How to eat well while you’re camping
How to eat well while you’re camping

How to eat well while you’re camping

First-attempt-at-cooking-bread-in-the-camp-ovenI’m getting to the point in planning the trip where I’m starting to think about food.

For those of you who missed it, last time we were at the farm I started practicing cooking with the camp oven. Shall we say, my first efforts wouldn’t get me on a reality television cooking show!

Fortunately it did get better. I won’t say I’m a great camp oven cook, but at least now the food is edible! And I’ve got 8 weeks to practice coming up!

Second-attempt-at-cooking-bread-in-the-camp-ovenSo what food do you take for an 8 week camping trip that will include some very remote places where we can’t stock up on fresh food?

Generally I cook much the same things on the road that I do at home. After all, I have a stove with 2 hotplates and a grill, a slow cooker, and a camp oven. There’s nothing that can’t be done using one or more of those.

And I tend not to take a lot of shortcuts – herbs and spices actually take up far less room than packets and tins of ready-made sauces and meals, and give you a lot more variety.

My biggest problem out travelling is getting fresh fruit and vegetables. As a vegetarian they’re obviously the most important part of my diet, and much harder to store than meat, cereals or grains. And in remote areas fresh fruit and vegetables are hard to come by. What is available will often only last the one day, and sometimes not even that.

My basics are:

  • Flour  (with flour, salt and water you can always make fresh bread, and of course scones when you’ve got fresh cream and jam)
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Beetroot
  • Dried herbs & spices (basil, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves [also good if you get a toothache on the road], coriander seed, wattleseed, curry mix [from a good Indian grocer], galangal, chilli, cumin, paprika,
  • Dried beans  (kidney and borlotti), chickpeas and lentils
  • Rice
  • Pasta (angel hair takes the least cooking and is one of my favourites)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (I use it for cooking, salad dressing, and dipping fresh damper into)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Dukkha (I take a couple. As well as using on platters they can be used as a flavour or marinade for food)
  • Soy sauce
  • Coconut cream
  • Falafel mix
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic
  • UHT milk
  • Ground coffee
  • Tea

Champagne-and-nibblies-of-an-afternoonAnd the fridge has always got yoghurt, cheese, butter, dips and other deli delights. And, of course, wine.

These then get topped up with fresh fruit & vegetables whenever I can get them. Whenever I find a farmers’ market I stock up. If the food is really fresh then it will last a week or so in the fridge – if you have the right sort of fridge. I now use a Bushman’s fridge because the Engel always freezes the vegetables and they don’t even last a day!

Both Doc and Helen are carnivores, so we always have some cryovacced meat at the bottom of the fridge where it will stay frozen and keep for weeks. And it’s always a lot easier to top this up than it is to top up vegetables. Everybody everywhere seems to stock cryovacced meat!

I do love having drinks and a platter of nibblies – biscuits & cheese, dips, bread & crackers, olives, etc for lunch or of an afternoon once we’ve set up camp. If there are other people around we’ll often join them or vice versa to talk about where we’ve been and where we’re going. That’s one of the great pleasures of travelling and camping like we do!

My motto is “just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to eat badly”.

So that’s my list – what is it you can’t do without while you’re away?