campsite cooking

As a family, we’ve always eaten well on camping trips, just as long as we have excellent eggs, brilliant bacon, and super sausages.

Camping in France makes that easy, and we love visiting the local markets to pick up fresh fare for gorgeous eats such as fennel, melon and goat’s cheese salad, or tear and share dinners with tomatoes, olives, a French baguette, olive oil and herbs.

But can you still eat good hot food prepared from scratch on a camping trip without access to lovely fresh salad produce? Well, I decided to find out by trying to cook a couple of decent Jamie meals using only that which I could carry from one pitch to the next in my rucksack – a single stove, no refrigeration, one chopping board and one knife.

So, with my dog Archie, I set off to one of my favourite sites (in Essex, where else?) to have a go.

The recipes I chose were vegetarian (apart from the Parmesan in the risotto, but you can use a decent veggie alternative), and from our “one pan” category, which is full of both veggie and meaty inspiration for indoors and outdoors dining.

First up was breakfast, and an alternative to the ubiquitous campsite fry-up in the shape of a Mexican breakfast. This wakes up your senses first thing. There were a few ingredients to get this dish going, but I was clever and had taken sachets of salt and pepper, and put the tinned tomatoes in my flask so I could recycle the container.

I pretty much chopped the veggies – onion, garlic, red peppers and chillies – on my lap, and warmed the tortillas on the (essential) lid of the pan while the dish was cooking.

I knew that where I was camping had free-range eggs for sale, so that at least minimized the risk for egg-shaped disasters in transit!

The whole dish was dead simple to create and absolutely delicious – admittedly I didn’t wind up eating it for my breakfast, but no matter – it was just right for a chill spring evening.

Next up was another Mexican-inspired one-pan wonder – Kerryann’s chilli con veggie, from Kerryann’s brilliant Food Tube family cookbook.

I’d pre-quartered everything, to make it lighter, pre-packed the herbs and spice mix in an airtight plastic bag and put all of the beans and the tomato purée into a large flask, so I wasn’t carrying around any unnecessary tins. Again, I prepped the veg on my lap and got cooking. The smells were amazing, and really rich – Kerryann’s come up with a belter of a recipe.

Then, time for a chilled evening pick-me-up and getting set for the next day’s adventure – although not before Archie ran away with the spoon!

campsite cooking

Many thanks to Cotswold Outdoor for the loan of the equipment used. If you’d like to look at their range or buy any of the bits and bobs, then please click through to their site, where they have a sale on right now.

The Primus stove was powerful and wind resistant so perfect for the English weather, and I really love the Rab jacket and GPS watch – so I knew how far I’d walked to claim my dinner. The Vango tent was quality, too – it takes about two minutes to pitch and weighs next to nothing.

Campsite cooking image

You can check out these goodies and loads more to help your camping trip be a proper foodie adventure.  More campsite inspiration to come soon!

Jim Tanfield

About the author

I'm Jamie's Website Editor and as well as overseeing my brilliantly creative team I am always looking at ways to eat more great food because I'm always hungry and a little bit greedy. Desert island ingredient: Chillies Favourite dish: Anything Mexican...or French...Japanese...don't make me choose! Favourite Non-Jamie Restaurant: Cinnamon Club

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