Wednesday 16 June 2021

Cool recipes for a hotter camping holiday

If you're an On the Grid subscriber (you're not? Click here to fix that) you'll have seen that our last edition contained a first for Veloce; a recipe book. However, it's not only a recipe book …

Dave Richards, better known in camping and caravanning circles as The Barefoot Chef, has brought together a host of camping and caravanning tips, and combined them with no fewer than 60 camping-friendly recipes, to create a book Dave describes as 'the laid-back person's guide to camping.' Dave has long been a lover of the classic Volkswagen camper (his bright orange VW is a regular at sites and events across the UK), but the beauty of this book is that you don't have to be a VW owner to benefit. Four wheels, two wheels, three wheels — even two legs — whatever your preferred mode of travel, it has plenty to offer every adventurer.

Cool Recipes & Camping Hacks for VW Campers arrives in the nick of time for summer. This year it's no surprise that many of us are desperate for a holiday, but jetting away to sunny climes whilst the anxiety-inducing phrase 'amber list' echoes in our minds isn't exactly encouraging. This year, holidaying is a little different, with many more of us choosing to holiday at home rather than risk a foreign trip.

From camping to glamping

Of course, staycationing is something many of us do already, and nothing says staycation more than camping and caravanning. Whether you're new to it or an old hand, there are always ways to make your hols slicker, easier, and more enjoyable, so why not take the opportunity to learn from a stalwart staycationer? After all, Dave has spent 25 years 'working things out the hard way,' so you don't have to!

Serving up his camping advice with a healthy splash of humour, a light sprinkling of irreverence, and garnished with real-world experiences, the result is not only a really useful guide, but also a fun read. It's a great book to digest before you leave, but an essential one to take on your camping adventures; we can't state enough how helpful Dave's tips, hacks and experience sharing is. And did we mention it's funny … ?

Bye bye trail mix; hello posh nosh

But that's only half the story. Stepping away from pet and portaloo advice, and slipping on his Chef's hat (after thorough hand washing, of course), The Barefoot Chef dishes up no fewer than 60 tried-and-tested camping-friendly recipes. Intended to add a gourmet touch to your al fresco dining, each recipe-for-two uses equipment easily to hand when camping, and ingredients that you won't have to go to the ends of the Earth to find.

Whether it's a camping classic such as SPAM and baked beans (page 87), blinged-up basics like posh Pot Noodle (page 93), or a gourmet dish like smoked salmon barbecued on a wooden plank (page 91), each recipe is designed not only to be easy-to-make, but not too taxing to create after a long day adventuring (or campfire gazing) and – ultimately – tasty. Dave highlights recipes that are vegetarian or gluten-free (or easily made so), and caters for a wide range of cuisines and personal tastes. And, of course, you can adapt a recipe to suit your own palette, or substitute ingredients as necessary.

With so many recipes, it would be unfair not to share one or two, so to whet your appetite for staycation dining, here's a sample recipe, plus you can find a full list of all recipes and another sample recipe (mushroom burger anyone?) over on our website.

Sample Recipe

Chicken fusion tagine (GF)

I've made many attempts at creating a decent Moroccan stew – this is by far the simplest and best, and occurred as the result of a very fortunate freak accident. The chickpea dhal had been in the bus for ages, unloved and unwanted, until one hungry evening when we used it as a filler to go with chicken fillets. Originally that was to be that, but the only rice we had in the camper was Mediterranean. Its addition suddenly moved a nominally Indian dish closer to the borders of the African continent. A note was duly made, and the next time we cooked it, apricots were added and a killer dish was born.


  • A knob of butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1tsp garlic paste
  • 2 chicken fillets, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 can of chickpea dhal
  • 50g dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 pack of Mediterranean rice


This is the sort of dish that can be cooked inside the camper without fear of spitting oil or fat, and minimal chances of lingering smells.

Begin by gently heating up a knob of butter in a pan until it starts to foam. Add the finely diced onion and sweat it over a medium heat before adding a teaspoon of garlic paste. Turn down the heat still further, until the onion turns translucent. Increase the heat slightly, add the chicken and stir everything together. Cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken begins to colour. Scrape in the can of chickpea dhal – this drops out in chunks, so stir it all together – and cook for two or three minutes until the dhal is softened and everything becomes as one. Add the packet of rice, loosened as per the instructions, and the dried, chopped apricots.

Give everything a final stir and serve up.

Sadly, one-pot dishes always look a little dull. My food stylist wanted to add a riot of green herbs, which in reality would have added nothing. The dish is spectacularly filling, and given its apparently mismatched ingredients, is a veritable taste sensation!

We've had this book in stock for only a short time, but it's already proving popular with our customers; grab your copy and start planning your gourmet camping experience now! 

Cool Recipes & Camping Hacks for VW Campers is £14.99, but you can pick up a copy for just £9.74 if you use our STAY-INDOORS-AND-READ discount code online or by phone.