Monday, 10 August 2015

Proving that a self catering holiday can be relaxing for all!

We've been on holiday to The Isle of Lewis in The Outer Hebrides, and what a long journey home we had - setting off at 9a.m to arrive home at 10:50 pm!

Waiting for the ferry!

As usual we self catered and I had it planned like a military operation - lol!

It was my holiday too and the last thing I wanted was to feel I was stuck in the kitchen making endless meals. To prevent this I've found that a little forward planning can make a self catering holiday fun and relaxing for everyone including the usual chief cook and bottle washer.

First off I make a list of all the meals we'll need while we are away including breakfasts, packed lunches and evening meals. I always plan for one evening to be a take-away and another to be a treat meal out. 

Armed with my list of meals I then menu plan, keeping things simple. Now if you read this blog regularly you will know that my usual way of cooking is from scratch, but on holiday I make an exception. For example a curry planned for one evening, but using good quality jars of curry sauce where the only prep is slicing up and frying off some chicken breasts before adding the sauce and using those pre prepared packs of microwave rice and long life naan breads.  

I do this well ahead of time and then write a list of all the non perishables I will need. These are then bought over several weeks or even months and packed away ready to take with us. I take with me a separate list of perishables to buy in a single shop once I get to our holiday destination. 

This may seem like a lot of work but it is all done ahead of the holiday, I also do a bit at a time so it doesn't feel at all onerous, in fact, I really rather enjoy this pre planning stage. Once on holiday, apart from an initial quick shop, I don't need to worry or think about meals. The preparation for the meals is minimal never taking more than 15 easy minutes of my time.

Do you go self catering? If you do, how do you plan?

I've reproduced this year's lists below to give you some idea of how I plan.

Pre buy
Tea Bags
Tomato Ketchup
Butter (Stored in fridge till we go then in cool bag)
Spray Oil
LL Milk
Jam (Honey and marmalade!)
Packed Lunches
Canned Tuna
Canned Meats 
Part baked bread (LL Vac Packed)
Main Meals
Curry & Rice with Naan Breads
Jar Curry Sauce
Packet Rice
LL Naan Bread
Pesto Pasta with Chorizio
Jar Pesto
Wholewheat pasta
Tortillas and taco's
Tortilla kit (mix, wraps, salsa)
Packet Egg Fried Rice
Blue dragon sauce sachets
Pizza bases
Tomato pasta sauce for topping
Sunday Dinner
Processed peas

Buy When There
Additional Butter
Black Pudding
Square Sausage
Orange Juice
Packed Lunches
Main Meals
Bagged salad
Garlic bread
Mince (for tacos)
Chicken (for fajitas, curry & Chinese)
Sour cream
Grated cheddar
Grated Mozarella
Chinese stir fry veg
Prawn Crackers
Prepared potatoes for Sunday
Prepared Veg for Sunday
Cooked Chicken (Sunday Dinner and Packed Lunches)
Pre cooked Yorkshires

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