How did it take me this long to discover the Omnia stove top oven? I was a few years older than the other freshmen when I started university, so had already matured past beans on toast, and rice mixed with Heinz Ketchup (a campus in England for those left wondering). But at the time I wouldn’t have guessed that it was possible to cook a complete, hearty meal in something as simple as a stove top oven.
In the winter months, there is a really special time up in the mountains. Depending on how high up you are will determine the exact moment, but I estimate that it is about half an hour before the sun becomes visible. That alpine glow makes for some amazing pictures when the snow all around you glows a magnificent mix of purples and pinks. The cost of this fleeting moment of natural awe? A 5 am alarm and the necessary withdrawal from my down sleeping bag. Sometimes I can brew a quick coffee in the freezing cold, but to be honest, most of the time I start skinning up the mountain on my touring skis with just a flask of water and a pouch containing some mixed nuts.
Not so long ago I was flicking through Instagram and noticed this pot with a red lid on several profiles. Taking a closer look at what was in the pots, I became even more curious. This was no simple pasta and a jar of sauce being heated up, there were real looking meals inside, being cooked on the stove top. A few more clicks and I was seeing mouth-watering recipes for juicy lasagna, calzone pizza and freshly baked sponge cakes. While the overall design is not new in its entirety, the Omnia stove top oven has hit the camping market with an effective marketing strategy that plays to our stomachs, and at an unbeatable price point. The brand is certainly transforming van galleys everywhere.
So the sunrise was truly worthwhile this morning. I had to speed up a bit to reach the first summit that I wanted to photograph from, and ate all of my food while waiting for the first sun rays to hit my cold face. I had a little more energy, so I continued to the second summit for some extra vertical meters. Ski touring in the winter replaces my long trail runs that I do in the warmer months. I love the effort in skinning up a ski resort, way before the lifts turn on for the day and the slopes fill up. I close in on summit number two and get a picture message from my girlfriend some 1500m of altitude below me. Fresh croissants are baking in the Omnia.
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Needless to say, the ski down was made that bit better knowing that as soon as I pull back that sliding door I will be greeted with the sweet smell of warm fresh pastry. We bake a few rolls too and enjoy them with some wonderful French cheeses and a bit of Jamón Serrano that we bought from our home in Barcelona.
Continental breakfast out of the way, it is time for the deuxième tour. We’re strapping on our skis for another wonderful bluebird day in the Pyrenees, our absolute favourite winter weekend getaway destination in our VW California. While burning a few calories on the route, we get talking about all the new dishes we could whip up in the van now we have an Omnia on board. At home, I enjoy cooking with the rich variety of Mediterranean ingredients, which are readily available. In the van, we do simplify our meal plan a bit, careful not to eat just fried or boiled dishes, but have indeed fallen into a bit of a routine with our go-to recipes. So after playing it safe in the morning, we are ready to step up our game this afternoon with a leek and potato gratin, and then if all goes well, we have spotted a nice looking cake recipe in the Omnia cookbook for dessert.
A quick bit of chopping, the mixing of the sauce, and a dash of seasoning. The Omnia sits easily on top of our two-burner stove in the California as we sit back and enjoy the warmth of the oven heating and the smell of our dinner cooking. My legs are feeling good from the workouts today, and I feel absolutely satisfied upon tasting the premier dish out of our new stove top oven. We fall asleep early, knowing that we have time tomorrow to enjoy the snow some more and also bake in the afternoon.
The next morning we wake up with a good 10cm of snow covering the van. We enjoy a few turns on the piste before riding down to our van, kicking the skis off at the sliding door. I flick to page 52 of the Omnia cookbook and start mixing the ingredients for an Annica’s super sponge cake. Not long after, the van is filled with the sweet smell of the cake baking away. Now, the very fact that we can camp in our van at 1800m altitude, and ski right out of the parking lot is cool. But baking a delicious fresh cake to enjoy on the very same day – game changed.
The ability here to step up to van level glamping in the cooking department has just made my vanlife that bit more perfect. But I am still curious, so before your Omnia arrives, tag @advanturemagazine on Instagram and show us your equivalent of those student van meals! AM
Thanks to Omnia for sending us the oven for this feature – we love it! Hungry? Order yours at http://www.omniasweden.com/