Over the course of five days at Glastonbury festival, you could end up spending £100 or more on food and drink alone. Who would want to cough up £8 for some pasta or a mediocre falafel? No thanks. While it’s all well and good to indulge in the street food on offer, what if you can’t afford to eat out for every meal?
Cooking at a festival on a budget sounds like work, but it’s entirely worthwhile – and dare I say, more fun. A lull during the line-up is a great opportunity to knock up a tasty meal that won’t threaten your bank balance.
Spend with friends
Seven festival pitfalls and how to avoid them
Spread the cost of cooking between a group of friends and it won’t be too dear. You can buy a small portable camping stove online for under £10. Bring a spare canister of gas, a frying pan, a small chopping board, some plastic cutlery (metal knives are often banned), a wooden spoon and some sturdy picnic plates and cups. Some washing up liquid and a tea towel are useful, too.
Forget the fridge
Bring ingredients that don’t need refrigerating: cured meats like chorizo (the drier kind, not fresh) and tinned tomatoes (preferably with a ring pull) are an absolute saviour. Coconut milk is fab for a quick curry made with packets of tofu bought from the shelf and a good curry paste. Pack these with veg such as broccoli or kale that will survive the trip and don’t require long cooking. (Kale may be the hipster’s best friend nowadays but it can still be bought cheap.)
Good eggs are terrific value for money, a solid protein source, and they go with anything. Pre-boiled ones are good for quick snacks and salads, and they are particularly excellent when cooked in a frying pan with a sauce for brunch (see my recipe below). Pack carefully, and bring lots.
Banana smoothie bowl with fruit toppings.
Bananas are essential for festival hangovers as they’ll help replenish the potassium that is depleted after drinking lots of alcohol. Bananas will also keep your blood sugar up and will help you manage hunger pangs. Add honey and flaxseed and a little coconut milk for an impromptu festival smoothie bowl. I like to add nuts and seeds. Try Instagram if you’re looking for inspiration, and go as pretty or as glamorous as you like.
Don’t forget your cooking oil and salt – life tastes so much better with them. Also bring pepper, if you like it, and spices will lift your breakfast eggs quickly. Spices are a brilliant and inexpensive way of making food taste better. Spanish paprika and cumin are spices that I could not be without.
Grab some granola
Bring a big tub of granola and fruit and mix them with coconut milk for an easy meal. They taste great, they don’t need refrigerating and they fill you up, too.
Scouting for food
Some festivals have stricter policies on food than others, so buying food on-site is unavoidable at some events. If you do fancy splashing out at the stalls, see who is doing the best food by checking in on Instagram. You can do this by clicking through the festival hashtag or the festival location. This is a good way to see what’s on offer before committing to spending your money – especially if it’s a really big festival.
My favourite festival recipe: brunch eggs with chorizo
A festival brunch will help you to ease into the day gently, rather than trekking into the main grounds hungry, having to join a long queue, and parting with lots of cash. Eggs are economical, and a tin of tomatoes is good value and packed with vitamin c. Adding a little chorizo gives your brunch that bass oomph that your festival morning needs.
Brunch eggs with chorizo.
2 x 400g tins tomatoes
300g chorizo, chopped into chunks
2 tbsp Spanish paprika
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp sugar
Squeeze of lemon
Some oil for cooking
Salt for seasoning
1 Fire up your camping stove and put a frying pan on it.
2 Add a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat and add the chorizo. Stir for a couple of minutes, then add the tins of tomatoes, the paprika, the sugar and a squeeze of lemon. The sugar and lemon balance the tinniness of the tomatoes out and enhance the flavour. Leave to cook for 15 minutes.
3 Using your wooden spoon, one at a time create a hole for each egg, and crack each one in. Baste the egg whites with the sauce as they cook using a spoon.
4 When the egg is cooked to your liking, serve with a sprinkling of parsley and spring onion and some crusty bread to dip in the yolk and mop all of that lovely sauce up. Enjoy!