13th May 2012
The Best Un-Barbecue Barbecue

Stormbound in Pittenweem. AGAIN!

We had always planned to overnight in Pittenweem, and we weren't going to let the fact that a hurricane was forecast, or the annual Un-Bass Rock Race course had once again been shortened to a big circle, get in our way!

We had a lovely barbecue organised and the weather was perfect for cooking up on the quay-side so after a delightful Saturday race we turned right back around, put up the spinnaker and sailed straight to Pittenweem where we we tied up, cracked open the Cava, unshipped the hunka meats and pulled out the bag of charcoal, the starter fluid and ... the lawnmower?
So where's the barbecue? Oops. Back in the garage :(

So we had to improvise an un-barbecue on the galley stove, and rather well too I thought. Not that it affected the vegetarian crewmate overmuch, since cheese is the closest thing we have to a vegetable on board. Fortunately one of the redeeming features of Pittenweem is a decent chip shop. Fish is a vegetable right?

Come the next morning, though, we discovered why all those other boats had decided to go home - the hurricane had arrived and the boat was bouncing around like a frog in a blender, even snapping the sternline at one point. So we tried to make our escape but completely failed to get the boat to turn through the howling wind into the harbour entrance and several attempts later had to give up and tie the boat back to the quay-side.
That meant skipper John and I staying on board to check and adjust the lines every hour (every goddamn hour) while the rest of the crew made their pathetic excuses and abandoned ship.

It took two more days for the wind to drop enough for us to get out, but apart from running out of milk (not helped by Pittenweem's single grocery shop closing at Sunday lunchtime) we had plenty of stores on board, as usual, and managed to keep our spirits up with the Cava and the GinAndTonics.
I turned out some very tasty Bacon-wrapped chicken parcels in a packet (a packet oh the humanity!) of peppercorn sauce, and we eventually got a pleasant sail back up the river arriving home by 2 a.m. Tuesday morning - just in time to get back to work!

The Best Un-Barbecue Barbecue
main meat nautical
For when you have all the material for a fine barbecue. But no barbecue.

Forget about all that barbecueing nonsense - just pan-fry all your lovely ingredients!
Fry them in a sensible order though so that the more succulent things get done last and don't sit around too long. So pork chops first. Steaks next. Burgers last.
Put a roasting tin in a low oven, covered with tin foil, and as each pan of fried goodies is ready add it to the tin. After each frying, pour off any massive amount of excess fat, then deglaze with some of the spare Cava you'll have lying around and add to the roasting tin. Periodically moisten the contents of the roasting tin with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice that you will have onboard for the GinAndTonics and a smearing of whatever condiments you have to hand. We had a reasonably tasty jar of Branston Tomato and Red Pepper Relish which worked a treat.
When everything is fried up, serve up the roasting tin with a pile of buttered rolls and bask in the un-barbecued glory.
Well, I wrote up a recipe for bacon sandwiches, so why not a recipe for frying meat?

Bacon-wrapped Chicken Parcels with Brie in a Peppercorn Sauce
main fowl nautical meat
Chicken breasts wrapped in bacon and filled with Brie and mustard.
Serves 2 Stormbound Crew

Preheat the oven to whatever resembles Gas Mark 4.
Make a slit in the side of each chicken breast and press in thin slices of Brie and a smear of English mustard.
Scatter the breasts with grated lemon or lime zest that you will have onboard for the GinAndTonics and then wrap the breasts with bacon slices, stretching the bacon as you go. You can tie up the parcel with whipping twine or secure it with a split pin if you need to.
Fry the parcels gently in a little olive oil until nicely coloured then put them in the oven to cook through. Cover them if they start to dry out or darken.
I did have a go at flattening the chicken breasts, but without a rolling pin, cling film, hefty wooden chopping board or any of the usual accoutrements of a fully-furnished kitchen I found it too difficult, so I just stuffed and rolled them as fat and round as they came.
Which actually made them turn out particularly succulent I thought - so maybe all that flattening is for the birds?

Make the peppercorn sauce (or mix up your packet) and set aside.

Start the rice.
Meanwhile fry the large chopped onion in the frying pan in butter until softened, then add the chopped green pepper.

To serve, lay a ring of the rice on each plate, put the onion and green pepper in the centre, set the chicken parcels on top and dress with the peppercorn sauce.
Bacon. Chicken. Cheese. What's not to like?
Hint: you might want to check a breast to make sure it isn't still bleeding in the middle before you serve them.
And don't forget to remove the split pin!

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