Select Cooking Tools

In a caravan or tent, it is essential that tools are kept to a minimum and do several jobs. Unfortunately there are some tools that we cannot do without.  This guide will help to identify tools referred to in the menus, but will also help to locate alternatives.  Just what you do decide to carry and what to leave at home is a matter of personal choice, and what is available where you shop.

Whisk, balloon

There are many types.  A balloon whisk will cope with most recipes – particularly those that are suitable for caravans and tents. This versatile device will scramble eggs in a saucepan, create meringues with patience and whip up cream. Easy to store in a caravan drawer, and so light as not to count on the payload.

Whisk, rotary

Not the easiest tool to find, but it really does take the effort out of whisking.Hold the whisk upright in one hand, and turn the handle.  It takes longer and more effort, but if you are on a site without electricity, this little whisk will even let you make cakes.

Whisk, electric

Only any use if you are on an electric hook-up, this device is small enough to carry without denting the payload, and can do most of the work you might expect of a full-sized food processor.  The only problem is that it is prone to splattering the contents of the mixing bowl if the speed is too high.

Blender, hand

Cheap versions are available from many supermarkets in their basic ranges, and are ideal to keep in the caravan kitchen for use when electricity is available.  Expect to pay something in the region of £5.00.  The blender is quite versatile and can be used in smaller containers – for example to mix a milk shake in a glass.

Fish Slice

This versatile tool can be used in the frying pan or on the BBQ to turn food whilst it is cooking.  Also useful for lifting food out of grill pans, or oven proof dishes. Can double as a slotted spoon to remove ingredients from a marinade or any other liquid. Comes with most sets of kitchen tools.

Spatula

May be metal, wood or a vareity of different plastic or vinyl materials.  The choice of material is down to a preference for a rigid or flexible spatula.  If you have non-stick pans opt for wood or plastic versions. Can be used in frying pans and saucepans, or to mix ingredients before cooking.  Excellent for making sure any bowls or pans are really emptied so all ingredients used.  The plastic or vinyl version can do most of the jobs of a wooden spoon.

Potato Masher

This is one tool that you can live without.  Boiled potatoes can be mashed with a fork or if very soft with a balloon whisk.  The potato masher is not very versatile, so leave it at home.

Ladle

Essentially a large, deep spoon, the ladle normally comes as part of a set of kitchen tools.  It is useful to serve soups and stews, but is not a vital part of the caravan kitchen equipment.  Stews can be served with any large spoon, and it is usually possible to use a cup or mug to serve soup.

Serving Spoon

This large spoon is also included in sets of utensils.  It can be used in the same way as a ladle, but will take longer to dish up soup as it has a shallow bowl.

Spaghetti Spoon

Although often included in sets of kitchen utensils, leave this one at home.

Wooden Spoon

Highly unlikely to be needed in the caravan or tent. A metal spoon, or a wooden or flexible spatula can be substituted for most uses of a wooden spoon.

Measuring Spoons

The recipes included on this website will not need the ingredients to be measured this carefully.  Use the spoons you have for eating, or just estimate the quantities.

Measuring Jug

Largely a matter of personal choice.  A measuring jug can double as any other form of jug, but equally a pint or half pint glass can be used to measure liquid. Most of the recipes on this site will work perfectly well with an approximate measure of liquid.

Scales

Something you will not find in my caravan!  However, if you do need to be precise about weights of certain types of food for medical reasons, there are some very small and lightweight models around.  Try that supermarket again, especially in the basics ranges.

Knives

Try to keep the number of knives to a minimum.  Find one or two knives that you find comfortable to use.  Provided they are sharp you should be able to do most jobs.  If you are unlucky enough to be stopped at the ferry terminal, you may be closely questionned if you have too great a variety of knives.  Some varieties can be interpreted as weapons rather than cooking tools.

Tin Opener

One tool that I do not carry, and frequently forget to mention.  A tin opener is generally thought of as an essential for caravan and tent cooking, but you will not need it to cook fresh, local food.

Garlic Press

A garlic press will take the strain out of trying to crush garlic with a small knife, although I have been known to use a grater in an emergency.

Grater

Graters come in many different shapes and sizes, ranging from tiny ones for nutmeg, through a rotary version to the more traditional type shown in the illustration.  Try to find a grater with more than one size of hole for versatility.  There is an excellent version from Ikea which catches the grated food in a plastic container which can be sealed with its own lid.