In My ( camping ) Kitchen. March 2014

During March I spend time in two kitchens: three days a week at home in my large and over supplied kitchen, the other four days in my camping kitchen by the sea. To be truthful, I prefer my camping kitchen, although perhaps the novelty would wear off after a while. I find my little two burner stove quite sufficient for our catering purposes. We back this up with an electric rice cooker, one gas-fired kettle BBQ ( for paella, pizza and basic BBQs ) and have now added a three tray Bain- Marie food warmer, essential for big curry nights or Sunday breakfasts. We cater for up to 16 family members some weekends. Image

This large Paella pan feeds a big group. We fire up an old gas kettle BBQ and use the lid to keep things going. My son cooks the chicken and chorizo separately, keeping the vego seafood people happy.


My camping kitchen lives in a tiny corner of a canvas camper trailer. The fly wired sides are always open, allowing sea breezes through. I collect these beautiful metal dishes: they live in the trailer and surprise me every time I go camping. ImageImage

The sea is a 20 metre stroll from my kitchen. Black swans cruise by in the morning, looking like mini Loch Ness Monsters.  Cruise ships lit up like Christmas trees arrive by night, followed by cargo ships from China and one dark looking vessel we call “the ship of death”. The shipping lane of Port Philip Bay is often busy.ImageImage

Last week some cheap leatherjackets ( fish) arrived in the supermarket. Rubbed with a masala mixture in the Keralan way, they were then fried as a side dish to an Aloo Gobi curry. In the nearby countryside, the market gardens near Boneo Road have small outlets for daily supplies- freshly grown basil and wombok, Nicola potatoes, cauliflower, beetroot and corn, carrots and herbs.  They go into Mie Goreng, curries, and pasta dishes.



In my kitchen are party animals, a hungry girl after an apple, and warbling magpies singing for their supper. Despite the volume of cooking, it is a peaceful and joyous time of the year.ImageImage

Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial kindly hosts the monthly “In My Kitchen” . Follow the link to read about other wonderful kitchen stories.

52 thoughts on “In My ( camping ) Kitchen. March 2014”

  1. What a gorgeous way to spend March!! I can see by the patina on the paella pan that it’s well used and well loved. Cooking while camping always reminds me cooking is an elemental task. Simple and rustic is where it all began.


    1. Yes, I think that’s why I love it down there on the Bay. Things are simplified and more elemental. It makes me want to downsize and become a permanent gypsy.


  2. Oh, I love that paella pan – cured to a glossy finish with lots of use, and obviously loved by you, too. Mine is a bit rusty – literally! What a beautiful spot to camp and great access to wonderful fresh fish.


    1. This big one was also literally rusty. I scrubbed the rsut back with lots of soft metal jex and soapy water. Then seasoned it three times, over a gas flame, with lots of rubbing in oil. I need to do it again, one more time. You can restore yours this way when ready for a party.


  3. I like the challenge of cooking in a less established kitchen- but you have this down to science, it looks like. And fly wire= screens? I like your menus and pictures- you have a good system set up and a beautiful site to camp!


    1. Years of camping in the same spot with the extended family means we do have it down to a fine art. The fly wired walls are the sides of the tent, a fly wire fabric sewn in. at night or when it is windy, we drop the outer layered canvas walls down over them.


  4. I can see why you love your little kitchen, that’s a life I would absolutely love and embrace wholeheartedly! How wonderful to be able to walk to the sea like that, year round as well! And what feasts you’re able to make in that kitchen!! xx


  5. This was such a beautiful glimpse into your “other” kitchen. I travel between my outdoor garden kitchen and our apartment, and I prefer to be outdoors while cooking, even when it’s cold. I love your metal dishes – pretty and practical.


  6. I love those tin Vietnamese/Chinese Tin plates. So hard to find now. ( there are more in my regular kitchen too. Yes, the family animals have made an appearance, they aren’t too upset!


  7. What a fabulous camping kitchen you have Francesca. I love that you are able to create so many wonderful and big meals in it. Family gatherings are always the best. Enjoy your time.
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo


  8. Hi Francesca, I love your paella pan and the look of your paella. Before we built in Bridgetown we only had a shed. In one corner we had a two gas burner. We had dinner parties and galore in the shed. It is amazing what you can cook with very little facilities. Many women all around the world cook for their whole families with just one burner.


  9. I’m in awe of the amazing food you conjure up whilst camping! I just assumed camping meant sausages and eggs for a week. And now i see why you loved my metal plates – great minds think alike. Did you get yours in Melbourne or on your travels? I need to find a couple of big bowls in good condition for washing vegetables. Great IMK post!


    1. I found most of them in Savers but a few years ago, well since 2009. ( I have a stash in my home kitchen- ) maybe I should do an IMK post dedicated to them one day? Now they have become rare but I still look. I even looked for them recently in Bandung, Java and I found some rusted out ones- they were pricey. So I guess the dealers are snapping them up. I am also keen to get a huge bowl, a little like a sink- you see these in Vietnamese photos. Haven’t seen any for years. ( let me know if you find a source)


      1. I’ve been finding mine on the ‘antique’ markets here. They vary in condition though – some of them are really scratched and rusted. Maybe I should buy the good ones when I see them – I pick up the big bowls and trays for about $10 each.


  10. I love the beach scene, a lovely look at home and I am looking forward to camping when I get back. Where are you? Your kitchen looks fabulous, functional and I can smell the wonderful food already. Australia really is a wonderful part of the world


    1. I was camping on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. It is quite close to the city, yet retains some pristine bush. My other home kitchen is in St Andrews, in the country.


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