Cooking on the road with the Prestons

With one week to go, our life on the road preparations are reaching the frenzy point and I’m at the ‘food’ stage.

As always food gives me the most challenges. Anyone that knows me knows damn well that cooking isn’t my strong point. I suffer from a complete and utter total lack of interest in that regard as I couldn’t be bothered after being at work all day. My favourite meal is one that’s been prepared by someone else.

So of course my little problem is that when we hit the road is not only do I haveto cook but I have to do so with limited cooking facilities and space for a pantry. It will be at least 3 weeks before we hit a major supermarket again and the thought of living off tins of baked beans every night doesn’t fill me with any joy.

So I arise to the challenge and with the help of serious menu planning, shopping lists and some handy accessories, I make camp cooking my friend.

We have made our camping lives easier on this trip by having both our 80 litre upright fridge in the camper and a 21 litre Engel freezer behind the cab. The addition of the freezer to our setup involved getting a dual battery system installed under the car bonnet, an extra bank of solar panels and a fridge box, so it was an expensive little ice box (bloody expensive) but it gives us the ability to travel remote for longer periods of time and will be worth the outlay.

The really, really expensive little freezer box fits behind the cab of the Cruiser

We can now freeze meat, carry frozen vegetables and carry a selection of pre-made meals which I have been busily preparing and freezing in the last week or two.

Also although our space is limited we also carry a Webber Baby Q inside the camper.  It sits on the seat and gets in the way but is totally worth the inconvenience. It is a BBQ and an oven, runs on gas and gives us so many more food options. We aren’t always able to have a fire so a camp oven isn’t as practical.

Creativity with some tin food is required because fresh ingredients only last us a few days even in the fridge and there is nowhere to replenish them. We can vacuum seal meat and left over cooked meals, but not fresh vegetables. I naively tried that once and the tomatoes and cucumbers went rotten. Which brings me to my question; can you freeze mushrooms? So many simple pasta recipes involve mushrooms and I can’t stomach the tinned variety.

Once I solve that dilemma I will have no excuses for not being able to produce delicious gourmet meals on the road and in fact a total mind shift occurs and cooking no longer becomes an unwelcome chore. Time and tiredness is not an issue and there is something magic about cooking and eating outside with the sights and sounds of the bush. It becomes about enjoying the simple pleasures in life and food is beyond a doubt one of those pleasures.


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