I really enjoy cooking at home, so I always try to cook while we are on the road. It’s a great money saver and a good way to meet other travellers. Here are a few of my go-to recipes for two.
Your Travelling Pantry
Before you leave home there are a couple of hostel kitchen basics I would recommend packing to create your own travelling pantry. Most hostels with kitchens will have pots, pans and knives for you to use, but the knives are usually pretty blunt. I always pack a small knife with a cover just in case. It’s also handy to carry salt, pepper and a herb/garlic salt mix – you can make almost anything edible by adding these!
Recipes for two
Creamy bacon pasta
This pasta is super filling, and can be made more awesome with chicken.
Equipment: Knife, saucepan
Ingredients: 250g dried pasta, 1 tsp oil, 250ml cream, 1 brown onion, 200g bacon, 1 chicken breast (optional), salt, pepper
Method: 1) Cook pasta in boiling salted water. 2) Fry onions in oil until soft. 3) Add salt, pepper, bacon and chicken (if using). Fry until brown. 4) Add cream and simmer until thickened slightly. 5) Drain cooked pasta and serve with sauce mix.
Stir fried noodles
Ah ramen noodles. They sustained many of us through our poor student years, and they are making a glorious comeback to our backpacking diets. Simple and cheap.
Equipment: Knife, frypan
Ingredients: 1 packet of ramen noodles, 1 tsp oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce or chilli sauce, vegetables (such as onion, capsicum, broccoli and snow peas), 1 egg, beef/pork/chicken (optional)
Method: 1) Cook noodles as per packet instructions. 2) Heat oil in frying pan and brown meat (if using). Remove from pan. 3) Fry vegetables in frying pan until soft. 4) Add the uncooked egg, cooked noodles, sauce, and cooked meat to the vegetables. Stir until heated through and the egg is cooked.
Requires more chopping than actual cooking, so great for those lacking in culinary skills.
Equipment: knife, frypan
Ingredients: 1 packet of tortillas/taco shells, 1/2 lettuce, 2 tomatoes, 1/2 cup grated cheese, 300g mince (beef, chicken or pork), 1 packet of taco spice mix
Method: 1) Fry mince and taco spice mix in frypan until brown. 2) Chop lettuce and tomatoes. 3) Stuff cooked mince mix, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese into tacos or tortillas to serve.
Grilled meat and vegetables
Sometimes you just need something plain but tasty, like the meat and three veg your mum used ot cook.
Equipment: Knife, frypan, saucepan
Ingredients: 2 chicken breasts or beef steaks, 1 tbs oil, 2 large potatoes, vegetables (like carrots, broccoli, beans), herb or garlic salt, 1 tbs butter
Method: 1) Sprinkle meat in herb or garlic salt. 2) Heat oil in fry pan and cook meat until done to your liking. 3) Boil potatoes in boiling salted water in saucepan until almost cooked through. 4) Add remaining vegetables to saucepan and boil until cooked through (these veggies usually take less time to cook than potatoes). 5) Add a blob of butter to potatoes and veggies, and serve alongside grilled meat.
A cheap and easy way to use that leftover cooked rice from last night’s dinner.
Equipment: Knife, frypan
Ingredients: 1 cup cooked cold rice, 1 onion, 1 tbs oil, 1 tbs soy sauce, vegetables (like carrots, peas or beans), 1 cooked chicken breast (optional), chilli (optional)
Method: 1) Ensure rice is cool by leaving in the fridge or running cold water through it. 2) Heat oil in fry pan and fry onions until brown. 3) Add remaining vegetables to frypan. Cook for 2-3 minutes. 4) Add cooked rice, soy sauce, cooked chicken and chilli to frypan. 4) Stir all ingredients over medium heat until warmed through.
For the truly lazy hostel cook.
Equipment: Knife, microwave, large microwave-proof bowl
Ingredients: 1 packet of corn chips (e.g. Doritos), 1/2 cup grated cheese, 1 jar of salsa, 1 avocado (optional)
Method: 1) Put corn chips in large bowl. 2) Top with salsa then grated cheese. 3) Microwave until cheese has melted (usually around 2 mins). 4) Top with fresh diced avocado (if using).
Looks fancy, but is very simple. A good one for impressing your new hostel friends.
Equipment: Knife, frypan
Ingredients: 1 chicken breast, 2 burger buns, 2 slices of cheese, 1 tomato, 2 lettuce leaves, 2 rashers of bacon (optional), salt, pepper
Method: 1) Slice chicken breasts in half so they are wide and flat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 2) Fry chicken breasts until brown and cooked through. 3) Slice tomatoes and rinse lettuce leaves. 4) Slice burger buns in half, then top each bottom half with chicken, cheese, tomato and a lettuce leaf.
Salami and tomato pasta
Almost every convenience store around the globe will sell some kind of seemingly dodgy sausage or salami. Fry it up and add pasta sauce – guaranteed to be edible!
Equipment: knife, frypan, saucepan
Ingredients: 250g dried pasta, 100g salami, 1 brown onion, 1 small jar of tomato-based pasta sauce, 2 tomatoes, salt and pepper
Method: 1) Cook pasta in salted boiling water in saucepan until cooked. 2) Fry salami in frypan until brown. Remove from frypan. 3) Using leftover salami oil in frypan, fry onion until brown. Add tomato and fry for another 2 minutes. 4) Add cooked salami and pasta sauce, then simmer on low heat for around 5 minutes. 5) Serve drained pasta with sauce mix on top.
Brinner is simply breakfast for dinner. Ingenious, I know. It’s super easy, cheap and tasty though so don’t knock it ’til you try it. A few ideas:
- fruit salad and yoghurt
- banana and honey porridge
- bacon and eggs with toast
- ham, cheese and tomato toasted sandwiches
- pancakes with berries (just use the pre-made batter)
- scrambled eggs on toast