"We eat very well on Our Dreamtime but I'm not about slaving away in the galley for hours to feed the crew. I would rather be sitting with a sundowner in hand with everyone else than spending hours at the stove top.
In this blog I show how I go about just that and include plenty of tips and recipes all of which I have cooked in our galley.” - Karen
Like all the recipes posted in this blog, every one of these dishes have been prepared by Karen in the galley on board 'Our Dreamtime'. Living on the hook or in a marina doesn't mean you can't eat great meals.
Karen will soon be publishing another volume of the Our Galley e-book series containing a huge range of her beef recipes. Meanwhile scroll down to see some of her suggestions. Click on any image to see larger versions.
There are really only two ways to cook any piece of meat. Hot and fast, or low and slow. Anything in between is liable to end in toughness.
This principle applies whether you are stewing, roasting, steaming, grilling, barbecuing, boiling, frying, or indeed microwaving. Before you start, you need to decide whether you are going fast or slow.
1. Use High Heat to Develop Flavour
Browning creates flavour and is a key step when cooking meat. This happens through a process called the Maillard reaction. This reaction occurs when the amino acids and sugars in the food are subjected to heat, which causes them to combine. In turn, hundreds of different flavor compounds are created. When browning meat, you want a deep brown sear and a discernibly thick crust on all sides—best obtained by quick cooking over high heat.
To ensure that meat browns properly, make sure the meat is drybefore it goes into the pan; pat it thoroughly with paper towels. This is important with previously frozen meat, which often releases a great deal of water. Second,make sure the pan is hotby preheating it over high heat until the fat added to the pan is shimmering or almost smoking. Finally,make sure not to overcrowdthe pan; there should be at least 2 cm's of space between the pieces of meat. If there isn't, the meat is likely to steam instead of brown. If need be, cook the meat in more than one batch.
An experienced chef can tell when the meat is ready by pressing it and feeling the give in the meat – the firmer the meat, the more cooked it is. As a rough guide, press your index finger to the ball of your thumb on the same hand – that is what rare meat feels like. Press it with your little finger – that is what well-cooked meat feels like. The pressing technique takes time to learn and requires trial, error and lots of practice. Using a meat thermometer, with the probe inside the thickest part of the cut, can ensure that you get it right every time. We love our especially for roasting on the BBQ.
2. Use Low Heat to Preserve Moisture
For large cuts of meat or poultry, we recommend a low-and-slow cooking method. We find that this approach allows the center to come up to the desired internal temperature with less risk of overcooking the outer layers. It also helpsminimise the loss of flavourful juices(and fat).
3. Match the Cut to the Cooking Method
Tough cuts of meat, which generally come from the heavily exercised parts of the animal, such as the shoulder or rump, respond best to slow-cooking methods, such as pot roasting or stewing. The primary goal of slow cooking is to melt protein in the connective tissue, thereby transforming a tough piece of meat into a tender one. These cuts are always served well done.
Tender cuts with little connective tissue generally come from parts of the animal that receive little exercise (like the loin, the area along the back of the cow or pig). These cuts respond best to quicker, dry-heat cooking methods, such as grilling or roasting. These cuts arecooked to a specific doneness. Prolonged cooking increases moisture loss and can turn these tender cuts tough.
4. Don't Forget about Carryover Cooking
Since the temperature of meat will continue to rise as it rests, an effect called carryover cooking, meat should be removed from the oven, grill, or pan when it's5 to 10 degrees below the desired serving temperature. Carryover cooking doesn't apply to poultry and fish; they don't retain heat as well as the dense muscle structure in meat.
5. Rest Your Meat
The purpose of resting meat is to allow the juices, which are driven to the center during cooking, to redistribute themselves throughout the meat. As a result,meat that has rested will shed much less juice than meat sliced straight after cooking. A A thin steak or chop should rest for up to 5 minutes, a thicker roast for 5 to 10 minutes. And when cooking a large roast like a leg of Lamb the meat should rest for about 20 minutes before it is carved.
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Saganaki is a popular Greek entrée or appetiser which incorporates various Greek dishes named for the small round two-handled frying pan in which they are made, the best known being a fried-cheese version. However you will find different meats, vegetables, or even seafood with cheese, panfried or broiled and served as "Saganaki" as m…