Van Life: How we fed ourselves while traveling to the UK in our truck

Van Life: How we fed ourselves while traveling to the UK in our truck

IIs there anything more awesome in 2020 than traveling around the UK in a self-catering truck, scavenging or saving your food wherever it ends up and cooking together over an open fire (or, more accurately, a two-ring gas stove)? It is the dream of every full-time worker in the city.

Well, Chef Danny Jack and Hayley Kokura did it, and they’ve also written an easy-to-use pocket guide so you can too, full of “innovative recipes for life on the road.”

What started with a search for more rewarding ways to spend your spare time between busy occupations became a decade-old lifestyle DIY project that finally paid dividends in the summer of 2020 — only fittingly when all the other prisoners of the pandemic were converting. Your attention to the long-forgotten staycation.

Now that all stays are in rage again, you’ll probably want to get your hands on it Fun Life CookbookIn it, Jack and Kokura distill their many trips across the country — and even the US — into more than 80 gig-friendly recipes, plus cooking tips, tricks, and tricks, every possible list you’ll need.

Covering hearty breakfasts, quick lunches, and fireplace-side feasts (think tahini porridge, Turkish eggs in one bowl, minsterone green winter cheese, grilled fish packets, and homemade trail mix), the life It’s a celebration of the unexpected opportunities that modest spaces and smaller budgets can provide.

Before the busy school holiday season, we took five minutes with our truckers to rediscover the simple pleasures of the great outdoors.

How did you start FanLife?

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Danny: Having lived and worked in London since 2011, I started looking for more meaningful ways to spend my spare time and was inspired by mobile home videos and people’s stories on Youtube. This provided a new DIY challenge as well as a cost effective alternative to purchasing a specific trailer or trailer.

The allure of owning a spontaneous city vacation car grew rapidly, and in early 2018, after purchasing a 2011 Renault Master, construction began on the truck. What started as a part-time project during evenings and weekends has become a two-year back-and-forth programme, matching work commitments and eventually reaching the finish line in 2020.

The book is A5 in size, so it’s the perfect travel companion.


greeting: idea Fun Life Cookbook He showed up in the summer of 2020 when we both needed a creative project to get stuck. Danny finished construction. I painted a mural inside and we named the truck Jean-Claude Van Dan (GC as small). GC We singled out later that year and gave us basic space to breathe a little, escape into nature and connect with friends and family when we could.

That summer, as travel restrictions eased, it truly ignited our passion to explore and embrace the principles of van life: eat well, enjoy a deeper appreciation for nature, live simply and frugally, and celebrate the ‘good life’. Led to the idea of ​​the book.

The pandemic has ushered in a new and simpler way of living, with an emphasis on local stays and shopping. Do you think this mindset is here to stay?

We certainly hope so. Life in pickups and life in small spaces is great for this. We see people from all walks of life who get inspired to bake, grow their own vegetables, forage, and consume differently, and generally want to feel more connected to the food they eat and the natural world. We especially like hahahaha Who does amazing things in his humble garden in London and Tweet embed Campaigning against food waste – another mindset that is fortunately gaining momentum.

What are some of your favorite places or roads in the UK?

Ashdown Forest is a regular favorite. It is close to where we live in South East London and has beautiful scenery with a mixture of sprawling fields and woods. Perfect for cycling and outings with friends.

Wiltshire is a hidden gem with its pagan sites and hills (lots of wild swimming spots too).

And if you have time, the North Coast Route 500 in the Scottish Highlands is one of the best. The Right to Roam Act, which gives everyone the freedom to roam anywhere, is a very special law.

Let’s be practical. Can you share your top three tips, your three most essential ingredients, and your three must-have tools?

1. Danny taught me the importance of putting a damp tea towel or paper under a cutting board. Makes a world of difference in preparing ingredients.

2. Download the Park4Nite app.

3. Invest in a small, sturdy coffee maker or teapot. Often much better than tea bags, you can make your own blends and reduce packaging and money in the long run.

The three basic components should be:

1. Soy sauce for instant umami flavor for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

2. Citrus fruits for their versatility.

3. Date syrup is a rich and delicious alternative to refined sugar.

The first three must have equipment:

1. A portable stove or grill is essential – we always cook out of the truck on long summer nights. Check out JoyStoves at Tweet embed.

2. Cast iron skillet. They will last a lifetime and make cooking over the fire much easier.

3. Tongs for baking, mixing and serving all kinds of delicious creations.

Cooking with fire can be intimidating. What is your best advice?

This is where the cast iron skillet comes in. Start with a dish you know and don’t be afraid to set your pot on a bed of coals (away from the flames) and cook as you normally would on the stove. If you’re cooking on a charcoal grill, let the charcoal turn gray before putting anything on it – it takes longer than you think to get to this point!

We see people from all walks of life who get inspired to bake, grow their own vegetables, forage, and consume differently, and generally want to feel more connected to the food they eat and the natural world.

Can you share any horror stories/failures and what you learned from them?

Learn many lessons. A few years ago we took a surfing trip with some friends to Devon. We stayed at a nice camping site and stopped over GC In the background of a steep grass field. We had a heavy rain over the weekend and we were stuck at the bottom – had to ask the resident farmer to drag us up the hill with his tractor. This taught us to be more considerate of where to park, and not to drive on the road in our (rear-wheel drive) truck.

What is the best way to discover local ingredients and suppliers?

We pack essential ingredients from the store cupboard at home — things like rice, pasta, and spices, but we make it important to visit farmhouses for our freshest ingredients. There is always more than you think; Even if it is just a small operation of selling fresh eggs from a farm or potatoes straight from the field. In our experience, it’s not more expensive and traveling adds more joy to a weekend or holiday than having to spend time in a big supermarket.

How confident are you in foraging and how can beginners get started with it?

We don’t rely entirely on forage for our meals – finding wild ingredients is always a bonus and adds a fun and delicious dimension to all kinds of dishes. Always buy a guide and never an app. Collins free food The book is pocket sized and completely comprehensive.

We always look forward to March when the wild garlic starts to appear. Makes great pesto and soups. Fall rosehip is also great for beginners—we have a recipe in our book for making a vitamin C-rich syrup perfect for the winter months.

What is your dream trip if you haven’t already?

greeting: We had an old dream of taking a trip to Europe. The Portuguese coast and Scandinavia are at the top of our list and there is an epic adventure in 2023.

Danny: Earlier this year in April, we visited the Hayley family in the Pacific Northwest and rented a van for a week. We covered Washington State, Idaho, and Oregon in just under a week. It would be great to spend a few more months and spend more exploring Utah, Colorado, and the Southwest.

Huevos ‘van’cheros: This was one of the first breakfasts Kukura made for Jack and he’s been in love ever since

(Holly Farrer)

You cook for a crowd during one of your travels. What are you doing?

Breakfasts at the camp are favourites. We cooked for 12 friends from our mini truck kitchen at a wildlife festival a few years ago. One big omelet with plenty of eggs, leftover veggies, a few new potatoes and a dollop of chili sauce on the side is no fail.

What is an easy dish that you repeat over and over again?

Tofu mixture recipe in the book. It’s easier than it sounds – just split some tofu and saute it with some ginger and turmeric. Serve with some leftover brown rice and any fresh vegetables you need to use for a satisfying meal any time of the day.

Danny, you have experience in kitchens. How easy it is to adapt to a simpler way of cooking?

I still work as a professional chef – being away in the truck is free time, so I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The recipes we cook on the road are often the quickest way to a delicious and nutritious meal, but they’re always made from scratch using the best ingredients we can get our hands on. It’s the way we usually like to eat, and we hope this “make and fix” approach to cooking will show up in our recipes or for anyone with a humble kitchen who wants to learn a few tips and tricks.

What can’t you live without on one of your travels?

greeting: The picnic blanket should be a large tartan. We bought it from an antique shop in Edinburgh and took a lot of picnics, parties and barbecues in all kinds of places.

DannyOur refrigerator is 12V to keep our food and drinks cold and fresh even during those hot summer days. And a set of sturdy reusable wine glasses.

Now available is the Van Life Cookbook: Ingenious Recipes for Life on the Road: From Small Outdoor Spaces by Danny Jack and Hailey Kokura (published by Pavilion Books; Photography by Holly Farrer). Continue the journey Tweet embed.

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About the Author: Camelia Kirk

"Friendly zombie guru. Avid pop culture scholar. Freelance travel geek. Wannabe troublemaker. Coffee specialist."

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