It hasn't been quite as bad as I thought, living without a kitchen (and a bathroom - did I mention?) while they are being renovated. Necessity being the mother of invention, I have still managed to make decent evening meals for Plus One and myself, using a very basic setup we have rigged up in the living room with the microwave, toaster, and a little two-burner camp stove. In fact, I am rather enjoying the limitations it imposes, even if I am also concerned about how much V Energy Drink the builders consume...
On Monday evening we had some new season asparagus that I steamed, along with a can of brown lentils that I quickly heated and rinsed, using the same water I had steamed the asparagus with. I had some nice Turkish bread from Nada Bakery in Tawa (I am obsessed with picking up end of season bargains at Dressmart!).
We had some magnificent Zany Zeus haloumi that P1 had picked up from their shop in Moera (she reckons they make the best milkshakes ever, anywhere). I made a dressing with lemon, olive oil, mustard and sugar, and with the aid of a little rocket, I turned out a dish that looked good and tasted fresh and vibrant that you could even turn into a sandwich if you desired (which I did).
On Tuesday I thought I would follow through on last week's Jamaican theme, and use some of the Walkerswood jerk seasoning that I keep in the fridge. I marinated some boneless chicken thighs, made a salad with capsicum, rocket and feta, and made (sort of) "dirty" rice in the microwave - I added coriander seeds, cumin, caraway seeds and bay leaves to the rice as it cooked - delicious. I'm sure this isn't how you're supposed to make it but it tastes great, anyhow. We also had some flour-based flatbread wraps, which I warmed a little (you'll love this!) by - folding them up and putting them in the toaster!
Apart from massively overdoing it with the jerk seasoning (which I didn't actually mind), it was all pretty bloody good.
Wednesday night, I grabbed some gurnard fillets from my friend Lily at the Wellington Trawling Fish Market on Cuba Street, and a loaf of baguette from my favourite bakery, Le Moulin in Willis Street. I gave the fish a roll in some seasoned flour and quickly fried them on the gas burner in grapeseed oil and butter. We had some more asparagus (tis the season, etc), this time with lemon, feta, mint and peas (the king of frozen vegetables), the bread and the flash-fried fish. I plated the fish and deglazed the pan with a handful of capers, which I fried till crispy, then added some lemon to make a light and tangy sauce. Not bad at all.
On Thursday night, I congratulated myself on my innovation and improvisation throughout the week, and had a chicken kebab from Kilim in Petone (with mild chili, hummus and garlic yoghurt) - bloody good - sometimes a takeaway really hits the spot, especially when you are kitchen-less.
Amazingly, despite not having a proper kitchen, I am pretty satisfied with the week's cooking and eating. I have made very simple food, using a minimum of ingredients and utensils. You need to do a few things a bit differently - I found a bowl of warm water for rinsing hands, and a hand towel, invaluable.
I also relied on the store cupboard - cooked with what staples we had (lentils, peas, wraps, feta) and have also augmented significantly - buying bread rather than cooking potatoes, and making salads, and veges that only need a light steam, and proteins that can be cooked quickly in a pan.
I have found that it is possible to not use every dish and utensil in the kitchen (this is a revelation for me). I have also managed to not have takeaways every night, or to just eat microwaved soup and toast. I have lessened my dependence on the stick blender. I have found that it is possible to make decent food in a camping type situation. And I pray to God that this is never truly put to the test...
What do you make of my week's menu? Any other suggestions (first suggestion of "baked beans/ Maccas" gets a kick in the shins)? And, given this is (hopefully) about as close as I am likely to get to cooking camping food, what do you like to cook in a "camping" type situation?
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Picture: Jorge Barrios