Campervan Cookbook: The 7 Surprising Things I learned from Writing a Cookbook

Writing any book is a bit of a journey but, writing a campervan cookbook not only taught me a lot about food and cooking, I also learned about some of the things that nourish the soul too…

Fact No 1: Food is Fantastic

The more I researched and played with ingredients, the more I came to respect our food, how it is made and the magic that sometimes happens when different ingredients meet each other. We often take our foods for granted but when you look at something like, say, cheese, and the journey it takes before it gets to your plate, it’s really quite amazing.

Fact No 2: Cookbooks Are Hard Work

I have tons of recipe books which I love going through and trying out the recipes but I don’t think that I have really appreciated before how much work goes in to them. Not only in to all the food research and experimenting with recipes, but the time it takes to compile it, design it and format it to explain the cooking in a way that other people will get and enjoy. I’m sure Jamie and Nigella have a team helping them but, even so, hats off to you guys!

French Toast 2

Fact No 3: Food is also Medicine

When I was learning Thai cooking from a Thai chef he said that, “Not only am I your cook, I am also your herbalist”. Many cultures around the world realise that food is medicine and, when you start to explore this, it is fascinating. Just something as simple as all the wonderful medicinal properties of the cinnamon that I was putting on my French Toast blew me away.

Beach Picnic, Cornwalla

Fact No 4: Campervan People Are So Interesting

In connecting to other people who have campervans or who just love camping, I have come across some really soulful people who love nature and are often making some amazing journeys around the world. They are also really inventive in the way that they get around the limitations of travelling and living in a campervan and some of their campervan designs are just gorgeous and so clever.

Fact No 5: Don’t Be Afraid to Keep It Simple

Food can be a fancy thing and I do admire those chefs who can create exquisite, complex meals but I find that I can enjoy straightforward, nourishing home-style food just as much. There is room in the world for all types of cuisines and sometimes a simple dish can be just as tasty as a gourmet one, but in a different way. And when you are in a campervan, making good home-style food is quite an achievement anyway.

Picking wild garlic  Summer picking wild garlic for risotto

Fact No 6: Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment

In my book, I have pulled together a collection of recipe blueprints that allow the cook to do a variation on the theme depending on what food they have available or fancy at the time. In campervan life, you sometimes just have to create a meal out of what’s around where you are at that time or have in the store cupboard. Some of my experiments weren’t as tasty as the others but, who cares. I discovered some really great dishes, (like my Fruit Yogam) along the way which are now firm favourites in the van and at home.

Fact No 7: Sometimes You Have to Just Follow Your Bliss

Although I have always been a keen home cook and I am very interested in nutrition, I never thought that I would ever write a recipe book. I always thought that you had a to be a top chef with years of professional cooking to do a recipe book, and I certainly admire those people (love you, Jamie Oliver!). But, since getting our campervan, I have become more and more passionate about simple cooking in a small space and, although I don’t know where this road is heading, I am following my bliss. I encourage you to follow your bliss in your life, too.


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