Whether you’re campervanning or camping, living the simple life and sticking to a budget doesn’t mean eating only baked beans and noodles. Light a campfire, spark up the barbecue or whip up a one-pan wonder – here are a few easy camping recipes that don’t cost a fortune.
Goats cheese and chorizo salad
Toss fresh salad leaves, beef tomatoes and cucumber with olive oil, crushed garlic and balsamic vinegar, then add chunks of chorizo and crumble in local goats cheese. Garnish with pepper and pine nuts.
You can make all sorts of variations of this classic tapas dish that’s typically with made with potatoes, mayonnaise, peas, red pepper and tuna. I like to use baby potatoes, tuna, grated carrots, lemon juice, chopped onion, hard-boiled eggs, red pepper, garlic and fresh peas – mixed together with a generous dollop of mayonnaise and served on salad leaves.
Mackerel with mango chutney and cous cous
Tinned fish is cheap, nutritious and easy to keep, making it an ideal camping food. Add a tablespoon of mango chutney (a useful component of any campervan larder) to a tin of mackerel and serve with cous cous (easy and quick to prepare with boiling of water, a knob of butter, garlic and seasoning).
Mixed fish risotto
Fry up an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic in a generous amount of olive oil, then add enough Arborio rice for the number of people you are serving. Throw in a glass of white wine and whatever herbs you have to hand, squeeze in half a lemon and add a large bag of mixed seafood (fresh from the market or out of the supermarket freezer). Crumble in a stock cube, season, and add ladles of boiling water until the rice is cooked. Once you’ve turned the flame off, mix in a bunch of fresh spinach and plenty of grated parmesan.
In its simplest form tortilla is potato omelette, and is delicious served hot or cold. For my version, cube two to three potatoes, boil them until al dente, then fry in olive oil, adding a chopped onion, two cloves of garlic, a sprinkling of paprika, seasoning, chopped chorizo (optional) and a chopped pepper (optional). Once cooked, slide the mixture onto a plate and beat eight eggs in a bowl. Add the eggs to the pan, followed by the cooked ingredients and cook on a low heat until the edges start to come away from the pan and the top of the omelette is no longer runny. If you have a grill on your camping stove, you can finish the top of the tortilla under the grill.
Chorizo and pepper pasta
Cook enough pasta al dente and put in a bowl to one side. Add a splash of olive oil to the pan and fry up garlic, onion, mushrooms, green/red pepper and chopped chorizo, adding a tin of tomatoes and sprinkling of mixed herbs. Once simmering put the pasta back in the mix, add a handful of fresh olives and serve with grated parmesan.
Whole roast chicken on the BBQ with lemon and garlic
Take a piece of tin foil large enough to wrap around a whole chicken, and lay sliced lemons, garlic and a splash of oil in the middle. Turn a whole chicken breast-side down and slice it (heavy duty scissors are best) right along the middle from one end to the other so you can pull it flat. Place it on the lemons, season the top of the chicken and slather it with butter. Throw in any herbs to hand (basil is ideal), pour the juice of half a lemon and a cup of white wine over the chicken and wrap it up in a double layer of foil. Make sure the coals are well spread across the barbecue and cook for around 20-30 minutes each side.
Source fresh sardines from the local market, or buy a bag of them frozen from the supermarket. Perfect grilled on the barbecue or an open fire (cook them for a few minutes each side), sardines are best served with olive and butter bean salad, hunks of fresh bread, and a bottle of local, organic cider.
Tuna steaks with corn on the cob and garlic bread
Prepare the garlic bread first – spreading butter, crushed garlic and mixed herbs on a sliced baguette. Wrap the baguette in foil and add to the edge of the coals for about 20 minutes, turning frequently. In the meantime douse the corn (keep it in the husks) in water and lay them on the coals, rotating them slowly, until the outer layers of the husk start to burn. When you pull back the husks the corn inside will be so juicy and tasty that you won’t need butter or salt to taste. While the corn and bread are cooking, put the tuna steaks on a grate on the hottest part of the fire/BBQ, for a couple of minutes each side. The tuna should be seared on the outside and rare in the centre.