I confess I got a review copy of Martin Dorey’s Camper Van Cookbook for a reason. Not because I’m a camper but because my mate and erstwhile boss Sarah Randell wrote the recipes and the publisher (Saltyard Books) is also doing a project with my former assistant, food blogger Signe Johansen. I was frankly curious to see what they’d come up with.
A book that’s a huge amount of fun is the answer. Even if you have no intention whatsoever of going camping and I haven’t - or at least hadn’t until I read the book - it makes you want to. I love the playlist for the Best Camper Van Driving Album Ever, the fact that full words are included for The John B Sails and the 10 Best Excuses for not Making it to Work on a Monday Morning. Or, more practically, tips on how to forage (and how to keep an eye on the tides when you go shrimping), how to build a fire and how to make infusions from hedgerow plants.
The recipes, as I expected, are a joy. For years Sarah, who is currently food director of Sainsbury’s magazine, has worked with Delia Smith on her books so they’re faultlessly clear and easy to follow, but more to the point, meals you really fancy making. If I wasn’t currently in the middle of writing a book of my own I’d be getting stuck into pasta with sausage, fennel and spinach, chicken couscous with apricots and pistachios, fire-baked seabass with leeks, samphire and tarragon and sticky toffee pecan apples. They’re not only good for campers and picnickers but anyone who has limited cooking facilities. Students immediately come to mind (well, maybe not for the seabass)
This is not just a recipe book but a hugely practical, funny, inspiring introduction to camper van living. A cult book in the making, if I'm not mistaken.