Our favourite camping meals + healthy eating on the road

DSC_0047Before becoming parents, both me and my partner travelled alot. It was on one of my first travelling experiences that I discovered the raw food lifestyle and I later on travelled to the other side of the world with the purpose of working specifically with raw-vegan food businesses. I helped start up some small businesses in Australia which were packaging raw snack bars, co-run a market stall selling raw vegan take-aways and served in vegan cafes. In transit in other countries, I seeked out the best of the local veggie hangs and bought local produce to make simple meals in my hostel room or tent. Making creative food sometimes paid my way from country to country or became my gift to those who hosted me in their homes. Later on I was invited to share my knowledge at workshops in London, Sussex and Switzerland and cater retreats to yogis from near and far sharing my love for nutritious and delicious plant-based foods. Food and travel have gone hand in hand for me for many years now, as they do for many foodies, and although I always love immersing myself into different food cultures and trying the local cuisine, I am always conscious of staying healthy while away from home and sticking by local, seasonal and organic where ever possible.DSC_0228It can seem as though your life is going to change drastically when you first share your lives with a baby and travelling with children of course has its challenges compared to the free-spirited ways we travelled pre-kiddies. But we have strived to carry on doing very similar things we did before whilst exploring the world, going to all of the places we want to explore and travelling on a tight budget, which means lots of camping, self-catering and most lately, living in farmers fields in our caravan. Our little house of freedom on wheels.DSC_0144Eating well whilst being away from my usual kitchen habitat and pantry full of ingredients is something which is not only important to me, but is also an exciting challenge I gladly step out of my comfort zone into. I love the challenge of minimilst healthy cooking, and what’s better than cooking outdoors really?! Although fancy meals with all the trimmings are out of the question (and rarely happen at all these days because #mumlife), maintaining some of my usual kitchen habits is easy when on the road, especially whenyou have a base for a few days or more. I love to sprout seeds in a muslin bag (they love the warm conditions of a car and grow exceptionally fast!), soak our grains for super-fast breakfasts, make huge salads from foraged greens and local produce and stick to simple, one-pot meals . If we are not taking a flight, I like to make a jar of sauerkraut before we leave and let it ferment in a few days as we travel in our car ready to enjoy throughout the holiday. It will thrive outside of a fridge as long as you keep it nice and hygienic. Basic staples such as crackers, granola, trail-mix, grains and pulses plus fresh produce topped up on the go makes up our daily meals and even on a camp-cooker or over a fire, we manage to cook up a feast every night. Simple meals are always the best and given the limitations we have, I end up wondering why I need all of my other kitchen gadgets anyway. I usually plan a rough idea of what our meals will look like while we are camping, so I can pack the right dry ingredients then top up with what fresh fruit and veg we find in our new local surrounding. If we are camping in a tent, I’ll pack small amounts in zip-lock bags, though now I have our caravan fully stocked with all of my most-used ingredients. Here are my top tips for healthy meal-planning on the road:DSC_0393

Sprouting - I always carry a sprouting sack with me when I travel, aka a nut milk bag/ muslin bag/ pair of tights. I simply add about a cup full of sprouting pulses into the bag and dunk it all in a bowl of water overnight, then sprout it on the sill of our car, making sure I rinse and turn them twice a day. The advantage is that the warmth of the car makes the little sprouts grown extra fast. Win win!

Soaking - Soaking our grains overnight not only makes breakfast extra quick in the morning (perfect for hungry little campers), but also means we are getting the optimum nutrition from our grains and makes them creamier and easier to digest. Over-night oats and chia seed puds make great breakfasts and require no cooking at all. I also like to pop rice/millet/quinoa in the pan before we head out hiking for the day if I’m organised, so that cooking time is minimal of an evening. Little preparations make big time savers folks!

Fermenting - A fresh batch of sauerkraut makes the perfect condiment to camp meals, if weight and space isn’t an issue. I like to make a jar of kraut a few days before we leave on a trip so that it will continue to ferment over the course of our trip and be fine if left out of refrigeration (be sure you have a cool, dry place for it though). Fermented foods keep our bellies happy and make lunch-boxes extra exciting. Hummus + avo+ sauerkraut wraps are our go-to hiking lunch food.

Foraging - I feel like I am constantly looking for wild foods. I know all the best spots in our home environment, but when away from home, looking up at trees, in hedgerows and sea shores is something I naturally do, as wild foods are not only the freshest you’ll get, but are packed full of nutrition and are free! Think wild berries (blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, blueberries), Tree fruits (apples, plums, figs, pears), sea-vegetables (samphire, dulse, sea-lettuce), nuts (chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts) mushrooms (pick ONLY if you are experienced in mushroom identifying and picking). These foods make up a good proportion of our meals when the seasons are abundant, and foraging is a fun thing to do with little ones (pack empty containers, bags and wet-wipes for berry-stained fingers!)

One-pot meals - Whether cooking on a camp stove or on the luxury of a home-away-from-home full range cooker, one-pot meals are an essential part of my holiday food repertoire for keeping it simple and minimilsing washing up. Who wants to be scrubbing multiple pots and pans when there are places to see and explore? One-pot chilis such as this one, Indian kidgeree, soups and veg-bean casseroles are all super for quick, no-mess meals.

Pre-made pantry - Make sure you have all of the basics with you before travelling so you can simply stock up on fresh produce at a local market or greengrocers and not waste time and energy in super markets buying way more than you need. As a minimum I pack curry powder, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, paprika, salt and pepper, dried herbs, coconut oil, blocks of coconut cream, oats, pasta, dried pulses, a few grains, chia seeds and dried fruit.

A week of camp-fire suppers might look something like this:

Dahl + rice // Shashuka // Chickpea and squash curry // One pot chilli // Veggie bbq // Pasta + pesto // lentil soup + sourdough breadDSC_0169On the eve of adventuring off with my family in search of hills, waves and wide open spaces, I give you one of my favourite camping meals. But don’t feel like you have to wait for a trip away for trying this recipe out. It’s perfect for an easy supper any day of the week and uses store cupboard ingredients, seasonal produce and just one pan. Serve with some crusty bread to mop up the juices and dip into the runny yolks. And if you are vegan or don’t eat eggs, then I’ve tried a wonderful version of this subbing the eggs for halved, peeled and stoned avocados, placed flat side down into the tomato mixture a few minutes before serving to warm through. Add some chick peas or beans to the mix for extra protein if you like. Or do as I did in the pictures and do eggs and avocados, because they really are a match made in heaven. The recipe below serves 2-4 people, depending on how many eggs/avocados you use, hungry you are and whether you are serving it for a breakfast or supper.

Camp-style braised eggs/avocados in spicy tomato sauce

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 onions, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic

1 handful veggies (sliced mushrooms, peppers, courgette, corn) – Optional

1 tbsp dried oregano/ mixed dried herbs

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp harissa paste (optional)

2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes

2-4 free-range eggs / 1-2 avocados, halved, stoned and peeled

Fresh herbs/ sprouted seeds for serving

In a large frying pan, skillet or casserole pan, heat the oil and add the sliced onions. Stir well and cover, cooking on a low heat for 5-10 minutes until soft and coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add the herbs and spices and any veg if you are adding them. Add the tinned tomatoes and harissa, stir well and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is nice and thick and any veg is just cooked. Make four divots in the mixture, and crack the eggs into them, or lay the peeled avocado halves flat side down. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the egg whites are cooked through. Remove from the heat, scatter any fresh herbs or sprouts on top and serve with crusty sour-dough and fresh salad.DSC_0055

What are your favourite foods to eat while camping, caravanning or cooking away from familiar surroundings? I’d love to hear your ideas! Much love,

Jo x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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