The best cooking gadget we ever bought for our van was a Remoska which we first acquired for the blue van many, many moons and happy holidays ago. This wonderful piece of kitchen equipment is a sort of small electric, very portable, Dutch Oven. Apparently this type of oven has been made in the Czech Republic since the 1950s, we bought ours from Lakeland about 20 years ago…… with a lifelong guarantee. As it uses only a small amount of electrickery, just over 400w it is perfect for vans and campers.
The heating element is in the lid which has a central glass insert so you can view the food you are cooking. There are two sizes of Remoska and we bought the larger one, rather marvellously called The Grand Remoska. We also had two sizes of base pan, a deep one and a shallow one. Having the two pans was a boon as when we were cooking for a large group (we have used it to prepare food for 16!) we could swap cooking between the two pans using a spare pan lid to cover the food not currently cooking under the Remoska lid. We also had a variety of small silicone pudding and muffin bowls which we could use inside the Remoska so that we could cook food separately in the same pan. This was particularly useful if we were cooking something sloppy like a meat curry alongside a differently spiced vegetable dish. A further advantage of having a spare base pan is that it provides somewhere to rest the lid when you remove it to stir, or add ingredients to the cooking pan which becomes a rather difficult feat if one hand is fully occupied by holding the hot lid.
Another advantage we found was that during very hot days in the South of France you could cook a dinner without overheating the inside of the van.
At times we were rather naughty and would put our dinner on in the Remoska and then go off to a nearby hostelry for a pre dinner drink and return to our cooked meal. I say naughty because as events later showed that is a very dangerous practice, but after years of problem free Remoska use we had become rather blase…
Then last September disaster struck. We were at Lochranza campsite on Arran and I was cooking our evening meal in the Remoska as usual. Suddenly, and without any warning the electric cable leading to the lid burst into a bright, blue flame just at the junction with the handle. Luckily, I was able to quickly smother the flame with a damp tea towel and unplug the Remoska from the electric socket. No harm done to us or the van but our beloved Remoska was decidedly dead and done for.
We knew that originally Lakeland had offered a lifetime guarantee with their product but after 20 years of use it seemed rather cheeky to ask for a replacement. This little oven had certainly seen many years of use and abuse. However, a replacement was expensive at £169 not something we could easily afford.
So we agreed to struggle on and manage for at least a few months without a Remoska. But it was hard, we were so used to its adaptability and ease of use. I remember camping at York in December feeling particularly bereft at its loss and hinting to Gary that perhaps we should look into the Lakeland shop as well as the Christmas Market…but to no avail. Then at Christmas Gary’s lovely sister and brother in law , Carol and Barry, insisted upon giving us some money to spend upon the van. Of course, this was instantly earmarked to go towards our purchase of a new Remoska.
Finally, last week a parcel from Lakeland arrived with the latest sparkly, model of the Grand. It is slightly different, but essentially the same.
The stand is different, less bulky so easier for packing away……but how does it compare for cooking?
Wonderful, no difference at all. Here is our first meal cooked in our new Remoska, a tasty vegetarian, bean stew.
Long live the Remoska, king of the camping kitchen!