By William Coleman
Is spending Christmas away in the caravan something you would do? As we get older we want to do less and less on Christmas, so why not take the ultimate freedom trip and get away in the caravan, or motorhome, for the festive period.
For me Christmas is a fun time but I do find myself spending most of it waiting on others, cooking and making sure everyone’s glass is full. Not that I mind but I do sometimes think about getting away and having some quiet time catering for just one or two people. This is where the caravan comes in handy.
Taking the van away would not be me escaping Christmas, it would be more about a change of scenery and spending some more quality, and quiet, time on site away from all the hustle and bustle. You can stock up early and escape the war that is the shopping centre and high street.
So how do we make a caravan stay as ‘Christmassy’ as possible without having all the rigmarole of a Christmas at home?
Don’t Forget The Decorations
There is a fine line between good Christmas decorating and overloading with sparkly clutter, a very fine line. So when it comes to putting up Christmas themed decorations in the van you need to be careful not to go OTT.
Inside the van you do not have a heck of a lot of space to put up the tree but you should have one. A small desktop sized one should do the trick along with a string across the front window with all the Christmas cards you’ve received.
Also to let everyone know you are feeling festive pop some Christmas lights up outside with a little Santa statue. You never know, St Nick and Ruldolph may just fly by.
Find The Right Festive Location
As much as I am a fan of sitting in the van I can get cabin fever quite quickly if boredom starts to raise its ugly head and when it comes to Christmas I can see myself getting frustrated if I am not out doing festive things.
It is always good to find a location that has a Christmas market or a good old country pub with an open fire. The imagine of sitting in front of a fire with a drink and your loved ones is exactly what goes through my head when I think of Christmas time.
If you do enjoy a seasonal day out there is one location that I would always avoid, London’s Winter Wonderland. Over priced, over crowded and more or a chore than a day out.
The Perfect Christmas Dinner, And Pudding
In today’s modern van being able to whip up a Michelin star quality meal with very little stress is very doable. The 3 ring hob, oven, microwave, grill and a kettle is all you need to prepare the veg and meat of choice.
If you really want to go all out you can use an external BBQ to make life easier and give you a lot more cooking and prep space. The good thing about having a BBQ like a Cadac or an Aquaforno is just how flexible they are, the Aquaforno in particular which is a BBQ grill, smoker, stove. The list really does go on with that handy bit of kit.
Using the BBQ to cook the meat frees up a lot of space inside for oven cooking veg, stuffing and more importantly the puddings!
When it comes to the “traditional” Christmas dinner it seems that is changes from household to household. Some think that you have to have a turkey dinner but for years we have chosen a cooked ham joint and some form of lamp, usually a shoulder. If anything I am against turkey as it really is not that nice to eat, but that is just my opinion.
Here are the items, for me, that make the perfect Christmas dinner:
Carrots and parsnips steamed then pan fried in honey
Brussel sprouts with pancetta bacon and chestnuts
Goose fat roast potatoes with with Everyday Jamaican seasoning, a real taste sensation!
Mashed potatoes with nutmeg
Sauteed red cabbage
Pigs in blankets, and lots of them
Sage and onion stuffing, made fresh
Yorkshire puddings, frozen are the best as I cannot make them to save my life
Bread sauce with extra butter
Onion sauce using spring onions and shallots
Mustard mayo for the cooked ham and French mustard for the lamb
Honey roast ham joint, slow cooked
Lamb shoulder with spices or a mint and pistachio crusted lamb rack cooking medium with a pink centre. This is where I really flex my culinary muscles
This is one I get a lot of flack on not making from scratch but you really cannot beat Bisto gravy granules. What I do is add the juice from the lamb and all the flavouring to give the gravy a real flavour boost.
Black Forest Gateau
Christmas Pudding with deluxe custard
Traditional strawberry trifle
So these are all the ingredients you need to make your home away from home festive without the fuss. The only other thing I would add would be a good old Christmas jumper that is cozy enough to fall asleep in ones you’ve eaten to your heart’s content.