Showing posts from May, 2012

Beating the Jubilee jams, the camper van way.

Heading off this weekend? Of course you are. Well, here’s my quickly-adapted-for-the-Jubilee guide to surviving the summer traffic from my book, The Camper Van Coast. The bad news is that there will be jams, the good news is that, if you are in a camper, it may be just that little bit easier. Here we go again. It’s the summer time, there’s some royal action going down and suddenly we’ve got a whole bunch of bank holidays all at once. Everyone is going to make a dash for it. Quick! Pack up the camper van and head for the coast! I have lived in the Westcountry for many years now and have gone backwards and forwards to here, there and everywhere a few times now. For five years I commuted backwards and forwards to London in a camper van (and other faster vehicles) almost every week. So I am an old hand at traffic jams, especially Friday night ones, bank holiday ones and the keeping you from making last orders at the Bradworthy Inn ones. Fortunately though, in that time I got quite g

The secret weapon of camper van cooking?

You know the stuff. It's smoked paprika, Spanish essential, used in everything from paella to chorizo and made by slowly grinding peppers that have been dried over oak fires. This tin was given to me by a chef friend. Knowing I was nervous about cooking in front of the camera for One Man and his Campervan in the spring of 2010, he pressed this little tin into my hand and said kindly "If you ever get stuck, use this." I accepted it willingly. It turned out to be good advice and I've never been without a tin in the van or at home since. Smoked paprika is great for those times when you look in the cooler and scratch your head. Seem familiar? Those times when you stare at those chicken breasts that have to be used up, desperate for a little inspiration. When risotto has been done to death, the griddle needs a wash and the lemon and tarragon has gone, it's time to bring out the big gun. Bring out the hot smoked paprika, give it a rub, chuck it in a frying pan, over

Sunny days are here again. Another favourite camping spot.

Well, the sun has well and truly got his hat on this afternoon and it looks like he'll keep it on for a few more glorious days yet. Twitter is awash with happy sunshine tweets and I'm feeling that prickly sun and salt feeling after a surf session down at the beach. Good times, with the promise of easy peasy burgers with tomato and chilli man jam later (page 118 of The Camper Van Coast) or perhaps even curried pork kebabs (page 123). It's a barbecue kind of a day. It's at times like these that we long for the open road and a perfect destination to pitch up and cook up. This week we got back from a road trip in the van to Ireland. Whilst we stayed at the most idyllic spot at Caherdaniel, there were good times this side of the water too. We stopped off in St David's in Pembrokeshire to catch up with our friends at TYF, introduce the kids to coasteering and spend a couple of days before catching the ferry from Pembroke Dock. The weather wasn't as good as it is no

Pitch Perfect. A new place to stay.

Don't all jump at once, but I think I may have found a new favourite pitch. It's no secret but it's a way away for most of us. It's at a campsite called Wave Crest in Caherdaniel in County Kerry, Ireland and it is about as close to the sea as it's possible to get without pitching on the beach itself. A well aimed cast would see you plopping your spinner into the sea with ease from the pitch we chose. I love that. I also love the fact that the campsite, whilst not among the cheapest sites you'll ever visit, is laid out in such a way that every pitch feels private. This is down to the way it has been shaped from the hilly cliffside. Paths lead off to quiet corners where you can pitch your tent with nothing but a sea view. If the wind blows there are nooks and crannies where you can find shelter away from the Irish weather or send the children off to explore. You can even camp on your own little island. That's the one in the photograph below with the gras