Recipes from the Caravan

We live well on holidays! Going away with a big group of family and friends lends itself to trying new recipes or perfecting those old favourites. On our annual beach holiday we are lucky enough to catch a variety of seafood and every little thing we keep is put to good use.  Between a few camps we pitch in and help each other to create some pretty special dishes in my opinion. Here are a few we love. You’ll notice there are no specific quantities mentioned and that’s because it’s pretty much a guess or done by feel and taste when on holidays.


Steamed Blue Swimmer Crabs:

Sometimes we just steam the crabs we catch, in a deep electric fryer in a small amount of sea water. Simply put them in blue, simmer and steam away with the lid on and when they turn red they are done.  Perfect to eat hot or cold, with crab cracking and picking tools at the ready.

Chilli Blue Swimmer Crabs:

These are cooked in a deep electric fryer again, in a sweet chilli sauce of your fancy, with a bit of garlic and ginger crushed in and a little white wine. Again when they have turned from blue to red they are done, just add pepper and dive in.

(The crab dishes we find are best eaten, standing around a table with 1 bucket with warm water for washing hands and another for putting the crab shells in as you go. After the crabbery the whole table can be hosed off and shells disposed of).

Deep Fried Calamari:

Ok not the healthiest option maybe but this is a holiday treat that doesn’t happen at home. After trying many different methods the quickest and easiest preparation we’ve found is to put packaged breadcrumbs in freezer bags, whip up a few eggs in a bowl, then dip the squid rings in the egg and transfer straight into the waiting bags of crumbs.  The crumbing party then tosses the rings around until coated, then lays them out on a platter waiting for frying.  If they are spread out on a platter they don’t tend to glug together. The cook then puts a few at a time into the little deep fryer we carry and repeats until all cooked. We try an assortment of crumbs, lemon pepper, salt and pepper and panko crumbs are all winners.

Battered Fish Fillets:

When we have a big seafood cook-up (to feed a crowd) another little deep fryer is on the go cooking battered fish fillets. Again for ease of holiday prep we buy a packet mix called ‘Mary Macs Instant Batter’ and add beer or water until we get the right consistency and that’s it.  Simple, crispy, tasty!

Deep frying is fast, easy and all the food is drained on paper towel to get any residual cooking oil off before the food is salted and DEVOURED. We serve seafood with a tartare sauce, seafood sauce and aioli for dipping.

Oh and if you didn’t either catch, clean, prepare or cook for the seafood banquet…then it’s your shout for hot chips!

Grilled Garlic Butter Calamari:

Cut squid hoods open and gently score the inside of the hood with knife cuts diagonally in one direction and then the opposite direction to make diamond patterns. Cut the scored tube into strips of around 4cm. Melt a bit of butter (amount depends on amount of calamari to grill) add a couple of crushed garlic cloves. Put the squid strips in the garlic butter to coat and then in batches put onto a very hot, sizzling BBQ plate, cut side down first. Turn onto the other side and squid strips should start to curl. Put quickly onto grill side of BBQ to char a little then serve with lemon wedges. (I’m still trying to perfect this one, some were tender some were a little tough).  I have to thank my lovely neighbour on holidays, Athena, for this recipe.

Crab & Prawn Linguine:

This one is a little special, we once had it at a restaurant and we’ve since tried to make our own version rather successfully I would say. Again depending on the number of people you have to feed, we had a session of picking the meat from about 18 cooked and cooled crabs and then the recipe can go ahead.

Cook the linguine first then when nearly al dente get the crab and other ingredients cooking. In the electric frying pan, sauté the crab meat in olive oil with crushed garlic and a little chopped chilli, throw in some cherry tomatoes and a little white wine, add some peeled cooked prawns and just toss to heat through then add the drained, cooked linguine and toss through. Just before serving toss in some flat leaf parsley and stir through.

Sultana cake:

And finally something easy to cook in the caravan oven when you want something a little sweet. This sultana cake is easy to make and a nice moist cake for coffee time. This one does have measurements but they too are easy.

1 cup of cooked mashed butternut pumpkin

1 cup sour cream

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup plain flour

1 cup Self Raising flour

1 cup sultanas

2 eggs

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir to mix. Pour into a loaf tin and cook for 1 hour at 180 degrees (Number 4 on my caravan oven) and that’s it!

Just some of the delicious food from our beach holiday.


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