Emma Howcutt

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Practical Caravan's Emma Howcutt is launching a brand new culinary caravanning challenge and is on standby in the van – all she needs now are your recipes

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Emma Howcutt, senior designer on Practical Caravan. Thanks to this job, I’m lucky enough to spend much of my time touring around Britain and Europe on photoshoots for the magazine and, when I'm away, cooking in the van is just part of the adventure. I’m not a chef, but I just love surprising my fellow travellers with a good meal or a tasty snack that I’ve made in the van. For me, it’s part of the joy of caravan holidays.

And I don’t just mean while staying on a well-equipped site, but also on CLs/CSs and when wild camping. In fact, I love preparing meals on the hoof so much that I've even been known to whip up a batch of pancakes while taking a driving break in Spain, parked in one of the fantastic ‘aires’ that pepper the European road network.

Of course, space is at a premium when you’re on tour, so you’ve got to be smart about what you pack and try not to be too ambitious. I always take a few store-cupboard essentials with me that I know will be easy to assemble into quick and easy meals that will leave us with minimal washing up – and more time to enjoy a glass of wine!

But cooking within the confines of a caravan doesn’t have to mean beans on toast and spag bol every night. For some time, I’ve been trying to put together a few more ambitious recipes that I can cook while I’m away touring – and that got me thinking about what everyone else cooks on their caravan holidays.

I want to hear from the Coachman cooks and the Bailey bakers. Do you make a mean stir fry in your Sprite or a tasty lasagne in your Lunar? Are you a one-pot chef, or do you use all three (or four!) hob rings, plus the oven, the grill and even the microwave? Is barbecuing more up your street? From the next issue of Practical Caravan, we’re planning to start a new series all about our readers’ favourite recipes, and for that I need your help – we want your top meal ideas!

Please could you send me your best family recipes – be they reinventions of old favourites, or your own creations – so that I can give them a go on site to see how I get on. I’d welcome any meal ideas. Perfect dishes for two, things you like cooking with kids, vegetarian recipes, healthy recipes, ideas for dinner, breakfast brainwaves, delicious desserts and camping stove favourites – all these and more.

So have a think about what you cook on your caravan holidays, send me your recipes and I’ll have a go. I’ll then score each recipe on how easy it is to cook – and get the rest of the Practical Caravan team (otherwise known as my victims) to mark them for appearance and taste! 

The very best recipes will be both delicious and a doddle to prepare within the limitations of a caravan kitchen – and we’ll have a prize for our top recipe of 2014 at the end of the year.

If you fancy getting involved in our brand new, culinary caravanning challenge, submit your recipes to me by email by clicking here. I can't wait to get started with Caravan Chef.

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