Rocket stoves are a big deal in Africa. Not only do they save fuel so there’s less need to buy firewood or walk miles to collect it, they’re also cleaner burning so people aren’t breathing in nasty fumes. Lots of aid agencies are championing them. So what’s that got to do with camping and outdoor cooking here in the UK?
We’ve come across five or six companies who are making rocket stoves for African communities, but by expanding their market to include UK customers they can make more stoves, keep their prices lower and, ultimately, keep them affordable for people in need.
One of the best is Anevay’s Horizon stove, which is a gasifying rocket stove made in South Africa. We liked Anevay’s Frontier stove (see our review here), and this new piece of kit is good too. They cost around £80 and come with a free bag made of recycled inner tubes.
The big selling point is that, because it’s a high efficiency stove, it burns smokeless – no more moving seats every time the wind changes to avoid a face-full of smoke. Another advantage is that the outer cage of the stove stays cool, so you can pick it up and carry it whenever you want.
Anevay say you can see how efficiently it burns by how little wood you use. They claim you can cook a meal on just a small handful of kindling and that it takes just 15 minutes to boil five litres of water with only 250g of wood.
The stove is made of stainless steel and is lightweight, at just under 2kg. Its bag is roomy enough to take a pan and some wood.
Now for the science! Its thermal efficiency is 45 per cent for the large pot on high power (using the SeTAR thermal efficiency test). It has a combustion efficiency of 96.7 per cent and burns off most of the harmful gases before they’re released. Black carbon particles are significantly reduced, which is good for the environment.
Congratulations to Darren Browett, who won a stove, worth around £90, and a carry bag made from recycled inner tubes.
Darren lives in Coalville in Leicestershire and wrote: “I’ve been looking for a clean and efficient wood burning stove to use when camping in my belltent and saw one of these Horizon rocket stoves in use this weekend at Elvaston Castle Wood Fair. I was seriously impressed by how quickly the stove was able to be used for cooking from when first lit and also by how little smoke was produced, as nobody enjoys having clothes that smell like a bonfire for days! With the added eco benefits, this stove looks like a winner.”
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…and make a delicious shakshuka
Here’s a super-easy recipe that you can make in just one pot on your rocket stove. Using one pan means no lugging around heavy equipment if you’re camping and less washing up, so you can spend more time running wild in the woods or sitting back with a glass of wine!
Shakshuka is a North African and Israeli dish made up of eggs poached in a gorgeous tomato sauce with chunky vegetables. It’s traditionally eaten for breakfast, and makes the perfect warming meal to fuel you up for a day of outdoor activities. In this recipe, we’ve added chunks of sausage to make it a bit more substantial for dinnertime, but feel free to play around with the ingredients depending on your tastes and what you have available.
This recipe works best with a Dutch oven or shallow pan with a lid, but if you don’t have one you can just make a quick lid out of tinfoil or put a plate over the top.
We recommend serving with big chunks of crusty bread – perfect for mopping up every last bit of that gorgeous sauce! With a dollop of yoghurt or crème fraîche on top and a sprinkling of your favourite herbs, this dish is guaranteed to impress!
- 1 pack sausages
- 2 onions
- 2 red peppers
- 200g mushrooms
- 400g can tinned tomatoes
- 4 eggs
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp paprika
- Generous pinch of brown sugar (you can use honey or any other sweetener)
- Yoghurt, crème fraîche, or chopped herbs to serve
- First get your stove going. It should only take around five minutes to get the fire ready.
- Heat a tablespoon of the oil and fry your sausages. When browned, remove from the pan, cut into chunks and set aside.
- Heat the other tablespoon of oil and add the garlic and onions. Fry for a few minutes, until the onions start to soften.
- Add your mushrooms and peppers. Cook until the veg starts to soften, around five minutes.
- Add the can of tomatoes. Stir in the cumin, paprika and brown sugar. Add the sausage chunks.
- Simmer your sauce for five minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When the sauce has thickened, make four indents in the sauce and crack an egg into each one. Cover and leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the whites of the eggs have set. If your stove is very hot, you might want to remove the pan from the heat after five minutes (keep the lid on) – the eggs will poach in the steam.
- Using a big spoon, serve into four bowls. Add any toppings you like – yoghurt or nuts and seeds work well, as do any of your favourite herbs. We like coriander or parsley.
Ta-da…sunshine in a bowl!