Cooking at Sea


This is from page 183 of my guidebook. A couple of ideas for you. These are made using the bread dough I mentioned before.
Dinner rolls
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Roll the dough into balls the size of a golf ball or even a lime. You will notice a seam in the dough ball. Place the ball seam down on the cookie sheet. Allow rolls to rise an hour or two, until they are close to double original size. Whip an egg up and brush the egg on top of the rolls if you want a shiny look. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
Crescent rolls
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Roll the dough out flat about 1/8 or 1/4 inch thick. Cut into small triangles (like a miniature slice of pizza. Start on the fat end and roll towards the point end. Bend the roll slightly into “crescent moon” shape. Allow rolls to rise an hour or two, until they are close to double original size. Whip an egg up and brush the egg on top of the rolls if you want a shiny look. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.


Sacrilege. . . . It is just as easy to make them from scratch. . .I do that and start the gravy when I stick the biscuits in the oven to bake. I don’t eat that for breakfast, though. It is for the wife and her kids. . . Just because I can’t eat it doesn’t mean that others can’t. . . .


Okay haha . Here is my biscuit recipe from the guidebook I wrote.
When learning to cook, consider using a biscuit mix such as Bisquick. It’s easy to use, and you can get an idea of how your biscuits are supposed to look.
Regular biscuits
Use a regular size clean dry vegetable can to punch out the biscuits. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Ingredients- • 1/3 cup shortening • 1 3/4 cup flour • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder • 3/4 tsp salt • 3/4 cup milk Cut shortening into flour. Add baking powder and salt. Continue cutting. Add milk. Knead in the bowl a little. Roll out with a rolling pin until dough is about 3/4 inches thick. Cut out biscuits and arrange on a cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.


You know what they say…“The more you eat the more you make.”


Add about half a teaspoon of cream of tartar and substitute buttermilk for the milk. . .


A fool proof method to make a béchamel sauce is to add off the heat cold milk to the roux and thoroughly whisk it so long that lumps have disappeared and the sauce is smooth. Then put the pot on the heat source again, add some more cold milk and now stir with a wooden square edged spoon till it starts to bind. Add more milk, a little at the time, if sauce is getting too thick. Keep stirring until the sauce starts to bubble and then another three minutes while also scraping the bottom nooks and the sides of the pot.

The square edge allows you to scrape the bottom nooks of a pot while sautéeing and gives you a more targeted approach. The pointed corner also usually means you have one longer, flatter side to scrape the sides of a bowl or de-glaze a pan. The funny thing is that these square edged spoons are sometimes hard to get.

By taking the roux further on the fire until it is nutty brown this is then the basis of the famous Sauce Espagnole.


A dark, non-butter roux is also the basis for much of what we call “Cajun” cooking. Can’t make a real gumbo or etouffee without it. . .


Cajun food has been influenced a lot by the French so that could be the origin. However, blackened fish is probably not from the French kitchen. The white Sauce Allemande was named so because the Germans were blond. Likewise the Sauce Espagnole because the Spanish were brown/dark haired, so the story goes.


The Acadians were French, from Acadia in Canada. They were deported in the 1750s. Some went to France and were recruited by Spain to go to Louisiana.


Christmas dinner on the Shell tanker Ondina. Artwork by one of the officers wives who were on board for the voyage. The menu text is in English because the crew was Chinese, the officers Dutch. Tradition was the ever present Baked Ice Cream or Baked Alaska as it is called in the US. As a consequence I still make at every Christmas for dessert an Omelet Siberienne as we call it, a kind of nervous heritage tic…

The burning Baked Ice Cream dessert always made a dramatic entrance in the mess room with the lights switched off for the occasion.


That’s called a “spurtle.” Graham Kerr made them famous in the 70’s; I still have (and use) one that he sold, with the “GG” (Galloping Gourmet) logo. Various craft types on Etsy make and sell variants. An essential kitchen tool.




Very nice. Thanks for sharing.


I’ve sailed with some fantastic cooks. (some belly-robbers also) Back in the '90s, when I quit smoking, my tour overlapped with 2 of the absolute best cooks. I gained 30#s.

We had a crew of 11 to 13 and they could put out a meal anytime. Many times we had an emergency call-out at 0500 and the guys hit the deck with breakfast tacos in their hands.These guys baked fresh sour dough bread almost every day. They cooked many meals with chicken stock. SOP was take the largest stock pot, throw in 6 chickens, half stalk of celery, 2 large onions, 3 bell peppers, fresh cracked black pepper, salt and a pod of garlic. They’d bone the chickens out for various dishes, then set the pot in the cooler overnight. In the morning, they’d skim the fat off the top and dip out the stock as needed.


Graham Kerr was a cook in the Royal NZ Airforce. Got his start on NZ TV (we only had one channel). Our armed forces never had chefs in those days apart from the Navy because flag officers went to sea.
Sauce Bechamel attributed to Marquis Louis de Bechameil:
2 oz butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 pint of milk
Salt and white pepper

Simmer milk with following:
Slice of onion
Piece of carrot
Bay leaf
Sprig of parsley
Grated nutmeg
Strain the flavoured milk and proceed with making a roux. Remember to add the milk to the butter and flour mixture off the heat. Beat until smooth and simmer for 20 minutes.
A richer sauce can be made by substituting half the milk for single cream.


Baked Alaska is pretty easy to make. It is more assembling then cooking, especially if you buy ready made cake(s) of some sort.


Bake a sponge cake, slice it horizontally and line a bowl with the cake. Fill it with softened icecream(s) and put on the sponge cake ‘lid’. Put it overnight in the freezer.


Heat the bowl with warm water from the tap and place the contents upside down on a plate. Cover it with beaten egg whites with sugar added and decorate it with for instance a soft plastic spatula.

Now the fun part, burn it! I use a propane burner for the purpose. Put some firework on top, kill the lights and make your dramatic entrance. Success guaranteed!


Oh, the French influence on Cajun food is undeniable. Blackened fish is a relatively recent phenomena, And while he may not have invented it, Paul Prudhomme certainly popularized the technique. In fact, his blackened red fish damn near killed off the species,


I remember watching Kerr on TV way back when I was a kid. Usually when I was sick at home for the day.


For about 25% of the time I sailed with those great cooks, we were on a heating oil run to Boston and Portland. These guys always had a hearty stew, soup, chowder, bisque, gumbo ect every day for the guys coming in off the deck. The favorite was a chunky tomato soup with sour dough grilled cheese sandwiches.

The basic recipe for a small batch was 2 strips of bacon chopped and rendered crisp. retain enough grease to saute about 3 tbs each onion, celery and bell peppers. Cracked pepper and crushed garlic. Add a half cup of chicken broth, bacon bits and a can of cubed or sliced stewed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and add 1 can of condensed tomato soup. Simmer for a minute or two and add 1 cup of heavy cream before serving. Adjust up to the amount needed. Served with grilled cheese sandwiches or croutons is a killer!


That sounds really good. We had a cook a while back that I tried to tell him the importance of having soup or a stew for the guys when they were working cargo and coming off deck. The next stop all that was on the menu was soup and stew. No biscuits, sandwiches…nothing. Our Chief started calling him “old soup and stew”. I can’t remember the guys name but I’ll always remember his nickname.


Just watched the very informative Netflix series, 4 parts, of Michael Pallon’s ‘Cooked’. There is a lot of truth in what he is saying. Home cooking from scratch is nowadays an almost lost art. To compensate for that we watch the many, many cooking programs which are on television these days with our store bought TV dinners, Big Macs and pizza’s on our lap. That proves that our primal instinct for preparing food is still embedded deep down in the primal parts of our brain, we are willing but cannot any more also due to time stress. Cooking made homo erectus, not the other way around.

He warns against the ever growing power of the food industry who has penetrated our lives so deeply, bringing to us unhealthy ‘convenient’ food and eating habits. They even started, the Nestlés of this world, to undermine and destroying the Indian food culture because that is an enormous underdeveloped market, fingerlicking big.

The combination of sugar, fat and salt is one of their main weapons since they discovered that this an enslaving combination to which the brain has no defense. Dangerous is also the high sodium and sugar contents of food and especially drinks. It is present in great quantities in almost anything we eat or drink. The question is if it is still possible to turn the tables or are we too far gone already?