Anyone recognise this approach to stocking the cupboards for the next trip?
Instant noodles (check)
Instant mash x2 (check)
You can all stop looking innocent, we all do it.
Cooking in a caravan is not as hard as some people think. New caravanners (and some old hands with bad habits perhaps) tend to take what seems the easy tinned food option when planning a trip. In reality however, there really is no need to live on chunky soup and spaghetti hoops. Let’s remember here that caravanning is not camping. There is no need to approach the catering for your next trip as if you are entering a combat zone and expecting to live on emergency rations for a while.
Of course we probably don’t want to spend the trip cooking but a little careful forethought can really make a lot of difference. Yes, the kitchen area is unlikely to be as spacious as you are used to at home but if you use it effectively and you plan your meals you should still be able to come up with some really top-drawer family feasts. One tip for the first night is to freeze a meal and take it out as you start your drive. This usually means you can set up the van and settle into a meal that just needs heating.
Try to think, “What can I?” and not “What can’t I?” Use the space more economically. The smallest 4 berth Adria Altea comes with a good work surface for prep and a three ring burner so approach your recipe planning with that in mind. There are some really good old favourites that can be made in a small space. You will probably have an oven so a hearty casserole shouldn’t be an issue. Why not buy several smaller joints of meat that you can arrange more easily in the smaller oven or grill-able cuts such as chops?
Try combining. Mix your veg together in the one pan by picking produce that work well together. Then use the water to mix with (sorry mum) instant gravy, which makes it much less ‘instant’ and much more like a home made meat and veg meal.
Think like your Nan did in her pantry. Taking things like dried pulses means you need to soak them before cooking. That is something that you would probably not bother with at home but aren’t you going to be out all day anyway? They’re easy to store, you get a lot from a small pan and, for the sake of a quick over-night soak, in the evening they will cook up a treat.
Use pre-packed for ease of meal making, not for making a meal. Yorkshire puddings and home made pies take a lot of space not to mention the mixing and cooking. These are things you could buy frozen, split down for the ice box, and take just enough to pop into the oven to finish.
Shop local. Shopping is dull most of the time but not when you’re poking around a little farmers market and picking up some local treats for dinner. Check out the area you are staying in advance for places to get some really nice local produce.
One pot wonders. Take a look around the Internet for examples of different meals that you can cook up in one pot. You can easily do the prep in advance for all sorts of things that you can cook up quickly. I appreciate that particularly aromatic foods such as curries are not the best choice, but there are many more options.
Spruce up salads. Salads are quick and easy to make and again here a trip to the local market will provide you with lovely fresh produce in smaller quantities.
Of course there is always the good old barbeque or the traditional picnic if the weather is up to it.
Nobody wants to spend their time on holiday cooking but that doesn’t mean that with a little work before hand, you cant have some really nice, quick and easy meals while you are there.