Lamb Shoulder with Fennel and Anchovy

I love lamb, I love slow cooking, I love leftovers, and I love reheated lamb at sea. This one is easy, essentially foolproof, and delicious. On this occasion I served it with Yotem Ottolenghi’s sweet potato chips and steamed greens.

I’ve done this in the yacht on a Saturday delivery for a Sunday race, and it is a winter favourite on a Sunday afternoon at home. The leftovers for lunch or reheated in foil containers are better than the first time around!


  • lamb shoulder – about 1.2kg
  • 5 tablespoons of fennel seeds
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 12 anchovies (or more/less to taste)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • peel from two lemons
  • a glug of olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to 90 degrees.

Crush the fennel seeds roughly with a mortar and pestle, then add the garlic, anchovy, rosemary and peel. Mash to a course paste. Press it into the lamb, all over. Put the shoulder in a heavy roasting tin with a lid or casserole dish, skin side up. Pour over a glug of olive oil and pour a cup of water down the side, so it doesn’t wash off the marinade.

With the lid on, roast for three hours. Usually the meat gives up liquid, but if it dries out, add some more water. Once the meat is beautifully tender (but still holding its shape), take the lid off and crank the heat to 200 degrees, for a further 30 minutes. This will dry out the fat and give it a lovely crispness.

It was at this stage I put in the chips. After 30 minutes I took the lamb out of the oven, put the lid back on, and let if rest for another half an hour while the chips finished cooking.

The photos below show it on the dinner table, and then in my biome lunch box for tomorrow’s lunch.

Lamb Shank Pie – Winter Heaven

This is comfort food; as good as it gets. This recipe is really too big for Lucas and me, but I usually serve it for a crowd in winter, for lunch or dinner. The leftovers are remarkably good in the microwave at work. I usually serve it with something simple, like grilled zucchini.

I am calling this leftover lamb shanks, but the reality is you will need to make a lot of it to use it for something else and then have enough leftovers for this. I make them specifically the day before.

The savoury tart dough is short and delicious – I use it for a multitude of recipes.

INGREDIENTS – Savoury Tart Dough:

  • 1.5 cups of plain flour
  • Salt
  • 150 grams of cold, unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons of ice water

INGREDIENTS – Pie Filling:

  • 700 grams (or thereabouts) of leftover lamb shank meat
  • A handful of mint and rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of gravox (I’m not precious)
  • Rosemary to garnish on top
  • Rock salt crystals
  • One egg or milk for a wash on the pastry


Make the pastry.

By hand (on the yacht):

In a large bowl, stir the flour and half a teaspoon of salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter no larger than small peas. Slowly begin adding the water, stirring and tossing with a fork until the dough comes together.

By mixer (at home):

In your food processor, stir together the flour and salt. Add the chopped butter and mix on a slow speed until it represents coarse cornmeal. Slowly begin adding the ice water and mix on slow speed until the dough just holds together.

HACK: you can freeze the pastry at this stage for up to a month.

For the filling.

Put the lamb shanks and herbs in a large saucepan. Put 2 tablespoons of gravox into a cup, and add a small amount of water, and stir to remove any lumps. Then add fill the cup with water and mix it through. Add it to the saucepan and heat through until the mixture thickens.

Cut the dough into two parts, one third, and two thirds. Roll out the larger portion and spread it into an (approximately) 23 cm springform pan. Fill with the lamb mixture. Roll out the top, and lay over the top, pinching the pastry together.

Then wash the pastry, with either the whisked egg or milk. I then sprinkle rosemary leaves on top, and if you would like, a small amount of rock salt. It really makes the top look great!

Bake for 45 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and golden.

Take out of the oven and let rest for ten minutes. Then remove the top of the springform pan (with your fingers crossed that there are no leaks in the pastry!). Cut at the table and serve.

The Best Toastie, Ever!

So, I am hung up on my braised lamb shank leftovers. So be it. After you have tried these, you will understand why. This is the perfect comfort food. The perfect end of an ocean race food. The perfect end to a “big night out” food. And the perfect hangover brunch. I would happily serve this to guests for supper.


  • 4 slices of bread
  • Butter
  • 2 cheese slices
  • Some leftover lamb shanks
A toasted sandwich shown with big pieces of lamb shank and cheese melting out.
If the cheese isn’t melted, it’s a fail.


Do I need to tell you how to do this? Make the sandwiches and butter on the outside. I am a lover of all things toastie, and the perfect one will have a rich brown (but not burnt) colour on the outside, and gooey melted cheese. If the cheese isn’t melted, it’s a fail.

Leftover Lamb Shank Pasta

When I make braised lamb shanks, I am always sure to make extra. Over the next couple of weeks I will show how I use the leftovers; some technically a bit more difficult, and some very very easy! This one is a winner. I’ve always been a fan of pastas that have a light, olive oil sauce, rather than rich tomato or cream sauces. You could vary this, using pretty much anything left in the veggie crisper.

This will serve four.


  • 300 grams of leftover lamb shanks
  • A punnet of cherry tomotoes, cut in half
  • A quarter of a pumpkin, cut into cubes and roasted till cooked but still firm
  • 2 zucchinis, cut into chunks and roasted till cooked but still firm
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A small bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped roughly
  • Shaved parmesan to serve
  • Loads of black pepper
  • 400 grams of fettucini


Once you have roasted the pumpkin and zucchini, cook the pasta as per instructions. As it is nearing the end of its cooking, gently fry the garlic in the oil in a large, heavy based frypan. Once softened, add the chunks of lamb shanks and the tomatoes. Warm everything through, then add the pasta, pumpkin and zucchini. Fold together with a glug of olive oil. Be careful not to crush the pumpkin. Throw in the parsley at the end.

Pour into bowls with a good crack of black pepper, and top with shaved parmesan.

Wendo’s Singapore Chicken Satay

Wendo (Wendy, my mum), was a meat and three veg cook. But in the late eighties, she got really adventurous and starting trying everything! Her first trip overseas was with my Dad to Singapore; I was 17 and they left me at home alone. Mum came back with this recipe. I don’t know if it is Singaporean, I don’t know if it is a traditional satay. I don’t care. It’s simple and I love it. The title is just what she called it.

When I lived at home, and Mum and Dad went away on holidays and left me home alone, I made this dish for the guests I invited over. And when I moved out, it was a dinner party favourite.

Wendy was born in 1949, and died at 49 years old (hence the race number for Apes). She would love what we are doing now…..

Mum’s recipes rarely were more than a list of ingredients and you would have to feel your way through. I have added some guidance below. This photo is from my recipe book when I left home at 19 (24 years ago).



  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic diced or minced
  • 2 tablespoons of chile sauce (to taste)
  • 15 grams of coriander leaves and stalks, however I have substituted ground coriander seeds if available
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
  • 4 large, heaped tablespoons of peanut paste
  • 1 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • Half a can of coconut cream (I use light, as like Mum I am always counting calories)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • Water to slacken, as to taste
  • Chopped peanuts, to garnish


  • 8 Chicken thighs (bone out) sliced
  • A big splash (of low salt) soy sauce
  • A big handful of sesame seeds
  • Rice to serve


Soak bamboo skewers in water. Slice the chicken thighs into slices, and put in a bowl with the soy sauce and the sesame seeds.

For the sauce, heat a medium saucepan to low/medium. Add the sesame oil, and when hot add the garlic and onion. Just sweat it down, rather than brown it. Once that is done, add the chile sauce, coriander, lemon juice and peanut paste, and warm through till it is a bit gooey. Then add the brown sugar, fish sauce and tomato paste. Stir with a wooden spoon till well mixed. Add the coconut cream and stir through. Taste and adjust as you would like. At this stage, I generally add some more chile, but that is just to my taste. Then set the sauce aside. Thread the chicken onto skewers, grill the chicken, either under the grill in the oven, or on the BBQ.

When the chicken is almost cooked, re-heat the sauce, and add some water or coconut cream to slacken if necessary.

Serve the chicken skewers over rice, with a generous dollop of the sauce. Enough to mix through the rice. And then add coriander leaves and chopped peanuts, roasted if you would like.


  • Pizza: I love to use the satay sauce as a pizza base, prepare the chicken in the same way and give it a quick flash fry before putting it on the pizza. Add some bow choy or other asian greens, a tiny amount of cheese, and you will have a lovely pizza.
  • For offshore racing, cut down the spice and mix it all together with the rice, before cryovaccing or putting in foil containers. It makes a lovely meal.

Gremolata Roast Lamb Leg

Very zingy, fresh, and a little bit greek, this is a fantastic easy mid week meal; these photos were taken aboard the yacht on a Friday night after heading to the marina after work. It’s beautiful for leftover lunches too.

Quite often, if it is just the two of us, I cut the lamb in half and freeze half of it and make a great little meal for two, scaling down the other ingredients.


  • A deboned/butterfly leg of lamb
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic (or to taste – I would use 8)
  • Finely grated rind of two oranges (or lemons to taste)
  • 300g of baby spinach
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Chop the garlic and parsley leaves finely, and add to the citrus rind. Swiftly wilt the spinach in a frypan. Open out the lamb and season to taste (I like lots of black pepper). Lay the spinach and then 2/3rds of the gremolata in the cavity, and then truss up the lamb. Splash some olive oil on the lamb, and season again to taste.

Heat up a frypan to very hot, and quickly seal the outside of the lamb. Put it straight into the oven at 180 degrees for about 30 minutes or to taste – I like my lamb quite rare.

Allow to rest in foil for ten minutes before carving. You will have a lovely colourful spiral, and delicious, tender meat.

On this occasion, I served it with roast veggies with lemon which I pre-roasted in my Tupperware roasting dish, and then put the lamb on top.

Fish and Sweet Potato Cakes

fish and sweet potato cakes ingredients

I want to be hundred percent sure about the consistency of the temperature of my fridge (based on battery level!) on the yacht before taking seafood aboard, but based on the size you make the cakes, they can either make fabulous canapés, entrees, or cold as a snack lunch. We recently sailed Toccata to a deserted beach in Moreton Bay, and enjoyed these fishcakes with a lovely bottle of Tassie champagne, but it washes down with a beer on a hot day just as well!

These can be cooked in a frypan or on the BBQ.


  • 1 onion, finely grated
  • 4cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 150g sweet potato, grated
  • 1 green chilli, chopped finely
  • 100g green beans chopped
  • 2 spring onions chopped
  • 150g rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 200g of firm white fish, such as roughy or queenfish, cut into 5mm dice
  • Zest of two limes
  • Oil for shallow frying


With a food processor with the grater blade, add the onion and ginger, then set aside. Then grate the sweet potato, and put in a separate bowl. Of course you can use a grater instead.

In a small frying pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and ginger, then the garlic and chilli and cook till soft but not brown, then set aside to cool.

In a bowl combine the rice flour, salt, sugar and 130ml of water, and mix thoroughly. Add the cooled onion mixture and stir in, then add fish, sweet potato, green beans, spring onion and lime zest.

Heat the BBQ or frypan to hot and well-oiled, and add spoonfuls of the mixture at the size that you would like. Cook till well browned on both sides, turning once.

Serve with sweet chilli sauce or chilli jam. Or something like this….

Pound two birds eye chilli, a clove of garlic and a tablespoon of sugar until it is a thick paste. Add juice of two limes and 30ml of fish sauce. You can then add between 30 and 100 ml of water, to tone it down to your taste!

The Layout and Content of Safety Gear on Our Yacht

At 26, when I first decided to cross the Tasman Sea on my own, I was light on ocean experience but big on fear. So I read books. Not the inspiring travel guides “sell your house and run away aboard a yacht” books. Disaster books. Everyone I could put my hand on.

Accounts of the 1979 Fastnet, Storm in the PacificRed Sky Dawning (now called Adrift after the movie made about it), Once is Enough,and three accounts of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart race. Always with a notebook handy; I would write notes (sometimes with a trembling hand) about how I would prepare the boat. I enacted all of the recommendations on my yacht before leaving for that first, solo, ocean voyage.

I don’t think anything I will write in this article is rocket science, however I was shocked when our Cat 1 Safety Inspector told me he thought we had the best layout of safety gear, and the best strategy for dealing with a crisis, that he had seen. This isn’t revolutionary; we have just spent a lot of time thinking about what we would do if we had to step off the yacht, or if we were in a collision, or a near miss, or dismasted.

Everything we do with regards to safety on the yacht we work on the theory, that if we have to do it, then we are going to be under stress. We will probably be fatigued. It will probably be the end to a very bad day. And that is the time when you are likely to forget, or make dud decisions. On this basis I have tried to make the safety plan on the boat as dumbed down as possible, and, where possible, replace an under pressure decision with a practiced process.

From Category 2 up in Yachting Australia safety regulations, you are required to have a diagram of where all your safety gear is located. I have sailed on many yachts with “compliance diagrams” which meet the rule. But in my opinion, there is far too much information to be contained on one diagram; on Apriori we have three. The first is for safety gear above decks, the second is safety gear below decks, and the third is for the through hull fittings. Then there is a fourth, with emergency radio procedures.

Our boat is the only one I have seen with the third diagram. But my logic is simple; if there is a large, sudden ingress of water without an impact, chances are it is a skin fitting that has failed. I imagine that if this happened to me, I would remove the laminated diagram from the navigation table bulkhead, then walk the boat from transom to bow and check each one in order.

As for having above and below decks, I split them out as there is too much information to be on one diagram. While discussing too much information on one diagram, it also means smaller lettering. Both my partner and I need glasses for fine print. At night or under stress, glasses are essential. So why make the print small? (Note: We keep $5 magnifiers all over the boat, including several in the first aid kit and navigation table, just in case).

Our fourth diagram above the navigation table has all the information that you would need to call out on the radio if you have a mayday. But it is also great to have it at hand for less experience crew who we are trying to upskill at using the radio for logging on and logging off with the authorities. It all helps to build confidence and a process that will be useful in the event of a disaster.

Leaving the boat:

We have an area in the boat I call “Evacuation corner”. If you need to leave, and leave fast, everything is in the one place. The first item is the EPIRB’s, of which we have two. One is out of date but the battery still tests positively, the other is in date. They are both still registered and functioning, but the “in compliance” EPIRB is clearly marked TAKE THIS ONE FIRST. But if you have two, why not take them both. During our recent Safety at Sea course, they recommended setting off two in an emergency. From the rescuers point of view, one could be an error. Two going off in the same boat means it is time to scramble.

There are two ditch bags, one with flares and signaling devices, the second with the VHF, spare GPS and batteries, signaling mirror and sea water dye. These are both kept in place with shock-cord, however there is a lanyard attaching them both of them and in the middle is a snapshackle. As standard, the snapshackle is attached to a prominent saddle above both of them. In need, just remove the snapshackle from where it lives on the saddle, attach  it to your harness, grab the EPIRB (two if you have time) and walk on out.

Assuming you have a little more time, there is a 20L jerry jug of water within reach under the navigation table, just to the right. It is strapped in but with a quick release snapshackle. If we are getting on the raft, I would enjoy supplementing our drinking water.

Attracting attention:

Adjacent to the companionway on the starboard side, is “Attracting attention” corner. Within easy reach of the cockpit and without looking, there are three white handflares velcroed in. Just next to it is an air horn (yes, it needs replacing due to rust issues!). We also have a range of cyalume sticks for any occasion you need, but I imagine having them to throw overboard if someone went over at night. They are also good for attaching to small children at night to make sure you know where they are.


Reading Adrift/Red Sky Dawningas well as the classic Smeeton book Once is Enough (their yacht was pitch-poled twice), I became paranoid about weight forward of the mast as well as what would happen to the crew below in a severe capsize. I was explaining to a friend how I would like an aircraft style seatbelt to contain me to my bunk in the event of the worst. Being a diver, he suggested a weightbelt bolted to the pilot berth. That is what we have now. I’ve only used it once, and thankfully then, it wasn’t necessary.


We have a towing bridle which we use for both towing or being towed. 

We have had to tow a number of boats, sometimes planned, sometimes unplanned. But when your yacht, which was not designed to be a tug, is being used as one, there are two things to consider.

An effective towing bridle will spread the weight. Ours goes around the primary winches, loops around the secondary winches, then loops around the deck cleats, through the fairleads, spreading the load over six fittings. If we were sailing and towing, then we would omit the leeward primary winch, but we still have five. Secondly, the tow-line is on a bridle which makes steering the tug boat infinitely easier.

If we need to be towed, then again, we do not wish to put all the load on one cleat. We also have a bowsprit, which is very vulnerable to being damaged by a tow rope. For a short tow in good conditions, we can use the bridle around the bow cleats and it will keep the towline clear of and (hopefully) under the bowsprit. For a long tow, or in rougher conditions, we have looped the bridle around the bow cleats, then attached it to mooring lines, which we have wrapped around the mast and then back to the winches on the cabin top, effectively spreading the load across six places.

While we have never used it in anger, we would also use the towing bridle to launch our drogue over the stern, if caught in cyclonic conditions.

Man overboard:

Books could be written about this, but there are a few key issues for us. Firstly, the Lifering, which needs a drogue, and in our case a jonbuoy (inflatable danbuoy) need to be secure enough to not go over, but easy to deploy. We also carry a lifesling and have a heaving line if the person is conscious and nearby. We carry a side opening snapshackle which can convert the spinnaker brace to a crane, when attached to the mainsheet bail, to pull an unconscious person out of the water. We have practiced this and it works. 

My last point on this topic, is just to think it through, and then further to that, actually practice it. We have practiced putting our stormsails up. We have practiced MOB (I have gone overboard and pretended to be unconscious). We have dry runs of launching the liferaft and collecting the gear. When I told a member of my local yacht club that we do all this, he commented “What a waste of time, as you are practicing in good conditions and when you have to do it it will be bad!”. My response was, “When you have to do it in bad conditions, wouldn’t it be better if it wasn’t your first time?”.

Your thoughts?