The great advantage of a campervan trip is that you have the freedom to travel where and when you want.
You need to eat, of course, and that entails parking up near a pub or café or cooking for yourself.
Long-wheelbase motorhomes will usually offer a range of cooking facilities such as triple ring hobs, grills and ovens and a decent size fridge.
Smaller campervans will be more cramped and have fewer facilities. Most campervans will have built-in cooking facilities but preparation, cooking and cleaning up afterwards can raise some issues – especially in the confined space.
Limited gas, electricity and water can also pose a problem if you intend to prepare plenty of holiday meals yourself.
That said, campervan cooking has a lot to offer provided you plan ahead and follow a few rules. Self-catering bring down the cost of any holiday and it's handy to be able to cook whenever you feel like it.
Here are a few tips to keep from overheating on a mobile holiday.
You are not going to be able to serve up a full Sunday roast with trimmings in the confines of a campervan kitchen so make it easy on yourself. That doesn't mean endless meals of beans on toast. Opt for one-pot cooking recipes. They are not only easier to make but help to reduce the washing up afterwards. Steamers are a great idea as multiple stacked tiers mean you can cook lots of vegetables at once with very little water. The internet is full of websites with excellent one-pan camping recipes. When choosing recipes it is often a good idea to choose meals that will last more than one night. It can save time, gas and water if you cook meals that can be reheated the following day such as curries and casseroles.
Maybe it's the fresh air, but food always tastes better out of doors and, as you are campervanning, you tend to eat outside. And as you are on the move there is usually fresh produce to be found at markets stalls and farm shops. When stocking up on the basics store foodstuffs in airtight containers to keep them fresher for longer. Sauces and soups sold in packets tend to be lighter than those sold tins and jars while dried food like pasta is both light to carry and easy to cook. Remember to take some plastic food containers with you both to keep cereals, rice and so on, and also to store leftovers.
Cooking will cause smells. The aromas may be inviting when the food is warm and fresh but not smell so great when it's cold and you are settling down to sleep. Many will stick to vegetables for indoor cooking and leave fish, meat and heavily spiced dishes for outside. Instant barbecues are ideal for cooking meat outdoors where the smells won't linger.
Water is limited so it pays to think about how best to manage it while on the road. On a campsite, you can dump everything in a bowl and use the kitchen facilities but, out in the wild, you need to take more care.
Never leave pots, pans or plates to dry before washing. Put them under the tap or in the washing up bowl straight away. And it's an idea to pop the kettle on while you eat so you have instant hot water after your meal. Take care to scrape pots and plates will before washing. Many wipe utensils with kitchen towel before washing up, to help save on water.
And remember, food that goes down the plughole can create a lingering smell in a confined space.
You can cook plenty of decent meals with a twin hob campervan cooker but it's good to take full advantage of facilities when hooked up to some mains electricity. To make the most of it, some will take a small microwave oven to plug in when possible. They are great for heating up a quick meal. It's different with slow cookers which can be safely left on while you are enjoying a day out. Always pack a lightweight whistling kettle, a couple of nesting saucepans with lids and a multi-tier steamer for cooking the veg.