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Best recipes for on the road

Adventures
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Feast your eyes on this collection of our favourite recipes for the road.

MACARONI AND MANY CHEESES

This recipe is close to the original concept of mac and cheese but it still has a few tasty twists and turns.

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes and then an additional 15 minutes in the oven

The following quantities will serve four

- 2 tbsp butter

- 2 tbsp flour

- 2 cups hot milk

- Salt and pepper to taste

- Pinch of nutmeg

- 125g diced ham

- ½ cup cottage cheese

- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (or similar)

- ¼ cup grated Parmesan

- 375g macaroni

Preheat your oven to 180°C /375F. Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and allow to cook for a minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk all at once, stirring well with a wooden spoon. Return the saucepan to the stove and continue to cook, stirring until the sauce has thickened.

Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg to the sauce and stir. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the ham, cottage cheese, Gruyere and half the Parmesan. Stir well.

While you are preparing the sauce, cook the macaroni according to the directions on the packet. Drain the macaroni well and then toss it in with the sauce mixture. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the top of the macaroni with many cheeses is lightly browned. 

Handy Hint 1: Bacon may be substituted for the ham.

Handy Hint 2: You can simply add the sauce to the macaroni, stir well and serve, omitting the step in the oven. I wouldn’t, but you could.

SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS

Spaghetti and meatballs

In a large pot of water, cook 500g of spaghetti (or your choice of pasta) according to the direction on the packet. I usually leave the cooking of the pasta until the meatballs are made and the sauce is thickening.

Meatball mixture

- 500g beef mince

- 1 egg, lightly beaten

- 3 tbsp grated cheese

- 2 cloves garlic, crushed

- 1 tsp dried oregano

- 3 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs (or cornmeal)

- Salt and pepper

Put all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a clean pair of hands. Shape the meatball mixture into small balls using about a teaspoon of mixture at a time.

Place the meatballs in the fridge while you cook the pasta and prepare the sauce. You could also freeze the meatballs to use at a later date.

Tomato sauce

- 1 onion, grated

- 2 cloves garlic, grated

- 1 tsp dried oregano

- 750ml bottle tomato passata

- Dash of red wine (optional)

- 100ml milk (or yoghurt)

Add of the indredients, except the milk, to a saucepan. Cook for about 10 minutes over a medium heat, then add the milk. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens.

Now add the prepared meatballs to the saucepan with the tomato sauce. Do not stir at this stage, in case you break up the meatballs.

Cook the meatballs in the sauce at a gentle simmer until they are cooked through.

Add the drained spaghetti to the saucepan with the tomato sauce and meatballs. Stir together very gently and cook for a few minutes to heat through.

Serve immediately with a scattering of grated Parmesan.

CARAMELISED STEAK IN LETTUCE CUPS

Preparation time: 10 minutes plus two hours marinating time

Cooking time: 5 minutes 

The following quantities will serve four

- 3 cloves garlic, minced

- 1 tbsp fish sauce

- 1 tsp sugar

- Freshly ground salt and pepper

- 4 tbsp canola oil

- 500g piece rump steak or equivalent weight of rib fillet

- 1 small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced

- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

- Lettuce leaves

In a sealable plastic bag, combine the garlic, fish sauce, sugar, about half a teaspoon of salt, a generous grinding of pepper and two tablespoons of canola oil. Then add the meat to the bag and seal, squeezing out some of the air. Squish the bag to distribute the contents. Allow the meat to marinade (in the fridge) for about two hours.

In a small bowl, combine the red onion slices and the rice wine vinegar as well as a tablespoon of the canola oil and allow to stand until ready to use.

Remove the meat from the plastic bag and discard the marinade. Add the remaining tablespoon of canola oil to a large heavy-based frypan. Warm the frypan over a high heat. When the oil is hot, add the meat and cook without moving it for a couple of minutes. Then turn the meat over and cook for a further minute.

Remove the meat from the pan and allow to rest for a couple of minutes before slicing (on the diagonal). Pour any juices from the pan over the meat slices.

To serve, arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter and load them with slices of meat and the pickled red onion. To eat, fold the lettuce leaves around the meat and onion to form into a parcel and enjoy.  

For a tasty alternative to steak, mix some leftover barbecued chicken with mayonnaise, lime juice, green shallots and pepper and stuff your lettuce leaves with it.

Handy Hint: Once you’ve added the steak to the pan, don’t move it for at least two minutes. This will caramelise the steak on the outside, with a very tender inside.

STUFFED LAMB BURGERS WITH CITRUS YOGHURT

Stuffed Lamb Burgers with Citrus Yoghurt

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

The following quantities will serve four

- 500g lamb mince

- 1 onion, finely grated

- 1 egg, lightly beaten

- 1 tbsp plain flour

- 100g goat cheese, cubed

- 4 hamburger buns, split horizontally and lightly toasted

- Lettuce for serving on burgers

In a bowl, combine the lamb mince, onion, egg and flour. Combine the mixture thoroughly with a clean pair of hands. Make the mince mixture into four patties.Working the mince in your hands will also release ‘sticky’ agents that will help the mince bond.

Refrigerate the patties for about half an hour to firm them up.

One at a time, take a patty and make a well in the centre of the patty with your thumb. Pop a cube of cheese into the well in the patty and then fold the meat mixture around the cheese so that it is completely enclosed.

Heat a grill plate or frypan. Brown the meat patties on both sides until the patties are cooked through. The heat from cooking the patties will melt the cheese within the patties.

To assemble the burger, place the cooked patty on the halved hamburger bun. Top the patty with some lettuce leaves and a generous dollop of the yoghurt dressing (see below).

Place the top of the hamburger bun over the patty, lettuce and yoghurt dressing and serve.

Citrus yoghurt

- 1 small carton Greek or natural yoghurt

- The zest of a lemon or lime

- 6 mint leaves, very finely shredded

- 1 clove garlic, finely grated (optional)

Combine the yoghurt, zest, mint and garlic in a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least half an hour before use to allow the flavours in the dressing to blend.

Handy Hint 1: You can use any type of cheese in the pocket in these burgers; however, I like to use a goat cheese for a tangy bite of flavour.

Handy Hint 2: In the yoghurt, you could substitute finely shredded parsley or oregano for the citrus.

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE BARS

These bars are a luxury nibble for those times when you have done a big walk or simply feel like spoiling yourself.   

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: A small amount of simmering.

The following quantities will make approximately 12 bars.

- 275g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

- 175g butter

- 4 tbsp golden syrup

- 175g biscuits (such as Nice)

- 4 tbsp rice bubbles

- 2 tbsp chopped nuts

- 50g dried fruit (such as craisins or chopped dried apricots)

- 25g white chocolate, to decorate the bars (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, place the chocolate (whatever type you choose to use), butter, golden syrup and rum (optional). Place the mixing bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir the chocolate mixture until it has melted.

Crush the biscuits into small pieces and stir them into the melted chocolate mixture. Add the rice bubbles, nuts and dried fruit.

Line an 18cm square (or similar) baking tin with either baking paper or plastic wrap. Pour the chocolate mixture into the tray and smooth the top with a long knife. Place the tin into the fridge or cold box and chill for a couple of hours.

To decorate the tops of your choc bars with another chocolate variety, I like to let my choc tray set in the fridge while I then melt the chocolate for the decoration over a pan of simmering water. Drizzle this freshly melted chocolate over the top of the half-set chocolate in the tin; drizzle this in a random pattern. Allow the decorations to set (into the fridge again with the tray).

Finally, turn the chocolate out of the tin and cut it into bars. These bars will last in your fridge or chiller for at least a couple of weeks. Surely you’ll have eaten them by then!

Handy Hint: You can use either dark, milk or white chocolate for these bars. You can also add a glug of dark rum to the mix. If you have used white chocolate for these bars, you may like to use a dark chocolate for decorating purposes. 

FRENCH TOAST WITH FRUIT COMPOTE

French toas with fruit compote

Fruit compote

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

- 2-3 cups dried fruit

- ¾ cup maple syrup

- 3 cups water

- 1 small vanilla bean (or ½ tsp vanilla bean paste)

- Zest of one lemon

Add the maple syrup and water to a medium-sized saucepan. Split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape the pods into the maple syrup mixture.

Add the dried fruit to the saucepan and cook on low for about 10 minutes or until the fruit is plump. Using a slitted spoon, remove the fruit from the saucepan and place in a bowl.

Bring the liquid in the pan to a simmer and cook until very syrupy. Pour the syrup over the fruit and top with the lemon zest.

Serve the compote either warm or chilled with your French toast.

French toast

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5-10 minutes

The following quantities will serve four

- 4 slices thick cut bread

- 1 cup cornflakes

- 2 large eggs

- ½ cup milk

- 1 tsp plain flour

- A few drops of vanilla extract

- 2 tbsp butter

- Maple syrup

Pop the cornflakes into a sealable bag and cruch them up a bit. Then pour them into a shallow dish and place to one side. In another dish, whisk the eggs, milk, plain flour and vanilla.

Heat a half tablespoon of butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.

Working in batches, press a slice of bread into the egg mixture and soak. Then place the soaked bread into the crushed cereal. Coat both sides of the bread with the cornflake crumbs then place the bread into the heated frying pan.

Cook the bread on both sides until golden brown. Remove the bread from the pan and place on some paper towel while you prepare and cook the remaining bread slices.

Use half a tablespoon of butter in the cooking pan for each slice of bread.

Place a golden slice of French toast on to individual serving place and drizzle with maple syrup, adding a generous tablespoon or two of dried fruit compote.

Handy Hint 1: You could substitute the cornflakes with other cereals such as crumbled granola, cocoa pops or oat flakes.

EATON MESS

This sweet is a melange of textures and flavours consisting of cream, crushed meringues and fruit. Feel free to purchase packets of meringues when making this recipe because they are only going to get crushed up to make the mess.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: Absolutely none at all

The following quantities will serve four to six

- 12 small meringues, lightly crushed

- 300ml cream, lightly whipped

- Chopped or sliced fruit of your choice

You could substitute vanilla yoghurt for the whipped cream in this recipe.

In individual glasses, place a layer of fruit, then one of meringue and then add a dollop of cream. Repeat these layers, finishing with a layer of cream. You could top the cream with a small sample of the fruit that you have used in the mess or a little grated chocolate.

Handy hints: Take advantage of whatever fruit is regionally in season when you make Eton mess. Berries, chopped stone fruit, passionfruit or a combination all make tasty additions to this recipe.