Fabulous food in the great outdoors: Lisa Faulkner on camping, cuisine and Cornwall
Actress Lisa Faulkner has been a familiar face on our television screens for the last two decades. But since winning Celebrity MasterChef in 2010, her career has taken a turn for the foodie.
Later this month, she will be appearing at The Caravan and Camping Show to give a few tips on cooking outdoors. Here, she gives us a little advice on what to prepare for an easy al-fresco meal – and explains why Cornwall is a destination close to her heart.
A whizz in the kitchen: Lisa has developed a reputation as a food expert since winning Celebrity MasterChef
So, you will be offering a few ideas on what to cook when the weather is nice and we can all go outside again. Whenever that is. What will you be making?
I’ll be cooking some of the nicer things that you can make outdoors on a barbecue. Or if it isn’t great weather, indoors as well. So lamb koftas, sticky ribs – and huevos rancheros [Mexican-style fried eggs with tomato-chili sauce and refried beans], to do something different. I’m looking forward to it.
And these are all things you can prepare easily?
That’s the point of it. Just because people are camping, it doesn’t mean that they can’t eat nice food. You can buy ribs from the supermarket, make a marinade and put the whole thing in a freezer bag overnight – not to freeze it, but to make sure that the marinade really gets into the ribs – and barbecue it the next day. That’s very easy to do.
I’ve been on holidays to Feather Down Farms [camping enclaves with spacious, cosy tents and an emphasis on comfort] – which, I must admit, is rather closer to glamping than camping – and I’ve always cooked outside. It’s great to have the kids help, so that you’re cooking and eating together.
Good outdoorsy stuff.
Is it possible to cook outdoors and still make something that isn’t pretty basic?
Oh I think so, yes. At my favourite Feather Down site [Boswarthen Farm in Cornwall], the campsite is very close to Newlyn, which is a beautiful place to buy fish.
So I will go and get a lobster, and then barbecue it with garlic butter. Add in some new potatoes or jacket potatoes, a little chorizo, it’s lovely. There’s no reason why you have to have hot dogs and beans. Although there’s nothing wrong with hot dogs and beans!
Do something different: Lisa says that cooking outdoors does not have to mean beans and sausages. She also has regular holidays in Cornwall, and is fond of Penzance – where St Michael’s Mount (right) is a key landmark
Have you done much camping?
Glamping is rather more my thing. I’ve been to Feather Down several times. I love the idea of being outdoors, and camping in the glamping sense, with barbecues and fires. I’m not so into the idea of packing everything into a car and sleeping out in a tent with no loo.
I love the idea of a campervan too. I’d like to hire one and go all around the country. I once did a TV show called Holiday Home Sweet Home, and I got to go off in a little campervan and see different parts of England. I’d love to do that again with my daughter.
Was the stereotypical British camping experience – rainy days, grey skies, field full of cow pats – part of your childhood?
Not really. My grandparents lived near West Wittering [in West Sussex] and had a beach hut, so we would go and stay at their house and be next to the sea there – and there were plenty of rainy days. Although I have that golden tinge to it in my memories where it always seemed to be summer. I was always outside. But we never did camping holidays as a family. My mother always wanted to get a last-minute package break to Spain.
If you could camp (or glamp) anywhere in Britain, where would it be?
Cornwall. I absolutely love it. I have totally fallen for the region. It’s the most beautiful area of England. I’ve been to quite a few Cornish places. The beaches are stunning, rain or shine. I love Penzance. Also Port Isaac. Really lovely. Porthcurno too. And St Mawes. I could go on and on…
Spanish sensation: Lisa is a fan of Mallorca – particularly north-easterly Pollenca, with its pretty main square
Where do you go on holiday? Where are your regular haunts?
I love France. I had a great time in Avignon recently, even though I went by train and it took forever. But it was wonderful when I finally got there. Beautiful. And Spain. Mallorca in particular. Mallorca is so easy to get to, lovely weather, very child-friendly, and I love Spanish food.
The last time I was on the island, I stayed near Pollenca [in the north-east]. That part of Mallorca is fantastic. The town is really pretty. They have a nice market and lovely delis.
Where would be your dream destination if you could go tomorrow?
I’m keen to go back to Mexico. I spent some time in Mexico City as a 16-year-old, and I fell in love with the whole thing – the people, the place, the food. Amazing.
Lisa will be cooking campsite recipes at The Caravan & Camping Show (18-23 February) on Friday 21 February, at the NEC Birmingham: www.thecaravanandcampingshow.co.uk