When we purchased our first campervan, beloved Quincy B obtained on a corner of King’s Cross in Sydney, the first item I inspected was the kitchen. For my husband, it was the height of the pop top. We had our priorities that matched our statures and both wanted a vehicle, scratch that, a home, that could meet our mutual needs (a canvas tent was not really practical). I needed to cook for both of us throughout our journey so we did not go poor traversing the Australian coast as the currency exchange continued to be our enemy; and, he needed to stand. Quincy B afforded us both. I just needed to learn how to cook period, let alone in a just shy of the size of a toddler’s play kitchen set. This was a dozen years ago and I wish I had the benefit of Ashleigh Butler’s book, The Small Kitchen Cook..
It starts with the dreamy capture of Ash sitting in a relic perfection VW bus, red, just woke up with a mug of fresh coffee, scratch that, probably something even cooler than matcha in hand. (It is probably her Chai with van made spice mix found on page 133.) Yeah. Ash is cool. And the kind of cool that doesn’t really care how cool she is. She just naturally loves natural things and has a presence that my mountains of meditation time are clamoring to achieve.
And Ash knows how to cook…in a just shy of a toddler’s play kitchen set kitchen. But a small kitchen that looks super cool as well. For example, she has lots of jars of staples and oh so many beans that make masking tape and a Sharpie labeling system look chic.
Her recipes display a gorgeous spectrum from vegetarian to flexitarian dishes and is organized by season to capture the ripeness of the surroundings of your campervan. It also provides a range of influences from Asian to Italian, from healthy to comfort. Sometimes all the aforementioned together.
Her recipes inspire yet are approachable and you know they are already small kitchen approved. Some of our favorites:
Gremolata (pg. 59)
Risoni (Orzo for some) and Caper Salad (pg. 79)
Fish Tacos (pg. 89)
Chicken Noodle Soup (with a cool Asian twist) (pg. 117)
One-Pot Mushroom Pasta (pg. 125)
Fried Potatoes with Herbed Mayonnaise (pg. 143)
Spiced Lentils (pg. 147)
Lamb Shanks (pg. 151)
Pan-Fried Pie (because…yes) (pg. 185)
And guess what! You can make these in a real life size kitchen as well! But…
WARNING: The photography WILL make you want to leave your home, get behind the wheel, and go…immediately.
So…The Small Kitchen Cook is crafted with the on-the-go and limited in space home chef and offers not only recipes, but ways to accomplish this while still looking as cool as she does on a VW campervan…while looking out on something cool. Cool.
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The creative and enthusiasm engine behind LiT. Currently serving as VP of Marketing & Innovation at WD-40 Company while raising kiddos, writting books, and creating a cozy home.