Unless you’re a real foodie it can sometimes be a bit of a chore to cook when you’re in a camper or motorhome, which is why it’s too easy to resort to those old camping favourites – sausages and beans. Of course they have their place among the comfort foods, but we can do better than that, can’t we?
When you’re camping you have time to think and time to gather great ingredients and cook them with love. It doesn’t mean you have to be Delia Smith, but it does give you the time to try something you might not ordinarily.
1. Eggy Bread with Maple Syrup and Bacon
Start the day with my daughter Maggie’s favourite getter upper. It’s ridiculously easy and ridiculously tasty. Chop up some smoked bacon and fry it until crispy. While that’s doing, crack a couple of eggs into a bowl and whisk with a fork. Add some black pepper. Dunk a couple of slices of really fresh bread in the egg until covered. When the bacon’s done, remove it from the pan and fry off the eggy bread in the bacon fat. Serve the bacon over the eggy bread and drizzle with maple syrup. Oh. My. Word. It is delicious!
2. The Practically Perfect Mackerel Sandwich
In extensive trials this sandwich was declared ‘practically perfect’ by a group of greedy friends. Why only ‘practically’ I have yet to deduce, but even so, it’s a cracker.
It’s very easy to make and perfect if you’re holidaying somewhere by the sea so you can get mackerel fillets straight off the boat. Dust mackerel fillets in flour missed with a few chilli flakes and black pepper. Fry in a little oil and butter until a wee bit crispy. Butter a couple of slices of doorstep style bread and begin to build your sarnie. Add watercress, creamed horseradish, thinly sliced tomatoes and cornichons. Top off with the mackerel fillets and the second slice. Then have a go at eating it… it may not be easy but it’ll be worth the effort.
3. Kofta kebabs and Home- Made Pittas
Pittas are easy… and you’ll amaze and delight the rest of the campsite when you make them. To make 4 (large ones) just mix up 2 cups of flour with a sachet of active dry yeast and a pinch of salt, then mix in about ¾ of a cup of warm water to make a slightly wet dough. Knead a little, leave to prove for about an hour. Cut into four and then flatten and fry or BBQ until slightly browned in places. For the kebab mix 500g of lean lamb mince with 1 tsp each of cumin, ground coriander, paprika and some lemon thyme and 2 tsp Sumac (and seasoning). Then mould them around a skewer and cook on the BBQ or plancha until browned. Serve in the pittas with some home-made tzatziki (Greek yogurt, mint, cucumber, lemon) and a bit of lettuce… perfect!
4. Kampervan Korma
This can be served with rice or with the pittas in the last recipe, plus a big dollop of mango chutney… Cook it in a big pot and watch the neighbours suddenly become very interested as the heavenly aromas drift around the camp site!
First chop up an onion and fry off in a little veg oil. Add 1 finely chopped chilli, a chopped knob of ginger and 2 cloves of garlic until the onions are soft. Then add 1 tsp each of turmeric, ground coriander, garam masala and ½ tsp of cayenne pepper (if you like it spicy). Then add 1 tbsp grated coconut and 1 tbsp of tomato puree and a tin (440g) of coconut milk. Add 8 boneless chicken thighs and simmer for about 10 mins. Add a handful of chopped mushrooms and half a pack of fine green beans and simmer for 5 more mins. When the chicken is cooked take off the heat and add a big handful of coriander 9Fresh) and 1tbsp of chopped almonds, plus 2 tbsp of Greek yogurt… sounds like a faff? The whole thing takes about 25 mins and it’s wonderful. Curry is the rules.
5. Mushy Pea Soup with Frankfurters
On cold days there is nothing like a good pea soup. It’s very naughty and very lovely and will warm the cockles of anyone’s heart…
So… melt a knob of butter in a cookpot and sauté a finely chopped onion, diced carrots (1), thinly sliced celery and a cove of crushed garlic, with a bay leaf. When the onions has sweated and is translucent add 2 x 300g tins of mushy peas and 300g of chicken stock (or water plus a chicken stock cube). Simmer for 15 minutes. Add 6 chopped frankfurters and season to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes then serve in bowls with a dash of double cream and a smattering of finely chopped chilli. Dunk doorsteps of buttered white bread for the full effect…. That should sort you out!
If you love discovering new flavours on your travels, then make sure you book your tickets to the show and visit the Food & Travel Stage where expert cooks and TV travel personalities will prepare their favourite recipes.
Martin Dorey is the writer behind the best-selling book, The Camper Van Cookbook and the TV show ’One Man and his Campervan’ that was made by BBC2 as a result of it in 2011. He was also a judge on BBC2’s Caravan Club ‘Caravanner of the Year’ show that aired last year. Martin’s third book, The Camper Van Bible, was published in spring 2016. Signed copies of The Camper Van Bible are available at martindorey.com.