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.

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.

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.

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.

Gadgets for the galley, or a very small kitchen!

I have put a lot of effort in keeping junk (and weight) out of our yacht, and so we have spent a lot of time making sure that all of our galley gear is highly functional, and preferably multi-purpose, as well as space saving. Like most things we write about, there isn’t a lot of difference between efficiency on board, or efficiency in the small kitchen in the city unit we have recently moved into, after letting out our large waterfront home! Here are a few things I cannot live without……

Biome Lunch Box

These lunchboxes change the way I eat at work, and are perfect for inshore racing lunches, or semi-prepared Friday night meals on the yacht after a busy commute to get to the marina.

Consisting of three sections, one large enough for two sandwiches, they also come with a small and medium size container. They are so flexible. In the simplest form, you can put a sandwich in one side, and leave the items that make them soggy (such as tomatoes) in the smaller section, for adding at the last minute. But I usually use this section for a salad, and put the dressing into one of the smaller containers for the last minute add. Then in the smaller sections, add some olives or strawberries as a snack.

On a Thursday night, I can pre-marinate some meat, and put the dressing or marinade in the smaller containers, or herbs in the smaller section.

The greatest change that it has made for us, is that I am always prepared the night before. I spend a lot of my work time in the car, and Lucas is in concerts or on-air. But when our workday begins, it is just a matter of taking our meals out of the fridge and into a bag, and off we go. Mine is red (Apriori) and Lucas is green (Toccata)!

Stacking bowls, colander and measuring cups

Joseph Joseph has this off the shelf solution which gives you everything you need, but it all stacks in one place. The purple and orange spoons start from a teaspoon and go up to a cup, then you have a small bowl, a stainless steel mesh sieve, a colander, and a large mixing bowl. And it all stacks into one space. We have had it a year, and it appears to be extremely good quality. The sieve hasn’t rusted, even though it has lived on the yacht for a year!

Aldi collapsible containers

Some of the items that I have outlined are rather expensive, but I consider that all represent value for money. These fabulous containers, sourced from Aldi, represent incredible value, and we use them all the time. They win out as when they are empty, the can be collapsed down and take up little room.

Tupperware bakeware

This is a winner on the yacht with no rusting and light weight; if it slips off the stove and is dropped it will not shatter. It comes in two sizes, and the lid can be used as a shallow baking dish as well. For storing, the lid slots upside down into the base, taking up minimal room.

Joseph Joseph Chopping board

This is one of my favourites. The board itself is on a slight angle, with a ridge around the side. My pet hate when cutting up food with a lot of liquid, such as tomatoes or roast meat (at home, but especially on the yacht) is that the liquid runs everywhere. This neatly contains it so it can be poured down the sink. Turn it over, and it also has a meat grate.

Compact food processor

We have experimented with hand drawn food processors, but have found them difficult to clean and unreliable. We have a small multifunction food processor that fits into a plastic container, which we run off the inverter and swap from apartment to yacht. It gives us a lot more scope for our cooking, and I couldn’t live without it.

Joseph Joseph washing up caddy

These keep everything nice and clean. We have a washing up brush with liquid in attached to the bulkhead, with another caddy with the scourer and hand wash. I have some “Thank you” sanitiser restrained by saddles and shockcord if you are on the run and don’t want to use the galley water.

Sink Colander – again, Joseph Joseph

This flat colander fits directly into the sink, and it is really handy to put in if you are washing up, as it collects all of the food scraps and stops them clogging up your drains!

Soda Stream

I love water, and the Soda Stream has a number of benefits. Besides being cheaper than buying soda water, it means we eliminate single use water bottles. The added benefit on the yacht is that it seems to take away the “Tank water” taste. Don’t understand why. We have one at the house and one in the yacht; unlike many of the fairly extravagant purchases on this post, we bought both of ours second hand for about $30 combined. Jump on Facebook marketplace or Gumtree or equivalent wherever you might live.

Sheathed knives

Knives on boats are really dangerous; I don’t like them to be unsheathed if we are anywhere except the marina. And as you plunge your hand into the drawer and the boat lunges, you don’t want to be cut by a sharp knife! These were purchased very inexpensively via Peters of Kensington.

Paper towel dispenser

We are always looking for ways to use “wasted space” in the yacht. With two saddles, a little bit of shock cord and a shackle we lost the pin for, we now have a use for this wasted bit of space.

And a bit of fun…..

If I can’t drink out of crystal, then these fine, stemless champagne flutes are the next best thing. And they fit into a winch handle pocket – so you are sure not to spill a drop! We don’t allow glass on the yacht in case of breakages, so these are made of a hard plastic, making them very durable.

Lamb Empanadas

This recipe can do it all. Serve hot for a fancy dinner, or cold as #railmeat food or a work lunch. Make them small for cocktail food at a party. Make them big and re-heat them in an offshore yacht race if you have time. Or just smash them down cold. Continue reading “Lamb Empanadas”