Cookbook for campers, not wankers

I’ve been cooking professionally for over 10 years in all sorts of kitchens around Australia and Chile, this often means that I get to cook for other people and eat restaurant and take away food myself (after cooking all day at work, who wants to come home and keep doing it?). About 6 years ago, Monique was diagnosed with an anaphylactic allergy to seafood. It was a massive game changer for our household. It meant we needed to let go of eating out and start cooking every meal at home to make sure no harmful ingredients were present and we could keep Monique healthy and happy in this world and not beyond it.

It also meant that we needed to check every ingredient in every package of food we bought. It seem exhausting and complicated at the beginning, but as the time passes by you start learning a lot of things, like the amount of crap that companies are putting into your food just to make the manufacturing process cheap, or to keep that food alive for centuries in those supermarket shelves. We learned there are good products and bad products in the market, and that expensive not always means healthier. The more we read, the more we learned and the more changes we started making, also I had to get really creative and work in a lot of recipes that were healthy, seafood free, delicious and easy enough to make them at home after cooking for 12 hours at work (we also have a bunch of dairy-free and gluten-free recipes).

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Then we decided to go traveling. We took this opportunity to apply all the knowledge I have that allows me to be hired in restaurants, to myself and my partner’s benefit. I could not be more happy. To have all the time in the world to do what I love (cooking and eating) just for me and Monique. So I hit the bookshops for inspiration, unfortunately ‘food for camping/travelling’ books are pretty average. I found that most of the recipes they offer are either too simple and boring. Often relying solely on heavily processed and pre-prepared food or requiring a lot of equipment that is expensive and heavy and that you will definitely not be carrying around casually in the boot of your car when you are in the middle of nowhere, or in your backpack while sprinting for the bus in Costa Rica.

So we hit the ground running, and decided to rely only in the knowledge we had so far and our own creativity to feed ourselves everyday while on the road. The results are being amazing and meal times have become our favourite part of the day, and the activities surrounding dinner are also a major enhancer of our traveling experience. In every town we stay we visit their farmer markets, there we can get the best produce of the region for the best price, everything is often organic and the price tags are half of those in a supermarket, and so much fresher!

We also hit the local butchers, again price is lower and produce freshness and quality are far superior that those in the supermarket, plus it also allows us to buy enough meat for the two us, rather than conforming to the portions the supermarket offer. Because of this, we generate almost no scraps, leftover or food that goes in the bin because the ice in the esky melted while we were distracted playing with the turtles and forgot to move it to the shade (it happens), so by visiting the butcher we ensure we can play with the turtles without throwing our money away. Only buying what we can cook and eat in the next couple of days.

So… in this section you will find the recipes of the food we have been creating while on the road. I’m writing this cookbook while camping around Australia (working mainly off a camping stove with two pot and whatever tree stump we can find as a table), from our Work for Accommodation rooms in hostels and tourism companies and when we head to Central/South America we will continue to write from hostel and guesthouse kitchens. We want to who you that no matter where you are and how you are travelling, you can eat well with little fuss.

All recipes are for two adult rations of food unless otherwise specified. We focus on cheap, fresh and healthy food. There is no reason to be eating crappy food just because you don’t have a full kitchen, when you are travelling you have time, and time is 90% of what you need to make a good plate of food. So, forget about those sausages in bread and that over-cooked pasta with tomato paste, I aim to show you that with a handful of very cheap ingredients, and a few basic skills, you can turn that prison-style meal you had last time you were travelling into a delicious dish the rest of the campers/backpackers are sure to be jealous of.

Check the recipes below and put them into practice… also… let me know if you enjoy it, half of the passion that I have for food is because it makes people happy, so let us know if our food pleased you as much as it did us.

Happy Cooking.

From Chilli, with love.

Ps: the language in the recipes requires parental guidance. As is written in cooks slang (very similar to pirate slang), very straight forward instructions, no pretty terms, no wanky ingredients and methods. If you don’t like it or are offended by it, with all due respect, fuck off, this is my travelling kitchen, my recipes, my side of the blog and my fucking swear words, got it? Now go and do what the chef says, it’s for your own benefit, like my grandma once said wisely “just eat and shut up”.

Recipes for under $10 per person

Recipes for under $5 per person!

Dairy-free recipes

Gluten-free recipes