A View from the Galley

Susan's hints, tips and recipes, for gourmet cruising. 

July 2013 Edition

Samphire – The Sailor’s Soulfood

At this time of year your boat can be your greatest ally in keeping costs down. Any boat can be a fishing boat of course but she can also be used to track down much more. A boat will bring you to special places, unpoluted and difficult to access by other means. At this time of year there is nothing tastier or better than fresh Samphire.

Of all the tasty treats, Samphire is one of my favourites. It grows in abundance along the shoreline of our estuary and the boat ensures we can find the best. Find the right spot and harvesting is almost like mowing a lawn. Yep, you’re going to get muddy but that is part of the fun.

The best time to collect Samphire is on or around the longest day of the year. Later it becomes tough and develops a hard spike in the tip – but now it is young tender and delicious.

We usually take only the growing tips, trying to leave the root in the mud, undamaged. Once on board, or back home, we rinse thoroughly in cold water and then steam or boil it for a few minutes with a knob of butter in the pan.

It tastes like salty asparagus (and is ready for harvesting just as the local asparagus is coming to an end).

Obviously it goes well with all sea fish – but it is also good with lamb. The French love a dish called Petit Sale – lamb reared on salt marshes – and this vegetable is an ideal accompaniment.
The trick is to harvest more than you need, because not only is it a good veg, it also makes a very good pickle. There are various recipes but I simply clean it and pack it in a jar with a few spring onions, a clove of garlic and some black peppercorns. Top up the jar with white vinegar or cider vinegar and leave it for couple of weeks in the fridge. It's good till Christmas and it goes really well with cold meat and pies.

And if you really want to impress your friends try serving the pickle on warm blinies with a slice of smoked salmon on top as a canapé before dinner.



January 2013 Edition


Think you can’t cook a joint of lamb on a boat.  Think again.  Lamb is incredible tender if the joint is cut into bite sized pieces, marinated in a mixture of spices for 30 mins (or more if you have time) and simply stir fried.  Try the following recipe to get you started, after which you could try your own herb and spice marinades.    

Serves two – Preparation time 40 mins. (including 30mins marinating time) cooking time 10 mins.

Marinated lamb:
200g lean lamb, cubed
1 tsp each of turmeric and cumin powder
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp olive oil

Yoghurt dressing:
150g natural yoghurt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove crushed

To Serve:
Shredded Green Salad for two – lettuce, spring onions, cucumber
2 Pitta pockets (or more if hungry)

  1. Mix together the marinade and stir in the lamb – put aside for 30 mins
  2. Mix together all the ingredients for the yoghurt dressing
  3. When ready, heat a heavy frying pan with a little olive oil until very hot
  4. Throw in the lamb with its marinade and stir for 2-4 mins until medium rare
  5. Warm the pitta pockets if you are able – cut them in half to form two small pockets
  6. To serve – fill your pitta pocket with a mixture of shredded green salad and some lamb topped with garlicky yoghurt dressing – delicious!

If you do not like garlic – make the yoghurt dressing with cucumber and mint instead




December 2012 Edition


A hard winter and plenty of boating jobs still to do.  Cleaning out the bilges and polishing the propeller, can be cold work.  What better way of warming those numbed fingers, than by wrapping them around a bowl of thick stew?  If you love curries this recipe with its hint of curry flavour will be the one for you.  Adapted from a dish presented by Bill Granger on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, this very simple meal can be made from the galley’s store cupboard ingredients.
Serves two – Preparation time 10 mins - cooking time 15 mins

1 tbsp olive oil
1 sliced onion
2 chopped garlic cloves (or 1tsp of dried garlic)
1 or 2 tsp dried chilli to taste
½  tsp salt
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
40ml (1/2 small glass) water
½ tsp cumin
freshly ground black pepper
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, drained

To serve:
pitta bread
olive oil
salt and pepper
paprika (optional)

1.      In a deep pan, add oil, onion, garlic, chilli and salt and cook over a medium flame for five minutes (or until the onions are soft).
2.      Add the chickpeas, water, cumin, and pepper and cook for a further five minutes, until the water evaporates.
3.      Add the tomatoes and warm through.
4.      Remove from the heat and check for seasoning.
5.      To make the pitta crisps, break up pieces of pitta bread and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika.
6.      Toast under the grill or on a stove top toast rack until crisp.
7.      The stew is now ready to serve


September Edition


Drop scones are a great on-board standby - providing a very quick breakfast, dessert or tea-time treat.  They can be prepared savoury by adding salt, cheese, herbs, etc. or sweet by adding sugar, honey, dried fruits, or seasonal fruit as shown here.They should appeal to any Low Cost Cruiser in that they cost little to make and at this time of year any sailor worth his salt should be able to forage a few berries to make a perfect frugal but fabulous meal from the hedgerow or riverside. 
Serves 2 – Preparation time 10 mins – cooking time 10 mins

For the scones:

50g self raising flour
1 egg
25g sugar
100ml milk
Oil for cooking

For stewed plums:
125ml red wine
25g sugar (or to taste)
Dash of mixed spices
4 plums halved and stone removed


Put all the stewed plums ingredients into a saucepan and simmer for 8 to 10 mins.  Take off the heat and put to one side.

To prepare the drop scones, mix together flour, egg and milk to form a thick batter.

Lightly grease a frying pan with the oil and heat until moderately hot.

Drop 1 tbsp on the batter mixer into the pan.  Depending upon the size of your pan, add further spoons of the mixture (making sure they are spaced out). Cook the batter until bubbles appear on the surface and the underneath is golden brown.

Turn over and cook the scones on the other side for a further 1 or 2 minutes.

Remove from the pan and pile onto a plate.  Repeat until all the batter is used up.

To serve, put a helping of drop scones onto a plate and spoon over the stewed plums.  If you are lucky enough to be close to a shop, top with cream or ice-cream!!

August Edition


Having a barbeque is an excellent way of extending on board cooking space.  Rather than serving the usual salad with your barbequed meats, which not try a Moroccan Couscous?  Being filling, rich and spicy it is the perfect finish to a hard days’ sailing, and the vegetarians amongst the crew will be satisfied with this delicious stew alone.  The recipe below can be adapted around available ingredients.

Serves 4 – Preparation time 15 mins - cooking time 45 mins
2 onions
2 large carrots
1 red pepper
2 courgettes                       
1 tin chick peas
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 ½ pints vegetable stock

1 heaped tsp Couscous Spice OR add the mix below:
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
½ cinnamon stick
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of saffron threads (optional)                                                                   

400g couscous
¾ pint boiling water

Cut the onions, carrots, and red pepper into chunks and add to a large pan with the chick peas, tomatoes, vegetable stock and spices.

Bring stew to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes, then add the courgette also cut into large chunks and continue simmering for a further 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, pour boiling water over the couscous and leave to stand for 5 minutes before forking through to separate the grains. Add salt to taste.

Those who like their couscous fiery should look out for Harissa, a hot chilli puree, which can be mixed with a little of the finished stew’s stock and spooned over each serving to taste.




  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. M'mmm. You got me with the scones. I used to work in England (been there over 100 times.) I don't get there much anymore, but miss some of the food (I'd kill for a real bacon sandwich!) I even know how to pronounce 'scones'!

    A nice variation would be to serve the same sauce with crepes, which are even easier to make.

    (sorry for the deletion. I didn't realize Helena was using my computer before me.)


All comments are welcome, advice is particularly sought, please try to stay on subject ( within reason)