This morning was an easy going Sunday morning sleeping late in our tent... well 7am at least (the bush is noisy!) After wandering back bleary eyed over the sand and dry grass from the bathroom, we decided coffee was in order. Not wanting to bother getting out of our PJ's and walk over to the main camp, we decided to give the Kelly Kettle another go (after a bit of a slow start!)
The Kelly Kettle was first created by an Irish fisherman called Patrick Kelly in the 1890s. I am guessing my Stainless Steel Base Camp model has come along way in all those years! The Kelly Kettle is made up of two parts, a base and a chimney. The metal base has a hole in the side to put sticks, dry grass, leaves… (basically anything you can ignite!) While the chimney is a cylinder, where the flames from the base rise up and boils the water which is around the outside.
The Kelly Kettle is all about boiling water fast, which was perfect as all I really wanted was a cup of coffee in the morning without having to get dressed and walk into the main camp to put a kettle on the gas stove, hang around waiting - not looking human yet, and walk it all the way back to the tent. So my sister came up with the idea of the Kelly Kettle, and got it for me for my Birthday. She came across the Kelly Kettle during 'Forest School', an outdoor education program that is all about using nature to teach various topics across the curriculum. She used to make hot chocolate for groups of children. She said it worked really well but takes a bit of practice - advised me to practice pouring cold water!
As well as being able to make a cup of coffee with ease, with the addition of the Cook Set and Hobo stove that she gave me, we would also be able to use it for a lot more, giving me and Theo a bit of independence before we manage to build our own kitchen (and the rest of our new home!). It can be very quiet and peaceful on camp, but it is usually all or nothing as suddenly the camp can be full of volunteers, donors, advisors, special guests etc. and suddenly you are 10 people hovering over a two ring portable gas stove in a small mud walled room.
In our first attempt we boiled water - not quite as quickly as everyone else seems to have - we found that we could ignite it easy but keeping it going was more difficult. But we got there eventually! Our second attempt was ambitious - dinner. I initially planned to make a Chilli Con Carne, but as it took us quite a while to get the hang of just boiling water, I thought cooking meat probably wasn't the best plan (have I mentioned our toilet is outside and we are surrounded by wild animals?). So decided on the can't go wrong 2-minute noodles. Well it took a LOT longer than 2 minutes, and we managed to fill the tent with smoke (as I left the door unzipped), but I did manage to eat noodles at the end of it, even if they were a little crunchy still!
This morning everything went A LOT more smoothly, managed to make Bush Coffee (Ricoffy and Condensed milk) easy enough, so we decided to be more adventurous. Fried eggs on toast! Well the egg part went awesomely and cooked in no time! (with my miniature frying pan I stole from my mums kitchen when I was back in England).
However the toast was a bit more of a challenge! I found a 'camp toaster' in a sale, as the previous times I had tried to make toast on camp involved holding a piece of bread with a fork over the gas stove. It took so long I only "toasted" one side, and it didn't taste very good! I thought this camp toaster looked like it would be a perfect addition to the Kelly Kettle. We tried first straight on the base, except it kept extinguishing the flames. Secondly we filled the kettle with water again (you cannot boil it dry), and hoping to make big flames through the chimney we tried to cook on top. No luck, the heat didn't even seem to get to our bread. Thirdly we tried it on top of the Hobo stove (hoping that the little extra height will give enough oxygen to fuel the fire but the bread closer so it would toast). No luck again. We ended up just having our perfectly cooked egg on slightly dried bread. It tasted good any how.
What to do with the water left in the chimney part after all this cooking? The washing up of course - using a "camping washing up bowl" I bought at the 99p Store - Perfect.
Although our Kelly Kettle will take some practice, I think once we get the technique down we will be creating masterpieces with it - Hopefully I will be able to post some successes on here!