Claire Thomson is a chef and food writer. Her new cookbook, Camper Van Cooking, includes 70 essential recipes to make on the go, from quick fixes to family feasts.
Claire believes that life on wheels doesn't have to mean eating out of cans and packets: from the romance of fireside cooking, to cooking on one burner, through easy lunches, greedy brunches and leisurely picnics, and simple sweets and treats, there are so many inspiring options in Camper Van Cooking. Don’t miss Claire’s recipe for Halloumi, potato and jalapeño skewers here...

Halloumi, potato and jalapeño skewers with sour cream recipe


Skewers are sensible barbecue and camping tools because – stating the obvious here – they keep everything in place when cooking over a fire. Hot off the grill and doused with sour cream, this is a wonderful recipe. I’ve cut the lemon into quarters and grilled it along with the halloumi skewers because blistered, hot-grilled lemons are magic, and super-juicy. You’ll need wooden or metal skewers for this recipe – if you’re using wooden, soak them in a little water for 30 minutes before threading.

Serves 4

  • 2 x 225g (8oz) packets of halloumi
  • (about 2 packets), cut into 3cm
  • (1¼in) cubes
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) baby new potatoes,
  • boiled until tender
  • 2 jalapeño chillies (or other greenHalloumi
  • chilli), cut into 6 pieces (deseeded if
  • you want less heat)
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 1 tsp sweet or hot, smoked or
  • unsmoked paprika
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 150g (5½oz) sour cream (1 small tub)
  • salt and black pepper
  • chilli flakes, to serve

In a bowl, toss together the halloumi, cooked potatoes, jalapeños and onion in the olive oil, paprika and juice from two of the lemon quarters. Season with salt and pepper (remembering the halloumi is salty).

Thread everything in equal proportions onto the skewers. Grill over a moderate–high heat for about 5 minutes, turning every so often, until everything is golden and lightly charred.

At the same time, grill the remaining lemon quarters, cut-side down, until charred and juicy.

Season the sour cream to taste with a good pinch of salt and put to one side in a bowl.

Remove the skewers from the grill and drizzle with the sour cream. Trickle over a splash more olive oil and juice from the grilled lemon quarters, then sprinkle with chilli flakes to serve.

F: Can you tell us a bit about you and how you came to be a chef?
CT: I have always enjoyed cooking and have cooked from a relatively young age. I studied journalism at university, then wanderlust took hold, and off I jetted to south east Asia and Australia where I cooked in a restaurant in Sydney. Back to London, more cooking in various restaurants, then China for a brief stint cooking in a massive restaurant. I cook because I love to, and feel privileged to call it a profession. It was always my intention to pick up at some point with my writing and since having children, this was the perfect opportunity to dovetail both cooking and writing in the one profession.


F: The Camper Van Cookbook launches this month, what can we expect? CT: For the last few years VW have kindly loaned me & my family one of their gorgeous California campervans (it’s on the wish list, for sure), so here to say, this book is for everyone with a campervan, but also those with a tent and any kind of outdoor cooking kit.

From quick fixes to family feasts, the book is divided into;

  1. First night meals & bakes
  2. Cooking on one hob
  3. Fireside cooking
  4. Breakfast & brunch
  5. Lunches & picnics
  6. Sweets & treats

(I’d say the book is broadly about 1/2 vegetarian in content)

We had a good deal of fun shooting this book at the tail end of last summer. Written by me & also my husband Matt, this book is a good snapshot of how we cook (2 chefs) when not here at home and in a field somewhere. Foolproof, interesting cooking backed by the storecupboard, these are recipes to cook with a head torch on and a glass in hand.


F: We have featured your Halloumi skewers... can you tell us a bit about them?
CT: The key to cooking well whilst camping is to have a good store cupboard of ingredients you can use in addition to any fresh regional produce that might come your way. Take halloumi with you, it keeps well and is a good addition here in these skewers.


F: You're a fan of Falcon Enamelware. What’s your favourite product and what do you use it for?
CT: The mustard yellow jug is always on the kitchen table filled with water. I love it. Brilliant colour and is super useful. As for camping, cups, tins, plates, the list goes on. It’s all bombproof which is much needed whilst camping.


F: Do you have any summer trips with the family booked this Summer?
CT: Yes, Cornwall is where we always go. Our eldest was born down there, we know a secluded spot and, more often than not, the tiny beach we frequent won’t have another person on it, bliss. We’ll also likely head to Pembrokeshire as we love the Welsh coast, also Shropshire, where my mother lives, the most rural location in all of England. Sticking to the UK this year, for obvious reasons.


F: What's your favourite camper van/camping spot?
CT: Got to be the VW California, it’s a dream to drive and also to sleep in. As for favourite spots, anywhere remote, where we can switch off, no wifi and wide open skies.


F: How have you been keeping during this time? Do you have any tips for small business owners and creatives?
CT: It’s been fairly hard going, but I am thankful that we’re all OK and my kids, whilst homeschool definitely had it’s down days, are all happy and engaged with life and the future. We cooked some great lunches together during the lockdowns, played a lot of cards at the kitchen table and went on an awful lot of bicycle rides together. As for tips, engaging with likeminded people and brands in the media and also on social media seems to be a positive way to generate awareness and spread positivity.


CAMPER VAN COOKING by Claire Thomson & Matt Williamson (Quadrille, £20)
Photography: Sam Folan



Pigeon Grey Medium Salad Bowl

Pillarbox Red Pinch Pot

Pigeon Grey 4¾" Bowls


From a windswept breakfast while the surf’s up, to a romantic seafood dinner under the stars,enjoy a little taste of the seaside - wherever you are. Veronica Henry’s new...

This easy vegan recipe for potato salad is from Jeanine at Love & Lemons who is well known for her deliciously bright, healthy vegetarian and vegan recipes.   Jeanine suggests that...