Can he cook it? Yes he can

I had the good fortune to encounter a charming couple doing a circumnavigation in a rather large cat some weeks ago.

Their boat is massive, an opulently appointed floating apartment that had me justifiably jealous.

We got to talking about food within minutes I was aboard and it was decided that I would prepare a simple roasted poussin for lunch. A lesson in flavour profiles for my hosts in return for a gorgeous afternoon aboard on the unusually flat water of the bay.

A simple potato stack and a bean salad would round out the meal.

They had everything aboard except the poussin, which are small chickens. Their size makes them so much more practical than a whole roasting chicken. A brisk walk to a nearby supermarket and all was good.

While they had European gas appliances in the galley, I elected to roast this dish in their barbecue, which looked like it had never been used. True enough they never had used it, preferring to use the three burner grill and oven in the galley. More like home, they explained.

A very long trip from England via South Africa to Australia and they never even once found a reason to use their barbecue? I am astonished.

Using just three items from the spice rack and a little lemon zest I have transformed a basic roasted chicken into something decidedly French.

We have a Captains Deck event coming up soon enough, those that have attended a previous one will know how much I appreciate spice racks!

My hosts are astonished to learn that I can adequately mimic the flavours and aromas of the three great cruising grounds: the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and South East Asia, with just thirteen herbs and spices. They are astonished and I am gushing as I usually do when explaining food.

It turns out that one of my hosts does not tolerate gluten very well. Thank God the lunch I had prepared just so happened to be gluten free! The usual symptoms of bloating and abdominal cramps prevent her from enjoying a traditional big breakfast, sausage and toast cause her grief.

He, on the other hand, is a diabetic. Cooking aboard can be challenging.

Her condition got me thinking along the lines of less is more. Sausage casings would be quite an indulgent item to provision and not really required. Cereals bind and pad out the meat in a sausage, but are not strictly necessary. Minced meat will bind well if kneaded. Flour or egg are redundant, no need to squander ingredients better suited to other meals.

With fewer ingredients, I can still make a pretty good sausage that even my Ms. Gluten Intolerant host can eat without uncomfortable consequence. Mr. Diabetic will have no need for his insulin shot. Thus was born a skinless Italian style breakfast sausage.

A kale salad with pine nuts seemed appropriate. We were enjoying a brunch more so than a breakfast, the following day.

My hosts rather like their meat cremated, so you will note the firm crust on the sausage in the photo. Truthfully, I found the crustiness appealing, given that the sausage had no casing.

It occurs to me that some of my readers might be, or have guests aboard that might be gluten intolerant. A go-to recipe for an all-purpose gluten-free flour might be desirable, so I have provided one for you to tinker with and perhaps further perfect. Imitations of wheat flour can be rather disappointing, you simply cannot have your cake and eat it too. But you can enjoy a reasonable alternative that comes close to the real thing.

Classic french roast

Serves 2

For the poussin:

  • 2 Poussin

  • 1Tbsp olive oil

  • 1tsp thyme

  • 1tsp onion powder

  • 1/4tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 lemon, zest only.

  • salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the rib cage, spine and breast bone if you feel up to the task. Otherwise cut the poussin in half.

Combine the Poussin and the other ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat evenly. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the potato stacks and green beans.

Bake at 180°C, making sure the potatoes have a 15 minute head-start in your oven or BBQ.

For the potato stack:

  • 2 medium sized potatoes

  • 2Tbsp olive oil

  • salt and pepper to taste.

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the potatoes with oil and toss to coat.

Arrange the potatoes in two neat stacks on baking paper. Secure the stacks with a toothpick.

Bake until golden and cooked through. Cooking time is slightly longer than that required for the poussin.

Green Beans

Serves two

  • generous handful of green beans

  • 2Tbsp almond slivers

  • 1/4 cup Water

  • salt and pepper to taste.

Toast the almonds in a dry skillet (no oil) until they take on a little colour and set aside.

Top the beans and add the water to a skillet and bring to a simmer.

Add the beans and stir occasionally to ensure even cooking. Beans should be bright green and have a slight crunch when done.

Season and add the almonds back to the skillet and stir to combine. Set aside until needed.

To plate arrange the bean salad equally and a potato stack on two plates and add 2 halves of poussin to each plate.

Italian breakfast sausage

Serves 2

  • 250g pork mince

  • 1tsp salt

  • 1/4tsp garlic powder

  • 1tsp onion powder

  • 1 1/2Tbsp fennel seeds

  • 1Tbsp parsley.

Toast the fennel seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant and then grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and knead aggressively for about five minutes.

Divide the mixture in two and roll each in cling-film securely to form a sausage and set aside in the fridge to set for not less than 30 minutes.

Poach the sausages in simmering water for eight minutes and set aside to cool long enough to handle safely.

Heat a little oil in a skillet. Remove the cling film from the sausages and fry in a little oil to brown.

For the kale salad:

  • 4 kale leaves

  • 1Tbsp pine nuts

  • 1/2 red onion

  • salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the kale into thin strips. Cut the onion into thin half rings.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet and set aside.

Saute the onion in a little oil. Add the kale to the pan and cook until the kale has wilted. Return the pine nuts to the pan and stir to combine.

Season and set aside until needed.

Gluten-free all-purpose flour

Makes 12 cups

  • 5 cups brown rice flour

  • 3 cups sorghum flour

  • 2²/3 cups corn flour

  • 1 cup potato starch

  • 1/3 cup potato flour

  • 11/2Tbsp xanthan gum.

Jeanneau SO380
Jeanneau JY55
M.O.S.S Australia
Race Yachts