the potatoes, some eggs and top with cheese.

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 7 Jun 2019, 11:38am
by philsknees
From long experience of burning food in lightweight pans made of various materials I now only cook food (as opposed to reconstituting the more palatable of the dehydrated stuff) out of necessity, preferring to top up the calories any place that others can provide a "proper" meal (& usually a beer :) ).
If I'm really off grid and do need to prepare food I'll use pot cosy cooking, see for example:-
https://whiteburnswanderings.wordpress. ... y-cooking/
You only have to boil water, stir in the food and let it stand in the cosy while it cooks itself. It works well for porridge, in a surprisingly short time and many pasta/rice based meals are also straightforward. It has the advantage of saving fuel because once boiling water has been added it will retain sufficient heat inside the cosy to cook the food with no need for prolonged simmering on the stove - which is where the burning usually occurs.
Tailor-making an insulated foil cosy for your pan is simple, the result weighs almost nothing and you can then get away with a basic very, lightweight stove and the thin metal pans which were previously a recipe for a culinary disaster.

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 7 Jun 2019, 11:54am
by HobbesOnTour
philsknees wrote: If I'm really off grid and do need to prepare food I'll use pot cosy cooking, see for example:-
https://whiteburnswanderings.wordpress. ... y-cooking/

Nice link - thanks!

OP, I use a Trangia and have had issues with sticky porridge.
A simpler alternative is couscous. Mix in some cinnamon, add boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes. Throw in fruit, nuts, chocolate for a luxurious breakfast. And no sticking to the bottom.

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 7 Jun 2019, 12:12pm
by horizon
HobbesOnTour wrote:
OP, I use a Trangia and have had issues with sticky porridge.


OP, I use a Trangia and have had no issues with sticky porridge. :D

I've got the hard anodised Trangia but I've never had problems with sticky porridge even with alu. The trick AFAICS is to stir it well right from the start when still cold and get all the oats surrounded and separated by water. Then stir again, and again. I use a wooden spoon.

PS I would try to avoid aluminium if you can and personally I wouldn't touch non-stick with a barge pole (let alone a metal implement). But I did say personally, YMMV. :D

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 7 Jun 2019, 12:15pm
by Vorpal
If you do not have an adjustor on your stove to vary the flame height, the only way to do it is to set the pan higher. Thin foldeable metal that can be set on top of the stove & bear the weight of the pan may be a solution? a couple of sections cut from a bean tin?

The trick is to get the right amount of heat to the pan without burning or sticking stuff to the bottom.

If you can't manage the above, maybe try stuff that you cook & drain, like pasta? I usually eat lots of one-pot meals; rice or another grain with other stuff cooked with it.

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 7 Jun 2019, 7:30pm
by dim
Better than Porridge is a South African cereal called Pronutro which you can buy in the UK:

http://www.buysouthafricaonline.co.uk/Cereals-Grains/Pronutro

very filling, tasty and it was used by many sportsmen/triathletes when I lived there. It's like a baby porridge, you mix it with either hot or cold milk, and add sugar (or honey)... add chopped fruit and nuts if you want to 'spice' it up

I still enjoy Scottish oats though

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 9 Jun 2019, 12:26pm
by foxyrider
I've cooked 'meal in a tin' stuff in the tin, soup, beans etc in a pan (or even kettle a few times) and the answer is to use the lowest flame you can and stir continually. The first couple of times I used my folding kettle pan I burnt stuff but then realised that the alu base was heating quicker than expected as less is transferred to the silicon foldy bit!

I must admit that the little bit of cooking I do these days tends to be dehydrated 'add water' type stuff - its light, cooks up well and gives a good feed. If, and its a big if, I wanted porridge I take the 'in a pot' things - it might not be brilliant but the plain variety can be dressed up to individual tastes and you only need to boil half a cup of water.

My lack of adventurism in camp cooking these days is mostly about convenience - in my youth I learnt to cook everything up to a Sunday roast on open fires and later on I moved to gas stoves. These days I use a tiny Japanese stove and only take the aforementioned kettle - i'm mostly just boiling water after all.

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 9 Jun 2019, 6:37pm
by Sweep
st599_uk wrote:It's a Vango unit, seems to be either on or off and struggle in the wind.


I

Are you using a windshield?
Or not and turning the stove up to try to offset the wind?

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 9 Jun 2019, 8:43pm
by Thehairs1970
You asked about recipes. Pasta and pate. Sounds weird but cook your pasta, chuck in a tub of pate and mix it up. The pate melts slightly coating the pasta. Yum.

Re: Cooking on small gas camp stoves

Posted: 10 Jun 2019, 2:35pm
by nsew
Pasta with whatever else you can lay your hands on. As to the heat source, wood burning stove & Trangia / meths. You’re permitted to hold the pan above the flame. And stir.