Monday, 20 April 2015

Simple Vegan Camper Van Food

Our trip to Portugal hasn't all been about surfing and wine! Food also plays a big part and cooking within Miles the camper van means sticking to simple and relatively quickly prepared cuisine.  That doesn't have to mean it is any less tasty though.  So here is a 'taste' of some of the things we prepared during our trip; a couple repeated from previous years but still very much top choices whilst on the move.

cropped-triple-shot.jpgFirst up is breakfast.  We've made Overnight Chai Oats for a few years now but I'd never thought to make it whilst camping before so this year I packed a couple of kilner jars (with bagged up grains inside them for space saving) into Miles' 'kitchen'.  I also packed oats, chai spices, chia seeds, and raisins in our food stock before we left. In addition I included a bottle of Bee Free Honee that my sister had sent over from the US. We'd saved it for our trip as it doesn't require refrigeration so is an ideal camper van treat and alternative to the maple syrup that would need to be kept in the fridge.   Plant based milks are readily available both in heath food stores and supermarkets in Portugal so no problem there.  We changed the recipe slightly here and there, adding goji berries instead of raisins at times and also adding in pumpkin seeds, which we highly recommend to give it an extra crunch and nutritional kick. We do have a fridge in Miles but we generally don't use it, to cut down on the need to use lots of power.  However, the overnight temperatures in the van weren't such that the oats would suffer any consequences from lack of being sat in the fridge.  Indeed the oats were actually a cool temperature the next morning and perfectly ready to be devoured heartily.

The chia seeds came in useful too for a little simple and healthy drink I took to making as a variation to the water, lime juice, chia seed and maple syrup 'running tonic' featured in the ultramarathon book 'Born to Run' and also featured as a 'Chia Fresca' on Wildebeest's drinks menu. With an ample supply of cheap fresh limes around it was never a problem to squeeze some juice into a bottle, top up with coconut water and throw in some chia seeds. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or so and there you go, a refreshing and tasty drink to enjoy in the heat of the day.  I made a few of these just in time for Phil to come out from the surf and he very much appreciated the refreshment.

What could be simpler and more Portuguese for lunch than bread, olives and Padron peppers?  Much of the non-packaged bread in Portugal was simply made from flour, yeast, water and salt; what all good bread should only contain.  It was extremely tasty too so needless to say we enjoyed our daily bread fresh from the bakery.  Olives in Portugal; well that is a no-brainer and then Padron peppers....well, that is a match made in heaven.  We can actually get Padron peppers over here now at around this time of year but they are never as good as the ones in Portugal, so we generally take full advantage of our location and enjoy them a fair amount; simply fried whole in olive oil and sprinkled with a little salt.

Whilst we are on the subject of simple lunches, how about a simple salad of sliced juicy tomatoes and avocados with a splash of olive oil and cider vinegar?  The tomatoes in Portugal are ripe and plump as are the avocados which are also about twice the size of the ones we generally find over here.  We happened to have both on hand one day and I fancied some raw food so combined them and found it to be 'more than the sum of its simple parts'. It made me wonder whether we over complicate food sometimes!

On to a favourite from the last couple of years now; a filling creamy pasta dish.  Follow the link from last year for the full recipe but basically it is made with fava (broad) beans, mushrooms, leeks, pasta and a plant based cream.  In Portugal you can readily buy fava beans fresh and still in their pods.  You can also get cartons of oat or almond cream in supermarkets or health food stores.  We even found spelt cream this year.  A variation we made this year was on the one occasion we couldn't find fava beans but happened across a package of gnocchi that was vegan in the refrigerated section of a supermarket.  It might not have been quite as healthy as the fava bean version but it was very tasty!

Our final simple suppers offering is another creation from the kitchen of Phil - Sweet Potato and Feijao Manteiga (that is butter bean in English) Stew.  The butter beans in Portugal aren't the huge white jobs that you get over here. They are small, 'meaty' (probably the wrong word to use as a vegan but you get the idea!), earthy, brown beans. You get them in cans, jars and also dried. When camping we buy them in jars or cans ready cooked but we always return with a fair few packets of dried ones for use at home.  

This stew is a hearty, protein packed offering which we mostly enjoyed with a couple of slices of that lovely Portuguese bread on the side, maybe a few olives here and there and okay, yes, maybe a glass or two of vinho tinto!

Sweet Potato and Feijao Mantiega Stew
The recipe below obviously uses the butter beans we get in Portugal but you could use any beans that you so please.  By the way, we also always travel with a small stash of herbs and spices!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium leek (sliced)
1 red pepper (cut into chunks)
1 teaspoon hot paprika powder
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
Black pepper (a few grinds or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sun dried tomato paste
2 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1" cubes)
250g dried beans (or 2 cans cooked)
3 teaspoons oregano (fresh or dried)

1.  Soak the beans for 48 hours, rinse well and then cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes if using dried.
2.  Saute the leek and pepper in oil until soft.
3.  Add the two lots of paprika, black pepper and salt and saute for one minute.
4.  Add the tomato paste and stir in.
5. Add the sweet potato, beans and oregano and then enough water/bean cooking liquid to cover by 1/2" and simmer for 25 minutes.

Travel and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Your holiday looks simply fabulous, what lucky girls you are. Ma is in love with your lilac camper van!
    Campervan hire canberra