Spring is almost upon us, the sky is getting bluer and the sun is getting brighter as it veers towards us. Thoughts turn to strolls along the beach, the river and in the countryside…maybe even tentative overnight camping trips at the early opening campsites?
If that sounds tempting, then pack your little camp-stove, instant BBQ, lighter and a few other bits and bobs and your Cooking-Can-Camping-Cup, for lightweight camping that makes you feel like a kid again making it up with your friends.
In this tutorial, I show you how to make this fun, attractive and useful cup which can be used for cooking in or drinking out of. The cup needs to be made from a cylindrical tin. I originally designed it to be made by 1st yr Art & Design students as an entry activity and they all ate the bread they made at the end of it, cooked on a BBQ. You don’t need metals skills or fancy equipment, just basic tools.
You can heat your baked beans in your cup or you could bake Damper Bread in it (as shown above with a jam filling!). I include a recipe for the bread at the end of the tutorial. There are also two separate tutorials for making the fork and the spoon.
1. Use dividers to mark a line around your can about half-way up.
2. Use the dividers to mark another line around the can, about 1cm above the 1st one. This will be how high your can will end up being, after the edge has been folded safe.
3. Now for the handles; Use the dividers and a ruler to mark a strip 3cm wide from the top of the tin, down to the upper line that goes around the tin circumference (you marked it just now). Do the same on the opposite side.
4. Now mark a line 5mm in from each of the handle lines you just marked. These will be the edges of your handles after they’ve been folded safe.
5. Wearing a glove, cut out along your line, so that you end up cutting out 2 squares of waste material (look after these). You’ll have a tin with 2 strips (handles) sticking up in the air.
6. Notice how in the corner where the strip sticks up, there’s a little diagonal cut to the inner lines that are marked. This is necessary for folding the edges over.
7. Use a pair of flat pliers to fold the edges of the handles over as much as you can. It doesn’t matter which way you fold them over.
8. Now hammer the folded edges smooth. Use a flat hammer surface against a flat metal surface. The edges are now safe, not sharp.
9. Do the same thing around the rim of the can; use pliers to fold over the edges (don’t worry if it doesn’t look very round anymore).
10. And now hammer the folded edge smooth, by slipping the can over a round forging steak or similar roundish form.
11. Shape the handles by pulling them down over the long ring triblet to get the big curve. Next use round pliers to curl up the ends to face outwards.
12. Finally, wrap a piece of binding-wire around the can, threading through the curled up handle ends. Twist the wire together tightly using pliers to hold the handles snugly against the can. Snip the twisted wire end to a neat finish and tuck it flat against the tin so it doesn’t poke out sharply.
How to use your Camping Cook-Can-Cup…..
…to make a scrummy bread ball with gooey filling, but of course you cold cook and eat all sorts of foods in it! If your can has printed decoration / painted surface and you are using it on a fire in the embers, then the paint will eventually flake off.
Recipe – makes about 15 dough balls.
3 cups self raising flour.
1 can of beer (for the yeast element!).
Small pinch of salt.
1 tablespoon butter, margarine or vegetable oil.
Put the flour, salt and butter into a bowl and mix. Add the beer bit by bit until you have a soft dough, not too wet and sticky, not too hard. You wont use all the beer. Knead into a soft ball. Leave for 10 minutes to rest. When it feels soft and elastic, continue from step2.
1. Make sure your can is clean. Wipe the interior of your can with cooking oil, using a kitchen towel….if you forget this part, your bread will stick and BURN!
2. Make a ball of dough that will sit in the palm of your hands, no bigger.
3. Poke a hole in the dough and spoon in some filling (jam, honey, lemon curd, chocolate, cheese, chutney….). Seal up the hole by pinching the dough over. Try not to let any filling ooze out, make sure there are no escape holes or it’ll bubble out and burn!
4. Slightly flatten the dough ball so that it’s spread across the base of the can and is about 3 ½ cm thick.
5. Sit your can in the outer edge embers of your camp-fire / around the edge of your BBQ / hung on a stick above your fire / on a low heat / small flame on your camp-stove / on number 3 of your small ring electric hob. The main thing is that you want a low heat not a fierce heat, because the can is very efficient at cooking and you don’t want to burn your bread.
6. It will take about 10 -15 minutes to bake. You might like to knock out the bread and flip it over to bake on the other side for another 5 minutes or so. If it starts to smoke at any point then your can is on too high a heat and your bread is burning, so knock out the bread, flip it over to bake the other side and place the can somewhere a little less in the heat.
7. Eat bread in the can with your fork/spoon after it has sat somewhere to cool awhile, or knock it out and eat it. The filling will be like molten lava so watch out! While you are eating, your can could be cooking the next bread ball.
Use tongs / oven gloves etc, to pick up your can from the heat, or 2 sticks through the handles.
Clean your can in the usual way, but make sure you dry it thoroughly and then completely wipe the inside with a little cooking oil again. This keeps it from rusting and stops your food sticking from sticking and burning. It would be a good idea to wipe the eating surfaces of your spoon and fork with cooking oil too, to preserve them.