January 2017
Boat Grub
Boat Grub

A random collection of food I cooked up on the boat, from savoury bread puddings to treacle puddings.
And some recipes that aren't puddings.
When I moved aboard I emptied the contents of my kitchen into the boat and now I should be doing all I can to use it all up. Trouble is, whenever I buy fresh food I end up using that first. And bacon sandwiches are sooooo delicious. I'm going to have to resist and force myself to improvise with the stores I have aboard, though I usually do manage to squeeze some dried beans or at least flour into every meal.
As you can see below, I don't always succeed but it does make for a fragrant vessel :)

Savoy Cabbage and Chopped Pork
main meat
A bit like the Irish corned beef and cabbage or kind of a cross between stovies and bubble and squeak.
I used up one of Isabel's lovely jars of strange German meat - generously donated for my yacht trip in a care package.
This jar was labelled Bauernfrühstück - Schweinefleischsüze fein zerlkeinert. (Farmer's Breakfast - minced pork brawn).
And very good it was too!

Serves 2-3

Heat the butter or oil and fry the caraway seeds until they spit and release their aroma.
Add the onion over medium heat until glassy, then add the garlic and fry until it takes a little colour.
Deglaze the pan with a glass or two of sherry and bubble to reduce.
Add the meat and the cabbage (in batches if necessary). When the cabbage collapses, season, cover, and cook gently for about 15 minutes until the cabbage is tender.
Remove the lid and cook off any excess moisture.
Serve with coriander potatoes, or parsley couscous, if you like.
Surprisingly tasty.

Treacle Sponge
sweet veg
Yes I know, it's not treacle, it's golden syrup. But it's still treacle really.

You could also steam this pudding, as the Hairy Bikers do, but it's quite a lot of faff. You have to seal the pudding in with a lid of folded baking parchment and aluminium foil (so it doesn't end up sopping wet), and steam it for about 2 hours.

A third quantity, made with one egg, is more than sufficient for one person.

Serves 6

Generously butter the inside of a 1.2litre/2 pint pudding basin.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Spoon 50g/2oz of the golden syrup into the base of the pudding basin and set aside.

Beat the remaining 50g/2oz golden syrup, butter, sugar, dates and lemon zest with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Whisk in half of the eggs followed by half of the flour. Whisk in the remaining beaten eggs and flour. The mixture should be just a dropping consistency. (Add a splash of milk if the mixture is very thick.)

Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin and smooth the surface.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until well risen and brown.
Very good - especially if you don't overheat the bottom of the dish and burn the treacle :)

Chicken, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Pie
fowl main
Well, I had plenty of flour, some reduced-price blue cheese, rapidly ageing mushrooms, and a chicken (though no bacon). So...

Serves 2

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and put in a baking sheet.
Make your pastry. Line a pie dish, weight with baking beans, and blind bake for 40 minutes at Gas Mark 4.
Unless you're only putting a lid on your pie.
Cook the chicken lightly - you might roast or poach it. Cut into chunks.
Halve or quarter the mushrooms unless very small.
Chop up the bacon and fry, if using.
Make a blue cheese sauce from a couple of tablespoons mayonnaise, a couple of tablespoons sour cream, 2 cloves pressed garlic, most of the juice of a lemon less a tablespoon for a spinach side dish if using, 100g blue cheese.
Warm the blue cheese sauce and all the other ingredients gently in a saucepan.
Pour the filling into the pie dish.
Roll out a puff pastry lid and cover the pie.
Put on the baking sheet irrespective of any thermal function, the sheet will catch any blue cheese sauce leakage and bake at 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 for 15-20 minutes until golden.
Really good.
A bit too runny. Probably needs something to bind the sauce - egg yolk perhaps? I thought the egg in the mayonnaise might be enough but clearly not. Alternatively, and probably better since it would be less likely to split, make a little roux in the saucepan before adding the blue cheese sauce.

Serve with Micheal Smith's wilted spinach with lemon, nutmeg and garlic.

Huevos Rancheros Sauce
breakfast veg vegan sauce
This recipe for huevos rancheros, or at least, the sauce, is lifted directly from Serious Eats (though I'm not sure I'd describe it as quick and easy for a breakfast chilli sauce). It uses canned chipotle chillies in a tangy, slightly sweet adobe sauce, whatever they are - I've never seen them in the UK so I substituted some dried chipotles and some pickled red jalapenos. The recipe also adds soy sauce for flavour - which is an inspired idea - it deepens the flavour tremendously.

Serves 6

Trim tops of chilies and discard seeds (see here for more detailed instructions). Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high power until pliable and fragrant, about 15 seconds. Cut chilies into thin strips using kitchen shears or a sharp knife.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add oregano and chili strips and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add tomatoes and chipotle chilies with their sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.
I threw in a couple of dates too - seemed like a good idea.
Process the mixture with a hand blender or in a standing blender until a loose purée is formed. Stir in cilantro, soy sauce, and lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to reheat as required.
I served this sauce with fried eggs (over easy of course), on slices of masa harina cornbread, instead of fried tortillas as is more usual.
It's very good - you could try breaking the eggs into the sauce and cook them there, covered, instead of frying them, but I usually find the yolk overcooks before the whites are set that way.

If you're not using dried chillies, and want to simplify the cooking you could try blending up the tomatoes, onions, garlic and fresh or pickled chillies, before frying up the sauce in one go in a little oil.

Greek bean stew with Polish sausage
main meat stew
Like fasolia but not.
The only way to get through my boat supplies is to be determined to use some of them in every meal. Otherwise I end up buying fresh stuff every day and never using up any of the stores.
Today it's beans.
The closest grocery-type shop to Scarborough marina is a Polish shop, so I bought sausages there to cook up with my boat beans.
Eh voilà - fasoliaren't

Serves 4

Simmer the beans (in stock if you have it) for 45-60 minutes until tender but not collapsing. Season with salt and pepper.
In a frying pan fry the sausage (you might need a little oil if they aren't too greasy), then add the crushed garlic and tomato purée. Fry until the raw flavours evaporate and add to the pot with the chopped celery.
Cook for another 20 minutes until the celery is tender.
Perfectly good, if lacking the unique character of the original.
It's good with half a chorizo instead of the sausage (sliced thinly), and with the addition of quartered brussels sprouts simmered at the end. Though don't add cauliflower - it will break up and make the stew look horribly messy.
An effective way of redeeming a Fasolia that you cooked for your brother, that it turns out he doesn't like and wants to know where the MEAT is at.
A definite Fasoliaren't!

Pâté in a Pastry Roll
Pâté en Croûte
main meat
Asda had some Christmas Garlic Brussels Pâté on offer for the surprisingly reasonable price of 5p.
So I bought it, but then had to think of something to do with it.
So I rolled it up in puff pastry and baked it.

I tried the roll with just the pâté, then tried it with chopped fried mushrooms mixed in. Which tasted better, though for some reason the roll didn't cook as well.
I did wonder about frying some mince to mix with the pâté, and I'm sure you could equally make the dish with suet pastry. Maybe next time
It turns out, as per usual, that I hadn't in fact invented this dish but the French had got there earlier, and even given it a fancy name; Pâté en Croûte. Though they do seem to go to quite a lot more trouble than just stuffing a pack of cheap Asda-bought pâté into some pastry!

If, like me, you're using dried mushrooms - soak the mushrooms in water for an hour or two, then chop finely and fry in a little butter until they're cooked, but not completely shrivelled.
Why not use the mushroom water to make the pastry?
Make the puff (or suet) pastry and roll out.
Mix the mushrooms with the pâté and a little crushed raw garlic. Smear in a layer over the pastry, leaving the edges clear. Roll up the pastry, press the edges together to seal and place, seam-side down on a baking sheet. Bake at Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes until the pastry begins to turn golden, then turn the heat down to Gas Mark 4 for another 20-30 minutes until the roll is cooked through.
Serve with something that has a sour, mustard or creamy sauce to it. Cauliflower cheese works fine.
Making the roll with just the pâté is a bit greasy, it's nicer with the mushrooms blended through.

Tomato Polenta
staple veg
I had a couple of cartons of tomato juice left over from Christmas (not drinking Bloody hard enough obviously) and no vodka (maybe I was drinking hard enough) so I needed to invent something useful to do with them. What better than cooking polenta in the juice? Well, I thought I'd invented it, but as usual sufficiently ardent Googling afterwards proved me wrong. Sooo hard to come up with original cookery these days. Still, I'm not sure of their serving tomato juiced polenta with a tomato sauce. It seems like flavour overkill to me, even if they do water down their tomato juice polenta stock.

Incidentally tomato juice makes a good stock for cooking beans too.

Bring the tomato juice to a simmer then slowly add enough polenta probably about a fifth the volume of juice to thicken while stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Reduce the heat to the lowest you can manage, cover, and simmer for half an hour to an hour until the polenta absorbs the liquid and loses its grittiness to become smooth. You could bake the polenta to cook it if you prefer. You may need to add a little water if the polenta sticks. Serve with a soft blue cheese crumbled on top.
Good flavour.
It's also nice served with horseradish cream
If you want the polenta to set when cold it will need to be about as thick as semolina - a bit less thick than mashed potato. Then you can slice it up and fry it for breakfast with a fried egg. Yum!

Bean and Chorizo Stew
main meat stew
Yet another bean stew. This one has chorizo and no celery. It's not even fasoliaren't

Serves 4

Soak the beans overnight.
Put the beans in a large pot and cover with tomato juice you may need to add water if the stew dries or starts to stick. Season, cover and start simmering. Leave them for 15 minutes or so.
Peel a carrot, slice in half (or quarters) lengthways, then into chunks add to the pot.
Peel the chorizo, slice in half lengthways and then into chunks. Peel and halve or quarter the garlic cloves. Heat a frying pan and fry the chorizo with the garlic briefly to colour then add to the pot.
Peel and roughly chop the onion (or use a few small ones). Cut the leeks into fat rounds and wash thoroughly to remove any grit. Fry the onion and leek in the frying pan with a little extra oil if necessary until they take on a little colour, then add to the pot.
Wash the cabbage leaves, cut out the stalks you can chop these and add them to the pot earlier so they cook through and roughly chop. Add to the pot with about 15 minutes to go. The beans should be cooked between one and two hours.
Taste, adjust seasoning and serve.
A pretty good stew.
The cabbage tastes fine in there when it's well cooked down, not so much if it still has some crunch. And probably not if it's completely disintegrating. I think the stew would work perfectly well without it though.

Black Pudding and Leek Strata (Savoury Bread Pudding)
main meat
Another of those savoury bread puddings, this one with black pudding and leek which turned out really well. Well, the black pudding was actually a jar of Oma's Roter - Brotzeitspezialität nach Art einer Bauernblutwurst A breakfast (literally Bread Time) speciality of black pudding (literally Farmer's blood sausage) donated by Isabel for my life aboard ship, and I forgot to add the parsley, but otherwise it was exactly as written ;)

Serves 4

Remove the heel (crusty end) from the loaf and cut fat slices from about ½ of the rest. Cut the slices into large cubes (1-1½") - you can leave these crusts on. Adjust the amount to fill your casserole dish.
Slice the leek (whitish part only) into fat rounds, wash thoroughly, then drain. Peel and slice the garlic.
Whisk the eggs with double cream and milk. About twice as much milk as cream - and enough to cover the bread in the casserole. Season with salt & pepper.
Grate the cheese. Chop the parsley if using. Cut the mushrooms into quarters or fat chunks.
Break up the black pudding and fry it if it's a jar of Oma's Roter you're using you just need to break it up - it's already cooked. Put in a casserole dish.
Fry the leeks until they caramelize a little around the edges. Add to the casserole.
Fry the mushrooms and garlic until the mushrooms begin to lose liquid.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in the casserole dish, adding enough bread to fill the dish. Don't overfill - the contents will swell quite a bit during cooking.
Pour in egg mix to barely cover the bread. It's best to have a few bits sticking out - press any floating cubes into the mixture. Leave for the bread to absorb the egg for an hour or two, or a day in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/350°F/175°C, then bake the pudding on a baking sheet uncovered for 1-1½ hours until it rises enthusiastically, the top browns a little, and the custard is set throughout.
Very good. Quite rich though, so you'll need something sharp or acidic to go with it. Roast tomatoes or vegetables with a tomato sauce or sauce vierge. Or even gribiche though perhaps the dinner already has enough eggs. You wouldn't shit right for a month :)
Pretty hard to go wrong with this - I made it with leeks, mushrooms, courgettes and spam and it was equally good.

Spaetzle (or Spätzle)
German egg noodles
staple pasta
Basically German pasta, and a good way to use up some flour. Unlike the Italian version you can use ordinary flour, not durum flour or semolina, and the mixture is made a lot sloppier with milk or water (milk produces a richer Spaetzle). Though the exact proportions of flour, egg and milk don't seem terribly important (I've seen recipes which treble the number of eggs) the mixture should end up like a very thick pancake batter - loose enough to pour slowly, but firm enough not to run through the tines of a fork. You can flavour the noodles with herbs (parsley for e.g.), garlic, spices (nutmeg is typical in Germany), or even add puréed squash to the mix.

There are a number of ways of creating the noodles from the batter, and a number of specialised tools available too. You can press the mixture through a colander or the back of a fat cheese grater using a spatula (slow, awkward and messy), or you could try using a potato ricer, though the holes are a little small and too closely spaced so the noodle strands tend to clump together.

Serves 4-6

Add the flour, salt and flavourings to a bowl. Stir to combine. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk them. Whisk in the main quantity of milk. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid. Use a wooden spoon, or a mixer with a dough hook attachment and knead the dough for 16-20 minutes, or until bubbles appear. Add as much additional milk as required to achieve the consistency of muffin batter. After 15 minutes or less of beating, use a wooden spoon to scoop and pull the dough. If bubbles/holes appear, the dough is done.
The purpose of this is to develop the gluten in the flour, though I've seen other recipes which just leave the dough to sit for 15 minutes, so I'm not quite sure how critical the beating is. Anyway - you'll end up with a suggestion of chewing gum about the final consistency.
Bring at least 2 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Using the Spätzle maker of your choice, cut the noodles into the simmering water. They will sink to to bottom. When they float to the surface after a minute or two, they're done (though they may need a nudge to free them from the bottom of the pan). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the noodles to a colander, and then dump the noodles in a large bowl of ice water. Drain thoroughly again.
They can be stored in the fridge for at least a couple of days before using.

To serve, heat some butter in a large frying pan and toss in the spätzle to heat through. Season again if you like.
Good, a nice consistency. Works well with tuna fish and horseradish sauce.

Baked Beans Curry
veg side curry
Every yacht has a collection of tinned baked beans, and mine is no exception.
Unfortunately I don't really like plain old baked beans. Hence the search for other palatable dishes in which to use them up, together with some ageing sauce sachets.

Serves 2

Mix the ground spices with enough water to make a thick paste. Heat a generous amount of oil or ghee in a small pan and cook the paste over a gentle heat until the raw aroma goes and the oil separates.
Add finely chopped red onion and fry a little until the onion begins to crinkle but don't burn the spices.
Stir through crushed dried fenugreek leaves, add quartered tomatoes and pressed garlic and cook until the tomatoes begin to collapse.
Throw in the cabbage and cook briefly until it begins to collapse.
Add a tub of barbecue sauce (one of those you get free from a burger joint) and a tub of hot sauce (or their equivalent from bottles!).
Add the baked beans, and stir until heated through.
Quite palatable. As baked beans go.

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