Pitch Up & Eat Local!

Ali gets cooking!

To research her new book, Pitch Up, Eat Local, food and travel writer Ali Ray spent five years travelling across the UK in her beloved campervan ‘Custard’.

During her travels, Ali, who is a camping devotee, met the UK’s most dedicated and passionate local producers, learning first-hand how to cook regional dishes and where to source the best local ingredients.

Letting local food tell the story of the UK’s most beautiful areas, Ali’s colourful introduction to each area affirms that eating locally is not only the most memorable part of a camping holiday, it is central to fully understanding and exploring a place. From fish-smoking sheds on the northeast coast of Scotland, to the huge “cheese stones” strewn in Lancashire fields, local food visually impacts an area’s landscape and defines its history.

Each area’s tastiest offering

Ali also provides a delicious, family-friendly recipe suited to each area’s tastiest offering. From a Herdwick Lamb Curry from the Lake District to Yorkshire Rhubarb Crumble, the book contains over 60 inspiring recipes that Ali perfected on her travels, all easy to cook, whether on a gas hob, barbecue or fire.

A significant section of the book is devoted to Scottish food, recipes and camping sites, with one chapter focusing on the Moray fishing village of Cullen.

A nutritious dish like Cullen Skink would have been a staple of their diet

“Cullen has a special place in my family’s heart,” writes Ali. “It is here that generations of my husband’s ancestors, the McBeaths, lived and worked as fishermen in the 18th and 19th centuries. Life as a fisherman at this time was tough and money was scarce so a basic yet nutritious dish like Cullen Skink would have been a staple of their diet.

“The recipe required few ingredients, all of which were locally available: fish was in abundant supply, potatoes grew in the local fields and the cows in the fertile pastures that surround the town provided the milk.

“As I wandered around the little harbour, I thought about my husband’s greaet-grandmother Mary standing at this sea wall day after day, gutting fish, mending nets and gossiping with all the other wives, waiting for the men to return with the next catch.

“A bracing blast of North Sea wind in my face was enought to get me scuttling off to find a steaming bowl of cullen skink to warm my hands around.”

Pitch Up, Eat Local is collaboration between AA Media and The Camping and Caravanning Club and is inspired by Ali’s popular monthly column in the Club’s magazine. £16.99, published in paperback May 1, 2015.


For lots more great recipe ideas and features about Scottish food and drink, pick up a copy of this month’s Scots Magazine. In the shops now or order online by clicking here.

Cullen Skink

  • 2 skinless smoked haddock
  • 500g potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 500 ml milk
  • 1 dsp cornflour, mixed with a little milk
  • 50g butter
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cut the haddock fillets into 2.5-5cm pieces.
  2. In a large saucepan, boil the potatoes in just enough water to cover them. Don’t let them get too soft. Drain.
  3. Turn the heat down then add the milk to the potatoes, along with the fish, and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Don’t overheat, to prevent the fish falling to bits.
  4. Add the cornflour mixture to the pan and stir to thicken. Add butter and stir for a couple more minutes. Season well.
  5. Serve with crusty bread.

Pitch Up, Eat Local by Ali Ray is published in paperback May 1, 2015 by AA Media and The Camping and Caravanning Club. £16.99,