The first few weeks of eating on the road are chaotic – our diet consists of takeaways, motorway service station food & posh noodles in pots while minds & bodies acclimatise to our new life. I’d dreamed of a long, slow process of choosing food at local markets & creating luscious, rich, food ad-hoc from our regular hauls, but December is flat out with performances, events & workshops & the kitchen is still upside down so that I don’t know where anything is.
About three weeks in things begin to click into place. The van starts to feel less like an extended holiday & more like our permanent home as space begins to emerge within which to cook & create food. It’s winter & we’ve weathered some icy storms so the focus has been on making hearty vegetarian food from whatever we’ve bought (or been gifted) on our travels. I’m working towards a more plant-based diet with less bread & alcohol because my allergies dramatically reduce when I do, but I’m also only human & that kind of diet takes a lot of planning – we’ll just have to take it one step at a time.
As I’m still getting to grips with it all, one-pan meals rule & I make a spicy-sweet squash stew using half an acorn squash gifted by Andy’s parents; pasta with home-made garlic, thyme & tomato sauce; a brunch of eggs poached in Mexican spicy tomatoes sauce; a simple meal of cabbage & rice with garlic, ginger, chilli, cashew nuts & stacks of soy sauce. Three-day-old sourdough bread is pan fried in a mix of oil & butter and used for crunch & to mop up all the juices. Breakfast is museli (Andy) or pomegranate, pear & peanut butter (me) with a variety of teas to follow our brisk morning ‘warm up/wake up’ walks. Highlights so far are a pearl barley risotto made with the other half of the acorn squash, Porto Branco (white port – an xmas gift), mushrooms, spinach left over from the Mexican style brunch, with stilton (from the lovely people at Remote Energy UK who sorted our solar panels & electrics), served with a vintage red port in enamel mugs – definitely the most Christmassey meal yet; & banana, lemon & polenta pancakes dreamed up for breakfast when I found three very brown bananas hidden behind some bowls & had to use polenta because I didn’t have any flour – they are not pretty but they are delicious, which is all that matters.
I’ve always loved Nigel Slater’s approach to cooking which is to use whatever’s in, or to hand, or in season, & he’s inspired me to do this on the road. I might post some recipes in the future but I tend to work by arbitrary measurements – at least no two meals are the same.