Cooking at home with DanHawkins

April 08, 2020
Cooking at home with Dan Hawkins

Now is a good time to take stock of the camper pantry, revisit those favourite meals and perhaps try a few new recipes at home that you can take with you next time you’re on the road.

Those kitchen staples you have at home can just as easily become part of your pantry for the road!

Jayco Ambassador and Executive Chef of The Prince Hotel, Dan Hawkins, shows us a few pasta and rice recipes that can turn every day staples in to gourmet delights.


Pasta aglio e olio - “Garlic and oil pasta”

Serves 4

One of the attractions to this dish is in its true form - A simple Italian pasta dish with only a handful of ingredients. The other attraction is it can form the base to many other pasta dishes. Simply add any desired ingredients and build it from there. Add zucchini and peppers, add prawns, add pork sausage, your options are endless. And an added bonus, even though this pasta is traditionally made with spaghettini, a very thin form of spaghetti, you can make it with whatever pasta you have in your pantry.


• 400 g Dried spaghettini
• 85 ml Extra virgin olive oil (Garlic infused EVOO optional - see notes)
• 25 g Crushed garlic cloves
• 5 g Dried chili flakes
• 1 large pinch of curly parsley, finely chopped
• Grana padano or parmesan cheese to finish


Step one: Bring a large pot of boiling salted water to a boil. Cook your pasta to your desired tenderness, around 8-9 minutes for spaghettini or simply follow the packet instructions. Once cooked strain off the pasta and reserve around 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid.

Step one: In a fry pan, heat ¾ of the olive oil over medium heat, add the chopped garlic and chili flakes and statue until fragrant, around 1 minute

Step one: Add ½ a cup of the pasta water to the garlic and chili oil and simmer to emulsify. Add the pasta, the remaining olive oil and the chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Finishing with finely grated grana padano or parmesan cheese. Buon appetito!


• If you are using this simple pasta as a base to build on, add your desired ingredients at step 2 and cook through before adding the pasta. Prawns and tarragon, or pork sausage and dill are some great combinations to try.
• A great idea to do in advance is to make garlic and/or chilli infused olive oils to keep in the fridge. Simply finely slice garlic cloves and fresh chili, place them in a jar and cover with extra virgin olive oil. These will keep in your fridge for up to 3 months and make great staples to have in your camper cooler.


Rice is used all over the world and is grown on every continent except Antarctica. No two rice are the same. Infact, there are over 40,000 different varieties of rice in the world! That is a lot of rice, and that is a lot of different rice dishes. Here are some of the more unique rice dishes of the world.


Jambalaya - Creole, Louisiana

Serves 4

Jambalaya is the ultimate one-pot wonder. Rice, vegetables, prawns or shrimp, spicy sausage like chorizo and chicken are all cooked together with a unique blend of creole spices to create this wholesome and hearty Southern Louisiana dish.


• 250 g Long grain rice
• 1 Med size brown onion, diced
• 2 Cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 Green capsicum, diced
• 1 Red capsicum, diced
• 200 g Chicken thigh, diced
• 150 g Chorizo or Andouille sausage
• 150 g peeled prawns or shrimp
• 30 g Tomato paste
• 400 g Crushed tomatoes (1 tin)
• 500 ml Chicken stock
• 30 g Creole spice mix - recipe below
• Salt and pepper to season
• Spring onion to finish
• Cooking oil


Step one: In a heavy saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and capsicums and saute for two minutes. Add the diced chicken and the sausage and lightly brown, approximately four minutes.

Step two: Add the tomato paste, and rice and stir through. Add the crushed tomatoes, stock and creole spice. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook for fifteen minutes.

Step three: Stir through the prawns and cover. Cook for a further five minutes.

Step four: Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Finish with chopped spring onions.


Creole spice mix

Make a batch and pack it down in an airtight container. Keep it in the pantry at home or in the camper for a whole range of uses other than Jambalaya. Season seafood and steaks before going on the grill, spice up your hummus add it to soups and stews. Wherever you want to jazz up a dish, this spice mix will do it.


• 100 g Sweet paprika
• 50 g Garlic powder
• 50 g Cumin powder
• 25 g Chili powder
• 10 g Cayenne pepper
• 10 g Black pepper powder
• 25 g Dried oregano
• 50 g Fine Salt


Step one: In a dry bowl add all the ingredients and mix well to combine.

Step two:Pack down in an airtight container. The spice will keep for 3 months.


Kabuli palaw - Afghan, Middle Eastern

Serves 4

Kabuli palaw is a type of rice pilaf from Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East. It is often served at the centre of the table and other dishes served are simply accompaniments to this full flavoured rice dish.

The preparation for this dish starts the day before where a key step of soaking the rice overnight is done.


• 500 g Basmati rice, soaked in cold water overnight
• 100 ml Vegetable oil
• 100 ml Chicken stock
• 1 Med size brown onion, diced
• 1 Large carrot, julienne
• 75 g Sultanas
• ½ tsp Ground cumin
• 1 tsp Garam masala
• 5 cardamom pods
• 50 g slivered almonds


Step one: Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the soaked and drained basmati rice and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice has doubled in size and is tender. Strain off the rice and set aside.

Step two: In a heavy based pan heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the carrot and almonds and saute for 2-3 minutes until the carrot is soft. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the sultanas to the same pan and saute them until soft, remove them and add them to the carrots and almonds.

Step three: Using the same pan add the onion and cardamom pods and saute until soft and fragrant. Add the cumin and garam masala and deglaze the pan with the chicken stock.

Step four: Add the rice and mix well. Cover with a lid and drop the heat to low. Cook until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the pan and scatter the carrot mixture over the rice. When finished the rice should be soft, fluffy and tender.

Serve with lamb skewers and mint yoghurt or eat as it is.


Arroz con leche - Spanish, Latin American

Serves 4

Arroz is the spanish word for rice, and leche means milk. As the name rice and milk suggests, this is the spanish version of sweet rice pudding. Flavoured with cinnamon and lemon zest, this is comfort food.


• 250 g Long grain rice
• 3 lt Water
• 3000 ml Milk
• 125 ml Condensed milk
• 125 ml Evaporated milk
• 2 Cinnamon sticks
• 2 lemons
• Cinnamon powder for serving


Step one: Remove the skin from one lemon, leaving behind all the white pith. Bring the 3 lt of water to a boil. Add the cinnamon sticks and the lemon skin, add the rice and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender approximately eighteen minutes. Once cooked strain off the water and set aside, leaving the cinnamon and lemon skin in the rice at this stage.

Step two: Warm the three milks and add the rice to the liquid. Simmer on low until the rice absorbs most of the liquid and becomes thick and creamy approximately ten minutes.

Step three: To serve, finish with fresh lemon zest and a very light dusting of cinnamon powder.

You can eat this dish warm as a dessert or cold as a late afternoon treat. Even heat it up for breakfast and serve it with fresh banana and toasted nuts as a rice porridge.