Whilst it is very rewarding to cook up a storm in your home kitchen, I think it's even more rewarding to get something nice to eat while being on a hiking trip.
Rule no. 1: Always have enough food with you! This includes goodies like chocolate, a wine bladder filled with port to sip in the evening, or in case you're on a shorter hike, even a bottle of red wine. Of course, it helps tremendously if you have a supportive
Rule no. 2: Apart from the above mentioned goodies, make sure that all the food you carry is as dehydrated as humanly possible. Otherwise your backpack will be so heavy that you will reach your destination cursing just as heavily...
While being on our Christmas vacation in New Zealand, we had only planned to do an overnight-hike in the region of Wanaka on the south island. Therefore, we didn't have too many things to prepare and, luckily, our packs weren't particularly heavy.
However, what we didn't know was that the steep climb to reach our destination, the Liverpool hut, was indeed the second steepest climb in the whole National Park. Two thirds of the hike were a rather leisurely walk through a beautiful valley, whilst the last two-and-a-half hours turned out to be quite a challenge. With both hands for support we worked our way up, using trees, roots, and rocks as handles. I was glad to be in the shade of the woods otherwise I would have had to sweat even more.
Luckily, after this ordeal, we were rewarded with the most amazing view down the valley. But I didn't stare in amazement for too long - my growling stomach reminded me of the dinner yet to be cooked.
With roughly 20 people arriving the same evening at the same 6-bunk hut, we had set up camp a bit further away, enjoying our privacy and our space. Whilst many of the hikers I've met so far lived on instant noodles and the like, we truly enjoyed our couscous with mushrooms and tuna, followed by chocolate-covered almonds. After such an exhausting day, this was a real feast!
The ingredients (per person, can be easily multiplied)
100g instant couscous
a good handful of dried and sliced mushrooms (make sure to buy sliced ones as whole mushrooms will have to be cooked for much longer)
85g tuna with sun-dried tomatoes and basil (comes in a foil pouch)
salt, pepper, your favourite spice mix
instant stock cubes
whole sun-dried tomatoes
powdered milk for a creamier texture
bottle of red wine
Let the mushrooms with some water (amount is according to instructions on couscous package) come to a boil and cook until mushrooms are soft and not too chewy. Add the sun-dried tomatoes at this stage, if using.
Don't forget to sip your wine while cooking!
Add couscous and let stand until softened. Add more water if needed.
Season to taste and stir in tuna. Dig in!
This also works well with salmon out of a foil-pouch or with dried beef (has to be cooked with the mushrooms to soften). Powdered tomato sauce will make a good variation.
My own invention