Fancy campers: recipes for small kitchens | Australian lifestyle

lWhen you’re in a van or a house without AC power, you learn to navigate and adapt and do things differently. Cooking and preparing food can take a little longer, but it’s amazing how quickly you start to find joy in preparing meals that are a little slower with your hands rather than appliances.

To get you started with your small kitchen, here’s a list of appliances of what I use in mine almost every day — and three recipes to make.

  • Heavy-bottomed skillet: for any meal that doesn’t require a lot of sauce to cook: eggs, French toast, fish, searing meat, and even pancakes.

  • Cast iron pan: for cooking pasta and rice, making cakes, cooking on the stove, boiling water, making curries and soups, or as a second frying pan when needed.

  • A sharp knife (or two): I have a simple stone to keep my knives sharp, but you can get plenty of handy gadgets that do the same job.

Butler cooks in her trusty campervan.
Butler cooks in her trusty campervan. Photo: Todd Thimios
  • Utensils: My go-to 95% of the time is a wooden spoon for cooking. I also use tongs a lot and I have a small egg cup that I find perfect for scrambled eggs.

  • Strainer or colander: ideal for rinsing grains and legumes and for making cheese, draining pasta or rinsing salad vegetables and herbs.

  • Cutting boards: We have two, one for meat and one for everything else.

  • Bowls and Plates: While these are a given, I want to point out that we don’t use anything “camping” specifically. Our bowls, plates, cups and dishes are all things we could use in our home.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: Having a whole set of measuring cups and spoons takes up too much space, so just measure for one cup, one tablespoon and one teaspoon.

  • Different sized jars: for making salad dressings, storing grains, herbs and other stock items. Also essential for homemade ferments and pickles.

  • Different sized containers: for storing leftovers and food scraps to make stocks and bouillons.

  • Mortar and pestle: Ideal for making pesto, nut and seed-based candies, aioli, dips, salad dressings and curry pastes, especially if you don’t have electricity in your kitchen.

  • A grater: I recommend buying a small but good quality sharp grater that you use for cheese, vegetables and citrus peels.

Yogurt flatbread

These are super affordable, are packed with protein from the yogurt, contain few ingredients and are quick to make because the rest time is minimal. We also use them to replace store-bought wraps and fill them with our favorite sandwich ingredients.

makes 6
Preparation 25 minutes
Cook 15 minutes

Flat breads in a pan
Eat them with curries, barbecues, or as an alternative to store-bought wraps: Butler’s flatbread. Photo: Todd Thimios

1 cup bread flourplus extra for dusting
¾ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
2 pinches coarse sea salt
Olive oil or butter
to fry in the pan

Combine the flour, yogurt, and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine. Lightly flour the bench or cutting board and knead the dough into a non-sticky and smooth dough. This only takes a minute. You don’t have to knead this flatbread.

Return the dough to the bowl with a little flour on the bottom.

I’ve found it’s easier to roll out these loaves when the dough has had some time to rest, either in the fridge or in a cool place in your small kitchen. It doesn’t need much rest time; about 20 minutes is fine.

When the dough has rested, divide it into six equal parts. Shape into balls, then roll them out with a rolling pin or floured wine bottle (or any other glass bottle you have on hand).

Then place your skillet over medium heat and add a small splash of oil or butter – just enough to lightly grease the pan. Fry the dough until golden brown on both sides – it only takes a few minutes. Wrap the loaves in a clean tea towel to keep them warm while cooking.

These are best served immediately, sprinkled with dukkah.

Dukkah with walnuts and almonds

Dukkah is an essential seasoning in our motorhome. We add it to salads and sprinkle it over eggs, dips and flatbreads. Macadamia, Brazil nut and pistachio are excellent substitutes for walnut and almond.

makes ¾ cup
Preparation 5 mins
Cook 5 mins

Herbs in a mortar and pestle
The mortar and pestle are put to good use in this hand-ground dukkah recipe. Photo: Todd Thimios

¼ cup almonds
¼ cup walnuts
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp coriander seed
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sea salt flakes

Toast the almonds, walnuts and sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat until the nuts are golden brown and fragrant. It should take about five minutes. Shake the pan regularly to prevent the nuts and seeds from burning.

Add the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin, and salt and heat the mixture for an additional one to two minutes before removing from the heat and letting it cool. It will be much easier and more effective to grind the nuts and seeds once they have cooled down.

Use a mortar and pestle to grind your dukkah as finely as you like, but be careful not to mix it for too long or it will turn into a fragrant nut butter. I like to leave it a little coarse for extra texture.

Dukkah keeps indefinitely in an airtight container or jar.

Baked pizza with zucchini, ricotta and cherry tomatoes

There were many nights camping in the bush that we craved a delicious, hot pizza. So with some time, wine, and our favorite kitchen staples on hand, we came up with this recipe.

makes 2
Preparation 15 minutes
Cook 1 hour 15 minutes

Pizza on a plate
No-bake pizza: just put it in a pan and sizzle. Photo: Todd Thimios

For the dough
1½ tsp dried yeast
1 tbsp raw sugar
150 ml lukewarm water
1 tsp salt
250 g strong bread flour

For the topping
1 red onionfinely sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp coconut sugar or raw sugar
2 small zucchini
finely sliced ​​lengthwise
400 g cherry tomatoes
cracked pepper
1 garlic clove
2 cups ricotta
(store bought or make your own)
1 handful of flat-leaf parsley and basil
1 handful of arugula
Salt and pepper

Add the yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water and stir to dissolve. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Let the yeast set for a few minutes. The top should bubble and foam a little. Once this is done, add the yeast-sugar water to the bowl of flour and salt.

To cut down on the mess in your small kitchen, start mixing them in the bowl until you have a rough, sticky dough. Once all the liquid has been absorbed into the flour, transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough back in the bowl with a dusting of flour. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 45 minutes, until almost doubled in size.

Meanwhile, finely chop the red onion and fry it with two good glugs of olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and stir frequently until the onions are cooked through and are sticky and sweet in taste.

Saute the cherry tomatoes with some olive oil, salt and pepper until soft and charred on the outside. Add another dash of oil and fry the sliced ​​zucchini until golden brown.

Ashleigh Butler's Little Kitchen Chef.

Cut the dough in half and roll it out to as thick as you like. I recommend it to be about the same size as a dinner plate.

Keep your frying pan on the heat and add another splash of olive oil if needed; not too much as you don’t want your base to be too greasy. Bake the pizza bases until golden brown. Keep the heat low so the dough turns golden brown on the outside but is still cooked through. Once the dough starts to bubble, flip it over and cook the other side. Keep warm and repeat with the other pizza base.

Rub each bottom with the garlic clove to add a subtle garlic flavor. Divide over the ricotta and top with the charred cherry tomatoes, zucchini and onions. Garnish with parsley, basil, fresh arugula, salt and pepper.