Wednesday 13 August 2014

Penne Pasta With Sausage Recipe - The Camping Cookbook

I've always camped. My parents met through their involvement with the Scouts, and my grandfather and uncle were both wardens at Drum Hill Scout Scout Camp in Derbyshire. When I had my own children it seemed the best way to ensure they had holidays and freedom, and the space to be children - away from electricity and other distractions.

Boy looking under bridge for a troll
Checking to see if there's a troll under the bridge before he crosses!
In 2003 we bought our first camper van, and I met my partner when he was buying his camper and rang me for advice. My children have always camped.

Camper van camping in Cornwall 2007
2007 - I'd actually dyed my hair brown so it didn't look like a cloud!
The Camping Cookbook is a new release from Parragon in the Love Food series. With over 70 recipes across 190 full colour pages, it is packed with ideas for nutritious and interesting camping food. It's all too easy to overuse pre-packed noodles and dried foods, and miss out on the vegetables, vitamins and minerals and quality taste you really need when you're busy all day outside.

The Camping Cookbook from Parragon Books review

As well as the recipes this book has hints and tips for campers, checklists and advice, and in my opinion it's all well done and useful - especially for beginners.

The Camping Cookbook from Parragon Books review risotto page

The Camping Cookbook from Parragon Books review spinach omelette page

I've tested one of the recipes in this book, and as it's belting down I have done it inside on my hob, but otherwise I have done it exactly as I would when camping.

Penna Pasta With Sausage (page 103)

Serves 4-6


2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, roughly chopped (I used sweet white onion)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
6 Italian sausages, skinned and themeat crumbled
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (I used powder 1/4 tsp)
2 tbsp chopped fresh Oregano (I couldn't get this anywhere, so used 1 tsp dried)
400g/14oz canned chopped tomatoes
350g/12oz dried penne
salt and pepper


Gently heat the oil in a large pan over a campfire, stove or barbeque. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 6-8 minutes until starting to brown. Add the garlic and the crumbled sausages and cook for 8-10 minutes, breaking up the sausages with a wooden spoon.

Add the chilli flakes and Oregano and stir well. Pour in the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Place over a low heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes until reduced and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meaty penne pasta with sausage recipe easy cook
vegetarian penne pasta with sausage recipe easy to cook
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the penne and stir well, return to the boil and cook for 10-12 minutes until tender but still firm. Drain well and return to the pan.

Pour the sauce into the pasta and stir well. Serve.
Simple Meaty penne pasta with sausage recipe camping cookbook
Simple vegetarian penne pasta with sausage recipe camping cookbook
 It was fairly clear I didn't break up my sausages well enough, and I actually failed to remove all of the skins on the meaty sausages because I was distracted by my children, however it was delicious.  Everyone enjoyed it and it's exactly the sort of meal that it excellent for camping. Simple veg, simple preparation and a hearty warming meal which everyone can enjoy.

From my experience in the UK, you want recipes that are very easily cooked in a tiny space, in the rain, on a fire or burner that's suffering from being blown by the wind. Tins are your friend, short cuts make life much easier. More 'warming up' and less actual cooking is great, and you don't want to be using items such as raw beans when you can use canned. Another basic is that you only want to have 1 or 2 pans on the go, any more and you end up juggling pans so that you can keep half cooked foods warm while something else cooks.

I really feel a lot of the recipes in this book require a fair bit of cooking, or some ingredients that could be made easier for a camper who is unlikely to have a fridge or access to a supermarket full of fresh produce. If you were wild camping you wouldn't have many recipes left available to you as an option after 3 days without a fridge. This is a bit more of a 'glamping' cookbook.

That said, the recipes are interesting and full of flavour, they have loads of vegetables and good protein. There are plenty to interest most people, and a good selection including breakfasts, main meals, side dishes, snacks and lots of easy to cook desserts.

Just be prepared for a lot of washing up!

The Camping Cookbook has an RRP of £8, which makes it great value in my opinion. I think personally I'd simplify and cheat a few of these recipes, but overall the ideas and range is great, and you'll get plenty of inspiration - and will be able to gloat with full justification while you watch your neighbours eat instant cup noodle and digestive biscuits.....

I was sent the Camping Cookbook by Parragon for review


  1. Ooo this sounds yummy. Kids would love it. *bookmarks*

    1. :D It's a great one for everyone - I do love it when you can pleaseeveryone at once! Cheers Laura.

  2. I loved camping every year as a child and you really cannot beat simple tasty meals when camping. This book looks great! x

    1. I'm not replying to this comment :P

      (But yes, I totally agree! Comfort foodfor the end of a tiring day outside :) )

  3. Our next holiday will be camping, so will need to reference for good ideas.

  4. I sounds like a lot of fun!!

  5. Definitely ordering this on Amazon .. will come in handy on our hols .. always stuck for foodie ideas !! xx


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