Energy Loaf

We both get seasick from time to time. Often for me (Lucas) it’s at the start of a race after we’ve been exerting a lot of energy running around keeping up with the fully crewed boats. This loaf is a life-saver. Loads of energy in it, and also caffeine.

A friend gave us a container of this for the first Brisbane to Gladstone that we did, and it has become a race staple. Ginger, dates, nuts, chia, coffee. What more could you want? Keep a container in the cockpit or the pantry during the race and you’ll always have something to snack on. Just remember to keep liquids up as well with seasickness.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pitted dates, chopped and tightly packed
  • 1 cup strong coffee (sweetened if desired)
  • 84g salted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 160ml water
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • baking powder
  • 1-2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups nuts (pecan/macadamia/pecan/walnut – whatever you have)
  • 1 cup naked ginger

Method

Place dates in a saucepan with coffee and butter and bring gently
to boil and simmer for about 8 minutes until dates soften and mixture thickens – set aside to cool.

Add the chia seeds to the water. This should become like jelly when it sits for a while. While sitting and setting, beat the eggs and then combine the jelly-like chia seeds with them.

Add the cooled date mixture to the egg and chia mix – combine well.

Combine the flour with the spices. Sift if you want, but I don’t bother.

Sift the dry flour mixture into the egg, chia and date mix and combine well.

Add the almond meal and mix well and then add the nuts and ginger. I keep the ginger really chunky.

Grease and line a cake tin or loaf tin and bake in a fan forced oven at 150 degrees for around 50 minutes to an hour. The cake is cooked when the middle of it feels firm to touch.

Chicken grilling on the barbecue

Moroccan-ish Chicken

We love herbs and spices. Any sort and in any combination. Simple flavours have their place for refined eating, but meals full of big, bold and full of flavour can knock you off your seat. This is in between. And what’s more, you can easily alter the amount of spice to suit your mood.

When I made this one, it was so much milder than the time before, but the chicken was still tender, juicy and delicious. Next time will probably involve the addition of chilli. But the flavours are fairly standard, and this whole meal can be made out of things that are usually in the pantry and the freezer.

Ingredients

  • 2tsp Paprika
  • 1tsp Turmeric
  • 2tsp Ground ginger
  • 2tsp Coriander
  • 3tbs Olive oil
  • 3tbs Lemon juice
  • 3-6 chicken thighs

Method

You want easy? This is it.

Grind up any seeds that you might have as the whole spice, and then combine all the spices with the lemon juice and oil, and then marinate the chicken thighs. Use a dish that won’t stain with the paprika or turmeric, such as porcelain.

Let them sit for a few hours or overnight, but if you don’t have time, the flavour is still nice after just 20 minutes. I like to poke the chicken thighs with a fork to let the flavour really get in.

That’s it. We had them with some simple roasted veggies.

An Arabic Feast – Part 3: Main Players

Part 3 from our metho correspondent, Stephen.

So now I needed a couple of heroes. In keeping with the Arabic theme I went for falafels, a good vegetarian option, though with a difference. Let’s make them more like chick pea patties than anything resembling what you could identify as falafel.

I also wanted to do some poaching and thought about meatballs, but finally went with lemon chicken, but with a twist. I decided on a kind of cevap style sausage. Continue reading “An Arabic Feast – Part 3: Main Players”

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!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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

METHOD:

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

METHOD:

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.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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.

METHOD:

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.

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).

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

  • 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

Chicken:

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

METHOD:

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.

HACKS:

  • 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.

An Arabic Feast – Part 2: Salads

Another post from our metho-correspondent, Stephen.

It’s best not to have too much heat in a small galley on hot humid days so I thought I’d go for a few salads. I imagined vegetarians would be ok with that sort of thing. One thing I like to do with salads is add fruit, and I love peaches at when they’re in season.  Peach salad goes particularly well with seafood, I think, especially the prawns which come off the boats a few fingers along, though I’m not doing seafood today.

Continue reading “An Arabic Feast – Part 2: Salads”

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.

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

METHOD:

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.

Lamb shank risotto. Not really.

We had a couple of lamb shanks that needed cooking, and the intention was to make a lamb ragout to have with parpadelle. But had to alter that plan on the fly…

This works just as well for any more robust/tougher cut of meat, like beef shin, or chuck steak. My plan was to have it with pasta, but we ended up planning to head out to sea sooner than anticipated, and so we didn’t want to be boiling water in rolly seas, and needed this to be edible cold or hot. It certainly is NOT a real risotto, but it is reminiscent of one. Just not creamy – it’s more like a stew mixed in with rice so that there wasn’t too much liquid.

Ingredients

  • 2 Lamb shanks
  • oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • Oregano, thyme or any other flavourful herb
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 125ml white wine
  • 500ml stock – chicken or vege
  • 1 cup brown rice

Method

This was kind of made up on the fly, and I don’t have exact details, but the principles are here.

Cook shanks in a little oil until they’re well browned.

Set aside, reduce heat and then saute the carrots, onion and celery until softened. Add garlic too if you want. Looking at these photos, that’s what I did too!

Once softened, mix in the tomato paste, white wine and herbs. Cook the wine off. I don’t bother salting this dish as instant stock is pretty salty already, but do add some pepper at this time.

If you are using an ovenproof dish, return the shanks and add the stock and some additional water if needed to cover the meat. If you need to, transfer everything to an ovenproof dish and then put in the oven at 150 degrees for about 3 hours. This works well on the boat, as our oven is not really that hot to start with!

When the meat is falling off the shanks, remove the bones, and cut the meat roughly. Add it back to the pan with the rice. Add more stock or water if needed to have enough for the rice to soak up/cook in. about two cups of liquid to a cup of brown rice. This is what I think I would do normally, but since it has been some time since I took the photos, I’m a little confused. It looks like I must have strained the veggies and meat, and cooked the rice in the remaining liquid on the stove. Either way it should still work!

Once cooked, this dish is pretty good in the fridge until ready to eat.