This year’s Christmas present cook book was “The Camper Van Cookbook” by Martin Dorey with recipes by Sarah Randell.  The idea is that it features recipes that can be cooked on just two rings or using a barbecue, as well as showing you how to make the most of your campervanning trips. Like the Cool Camping Cookbook, this is the kind of book that you can flick through at any time, reading the informative sections and choosing the recipes that you will use on your next trip.

To give you an idea, it includes sections on VW camper van culture (although nothings on Bongos – everyone seems to forget that other camper vans exist!), the UK’s best beachcombing locations and how to make a rope swing in the woods. Looking through the book over the winter certainly made us wish for the days when we could go camping and put some of the ideas to the test. We also enjoyed watching the TV series which goes with the book earlier on in the year.

The book contains lists of essential camper van kit. These are quite similar to the list of things that we usually take with us (see our previous post), although we would only take some of it if we knew that we would need it. What’s the point of a zester if you’ve got nothing to zest? In our opinion, the list of store cupboard staples, which includes two types of vinegar, two types of oil and dried mushrooms is a bit over the top, unless you’re going for a long time and are planning some fancy cooking, but everyone will have a different idea of what constitutes “essential” and it’s a good starting point. At some points whilst watching the TV series, we found ourselves thinking “he said he was travelling light, but he’s just got out a griddle pan – I don’t even have one of those at home! (or similar such thoughts).

As we’ve now had a couple of camping trips this year, we’ve had chance to put some of the recipes to the test. Our last trip featured:

  • Flapjacks – made separately by Tracey and Sarah at home the day before the trip, neither knowing that the other was making them!  Ideal for a post-pitching treat, with a nice cup of tea
  • Vietnamese chicken curry – enjoyed by all, but eat carefully to avoid staining the only pair of jeans that you packed with the spicy sauce
  • Chicken couscous with apricots and pistachios – this is now a firm favourite recipe for use both when camping and at home. When camping, we made it with asparagus and courgette cooked on the barbecue instead of the cucumber and with barbecued halloumi cheese instead of chicken.

Overall the book is a good purchase for all the campervan stories just as much as the recipes themselves and I’m sure we’ll be trying out some of the other dishes on our next trip. We were  disappointed to see that there won’t be a second TV series. You can find the author Martin Dorey on Twitter as @campervanliving or at his blog.

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