The kitchen in Cosi is pretty small, it is really suitable for only a single person to be cooking at a time. However having read on forums and Facebook groups how many people seem to simply eat out of tins when motor-homing I wanted to raise to the challenge of confined cooking and produce good meals from the little kitchen using fresh ingredients when possible. Nevertheless recognising that it isn’t possible to do magic in such a small kitchen, therefore some short cuts will need to be taken.
We have a three ring hob, a very small sink, a small oven and a reasonably spacious fridge with a funky blue light as you can see in the picture. These are the tools we have for our gastronomic creations.
Ingredients – cooking for two
The hardest part of confined cooking has to be portion control, we are cooking for two people only and we want to avoid having leftovers, so we tend to avoid to two for ones on any fresh food and buy always the smallest amount that we can. There is no reason not have a full complement of dried herbs and spices, they don’t take up much room and they last a long time, granted you can avoid those that you rarely use, for example nutmeg and cinnamon which you might use in baking, although I use cinnamon for my chicken Tagine.
Tips and Tricks
- Prepare everything up front. Because of the limited space I find it really helpful to prepare up front before I start any cooking, and by this I don’t mean preparing my ingredients – I mean getting all your pans, peelers, chopping board, ingredients, glass of wine (I always need room for this!), etc. This makes sure that you know where you are going to fit everything, the alternative approach leads to a panic about where to put hot pans, dirty colander, etc.
- Plan how to deal with the sink. In all motorhomes I’ve seen (maybe not the American RVs) the sink has a cover which also acts as a work surface. It’s impractical not to use this work surface, but when you do, you lose the sink. In order to avoid mishaps, if you need to wash veg, or drain the potatoes you’ll need to free the sink. So plan well ahead for when this is going to happen and make sure that by this time your work surface is clear.
- Take your time. Be resigned to the fact that it will take you longer to work in a confined space.
- Reuse pans as much as possible. You don’t have much room, so if possible re-use pans for multiple tasks, granted this isn’t easy and not always possible.
- Don’t skimp on ingredients. Use the best ingredients you can afford and plan meals up front so that you can use an ingredient in multiple dishes. For instance I may use 1/2 pack of mushrooms to make Stronganoff, followed by Coq-au-Vin the following day.
- It’s OK to use convenience packs. Whether these are jars or tins, I make use of sauces – I find Lloyd Grosman particularly good – and tinned beans and tuna.