Many people think that life aboard a boat is a bit of a hardship and that one of the areas that you are let down on is the boat food… Not so!
Simple but delicious food can be knocked up so that you treat your crew to some excellent fare. Good food and drink encourages morale – and for us here at Yachtforce Yacht Charters and Events – it encourages repeat bookings for those who join us on ‘All Inclusive’ catering option weekends.
Obviously if you are under way or on a long passage then the type of meal that you prepare is going to be very different and ‘one pot’ warming, nutritious and tasty foods are a necessity – so is how and when they are to be eaten! Make sure you plan how they are to be consumed!
Fridge & Cooker
Every boat comes with a fridge and normally on a 37ft style boat this will be a ‘top loader’ – they are more like a large cool box but some do have efficient cooling systems. If you put ice in the fridge it sometimes will ‘keep’ for 2 days or more. They only operate when the engine is on – or if the boat is plugged into shore power. The fridge is one of the larger consumers of your 12 volt electric so do not run your service batteries down. If they go below 11.5v you need to top that power up! The cookers are 2 burners on top / oven and sometimes a grill. The cooker is on ‘gimballs’ (swings when the boat moves) and the efficient use of a steamer stack is effective for the vegetables / potatoes / rice etc. Think about increasing your oven cook times as the ovens are not as efficient as the one you have at home and oven baking trays with foil over the top to seal dishes is necessary.
How To Serve It
I once had a well meaning guy who was an enthusiastic cook… a great find to have aboard your boat. He was part of an inexperienced crew taking part in Round the Island Race… who said that he’d knock up a bit of breakfast when we were underway. As I was under a bit of pressure during the tacking frenzy on the beat up towards the Needles in lively conditions from the start, I didn’t really pay any attention to what was going on down below!
Just before Hurst narrows he started passing up to the cockpit heavily laden, over-flowing, lovely looking, excellently plated ‘Full English’ breakfast with accompanying sauce bottles, bread to be buttered, mugs of tea and knives and forks!
With a ravenous, (generally very large) full male crew they suddenly ‘lost interest’ in the very close tense tacking job at hand with boats closing from starboard and me wanting to make sure we would either ‘clear’ or ‘duck’… and were amazed when I was ‘asking’ urgently that they either pass it back down below – or throw it overboard and get ready to dump the main and grind on again!
They did however get their breakfast …in smaller portions… wrapped in rolls… cut in half and shared with another crew member in shifts. They were just worried it was getting cold! I learned not to assume… and give a bit of direction on how we will eat…
However, ‘race fare’ is very different from ‘cruising fare’ where you can relax and push the boat out – so to speak! If you are going to moor up and are in a safe area to be able to have a couple of drinks – here are a few shots of how we like to eat on board on our Yachtforce weekends… and some of what we have prepared in the past for our guests… Yum!
Pre – Dinner Drinks
Prawn Cocktail with Marie Rose Sauce
Fresh Asparagus drizzled with Butter and Cracked Pepper
Main Course – Hunters Chicken in Red Wine Sauce with Fresh Seasonal Vegetables
Eton Mess – Meringue, Fresh Berries, Pineapple, Whipped Cream
Cheese Board With Crackers, Apple & Grapes
Fresh Ground Coffee / Teas of Choice
Dark Chocolate Truffles
A Wee Dram of Whisky – or Whiskey (if You Are An Irish Fan)
A couple of additional recipes.
Variation on Hunters Chicken.
Chicken breasts wrapped in bacon.
Red wine – ample
Garlic – ample
Seasoning – pepper / salt / dash of Worcester sauce?
Chuck it all in one pot, cover and seal.
25 minutes in a boat oven
Add in some BBQ sauce
15 mins oven more – serve with new potatoes / chives / butter
Steamed veg – Broccoli / Beans / Carrots.
One Pot Breakfast:
Chuck in pot.
Dash of Worcester sauce.
Cook 35 – 45 mins
Fry bacon / sliced potatoes and keep separate.
Add 2 cans of baked beans into pot at the end but do not stir
Cook & serve eggs.
Serve with lashings of bread and butter and a mug of tea!
1. Grab a couple of bags of ice for the fridge as a boost to keep it chilled – they are not always that efficient and are like a cool box. Ice will last a couple of days in most fridges.
2. Load your fridge sensibly and keep any raw meats separated bagged at the bot tom away from dairy and salad / veg. Use ample plastic containers with lids – they help organise your fridge.
3. Close your cabin doors when cooking – it keeps moisture away from your sleeping area and stops the smoke alarms situated in the cabins from going off.
4. Oven cook over frying. Saves the smell permeating throughout the boat! Use one pot techniques where possible. Everyone loves bacon for breakfast / brunch but sausages in a pan oven cooked can be the staple ingredient of your breakfast. Simply load in sliced mushrooms and cherry tomatoes after 25 minutes and leave for another 25. Add beans, tiger bread chunks and a good mug of tea!
5. Nutrition is important and think about slow release carbs for breakfast, more complex carbs rather than the sugar enriched kiddies cereals that will give a quick sugar high before a slump. Chocolate has its place but nut bars and bananas are great sources of slower release energy fill ins.
6. Make sure your crew stays hydrated. Some may not want to use the heads and therefore they do not drink sufficient fluids. Keep your eye open and be aware that a 50% water mixed with fruit juice is a good rehydrator as well as some sugar carbs from the fruit juice.
7. Remember boat ovens efficiency seems to vary – know your cooking times – use a food thermometer to check if food is cooked through!
Good food – Happy Crew!