We always look forward to The Motorhome and Caravan Show at the NEC, Birmingham every October as we get to drool over some truly gorgeous campervans and also watch top chefs doing cooking demos for camping meals but this year we came away with something unexpected…
Glyn and I are currently planning our next campervan conversion (more of that in later blogs) although, at the moment, it’s a bit of a dream as we are not sure where all the money is going to come from but sometimes you just have to put the thought out there and let the magic happen. So, this year, we were really excited to check out the interior designs for inspiration. One idea we liked was a bed platform that can be raised up in to the roof when you are not using it. Not quite sure of the lifting mechanism at the moment but this is all part of the research (do other people get obsessed by these things too?).
However we do know that our campervan conversion won’t be built of Lego like the amazing caravan at the show which was ALL made of Lego – even the ‘fry-up’ on the hob is made of Lego! So clever!
Inspiring Cooking Demos
We also really enjoyed watching a full-on cooking demo by the BBQ chef Richard Holden in which he cooked 3 really easy recipes for the campervan which I am certainly going to try. I particularly liked his Grilled Halloumi Pitas:
He also showed us how to cook the perfect steak (something I struggle with) and his recommendation was to use a temperature probe to tell you when the steak is rare, medium and well done. Apparently it’s around 50 ºC for rare, 60-65 ºC for medium and 75 ºC for fully cooked and to let it rest for the same time that you cooked it. As with most cooking things, after a while you just get an instinct for it but I can’t wait to get a temperature probe and play. Of course I wouldn’t take this with me in the campervan but it will help me to hone my cooking instinct at home.
The demo was followed by an inspiring talk from George Clarke, the presenter of Amazing Spaces and Restoration Man. It was interesting to hear how he wanted to be an architect even as a teenager but the careers teacher said he never would be able to because he struggled with Maths. So George, at 15, wrote 60 letters to local architects asking for an apprenticeship and was taken on my a local firm and the rest is history. So never believe anyone when they say you can’t do it!
Of course, a key part of any campervan show is looking for great gadgets (yes I am addicted!) and I discovered what looks like an amazing piece of kitchen kit for the campervan. It’s Mr D’s New 3L Thermal Cooker.
It’s a slow cooker than needs no power as you just put the food in the inner pot and heat that up on a hob for a few minutes and then place the pot inside the cooker and seal it with the lid. It will then carry on cooking without power for up to 7 hours which means that you could throw your casserole ingredients in the pot in the morning and then have it for supper when you get back from your day’s adventure. You can even cook cakes and bread in it.
I haven’t tried it yet but, in theory, it should be brilliant at home as well as camping.
Our Unexpected Gadget
Our unexpected buy was a clever little device for reducing pain, a bit like a TENS machine but one that also helps the injured/tense muscles remember how to be normal again. It’s called the PainPod.
I don’t know if you find this too but sleeping on a campervan/camp bed for a few days can sometimes aggravate your back and any old injuries. Add to that the fact that you are probably doing more than normal bending, stepping, and lifting as well as more walking and maybe cycling/riding/watersports, and the body can start to complain, especially if you are used to sitting in an office all week. I like to do a bit of Qi Gong and stretching in the mornings to ease out any stiffness (which amuses the other campers) but this little machine (which is about the same size as a mobile phone and charges in the same way) eases out any tense/spasmed muscles which means that you are ready for more adventures the next day!
So it was a great day (any day with new gadgets is a great day for me!) and we’re looking forward to going to more campervan shows next year.
Camper Cookie Demos
I will be demonstrating some of my campervan recipes at these shows in 2017:
The Yorkshire Motorhome & Accessory Show, Harrogate, March 24th-26th 2017
The Norfolk Motorhome Show, Costessey, Norfolk, July 21st – 23rd 2017
If you are there, come and say hello!