What, (and how), to cook on your Campervan holiday:
As regular readers to this blog may have picked up on…I’m a bit obsessed with food! And Campervan cooking (and planning) is another obsession.
Whether it is eating all the baguettes in France, or drooling over Italian Gelato, I’m constantly planning my next meal. Often whilst eating my current meal. This is quite a handy habit if you are spending time in a Campervan! Campervan cooking on your Campervan holiday can be quite easy, if you have a reasonable ‘store cupboard’ and a bit of a plan.
Here are some ideas on Campervan cooking, both on the hob inside your VW California Ocean, or on a BBQ outside.
So, you have a few options on what to eat. Cold stuff is easy, I won’t go into the details, but cooking meals can be a bit of a head scratcher. Especially if you are a family. When you book your fabulous VanGlorious Campervan, we can help with some packing ideas on how you can feed your family, on the go.
Have a good Store Cupboard. I have a tub filled with oil, herbs, spices, stock cubes, S&P, in fact, any of your favourite flavourings.
Have at least one good pan! Even though it can be a bit of a space filler, take a good deep frying pan, or something you can use for different things. We have a big frying pan which I can cook pasta in, but also do a bit of a fry up in too.
I also take a few staples like a bag of pasta, rice, a tin of tuna, a jar of pesto or some chopped tomatoes. This isn’t because shops don’t sell them as soon as I leave Leicestershire (!), but as a mum I’m always thinking about the worse case scenario – If we get stuck somewhere I can always fill the kids with pasta!
Have a rough idea of a few meals you could cook on your holiday, for example, if you know you are going to do burritos or quesadillas, take some tortillas and a bit of Mexican spicing. If you hope to make a curry one night, there may be some bits from home that could accompany the meal. Take the jar of opened mango chutney rather than buying a new one! If you fancy whipping up Thai noodles, take the peanut butter and flavourings. If you are making pizzas one night, make the dough at home and stick it in a tub all ready for you.
I’m a big fan of putting things in tubs, rather than buy again. Single Use Plastic can get lost. It’s all about a bit of planning. And tubs. Lots of tubs.
Here are some ideas on what we cook, both inside the Campervan and also on a grill or our Cobb BBQ outside the van.
I’m a big fan of this website – check out Summer’s Campervan journey, and some delicious recipes too!
On The Hob:
A little oil
Cooked bacon or sausage (leftovers from the BBQ!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Salsa or hot sauce (optional)
Heat your fab frying pan on your gas ring. In a bowl, beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped peppers and onions to the pan and cook until they soften. Pour in the beaten eggs and scramble until fully cooked. Warm the tortillas over the gas ring or on a hot pan (Depending on the size of your pan, you could rest it on the top/lid whislt the eggs are cooking). Assemble the burritos by placing the scrambled eggs, cooked bacon or sausage (if using), and grated cheese in the centre of each tortilla. g. Roll up the tortillas tightly and enjoy with salsa or hot sauce.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto:
Mushrooms – sliced
Garlic cloves, minced
Vegetable or chicken stock, a big amount, 1.5l maybe.
White wine (optional) a large glass
Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Get your multi-functional big pan out. Heat olive oil and butter in the pan on the gas hob. Add the diced onion and minced garlic, and sauté until softened. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they release their moisture.
Add the Arborio rice to the pan and toast it for a few minutes.
If using wine, pour it into the pan and cook until it evaporates.
Gradually add the stock to the pan, a bit at a time, stirring frequently until the rice absorbs the liquid. This can take some time. Pour another large glass of wine for yourself, and sip, whilst slowly adding the stock to the pan. Continue adding stock and stirring until the rice is tender and creamy.
Stir in grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)
Pizza sauce (store bought or home made)
Shredded mozzarella cheese/grated cheese
Toppings of your choice (e.g., sliced pepperoni, peppers, mushrooms, onions)
Dried oregano and basil (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat your amazing ‘one-pan-to-rule-them-all’ over your campfire or on your hob. Roll out the pizza dough to fit the size of your pan (a bottle doubles up as a rolling pin). Lightly oil the pan and place the dough in it.
Spread pizza sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the sauce and add your favourite toppings. Season with dried oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.
Cover the pan with a lid or aluminium foil to help melt the cheese and cook the toppings evenly and cook the pizza over medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.
Remove from heat, let it cool slightly, slice, and savour your delicious campfire pan pizza.
Thai Peanut Noodles:
(A bit of ingredients planning required, but tasty and quick).
Garlic cloves, minced
Red pepper/chilli flakes (optional)
Assorted vegetables (e.g., peppers, carrots, sugar snap peas, onions etc)
Things to decorate with – crushed peanuts, herbs, spring onions…
Cook the rice noodles according to the packet instructions and drain. In a bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, minced garlic, grated ginger, and red pepper flakes (if desired).
Heat some oil in the pan on the gas hob and add the assorted vegetables and sauté until crisp/tender. Stir in the cooked rice noodles and the peanut sauce mixture and toss well to coat the noodles and vegetables. Garnish with your bits and bobs- crushed peanuts, and fresh coriander etc.
You can serve this warm or cold as a delicious Thai-inspired meal.
One of my all-time favourites as it’s so easy, and you can jazz it up as much as you like. Simple as a lunch, or the main feature of a Mexican style meal.
Cheese (anything you’ve got, as long as it melts nicely)
Jazzed up version can also include…
Cooked chicken, diced (optional)
Diced peppers (optional)
Sliced jalapeños (optional)
Salsa, guacamole, or sour cream for serving (optional)
Heat your mega-pan on the gas hob, and place a tortilla in the pan and sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over one-half of the tortilla. If desired, add cooked chicken, diced bell peppers, and sliced jalapeños on top of the cheese.
Fold the tortilla in half to cover the filling and cook the quesadilla on both sides until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy.
Remove from heat and let it cool slightly before slicing into wedges. Serve with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream, if desired.
On the grill:
A staple for Campervan cooking on your Campervan holiday.
We often make our own ‘ultimate burger’ with a small block of cheese inside the meat which melts as you grill them. Like a surprise!
Minced beef (or a mixture of beef and pork)
Finely diced onion.
Seasoning and herbs
A squidge of ketchup (A campervan cooking essential item!)
Optional – Some cheese for the middle. Fancy like stilton or regular like cheddar.
Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl, apart from the cheese. The egg and breadcrumbs ‘bind’ the mixture so it doesn’t all just fall apart.
Mix well with your hands, getting right in there.
Divide the mixture into an amount per person and shape into burgers. Cut your cheese into manageable chunks to go inside your burger.
If you are adding the cheese in the middle you can either make two ‘halves’ and create a cheese sandwich effect, ensuring you have encased the cheese block fully in the mince, and then shape into a burger, or make a hole and shove the cheese in!
If possible, chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
Grill to your liking!
You can then add your own twists to your burgers, lettuce, extra cheese, bacon, sauces etc. You know the drill.
We have taken metal skewers with us, but also bought wooden ones. Don’t forget to soak wooden skewers in water for around 30 mins to prevent them burning. This is a great dish to use up any veggies that may be lying around in your fridge at home. Stick them in a tub (!), and then create a tasty meal whilst you are away in the van.
Vegetable skewers are easiest as they all kind of cook at the same.
Lots of vegetables, like, onions, mushrooms, peppers, courgettes, cherry tomatoes etc. Halloumi also works well on a skewer (if you can get in on without it breaking up!).
Thread all the items onto a skewer and drizzle olive oil, seasoning, herbs etc all over them, and place on the grill.
I find indirect heat is better, and turn them regularly.
Eat with a dip of choice, or you can use the veggies stirred into pasta with a tomato sauce.
Chicken or Pork also works well on a kebab, but choose your added vegetable wisely! Use things like peppers and onions which can take a bit longer on the grill, as the meat is cooking. A cherry tomato will be mush by the time you have finished grilling your chicken!
Make these in individual portions as they are easier to manage.
You’ll need some tin foil too.
You can either cook these in the ‘coals’ or on the grill. If cooking in the coals double wrap them in foil as they can burn a bit.
They can take up to 40 minutes depending on the heat, so be prepared!
Potatoes, cleaned and cut into chunks.
Oil (and a bit of butter if desired).
Herbs (fresh if available)
Salt and pepper.
Parmesan to serve.
Mix the potato chunks, onions, oil, herbs and seasoning well in a big bowl so evenly coated.
Divide into portions and wrap in foil (double wrap if cooking in coals), and leave the opening at the top so you can check if they are cooked.
Place around the grill and let cook for between 25 and 40 minutes.
Check they are cooked by opening the foil, but be careful as hot steam will escape as you open.
It’s great to let a bit of the liquid escape as the potatoes can then develop a nice crust on them.
When they are cooked, sprinkle some parmesan over to melt.
Serve as a side dish to your meal, or with a big dollop of crème fraiche as a lovely carb laden snack.
Prawn and Asparagus parcels:
Again, the tin foil comes into play here. No Campervan Cooking recipe is complete without tinfoil!
You will need to cook this over coals, rather than a flame, so let the flames from the BBQ die down so you have a nice indirect heat.
Asparagus stalks, woody ends removed.
A glug of White wine or stock to create some steam
Seasoning/herbs/spices, chilli flakes, your choice.
Knob of butter.
Create a parcel with the foil and add the ingredients as above, asparagus on the bottom, then prawns and a bit of garlic then wine/stock, butter and seasoning.
Seal the parcel tightly, as you are steaming the prawns, and cook for about 15 minutes on the grill.
Carefully open the parcels, allowing the hot steam out, to check that the asparagus and prawns are cooked! Serve with rice or salad.
Ice Cream cone smores:
Campervan cooking is not complete with a Smore!
Waffle ice cream cones.
Marshmallows, any size
Bananas if you choose. And anything else you may have to hand really.
Stuff each waffle cone with layers of marshmallows, choc chips and bananas.
Wrap in tinfoil and try and keep as upright as possible or everything just melts right out! Try to leave a bit of a gap between the top of the tinfoil and the cone as the marshmallows will stick to everything!
Arrange around the grill and allow to get all gooey and melty, then get stuck in when they have cooled slightly. Get ready to wipe those sticky fingers!