Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Damp Weather? No, Dampers

So, another wet morning dawned and I contemplated the school run and dog walk, once again smothered in wet proofs. Pink had left her wellies at school (she went home with a friend yesterday) and I had no suitable alternative footwear for her, having given in to her pleas for summer sandals when she needed new shoes. And she was wearing tights, so, much as I  thought "Well she can just wear her crocs up to school" the reality of following this through was that I would end up at school trying to pull her wet feet into tights while feeling stressed that I wasn't already walking the dog so that I could get home to start work... In the end she wore tights and sandals, and skipped to school, the skipping rope leaving muddy lines up the back of her tights. It's rained all day and it's raining now. Our house is an old one and it needs some sunshine. I just feel cold and damp.

We had the wettest June since records began? I don't doubt it. And July looks like it's going to be just as bad going on current form, but frankly I've stopped looking at the forecast because it's one thing to be depressed about the weather as it happens, but you move in to a whole different realm once you start being depressed about weather that hasn't even happened yet.

Against all the odds, we have been camping 6 times this year already, and experienced mixed weather conditions, from the cold (the Husband took the kids for a night before Easter), through the wet (the first May Bank Holiday, and a night in half term)  to the totally and utterly glorious. This last weekend counted as a glorious one. Despite the predicted heavy showers, the only real rain we encountered was some persistent drizzle on Friday night, a short shower late Saturday afternoon as we were thinking of packing up fron the beach anyway, and rain as we left at the end of Sunday. And Saturday was fabulous. Windy, but with real proper sunshine. The kind of day to remember on days like today.

yes, I know it's a rubbish photo but I only had my phone with me

We were camping just outside Padstow on a cute little site called Dennis Cove Camping, literally walking distance from the harbour - and to the beaches. We had fish & chips from Rick Stein's chippy on Friday evening in the drizzle, and Saturday dawned windy but sunny so there was nothing for it but to head for the beach. We had a great seaside day. After various attempts to swim (I can attest to the fact that it was freezing, having done the decent this and immersed myself - and I speak as one who grew up swimming in the sea off the west coast of Scotland - but maybe it gets colder the older you are...), the children joined forces and set to building an enormous fort, while the adults variously assisted, read books and threw endless stones into the sea for the dog (me).

We had a mega BBQ on Saturday night and we'd had such a good afternoon on the beach that I didn't get round to making the damper scones that I had come prepared for, anticipating fairly miserable weather for most of the weekend and thinking we'd need some cheering up.

However, undeterred, (and with the bit between my teeth), I decided to make the dampers on Sunday morning. My lovely friend Louise made these when we were all at Forgewood on the other utterly glorious weekend we've had this year, She got the recipe out of a little camping cookbook from M&S (of all places) and I was keen to give it a go.

Mini Damper Bread Rolls

(to make about 8)

275g self raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
175 ml milk
2 tablespoons runny honey
olive oil to grease; butter and jam to serve

If you are planning to make these while camping and don't have a handy set of camping scales (like I don't) you can measure out the dry ingredients before you go. You can also measure out the milk, or make a handy marker in a cup or other receptacle that you might take with you. I kind of winged it using a plastic mug...

Basically, combine flour and salt in a bowl then mix together the milk and honey and add to the dry ingredients; mix together to a dough, and then form the dough into 8 scone shaped pieces. You do need to make then reasonably flat because otherwise they won't cook in the middle - I know - I was that person who ended up having to slice them in half mid-cook...

Get your fire/stove going, lightly grease the pan you are going to use - a frying pan type is good, but anything really would work, then place the dampers into the pan for about 10 minutes, turning regularly. You can check that they are cooked by tapping - if they sound hollow, bingo.

in the pan

with jam

Serve with butter and jam (I can recommend rhubarb and vanilla...), tea or coffee, and a sense of satisfaction, (even if your fingers are now covered in dried up sticky flour mix and you have to trog back to the shower block to wash them...)

woops - not sure about the black smudge there...


  1. Brilliant! If it ever stops raining and we resurrect the tent after the traumatic Welsh trip last year I want to show off and make these. Your beach looks glorious by the way

    1. You should, you know, although perhaps this summer's not the one to do it in

  2. I used to make these at guides, we used to wind sausages of the mix around sticks then hold them over a fire. I'm not sure what health and safety rules would say about that but it was awesome!!!

    1. Yeah - the Husband is a scout leader and we do that with the scouts, although usually we just make up normal bread dough mix - I hadn't done a sweet one before. They love it with plenty of jam, and when we've been on camp some of the more enterprising ones have stuck bits of cheese and stuff into the dough...

  3. So lovely to see a sunny picture, such a dreary day again! Sorry I haven't replied to your tag.... on my to do list xx

    1. I know - miserable isn't it. DOn't worry about the Meme - it takes quite a bit of time and I don't think there's any time limit on it :-)

  4. I am seriously impressed, proper cooking while camping!

    1. **blushes** ahem - I do try occasionally (falls over laughing and reaches for the gin). I keep thinking about your festival trip...

  5. Erm. I wish my phone photos looked half as good as those... Those sound fab to have quickly. We're off in our van this week so may give those a try...

    1. ooo what have you got? We have Daisy, a 1989 VW transporter. Love her!


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