Having spent months exploring the world in their trusty VW camper, Megan and Simon are experts at putting together incredible food equipped with just a two-burner camping stove and a tiny fridge or cool box. Here are their top tips for camper cooking plus a delicious recipe for Creamy Tomato & Boursin Pasta.
Tips for camper cooking
Tip number one, boring but necessary for cooking in small spaces: be organised! Get out all your ingredients and equipment before you start cooking so you're not getting in your own way when you have started.
To keep equipment to a minimum, invest in a really good non-stick pan, preferably with a lid. You can cook anything in it, from fry ups and pancakes to pasta and stir-frys. Plus it makes washing up SO much easier, especially if you don't have access to a sink and running water.
Another key item on your equipment list is sharp knives with sheaths, also very handy.
Buy your fresh food little and often if you’re on long trips. And if you’re travelling through Europe remember lots of shops and supermarkets are shut on Sundays, we made that mistake a few times!
Make sure you set off with a few key store cupboard staples. We always have oil, salt and pepper, a few dried herbs and spices, dried pasta or rice and a jar of pesto.
Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients from recipes to make it work for you. Camper cooking is all about using what you have with the space you have.
Plan your meals to help you save on space and waste less food. We’ve worked hard when writing these recipes for the book to make sure that every ingredient is used in at least two recipes so that you can prevent waste and save on budget.
Take some kind of BBQ! We had a gas BBQ, but you can get all kinds to suit your camping style. In our opinion sitting outside in the sun is the best way to cook when camping if you can!
Be adventurous! You don’t have to live off cans of beans. With a few tweaks you can cook your favourite dishes wherever you are.
You can cook great food even when you don’t have much time. Our favourite fast meals for when you need food NOW are: Fajitas, Boursin Pasta, Bahn mi Baguette and Mushrooms on Toast.
Creamy Tomato & Boursin Pasta
The best bit about this recipe is that you only need one pan, which we know is even more of a bonus when you’re camping. By cooking the pasta in the stock and tomato, it also takes on loads more flavour… what’s not to love? From now on, we might all be cooking our pasta this way!
1 tablespoon olive oil, for frying
1 onion, finely chopped
1lb 2oz (500g) small cherry tomatoes, halved
A splash of white wine
2 cups (150g) any dried pasta shapes, such as penne or fusilli
1 2⁄3 cups (400ml) chicken or vegetable stock
½ x 3-oz. (75-g) block of Boursin garlic and herb soft cheese (or any other herbed cream cheese)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium-low heat. Add the onion to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until it is soft and sweet.
Add half the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes with the lid on until the tomatoes are completely soft and can be broken down into a sauce with a spoon.
Add a splash of white wine to the pan and cook for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol (you might need to turn up the heat a little).
Add the stock and the pasta and bring to the boil. Cover again and turn down the heat. Cook for 6 minutes with the lid on, then add the rest of the tomatoes, cover again, and cook for a further 6–9 minutes until the pasta is cooked through.
When the pasta is cooked, add the Boursin cheese and stir in until melted. Serve straight away with a crack of black pepper.
You could also add some smoked salmon, chopped into thin strips, when you add the Boursin cheese.
This recipe is from The Clever Camper Cookbook by Megan Winter-Barker & Simon Fielding. To get more great blog posts like this one - direct to your inbox – be sure to sign up to our mailing list here.