03 Dec 2021

What's Cooking: Go wild with these wonderful recipes from the wilderness

From Wilderness Chef: The Ultimate Guide To Cooking Outdoors by Ray Mears

What's Cooking: Go wild with these wonderful recipes from the wilderness

Sizzling chicken yakitori

These three recipes are from the Wilderness Chef: The Ultimate Guide To Cooking Outdoors by woodsman and TV presenterRay Mears

Canoe camp fishcake recipe

“This recipe reflects the spartan nature of catering on a canoe trip – but do not be of faint heart, for these fishcakes are a firm favourite, being both filling and delicious,” explains Ray Mears.

“I usually wait for a day when the weather has been bad or the portages long to serve this meal. The only problem is that you will be asked for more, and then there is the dilemma of whether or not to make more now or look forward to eating them again further down the paddle? I guess there are worse problems to have.”


(Makes 8–10 fishcakes)

100g dehydrated powdered mashed potato

213g can wild Alaskan salmon

1tsp dried mixed herbs

Good pinch of angler’s salt

Good pinch of ground black pepper

Flour, for rolling

Groundnut oil, high temp olive oil or vegetable oil


1. Reconstitute the dehydrated potato following the packet instructions.

2. Add the salmon, herbs and seasoning and mix it all together with your hands.

3. Roll into small balls, 5cm in diameter.

4. Roll each ball in some flour and then flatten into a fishcake.

5. Heat the pan, then the oil, and fry the fishcakes for about three minutes on each side, until golden and crispy.

Chicken yakitori recipe

“Skewer cooking is a favourite Asian cooking method, reaching great delicacy in street markets,” says Ray Mears.

“Almost any food can be cooked on skewers – broccoli, shrimps, asparagus, meat, fish or shellfish – but whatever the ingredients, all are elevated when cooked in a yakitori glaze.”


(Serves 2–4)

2 chicken breasts

2 leeks

2 red peppers, seeded

6 mushrooms

3tsp brown sugar

4tbsp water

125ml soy sauce

125ml mirin

1 garlic clove

Ground black pepper or shichimi pepper

Pinch of salt


1. Prepare some skewers and soak them in clean water for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, beat the chicken breasts to an even thickness of 1cm. Cut into 3cm squares.

3. Cut the leeks into 4cm segments and the pepper into 3cm squares, and trim the stems on the mushrooms.

4. Prepare the skewers, alternately threading on the meat squares and the vegetables.

5. In a small billycan, combine the sugar, water, soy sauce and mirin and heat to dissolve the sugar. While it’s heating, crush and add the garlic, and stir in the pepper. Once the sugar has dissolved, set the glaze aside.

6. Begin cooking the skewers. It is traditional to have some skewers simply seasoned with salt, as well as those brushed with the sweet glaze.

7. Once the cooking has reached what you consider to be the halfway point, glaze the skewers that will be sweet. Do not worry if the glaze seems thin, it is built up in layers. Season the remaining skewers with a pinch of salt.

8. Continue glazing the sweet skewers little by little until they are cooked, and the glaze is a beautiful glossy brown. Cook the salted skewers until they too are golden. Serve hot.

Drinking chocolate recipe

“This method is quick, efficient and minimises mess,” says Ray Mears. “Spices, such as orange zest or chilli, can also be added for a difference.

“At the end of a hard day’s canoeing, a tot of rum has been known to fortify a drinking chocolate, relaxing muscles and encouraging restful sleep.”


100% cocoa chocolate


Milk, to taste

Sugar, to taste


1. Grate sufficient chocolate according to the manufacturer’s instructions or your preference. Work to a volume of water of 2/5 cup (100ml) for two cups, or 4/5 cup (200ml) for four cups.

2. Bring the water to the boil, then add the grated chocolate and when dissolved, stir into a smooth paste.

3. While stirring, add milk to taste and bring to the simmer, then taste and add sugar to your preference. If possible, whisk to aerate the drink before serving.

4. Milk powder can be added to the grated chocolate prior to the water. It can also be made without the milk if none is available. Evaporated milk mixed with water makes rich hot chocolate for cold weather.

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