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I love the look of VW vans, I hope to own one in the future. This cookbook is a visual delight, the pictures are all of Martin's 29 year old campervan and although set up it looks like he literally just took a camera away for a week and enjoyed himself.
Everything in the book recreates the series in which he travels around the British coast surfing and cooking really tasty fresh meals only using his camping stove and VW van equipment. He takes his family and also meets up with his friends who are all surfer dudes. Therefore there is food for everyone in this book, including fish based recipies, local produce and lush leafy dishes. He also lists essential camping gear needed for a successful trip with your camper.
I like the recipies in this book as they are really simple, they use all fresh ingrediets and encourage you to buy local. The photos are very well shot and the book is an exellent quality. I received this as a present because of my well publicised love of the vehicle, it makes a great coffee table book because it looks so great and the recipies are set out well on the page so that its easy to follow whilst cooking.
Buy this for lovely simple food and who knows you may be taking it on your own campervan! Its quite a heavy book though and its not something I would pack if I was travelling light and going camping.
The Campervan Cookbook: Life on 4 wheels, cooking on 2 rings.
Having avidly followed the TV series 'One man and his campervan', I was delighted to find Martin Dorey's cookbook on Amazon for the princely sum of £9.19. The book is very much written in the same style as used in his recent TV series, informal and chatty, littered with personal anecdotes.
The book is structured to reflect a weekend away in his 29 year old VW campervan, starting with useful practical advice about initial preparations, information and ideas about essential travel / camping equipment and cooking equipment to keep permanently in the van. (This advice is obviously also relevant to owners of other small campervans as well.) There are points about essential van maintenance necessary for preparing your van for the road and hints about road etiquette, such as waving to other VW drivers. And also an interesting, illustrated potted history about the development of the VW cult over the years 1913 - 2010. There are even some basic survival tips are given for going to festivals. I must say, I really like the idea of serving Vietnamese curry with a bottle of champagne whilst the plebian masses are making doing with the usual festival fare of beer and chips!
Suggestions are given for nutritious, tasty food to prepare in advance, such as Granola, sticky ginger treacle cake, fruit loaf, and, of course, ideas for unusual sandwiches to eat on the journey. Also what sort or pre-prepared meals could be popped into your cool box for consumption on arrival at your final destination.
So, preparations having been made, the van loaded up, you are then taken away for a weekend in his VW van.
There are ideas for games to keep the children (and grown-up children!) amused on the journey. I was intrigued at the idea of Eddie spotting. Apparently each lorry has a different girl's name painted on the front. 'Are they the names of Eddie's previous lovers or are they the names of his children?' As I see a lot of Eddie vans in / around Warrington, I will now look at them with fresh eyes.
Different types of stopover places are discussed and then you arrive, with a sense of triumph, at your final destination, all set to wake up the next morning with the best possible 'room with a view'. I had quite a chuckle at his idea of a seagull alarm clock, especially if applied to noisy neighbours. Apparently you creep out at night and throw breadcrumbs onto their van roof. They will then be woken very early by the scavenging seagulls. This prank was typical of the general style of the author.
You are taken through each day of his family's weekend, being provided with illustrated details of beach activities, how to make a hammock from a duvet cover, or a kite from twigs and old sheeting, the pleasures of surfing and possible types of boards to use, and even a few tunes to sing when sitting around the campfire.
There are recipes for each meal of the day, including suggestions re cooking on the campfire. The recipes seem to be fairly easy and nutritious, easy to follow and are accompanied by clear illustrations. For example, first you forage for your mussels, and then you are told how to prepare them for cooking, and given several different ways to cook them. (This links closely to an episode in his T.V. programme.) Mackers and mash (mackerel) are garnished with a smile and eaten as you watch the sun go down. Mulled cider is offered to chilled camping companions. Pimm's is served at Pim o'clock.
But this book is far more than just a recipe book. It is a traveller's handbook. It will be a treasured accessory for my new little campervan. Who knows? I might even resort to using some of his great excuses for extending my weekend into the work week.
* 'I'll be there as soon as the bull lets me out of the field.'
* 'My van broke down and I'm 400 miles away, waiting for parts to be imported from Brazil / Europe. I'll be back in a week / month.'
* 'We're stranded on an island. The weather has taken a turn for the worse and the ferry isn't coming for another four days. I'll be in NEXT Monday.' (Actually I DID get stranded on the Isle of Wight once, due to inclement weather. I wonder if my boss believed me?!)
Each section is interesting and amusing, though not excessively detailed or technical. I easily read the entire book in an evening and felt as though I had actually had all the fun of that weekend break with his family.
I can't wait to try out some of his great ideas and recipes, to transform our weekends away into a totally new experience, having at last upgraded from roughing it in a tent to life in a new (very small) campervan.
A useful, inspiring little book. One you might even take to the much talked about desert island. Following his tips, I reckon you could have a really fun experience, whether in a tent, a VW Campervan or a van like mine.