Welcome to the Van Life Cookbook. A gorgeous guide packed full of tried and tested recipes, that go beyond a collection of dishes that can be made on a two-ring gas hob or campfire. It’s about a way of cooking and eating that saves time and money, is good for the belly, and finds the best in our immediate environment.
It encourages us to dig below the surface and look past the convenience of the supermarket, ‘quick fixes’ and the occasional disappointing restaurant or takeaway, and to discover a whole world of independent producers and hidden gems. From stumbling upon wild garlic growing abundantly in early spring to folk selling fresh, juicy cherries and strawberries in lay-bys in mid-summer; even free-range eggs can be found throughout much of the year at the end of someone’s driveway.
Chef Danny Jack and his wife Hailee Kukura have travelled around the UK in their renovated campervan rediscovering the simple pleasures of a life spent in the great outdoors. They’ve captured their passion for adventure and good food and distilled them into over 80 campervan-friendly recipes, sharing their knowledge on foraging, cooking over an open fire, and making the most of what nature has to offer.
All the recipes in The Van Life Cookbook are made from scratch, using mostly whole foods and without any electrical equipment – Danny and Hailee hope to encourage readers to learn and cook more. There are no rules, only what feels right, and tasty, of course.
Recipes include a breakfast feast of Huevos ‘Van’cheros to kickstart the day. A hearty Winter greens minestrone is the perfect comfort food for lunch or if you’re looking for something light, try their Kimchi cheese toastie. Date night tagliatelle or Danny and Hailee’s Budget supermarket pasta for 4 is a win-win for pasta lovers and friendly on the purse strings and for anyone looking for some campfire dinner inspiration, the BBQ fish parcels are fun to put together, take hardly any time at all to cook and you can pour straight into a serving bowl. Easy and finger-licking good!
Outdoor cooking wouldn’t be the same without at least one burger recipe – and Danny and Hailee have included a great vegan one – plus treats for dessert including Flambéed rum bananas with coconut cream and some great drink recipes like the Rosehip Fizz to wash it all down!
There is also a great section at the end of The Van Life Cookbook on condiments and sides, as well as a forager’s guide for those who are out exploring the countryside for wild garlic, mushrooms, and even dandelions to add to their dishes.
From campervans to canal boats, cabins or even small flats, this book is a celebration of unexpected opportunities and the resourcefulness of smaller budgets and limited space.
Danny Jack earned his stripes as a chef in restaurant kitchens from Bath to Edinburgh before relocating to London in 2011. Here he branched outside the restaurant environment, producing his own events in the midst of a nascent pop-up scene, running supper clubs, weddings, banquets and co-owns Studio Z, a kitchen and event space in Brixton, South London. He is also a long-time skateboarder.
Hailee Kukura is originally from Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest of America and moved to Scotland at the age of 19 to study architecture and art history. Now based in London, she works in the cultural sector with a passion for art, design, and socially engaged practice across the built environment.
After meeting in Edinburgh, Danny and Hailee were married on Orcas in 2014. When not busy in London, they can be found exploring natural beauty spots and visiting friends in their self-build campervan, Jean Claude.