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May 2012 Issue
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Bacon and courgette polenta

I’m not gluten intolerant, in fact on my more cynical days I could be described as gluten intolerance intolerant. But I do think we eat far too much wheat-based food these days.

Between breakfast cereals, sandwiches and pasta, it’s easy to get through an entire day eating nothing but flour-based meals, which can’t be good for you. So it’s great to have some alternate grain recipes at your disposal – like polenta. This maize-based grain is a great one for the backcountry; it’s super light, ultra compact and fabulously tasty.

I’ve paired it up with bacon and courgettes here as a side dish (great with a fire roasted salmon, fresh out of the Southern Lakes), but it works excellently as a simple main course in itself if you increase the quantities a little.


Serves: Side dish for two
Weight: 275g
Volume: 0.5l
Calories: 736
Cost: $7.25
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Fuel: 250ml* white spirit or 90g camping gas
*Based on an MSR Whisperlite burning white spirit at sea level.


¼ cup tasty cheese
4 rashers bacon, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 cup water
1 cup milk (from powder)
⅓ cup polenta
Salt and pepper


Pre-cook the bacon and courgettes and set aside. Next, heat the water and milk over a low flame in a medium saucepan. Add the polenta and stir continuously until the mixture thickens enough to come away from the sides of the pan. Add the butter, cheese, bacon and courgette. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.