Time in the woods is good for your soul. And time in the woods with great food? Well that is just pure medicine.
Today is definitely a day to head out. It’s mid winter, the sky is clear, the sun is out…..and I have a massive Tomahawk steak from the local farm shop. Now this is a lunch break worth savouring.
The dogs are keen to come too so we head to a great spot in one of our local woodlands. This is an awesome spot, and a place I have permission to use, and for that I am grateful.
After a sunny walk in to the woodland and on finding a great place to stop, a space with the sun beaming through the trees, the dogs settle and I clear a space for the campfire. The leaf cover is still thick so I pushed it back to reveal the damp ground below.
With plenty of brash piles in this section of the deciduous woodland it is easy to source firewood. The seasoned hazel and birch are very dry and make great kindling.
Today I use the back of my knife with the ferro’ rod to create the initial spark, then layer up dried birch bark to feed the initial flame. Adding the dried sticks a bundle at a time, with the trusted method of small sticks first and building up in size to establish the camp fire which takes quickly.
Using my trusty small forest Gransfors Bruks axe, I split more seasoned birch to feed the fire ready for today’s feast. This birch wood is a little past its best and a bit punky so doesn’t split as cleanly as hoped, but it burns well all the same.
Today I’ll be cooking on a chunk of York stone found within a section of this vast woodland. Supported by two logs of silver birch the stone is placed across the fire to heat up.
As the dogs relax in the winter sun and the fire starts to heat the rock I harvest some green hazel sticks to make a pot hanger. Always considerate in what I take from a tree, I’m always sure to round off the site that I have harvested from to give the tree the best possible chance off being unfazed and undamaged from the place I have cut.
With a few simple notches I make a basic pot hanger and get the coffee over the fire. Leaving the kettle to boil I get out the huge hunk of tomahawk steak from my bag and unwrap it with the dogs looking on eagerly. No chance dogs, I’m not sharing this with anyone!
As much as it is an incredible piece of meat all in its own right, there’s always time for spices. I use a rub especially designed for beef, the Argentinian Chimichurri blend from The Carnivore Club to coat the tomahawk steak with extra flavour. This box of spices was a Christmas present, and it has some amazing spices in it!
Now prepped and packed with the extra layer of flavour, I place the steak on to the searing hot rock with a satisfying sizzle. And as the steak settles on to the hot surface I smear the meat with cool creamy butter to give an extra layer of juiciness.
While the steak is starting to brown on the underside, the coffee comes to a boil. It’s time to pour the dark rich coffee in to my trusty kupika and stir in the sugar ready to relax and enjoy. Coffee just always tastes so much better made over a campfire, especially with the smell of the steak and the smoke gently wafting through the woodland.
Using my knife and the large rib of the tomahawk, I turn the steak over as the butter, fat and spices all start to drip across the meat, combining and smelling incredible. The steak is so thick it needs searing on the sides too, so I gently rotate the chunk of tomahawk to cook on the sides.
The fat is marbled through the steak making it tender and juicy, and the oozing butter bubbles around the base of the meat on to the hot rock. The meat is so succulent and tender that the bone starts to just fall away, so helped a little with my knife I remove the rib.
While the steak finishes cooking, there’s enough time to prepare the peppers, onions and ciabatta. I slice the sweet red Romano peppers lengthways and lay them across the hot rock to start to char to enhance the flavour. The red onions are diced and tossed on to the rock too, just enough to brown them off so they become sweet and release their flavour.
The fresh ciabatta are sliced in half and laid across the hot rock to lightly toast once the steak is removed. The butter, spices and fat left behind from the steak on the hot surface help to crisp the edges of the bread.
Once the steak has rested, for only a few minutes, I can’t leave it much longer, it just smells too good, I lightly run the knife through it and the meat just falls apart. Cooked perfectly in my opinion, a juicy medium steak, marbled with fat through out, it looks amazing………and yes, it tastes even better than it looks!
Ciabatta toasted, veg charred, it’s time to layer up this epic sandwich. The sweet and softened onions, the vibrant red pepper and then the succulent steak on top, cradled in the crisp ciabatta……..this is a lunch to savour.
Comfortable next to the fire, just me and the dogs, and the tantalising tomahawk steak. Perfect. The first bite….. it’s hard to describe just how amazing this tastes!
Biting through the layers, the bread, the veg and then you get it…. that juicy, tender steak. Coated and dressed in spices. Smothered with creamy oozy butter. The melt in your mouth deliciousness of this epic Tomahawk steak, definitely made even better by cooking it on the rock. It’s taken on the smokiness from the fire, the earthiness from the rock then made even better surrounded by the calmness of the woodland.
Ok, so I couldn’t keep it all to myself, I did share a little bit with the dogs. And yes Hazel the lab’ gets the privilege of licking the plate clean. Lucky bitch.