3 easy camping recipes to make on your next stay

GRAMTaking part in the rat race and traveling across the country in a revamped van sounds good, but how do you cook when you don’t have a proper kitchen?

Enter the Van Life Cookbook, a handy pocket guide written by chef Danny Jack and his wife Hailee Kukura after they did just that. Looking for meaningful ways to spend their free time between busy races, they bought a truck in 2018 and two years later completed the renovations and embarked on an adventure that saw them cross the country and even make it to the US.

Packed with over 80 RV-friendly recipes for comforting breakfasts, quick lunches, and fireside feasts, it’s a celebration of the unexpected opportunities that modest spaces and tight budgets can offer.

Here are just three examples.

Eggs ‘van’cheros

Huevos rancheros (or ranch-style eggs, as they’re known throughout Mexico and the southwestern US) was one of the first meals Hailee made for me and I’ve fallen in love ever since. This is our shared method for the road, using scrambled eggs instead of fried. The pico de gallo (recipe below) is optional here; Store-bought sauce will work just as well. Just make sure you don’t forget the hot sauce.

It serves: 4


200g/7oz uncooked rice (any kind)

for the beans:

½ red onion, minced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ small bunch cilantro, stems finely chopped, leaves reserved for garnish

1 tomato, chopped

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 400 g/14 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the rest:

4 large corn tortillas (1 per person)

a knob of butter

8 eggs beaten with a fork and a little salt

200g/7oz mature cheddar cheese, grated

Pico de gallo (recipe follows) or store-bought salsa, to taste

1 lime, cut into quarters

Tabasco sauce or similar hot sauce, to taste

4 tablespoons sour cream or Greek-style yogurt (optional)


The first step is to make the rice (there is a recipe on page 12 of our book). Once cooked, keep it warm in the pan. While the rice simmers, pull out a second pot for the beans. Cook the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the coriander stems and the chopped tomato. Cook for another minute, then add the cumin and a splash of water and keep stirring for 5 minutes or so.

Add your black beans, then add about a can of water to cover them. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat for 20 minutes until sauce reduces and thickens, stirring occasionally. To finish, mash the beans a little with a fork and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce a little more, if they are too runny.

Prepare the rest of your ingredients while the beans cook and the rice rests.

Take a large, dry, nonstick skillet and heat it until hot. Cook your tortillas, one at a time, over high heat for about 30 seconds on each side, turning once. Transfer to a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm. Repeat until they are all cooked.

Lastly, make your eggs scrambled. In the omelet pan, add a knob of butter and your eggs. Keep on low heat, stirring with a spatula and cooking until the egg comes together with large folds but is still a little runny. Turn off heat to finish cooking and keep warm.

Now to assemble. Lay each tortilla flat on a plate and top with the rice, beans, and a few scrambled eggs. Sprinkle over grated cheese, then top with sauce. Garnish each serving with a lime wedge, cilantro leaves, and a little hot sauce. Add a dollop of sour cream or yogurt on the side.

rooster’s bill


3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

½ red or white onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic minced to form a paste with a little salt

1 fresh chili (any variety), finely chopped

A few sprigs of coriander, finely chopped (optional)

a pinch of salt

Grated zest and juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons olive oil


Make your pico de gallo. Stir together the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chili, cilantro (if using), and a pinch of salt in a small bowl, then add the lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Set aside.

Date Night Tagliatelle

Smoked Fish, Cream and Dill – A Classic Combo and a Firm Favorite

(Holly Farrier)

This dish has become one of our favorites. It is a classic combination of smoked fish, cream and dill. Serve with plenty of ground black pepper and a glass of chilled white wine. You can find smoked trout at various farm supply stores, delicatessens, and fishmongers, but you can also use smoked salmon or mackerel if you prefer.

It serves:two


1 zucchini

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus an extra splash

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

½ banana shallot or small onion, thinly sliced

9 oz/250 g dry tagliatelle, spaghetti, or fettuccine

50ml/2fl oz white wine (optional)

300 ml/10 fl oz double cream (dairy or vegetable)

½ a small bunch of dill, finely chopped stems and chopped leaves

300g/10½ oz hot or cold smoked skinless trout or salmon fillets, shredded Save $

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, to finish (optional)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta and add 2 teaspoons of salt.

Prepare your zucchini by halving it widthwise and then slicing or peeling it into thin, pasta-like strips to mimic pasta, either using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, if available. Set aside.

Now take out a second pot, place it over medium heat, add your olive oil, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook for 1 minute, then add the shallot or onion and cook gently for 5 minutes without colouring. Add a splash of water to the pan if it starts to color.

Meanwhile, add the drizzle of olive oil and your pasta to the pot of boiling salted water and cook according to package directions until al dente.

While the pasta finishes cooking, return the onion and garlic to medium heat and add the white wine, if using. Reduce by half, then add the cream, otherwise just add the cream and bring to a boil. Drain cooked pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

Now add the dill (stems and leaves), zucchini, and flake fish to the larger pot along with the cream sauce and pasta. Return to a simmer, stirring with tongs, and adjust the consistency using the reserved pasta water.

Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

Divide the pasta between two bowls and finish with a little Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, if desired.

Isle of Wight Fish Stew

This dish is one of our all-time truck favorites and has been perfected for a small kitchen, using just one pot. We decided to cook this on the Isle of Wight one year on a camp stove when we couldn’t find anything open except a fishmonger and convenience store. Since then, it has been known as the Isle of Wight stew. The original recipe comes from my time at The Dogs in Edinburgh and was taught to me by the head chef, Jamie Ross, who now runs a seafood truck in Inverness. Look it up if you’re out there.

It serves: 4


for the stew:

A splash of olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 onion, cut into large dice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 leek, washed and chopped

2 carrots, washed and chopped into chunks

2 celery sticks, chopped into chunks

1 teaspoon of tomato puree

2 fl oz/50 ml white wine

2 400g/14oz cans of tomatoes

2 bay leaves

400g/14oz mixed skinless white fish fillets (ideally from a small day boat or choose the most sustainable options available), such as hake and monkfish, diced evenly

500 g/1 lb 2 oz fresh mussels in shell, beards removed and rinsed well under cold water (discard any that do not close when pounded hard)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To finish and serve:

A small handful of chopped soft herbs, such as parsley, dill, chervil, cilantro, chives

Soft white bread or baguette and butter (optional)


In a large pot, add a large splash of olive oil with the onion, garlic, leek, carrots, celery and a large pinch of salt and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes until mushy. gently the carrots. with your spoon

Add the tomato puree and cook for another minute, stirring. Pour in the white wine and reduce by half. Next add the tomatoes, bay leaves and 200ml/7fl oz of water. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat, cover with a lid or plate on top, and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Generously season the diced fish with salt and pepper. Add the fish to the pot, cover and cook for another 5 minutes, then add all the mussels to the same pot and cover again. Give the pan a good shake from side to side, then simmer for 5 minutes or so. Stir carefully and make sure all the mussels have opened. Cook for a little longer, if necessary. Turn off the heat and discard any mussels that remain closed. Fish out the bay leaves.

Finish with the chopped herbs and stir once, being careful not to break the fish. Season to taste with salt and a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy with some soft white bread or baguette and butter, if desired.

‘Van Life Cookbook: Clever Recipes for Life on the Road: From the Small Outdoor Spaces’ by Danny Jack and Hailee Kukura (published by Pavilion Books; photography by Holly Farrier).

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