Saturday, 14 July 2018

Summit to Eat Freeze Dried Meals: Review, NOW WITH UPDATES!

With three hundred days to the start of the fortieth Great Outdoors Challenge - you will have spotted the new countdown clock over to the right, I'm sure - my keyboard has once again been pressed into service.

Prior to this year's TGO Challenge, Lauren - an Outreach & Digital PR Manager - asked me if I would be interested in testing some free meals for her client, Summit to Eat. The meals didn't make it in time to take on the Challenge, and so there's been little opportunity for me to test them in the field / up a hill / on a mountain / in my beautiful Trailstar.

I had a bit of rotten news this afternoon that made me feel I'd been punched in the solar plexus and consequently didn't feel like spending time creating another culinary sensation in the kitchen - I'm sure that that Blumenthal fellow pinches all my best work - and so seized the opportunity to catch up on my promise to Lauren.

So, Heston - I know you're reading this - here's how to make a first class Salmon & Broccoli Pasta dish.

  • Boil a kettle. That's not difficult.
  • Pour 280 ml of boiling water into the pouch - there's an easy to see fill-line inside the pouch.
  • Stir well. You need the exercise.
  • Reseal the pouch and cover with a tea-towel to keep it piping hot.
  • Wait ten minutes. The packaging actually suggests eight. Trust me on this.
  • Lay the dining table. Pour some searingly dry white wine into a polished glass, and a little tap water. We don't want anyone getting squiffy.
  • Serve in your best white china. Patterned stuff simply will not do.

For members of the congregation that are either illiterate or too bone-idle to read the instructions, I have provided an easy to follow illustrated guide below. 


And how was it?

I've frequently found that dried meals taste pretty damn good when cooked in your tent. Mind you, it has to be said that I'm usually ready to eat a horse by the time I'm cooking on the hill. However, they don't travel particularly well when served at home. They too often taste like the horse I was about to eat one spoonful at a time. 

Summit to Eat's Salmon & Broccoli Pasta, on the other hand, tastes really, really good! You can actually see chunks of Salmon and large pieces of Broccoli in a beautiful creamy pasta sauce. Take a look at the second picture for the ingredients: Beautifully simple, with no added chemicals what-so-ever.

It's not over-seasoned and is utterly delightful! 

A point to note, that I only realised after I had licked the last of the food from the pasta bowl, is that the packaging is quite shallow, so if you are forced to eat one of the meals out on the hill - though Lord only knows why you would want to drag your sorry carcass up a hill to eat this wonder food - you won't get your knuckles covered in food.

My advice? Buy some and see for yourself. I still have another five meals (FREE ones at that!) to tickle my taste-buds and from what I've experienced so far, I'm really looking forward to them.

You can find out much more about Summit to Eat food by clicking the link below:



UPDATE: 18th August 2018

On the hill I very often have a dehydrated pudding as a breakfast; you can only eat so many Granola Bars before your system screams for a reprieve. In another couple of my lazier moments this week I've had Summit to Eats's Custard Apple Crunch and their Chocolate Mousse with Cherry and Granola as midnight feasts.

I want you to keep this a secret - just between us, okay? - as I don't want hordes of hungry hikers besieging Summit to Eat for my top favourite midnight feast/breakfast of all time only to find that when I want to order it it has sold out: The Chocolate Mousse with Cherry and Granola was bloody superb! That's not to say that the Custard Apple Crunch was poor by any means - it was pretty srummy, actually.

The Chocolate Mousse was intensely chocolatey, and the cherries were bursting with cherriness! The Granola gave the pudding a bit of interesting texture, without making the dish feel too worthy. I hate worthy food... Smacks of hair shirts and vegan sandals to me. The CMwC&G is prepared with cold water, so if you're near the end of a trip and your gas is running low, this dish makes even more sense.

There's 416 calories in the CMwC&G and 447 in the Custard Apple Crunch. For a longish trip I would take a ratio of three CMwC&G to one of Custard Apple Crunch.

But please leave some for me as I'll be ordering a fair few of these!


Friday, 4 May 2018

The 2018 PreWalk Daunder in the Lake District


It's been an incredibly hectic few weeks here. On the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday I joined a Motley Crew (and yes - the capitals are very important here) in the English Lake District for the twenty fourth Annual PreWalkDaunder. Then, on the Monday I started a new job. On Tuesday and Wednesday I moved Mission Control to a new location.

A week later there are twenty eight boxes boxes still to be unpacked (Trust me; that's a huge improvement on just a few days ago) but for the moment my focus is on the new job and sorting myself out for the TGO Challenge in one week's time.

I'll just post the pictures of the Daunder for the moment but I will return to add some scribblings when I get a little more time.



It was said that at Sandy Lane Infants I was an unusually bright child. However, Mr Pugsley (a WWII Spitfire pilot with a very painful, shot-up stiff leg - the Headmaster at Sandy Lane Juniors) also said, quite correctly as it turned out, that I 'would never amount to much.' 

I've put the inevitable failures in my life - and Lord knows there have been a few - down to the numerous toxic amalgam fillings in my sugar-rotted teeth, that slowly but steadily destroyed any functioning brain-cells that were left after the sessions at the Bell in Northfield and the Axe & Compass in Hemingford Abbots. The fillings were the result of my childhood, munching Blackjacks, penny bars of Cadburys chocolate and Sherbet Fountains. My sister Christine didn't help, spending my pocket money on pounds of greasy chocolate buttons from Bracknell Market and then throwing away the  fat-stained paper bag remnants into the dog-rose bushes in Shepherds Lane on the way home, in preference to throwing up.

Perhaps I should enlist the services of a smart lawyer to tackle the confectioners and sue the arse off the bastards? On second thoughts, no lawyer has ever helped my cause any further than the lining of their own pockets.

But that's life.

Having experienced real life in all the kick-you-in-the-nuts-when-you're-down-and-struggling moments, it was an absolute joy to rise to the surface of this fetid soup and find there are still people out there who reward you for your inherent decency that until now had been buried under layers of life. With this blinding revelation I set off  to the Lakes with my best-est buddies for a long weekend of walking, happy in the knowledge that someone was about to pay my bills for the few skills I had left in my depleted armoury. Life, finally, was on the up after years of stasis and the acceptance of  semi-endurable penury.

And who better than to share in this revelation than the happy band of Daunderers selected for this year's PWD.

Let's not get carried away. After all, I'm pretty sure you could think of more worthwhile companions, but with my few remaining grey cells I could not. Phil subsequently sent out the Golden Ticket invitations to this year's Daunderers. 

Phil, or Lord Elpus as he is known in Royal Geographical circles, had arranged a route and itinerary fit for Titans, perhaps forgetting that Daunderers are slipped from common clay.

I think you'll agree that the following photos portray incredibly decent folk all having a jolly good walk in one of the world's prettiest, if not one of the smallest, playgrounds; Cumbria - the English Lake District, land of Curmudgeon-in-Chief Alf Wainwright, Eric Robson, the Lakeside YMCA and the Mountain Goat Transit van bus company who ferried me about as a lad from one over-adventurous escapade to the next for years on end.

For Cumbrian cognoscenti, the pictures will be all that is required to re-imagine our route around the Scafell Massif (for the un-initiated, that's a little like da West Staines Massif) so the usual Ordnance Survey map I provide will not be necessary.

NB. There will be more words added in the next few days, so do please return to this ink-stained Foolscap screed to learn more of my wonderful compatriots and their bizarre foibles!

Monday, 16 April 2018

New Gear for the 24th Annual PreWalkDaunder?

I've noticed that quite a few Challengers have been splashing out on new rucsacs for this year's TGO Challenge. I am just as guilty...

This baby cost me the princely sum of two of Her Madge's pounds from a charity shop, and had it not been for another brand new rucsac arriving at Mission Control, might well have been coming with me this Thursday on the twenty fourth annual PreWalkDaunder. I carried an almost identical model in the Summer of 1970 on the Pennine Way. But that one had felt lining to the straps.There's posh! It had had a fair few miles under its belt when I was loaned it by my wonderful Scout Master, William Charles Kemp. Bless Him.

1970 was the summer of Mungo Jerry and 'In the Summertime', being buzzed by a pair of Avro Vulcans barely a hundred feet above our heads, (my legs gave way completely!) and us lads feeding Horlicks tablets to wild fell ponies, who amazingly came back for more!

Quite a while ago I wrote to Bergans with the photographs and Unique ID stamped inside the sack to ask if they could let me know when this chap was made. Sadly, they did not reply.

In the spirit of Old Mortality:

Postscript: I see now where Mad'n'Bad found the inspiration for his TGO Challenge string vest...

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Forthcoming Attractions!

In a dramatic, yet temporary shift of emphasis, this blog will shortly feature some rare Gear Reviews! (Capital letters employed for added drama...)


Look. There are people out there who are addicted to this sort of thing. Admit it, you are too, aren't you, on the odd occasion? But it's okay; you can handle it. Alright, just this once then...