I once went traveling in Europe in a VW Camper van for several months. What a trip, and it called for a lot of ingenuity to cook meals with local products on a little two-burner butane stove. Here are some notes from that trip, I hope you enjoy them!
Cooking in a Kombi can be extremely challenging. I had some spectacular successes and some truly awful failures. I once cooked a two-course meal for eight while parked on a street in Athens. We bought our VW Kombi, soon to be known as “The Wanderer”, in London, England. My husband was in charge of navigation, advance notice of lane changes, and calmly reminding me every single time that a right turn was into the far lane, because as you know, in England they drive on the left.
In England we discovered Gammon(ham), crisps (chips to us) and orange squash drinks. We moved on to Scotland for a tour of the Scotch refineries. Did you know you can get tipsy just from standing in a distillery and inhaling the fumes?
Here was our most successful meal in the British Isles:
1/2 lb. tender beef, cubed
1 10-oz can beef consomme
2 potatoes, cubed
2 carrots, sliced
1 small onion, Chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup red wine
Brown the beef in a little oil in a large pot. Dump in the consomme and a can of water, stir in the flour and bring to a boil while stirring.
Add the rest of the ingredients and lower the heat. Simmer until vegetables are cooked, stirring often.(Or MagicKitchen.com makes an awesome beef stew!)
Romania was a country I would only recommend to the bravest travelers 20 years ago. Amenities may have been updated since then. But either way, I would still recommend it whole-heartedly. It will sweep you back in time as you visit medieval towns such as Sighasoara, where Vlad Dracul was born (and where you can have a beer and a meal in the building where he was born.) The discomforts we encountered included a scarcity of food, which leads to this recipe. One ingredient here can only be found in the Alps of Romania, and the charm and flavor of the cheese is directly related to how long you’ve gone without a substantial meal. Keeping in mind that we lost ten pounds in two weeks in Romania, I present to you:
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 hot peppers, diced
1 sweet pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp bark cheese (This is a crumbly, sharp goat cheese with a strong resin taste from the tree bark which is the container)
1.5 cups hot cooked rice
Note that any of these vegetables can be changed to whatever catches your eye at a roadside stand. Sauté the vegetables in the oil until soft, pour them over the rice and sprinkle with the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I’ll leave you with one more easy standard:
I Don’t Care Eggs
A kombi is almost never parked level. That’s how this recipe came about.
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
Ask your husband how he wants his eggs. If he replies, correctly, “I don’t care”, then melt the butter into the pan and crack in the eggs. Since the van slant will inevitably run the eggs into one mass, impossible to separate, give up on your plan of over easy and just scramble them all together. Serve with fresh local bread.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these memories, I have more VW Kombi recipe to come in future blogs.
Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger