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JohnT

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    Cape Town, South Africa

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  1. JohnT

    Food funnies

    I must admit that I am not that fond of Connely - not because of his profanity, but a true comedian is at his or her best when they do not laugh at there own humour, which Connaly does all the time - he spends more time laughing at himself than telling a humourous story. Danny Bhoy appears not to do so although I do not know him other than the clip above. One of the better comedians, to me, was David Allen, unfortunately no longer with us. Do a YouTube search for his videos.
  2. JohnT

    Boat Cookery

    Yip, that's the one - here it is called just a Chinese Cabage. But if you do not have any, just some normal cabbage leaves hand shredded is a good substitute. Just strip out the hard part of each leaf of a normal cabbage - use the whole leaf of the Chinese cabbage - cut the leafy part off the centre of each leaf and cut the centre rib into about 5mm strips across the grain. A simple and fast meal with the protine and mineral rich vegetables. Oh and stir-fry in just a glug of vegetable oil with some crushed garlic and a pinch of chilli flakes.
  3. JohnT

    Boat Cookery

    @Auspicious "Umhambi" has her head situated between the forepeak and the saloon. And no, there is only going to be myself on board although my brother may accompany me for part of the voyage - the writing above was whilst commercially undertaking deliveries, with either three or four POB. Although I have started out on some deliveries with three on board, I have had to sign crew off the boat due to family problems or illness, and ended up with just two to complete the delivery. However, this said, it can become illegal as far as some of the larger insurance companies are concerned. Legally you need to keep a 24 hour per day physical watch and some of the big insurance companies will refuse a claim if you sign a crew member off as they claim that you cannot keep a continuous and propper watch with only two POB. But then, single handing is also illegal! When you do deliveries commercially - most of my deliveries were for the Moorings charter company whic later became TUI Marine when the incorporated the Moorings and Sunsail and all those deliveries were for catamarans between 39' and 62', you get the boat handed over from the factory and survey it within 24 hours. It goes back to the factory maintenance berth, has the faults rectified and you, as the skipper, then sign for it and you have 72 hours to get your crew, provisions on board, fuel up and get the water tanks full and get to customs and immigration and clear out - winter or summer, bad weather or no wind, they want you on your way with the first stop 1699 nautical miles away (and they did not want you to stop there if you did not have a very good reason). There is actually no time for sightseeing - it's go, go, go! Then you arrive at your destination, have 72 hours to ensure the boat is spotless, do the handover and head for the airport and home - and then start the whole process to prep for the next boat Fishing is easy! You need a good strong line with a 6' rubber lure (either pink or bright red) and a twin hook. The trick on landing them on board is to keep the boat going as fast as you can. The fish then gets pulled out of the water and bounces over the surface of the water before landing - it can flap around but cannot resist being pulled to the boat if not allowed back into the water. Most people slow or stop the boat and that is when you start loosing your supper - once the fish is back in the water it fights like hell and 90% of the time it will win its freedom! Except for the first meal at sea, all meals are cooked on board. The first meal I have always cooked at home and has always been baked mac and cheese. It is a filling meal and low acid, which is very important to keep new and mostly inexperienced crew from getting seasick - make a meal with chilli or high acidic content, and the crew will spend their first 24 hours leaning over the edge of the boat "talking" to Neptune, offering up his or her dinner. Not a nice experience nor a safe one! Once everybody has gained their sea legs, all meals tend to be consumed without unwanted incidents. But fish meals are generally the simplest dishes to cook up on a moving boat - they need to be kept simple to bring out the real flavours. But you cannot live on fish alone, and that is where a good steak with a cracked black pepper and mushroom cream sauce goes down well - serve with baked veg before the veg starts going off. Or a stir-fry. Chinese cabbage stored in a plastic bag in the fridge lasts for weeks and stays crisp. A chicken fillet thinly sliced against the grain per person and marinated in soy sauce and a teaspoon of sugar for an hour or two then stir-fried with onion wedges, a thinly sliced green pepper and a few sliced mushrooms, together with half a shredded Chinese cabbage makes a magic meal served on a bed of rice or even a bed of Ramen noodles. Or a sweet and sour pork meal with rice - simple and easy to throw together. Ah, the choice is great if you have provisioned properly. @Anna N thanks for your compliment!
  4. JohnT

    Boat Cookery

    It was good to see some posts regarding cooking on a boat. I have been popping onto the forum only occasionally of late as I am busy clearing out my house to put it on the market and move onto my small 31' Miura sailing boat and next year starting off on a slow trip to Grenada in the Caribbean. I have planned to stop off at about 14 destinations and spend some time at each doing "exploring". On any trip food plays a vital roll - a well fed crew is a happy crew! I have just sent all my old delivery logs off to a document shredder company here in Cape Town - somebody will be fortunate in being able to wipe their backsides with recycled paper that has basically been around the world! My logs now match my personal log book with 42 Atlantic crossings. I always provisioned for four people for an eight week sail, even if we should take only six weeks to reach our delivery destination. If going into the Pacific via Panama Canal, I have always re-provisioned in either Colon or Panama City. These were from provisioning lists I had drawn up and amended over the years. There are a few things on food preservation for such long trips. Eggs will last you a good six weeks or longer as long as they are unwashed and have not been refrigerated. Always get them in papier-mâché boxes as they will quickly perspire in plastic egg trays and go rotten - you just need to flip the boxes every two or three days to prevent the yolks attaching to the outer membrane, which results in an unholy stench when cracking the egg. Never store onions and potatoes in the same storage locker and make sure the potatoes are in paper sacks and not plastic. Also onions are best stored in their mesh bag and not plastic bags. I love fishing for the pan. I never use a rod - just a hand line with lure. After departing Cape Town for the Caribbean, with the first stop being St Helena Island, you need to wait around 48 hours before putting out a line or the seals will go for your lure. Longfin tuna is guaranteed to be on the menu that evening - lightly sauté in a bit of butter with a touch of garlic, served with a green salad on the side. Leftovers are refrigerated and turned into fish cakes for dinner in a day or two. As you get about a week out of Cape Town and slowly into warmer water the longfin disappear and you may catch a nice yellowfin tuna and sashimi and sushi are the result. Yellowfin is often quite a large beast and thus the left-over fillets are frozen for later consumption After departing St Helena Island, heading for the northern coast of South America, a person gets into warmer water and the fish menu changes to Dorado (AKA mahi-mahi or dolphin fish). This makes a great pan-fry. Unfortunately, this is also the area that sailfish come and play with the lure, and you do not want to catch these beautiful fish - they do not attempt to eat the lure but play with it and sometimes it gets snared on their long beak, resulting in a dangerous time removing the hook. The boat has now progressed into even warmer waters as we slowly inch towards the equator. Flying fish are abundant but not something that you really want to eat. Another seafood is also available on the leg between St Helena and The Brazil coast - and you do not have to catch them as they come to you! They are squid, which are attracted by the navigation lights onboard during the night. They get stranded on board during the night and just as first light came along you pick them up off the deck, wash them off and clean out the guts and ink sack. Remove the spine and the tentacles (and the beak in the centre of the tentacles) and then pull off the skin. Cut into rings or strips and cooked (with the tentacles), briefly, with a dash of white wine, some garlic and onion and a bit of chopped tomato and some herbs and then refrigerated, makes a brilliant calamari salad for lunch. The calamari are even more tender if you have a pressure cooker on board and cook them under pressure for around 20 minutes. My provisioning does consist of fresh produce, but it mostly does not last too long. Pumpkin and squash last for the trip and cabbage will last 4 to 6 weeks if properly stored. I do provision with quite a bit of canned goods such as peas, green beans, mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, sweet corn and corn kernels. I also carry lots of canned fruit to use either in cooked meals or served as a dessert with UHT custard. Oh, and bread is baked every third day. Many folk do not allow alcohol beverages on board. On a delivery I always allow crew to have a drink under controlled circumstances. Every evening at 17:00 (5pm) local time we all get together and have a crew "happy hour" and are permitted one can of beer or one glass of wine or one double tot of what we have previously purchase duty free before departing Cape Town. When crossing a time zone, we always turn our time back one hour at 18:00 (6pm), so 18:00 then becomes 17:00 again. This occurs six times on a voyage between Cape Town and the Caribbean, and thus we have a double happy hour on those six occasions. Getting back to food, I have always believed that when at sea I should eat as well as I do when at home. For this I provision accordingly and I do take lamb chops, pork chops and pork roast, beef filet, quality steaks and chicken portions. The only thing we do not do on board is deep fried food - it is just too dangerous and if somebody is burnt, it may be two to three weeks before we can get to a port that has medical facilities to be able to cope with burns.
  5. JohnT

    The Bread Topic (2016-)

    @Arey I am a bit confused by your request. I have never heard of a "pain de mie" rye bread. I think the reason for that is that rye has little true gluten and thus will not expand like a normal gluten wheat flour. If you are trying to make a rye pain de mie, you will most likely have to use a good amount inclusion of high gluten wheat flour to get the rise needed and pressure within the pan to expand, bind and bake (set) to hold the shape. John.
  6. JohnT

    Butter Tarts

    Yes, and the warning states it contains soy and milk – but the ingredients label does not list either of those ingredients!
  7. JohnT

    Frozen mussels, how to best use them

    And if you have some left over, get some shrimp tomorrow and have shrimp and mussel pizza for dinner tomorrow evening!
  8. JohnT

    Tough Cookies

    Yes, it makes a very tender cookie, but still a crisp one - it really melts in your mouth! In South Africa we have only two types of white flour - cake flour, which is equivalent to your AP flour and bread flour. All desserts, cakes and cookies (we call them biscuits) are made with cake flour = AP flour in the US. You do need a little gluten to hold the cookie together. Hope that clears up any confusion. When baking them, they must stay light in colour and not get brown.
  9. JohnT

    Tough Cookies

    @Jim D. if your "shortbread" is too tough, you need a "shorter" recipe. You need to change your ingredients a bit. I use the recipe below to make mini shortbread cookies for a coffee shop, which are crisp, but melt in the mouth. Give it a go but roll out the dough then cut small circles a bit smaller than what you need. If you are baking small cookies, cut the time in the oven. I bake mine at 150°C for 10 minutes in a commercial convection oven. Ingredients: 1 cup (160g) cornstarch ¾ cup (170g) salted butter, cut into cubes ⅔ cup (100g) cake (AP) flour ⅓ cup (50g) icing sugar (confectioners sugar) Method: Bring the butter to room temperature in a bowl. Whisk to cream, with a handhelds electric whisk. When creamed, sieve in the icing sugar and combine completely with the butter until it all forms a creamy mass. Sieve in the flour and cornstarch and mix again. At first it will be very powdery, but after a time will form a solid clump. Stop the mixer and gather together, forming a long rolled sausage on a counter, about 30mm thick. Do not use any flour to prevent it from sticking - it will not stick to begin with! Cut the sausage into even 10 to 15mm disks and then roll each disk onto a ball. Press a bit flat and place on a lined baking sheet. Press down lightly on the dough with the tines of a fork to mark the cookies. Place in a preheated 160°C (325°F) oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. Do not try and sample one until they have fully cooled! John
  10. JohnT

    Making Tortillas at Home

    Thanks Anna and Andie for your replies. I am going to have to do a bit more research on this product before I get into trying to attempt making corn tortillas. I will have a look at some of our maize flours sold here (they are a staple food in our black population). I will get back to you once I have enlightened myself a bit more.
  11. JohnT

    Making Tortillas at Home

    Okay, I have read thru this entire thread and need to know one thing regarding the corn flour (masa?). How fine is the corn flour? We have a lot of different brands of corn flour in South Africa, but most are rather a course grind and I am not sure how fine it should be for tortillas. Any help would be appreciated.
  12. JohnT

    Vietnamese "Red" Chicken?

    Could the "red" chicken by any chance have been a red chicken curry? I am not knowledgeable with Vietnamese dishes but have heard that they make a red chicken curry (or maybe thought of such a dish in my dreams last night).!?!?
  13. JohnT

    Anyone using a LP Gas stove?

    I have grown up with LPG stoves, water heaters, lighting and refrigeration. My present stove is LPG and I have portable emergency lighting units that use LPG. Properly installed and operated, it is a far safer and controllable means of cooking than electricity. I have delivered well over 100 sailing boats over the years and all, except one, had LPG stoves. If the OP wants to go LPG, get the installation done professionally and do not try DIY. Get an installation certificate as, if anything goes wrong, your insurance has no ability to reject your claim. And yes, gas can explode, just like electricity can short! Both can destroy your home. Propper installation is a must and the stove must have built-in sensors to automatically turn the gas supply off if the flame is blown out. AlaMoi, the LP(G) actually stands for Liquid Petroleum Gas. Propane and Butane are byproducts of the petroleum refinening industry and in most countries LPG is a mixture of both gasses - butane needs a thinner walled cylinder (has less pressure) and burns at a much reduced temperature. This is why they normally mix the two gasses to obtain a higher burn temperature for domestic and industrial use. Your BIC cigarette lighter has just butane at low pressure.
  14. JohnT

    The Bread Topic (2016-)

    Yep, you need a higher hydration to get the holes. And do use a high gluten flour than AP.. A few stretch' n folds during the fermentation stage should do - then shape, proof and bakel
  15. @Skyclad Please let us know how it turned out once you have presented it to the young lady for whom you are preparing the dish! A photograph may also help
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