There really aren't many options I've found in Australia for dehydrated camping food. For the last hike I did, I took mostly canned soup and beans and used solid fuel and a mini camping saucepan to heat, but that approach is way to heavy for the 5 day Cape to Cape. Enter the Jetboil! 400g of high powered cooking fire that can be used to rehydrate meals right in the cup.
After browsing around hiking sites on the web for a while (a few of which were run by vegan hikers), I decided that recipes based around TVP, red lentils, couscous and quinoa were probably the best way to go. I figured TVP would be a good place to start. I found a few recipes to
I assembled the ingredients below and started the JetBoil up with two cups of water.
I discovered the JetBoil has a handy indicator on the side of the insulation that turns to yellow when it's hot. It is, however, a little redundant, as once it starts to boil, the huge volume of skin-scolding steam raging from the top of the cup is a bit of a give-away.
After my water was boiled, I turned off the heat (most recipes said to put it on low, but there really appears to be little difference between "low" and "full raging inferno" on this thing. I am using the large 230g gas cylinder and it is full, so perhaps the gas flow rate is a little higher than with the usual 100g cylinders.
Into the cup, I placed to rehydrate:
1/2 cup TVP
1 tsp vegan "beef" stock
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt
After 2 minutes of standing, I realised that there was not nearly enough TVP for the volume of water, so I decided to heat it a little more, both in an attempt to boil off some of the water, and encourage expansion of the TVP. In retrospect, this was where it all started to go horribly wrong.
While hunting through the kitchen cupboard looking for other tasty ingredients to add, the JetBoil erupted into a volcano of molten TVP lava. The handy sipper lid served as a funnel to eject said lava in a geyser directly over the gas control (as well as the floor and cupboard). I initially ran over and stuck my hand into this stream of boiling lava to turn off the gas, but a quick brush with the erupting contents made me realise that this approach would see me returning to work on my day off to have some ED intern bandage up my arm and make a referral to the Burns Unit.
By the time I grabbed a tea towel and went back after the gas control, the volume of water left in the jetboil had diminished to the point that the raging torrent of TVP-steam was now just a trickle.
In the delirium that followed my near death experience, I didn't get any decent pics of the soggy TVP strewn marsh the kitchen had become. After cleaning up the mess, I threw some of the olive oil, chili powder, tomato paste and nutritional yeast into what remained of the TVP in the JetBoil - it actually wasn't too bad, though I'm not entirely sure it was worth the collateral damage to the kitchen and to my pride.