Gourmet Food When ‘Roughing It’
The joys of caravanning with friends are many and in the case of meals and happy hour treats the bar seems to get raised higher and higher when we dine together. With a month spent at the beach and fishing as one of the main pastimes, there are plenty of recipes tried and tested from campsite to campsite and lots of willing guinea pigs to try them.
Yorke Peninsula in South Australia is blessed with an abundance of fish, squid and blue swimmer crabs in the clear and clean water so it’s no surprise that all sorts of recipes have evolved for different ways of preparing and eating the bounty we catch. With squid we have either made or have been given a taste of everything from couscous or rice stuffed tubes, crumbed and deep fried calamari rings, grilled rings and tentacles on the BBQ in a garlic butter sauce or soy sauce and even pickled calamari rings. All methods oh so tasty.
A variety of fish are caught from King George and Yellow Fin Whiting, garfish, tommy rough (Australian herring) and more. These are grilled, battered, smoked and turned into rollmops (pickled and wrapped around a dill gherkin). Blue swimmer crab is steamed in seawater or cooked in a chilli sauce or with a lot of hands and patience, cooked and picked from the shell and then pickled or turned into a seafood linguine with calamari added in.
Our happy hours can be anything from a selection of cheeses and crackers, homemade pickled onions and preserved olives or grilled haloumi, chorizo and pita breads. Zucchini fritters are always a hit and another favourite which is perfect for large groups is a dip of Philly cream cheese topped with avocado, cherry tomatoes and sweet chilli sauce delicious when scooped up with corn chips.
This year we have added a few new favourites to the list including a main meal that is great for sharing with a crowd, San Choy Bau. A quick and easy meal to throw together and if you overdo the rice amount needed you can try making arancini balls which I had a go at this year and the experiment was successful enough to keep working on for another time.
One of our regular meals when caravanning with a crowd is pizza night. Every conceivable topping is prepped and everyone has to build a pizza while another one is cooking on the Weber pizza stone. Everyone’s creations are cut up and shared as we go, making it a marathon cooking event but very easy and you’ve only had to make one pizza to share in many more.
And then our (adult) children introduced another idea. I give you the ‘Manwhich’ (a man size sandwhich, said with tongue firmly planted in cheek) concocted on the BBQ. It is basically a bacon and egg toasted sandwhich with a slice of cheese added, all cooked and built on the hot plate and grill to be eaten in your hands. Perfect after returning hungry from a morning fishing trip in the tinnie.
The most impressive part about it all is that most of our cooking exploits are born from ideas around what food is on hand or from ingredients begged and borrowed between campsites. Occasionaly a bit of google search help is needed if we have to substitute or alter ingredients but it’s all part of the enjoyment of shared holidays.
Who says camping and caravanning is roughing it? Cheers.