For chef Claire Thomson, co-author of new book Camper Van Cooking, the key to a successful camping holiday is preparation.

“The best tip in the book is to take the first meal with you that you’ve frozen at home,” she says. “You’ve had time to cook some sort of curry or braised whatever, and then you take that with you frozen. It defrosts as you go to wherever you’re going, and then all you need to do is heat it up that evening – and it boosts the refrigeration of all your other ingredients as you get there.”

Thomson cooking with her daughters
Thomson cooking with her daughters (Sam Folan/PA)

After a long drive to your campsite and the inevitable faff of unpacking everything, you’ll be glad to have a sumptuous meal ready to go, like this lamb and date tagine…

Lamb and tagine
(Sam Folan/ PA Photo)
Lamb and tagine
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Lamb and date tagine
Amount Per Serving
Calories 764 Calories from Fat 468
% Daily Value*
Fat 52g80%
Saturated Fat 22g138%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 21g
Cholesterol 136mg45%
Sodium 912mg40%
Potassium 1003mg29%
Carbohydrates 48g16%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 35g39%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 597IU12%
Vitamin C 31mg38%
Calcium 156mg16%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Lamb and date tagine

Definitely not your typical camping fare.
Prep Time8 hrs
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time10 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 764kcal
Author: Claire Thomson


  • Small saucepan
  • Large bowl
  • large heavy-bottom saucepan


  • 50 grams butter or 50ml of olive oil
  • 600 grams lamb shoulder is best, cut into 3cm dice
  • 1 tsp salt plus more if needed
  • 400 grams chopped tomatoes
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes or more to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds toasted and ground
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 small orange or lemon, 2 small strip of zest removed and reserved
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 16 dates pitted, or 12 dried apricots
  • Black pepper

To serve:

  • 50 grams whole almonds chopped
  • Couscous cooked as per the packet instructions


  • Melt half the butter in a small saucepan, then transfer it (or half the olive oil) to a large bowl and mix it together with the lamb, salt, tomatoes, onions, garlic and all of the spices. Cover and leave refrigerated for at least a couple of hours – overnight is ideal.
  • To cook, put the marinated meat in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the remaining butter or oil and cook the meat over a moderate–low heat, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  • Meanwhile, halve the orange or lemon, squeezing and reserving the juice from one half and reserving the remaining half to cut into wedges later, to serve.
  • After 20 minutes, add 400ml of water to the saucepan, along with the honey, orange or lemon zest and the juice, and the dates or apricots. Stir to combine and reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer very gently for about one to one and a half hours, or until the meat is melting and tender. Check the tagine from time to time to ensure it doesn’t catch, adding a splash more water to the pan if you think it needs it.
  • Check the seasoning, adjusting with salt and pepper to taste – you want a heady mix of savoury, sweet and spice, with the lamb and its sauce in perfect balance. Refrigerate, or freeze, to take camping.
  • To serve, heat the tagine over a moderate heat until piping hot and serve topped with the almonds with couscous and orange or lemon wedges on the side.


Calories: 764kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 912mg | Potassium: 1003mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 597IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 6mg

Camper Van Cooking by Claire Thomson & Matt Williamson is published by Quadrille. Photography by Sam Folan. 

Camper Van Cooking: From Quick Fixes to Family Feasts, 70 Recipes, All on the Move
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Thomson, Claire (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update on 2021-09-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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