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Discussion Starter #1
Hopefully we've got a few experienced galley cooks around here!

I'm after ideas for cooking when I go to sea for the first time (well, as crew anyway) later this month.

My vessel will be crewed by between 8-12 people, and we appoint a "chef of the day". Of all the aspects of life at sea, it's the cooking that concerns me the most!

That's not to say I'm a bad cook, but I've only ever catered for about four or five at most. Also, that was in my own kitchen, with a nice big workspace, a double oven, a 4-plate hob etc. The galley I will be using is nowhere near as big - it's about the size of my wardrobe!

I've been given the guidance from a couple of experienced colleagues of "don't be too adventurous". That sounds really good advice to me, and I'd already reached the same conclusion. My current workmates are full of ideas about what I should cook up, but they all think of it like cooking for a dinner party at home. They haven't seen the on-board set-up - I have!

I was thinking of starting off with Chilli Con Carne as I cook that at home quite a lot, and it is a quite straightforward job to multiply the portion size.

Does anyone see any problems with cooking that up at sea (aside from having to cater for people prefering it in different strengths) and/or have any suggestions for other meals? Deep fat fryers are out for obvious reasons. Provisions won't be a problem - we are alongside fairly regularly.

I need to think up some breakfasts and lunch meals too. My own preference would be for cereal for breakfast and a light lunch such as sandwiches, but then I'm not just catering for me.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received - I'll read them all!
 

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Vegetarians...vegans... Good point, and that would be just my luck. I'd better have a meat-free alternative on standby just in case.

VNC? That's one acronym I haven't encountered before. Dare I ask?
 

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Utilise your fridge if you have one and have cold meats and salads available when poss. You will never please all the people all the time at sea, and this gives you an added option without taking up stove space. Stick to the easy hot dishes at first, corned beef stovies, sausage casseroles, cottage pie etc. and build from there. Do not thicken stews with flour this sticks and burns to the bottom of the pot. If your stews need thickening use either corn flour or grate a potato into them as you start them to simmer. You will soon get an idea of people tastes when the plates come back empty or full. Try not to be all things to all men otherwise you'll complicate it. Do take the time to find out whether there is any food allergies on board, or particular dislikes. I sailed on A Rowbothams tanker once for a couple of weeks and an AB swore blind he'd never eaten onion in his life. He had them every day after that without realising it because they cook out when you use them in stews, soups curries etc. Speaking of curries you can actually buy the paste chinese talkeaways use for their curries (MAY SAN)and it's a piece of cake to use. So if you can get ahold of it you'll go down in legend for being able to do a 'proper chinky curry'. Season as you go is the golden rule don't leave it all to the end. No reason not to use a deep fat fryer obviously just be mindful of the weather conditions when you are. Fish and chips always sells well.

Good luck with it.
 

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Mark, try the dish called schooner on the rocks. A very simple dish to prepare, just put your roast in the middle of the pan and put all your veggies around the roast ad pop it in the oven. When I say veggies I mean spuds,carrots,swedes,turnips. When I was a young lad of sixteen sailing on a three masted schooner this is the dish they served almost every day. Funny thing is the schooner ended up on the rock a few years later.

John.
 

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Vnc

Vegetarians...vegans... Good point, and that would be just my luck. I'd better have a meat-free alternative on standby just in case.

VNC? That's one acronym I haven't encountered before. Dare I ask?
Voyage Not Completed send em home. (Thumb)
 

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When I went to sea they used to have a galley stockpot on every ship I was on. I understand they are now a thing of the past. An its all powdered soups and gravies. Health & Safety again, some of the best soups and sauces I ever tasted came out of the stockpot. Alas another tradition lost
 

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Stay within your culinary limits, regarding seasoning you can always add but you can,t take it out once its in! Porridge is good way to start the day (keep the pot going all week). Yellow split pea soup (Pea-Wack) okay for lunch then a nice bit of fish (its all round you) to finish off the day, accompanied with a nice glass of white wine of your joice. You,ll never please everyone, if you stick to the basics you,ll be fine. Happy cooking.
Alan T. (MN Cook Rtd.)
 

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When I went to sea they used to have a galley stockpot on every ship I was on. I understand they are now a thing of the past. An its all powdered soups and gravies. Health & Safety again, some of the best soups and sauces I ever tasted came out of the stockpot. Alas another tradition lost

A tradition that needed losing. The belief was always that bringing the stockpot to the boil killed all bacteria, which it pretty much did. What it didn't destroy is the endotoxins. These are what make you ill.

You can be lucky and get away with it for a long time, but when you finally fall foul of endotoxins, because the stock will have been used for many different dishes you poison everyone at once.

Stockpots were outlawed in hotels years ago, after poisoning outbreaks where hundreds of people fell ill at once. The stockpot was invariably identified as the culprit.
 

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Anchovies on toast!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Some good advice coming through, special thanks to kevjacko and Alan for all those hints and tips.

NW European waters, length 42m, beam 7m and speed of up to 26.5kts - I'm assuming a deep fat fryer is off limits unless or until I find out different!

By trade I will be a deckie, and will also have job-specific stuff to learn besides the seafaring duties. Alas I think I will be a bit too busy to be fishing on cooking day (more's the pity). Nice idea though!
 

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Only slightly less risky than keeping a stock pot going all week.
Don,t want to get into a slanging match, but a stockpot when correctly used was a great asset in the galley. By the way why is it that todays "trendy" chefs never wear hats! and constantly carry their t-towels and oven cloths in their armpits.
Alan T.
 

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Hi Mark,
What is this "ship" you,re going on at that speed its certainly alot quicker than anything I sailed in. Regarding the deep fryer maybe it could be put on "gimbals" like the compass, just an idea!
Happy sailing Alan.

ps. maybe you could keep the site informed of your progress.
 

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Sorry Mark,
What about "SH*T ON A RAFT"
 

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Pot Mess was a great RN favourite (if you have no vegatarians)
A few tins of stewed steak, baked beans, tinned potatoes. Put the whole lot together in one large pot and heat till done. Dish up the portions into bowls, Plenty of bread (no butter) that can be dipped into the meal and a mug of tea.
Simple, straighforward and nourishing!
Peter(Thumb)
 

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"cereals for breakfast"

In my day breakfast would be:-

compote of fruit.
porridge
curry and rice
egg and bacon etc
flapjacks
freshly baked rolls.

And that was as a deckhand on a tanker.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Alan: I'm going to be serving on a Customs Cutter, sister to this one: http://www.cat.com/cda/files/254975/7/Valiant patrol boat review.pdf

I believe that fat fryers aren't going to be an option, so need to plan cooking something that can be done with just a hob and/or oven. As I recall, there is a microwave too.

I'm expecting my turn at galley cooking to come during either my first patrol over Christmas, or my next in the middle of January. Sure, I'll post back what I end up cooking and - more importantly - how it was received!

Peter: Cheers for that one. Protein and complex carbs - I think I'll test that out on myself before I go down the gym next week!
 
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