Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Tips for Boaters (3)

Well, I suppose I am a sort of anti-smoking evangelist. Although I have not smoked for over forty years. I do remember on one occasion about twenty years ago. While we were out and in an inebriated state enjoying a new years eve meal. A friend proffered me a cigar and I had it in my lips before I remembered that I did not smoke.
However, I do remember those cigarette cards, usually held together with an elastic band. Cards that we used to collect as a kid. Often with either pictures of our sporting hero's or some gorgeous, busty actress. cigarette makers began inserting the cards as blank stiffening to make the thin paper packaging stronger in the pocket.Then someone must have thought, why not make the cards more interesting each with their own image and a short note on the reverse.
So here is an example of a cigarette card to offer a tip or two that just might come in useful while out and about on the Rivers and Canals of the Inland Waterways on your boat. 

We all know that it can be difficult preparing a meal on board our boats. Therefore it is often essential to be able to judge the freshness of food. If the ships stores are running low, then we may have to fall back on the more staple items such as Lobster.

While the European Crayfish is a protected species and the American Signal Crayfish is an unwanted interloper, oft described as an alien species. 

Here is a helpful card describing the correct way to establish the freshness of a Lobster which I am sure we all enjoy preparing for lunch from time to time. The king of the crustaceans, lobster is a delicacy that commands a very high price, with white, firm meat that is sweet and succulent. Before it is cooked, lobster shell has a very dark colour, with tints that range from blue/green to red/purple - it gains its distinctive deep red brick colour only when it's cooked.

If you have bought a live lobster, you should kill it just before cooking it. The most humane way to do this is to put it in the freezer for two hours. If you don't have a freezer on your floating 'Gin Palace'. Put the lobster in a container and cover it with crushed ice for the same amount of time - this will render it unconscious. It will also chill the wine.

Then, having made sure that the lobster is no longer moving, push the tip of a large, sharp, heavy knife or a skewer through the centre of the cross on its head, and it's believed that this will kill it instantly.

Alternatively, put the chilled lobster in a large pan of cold, salted water and slowly bring it to the boil. It will die before the water boils. When the water has reached boiling point, lower the heat and simmer the lobster for around 15 minutes for the first 450g. Simmer for a further 10 minutes for each extra 450g, up to a maximum of 40 minutes. When the lobster is cooked, its shell will turn a deep brick red. Drain off the water and leave to cool. 
A halved, freshly cooked lobster is ready to eat - the only thing you might need to do is to crack open the claws using a pair of lobster crackers, which you will usually find on all the best boats. Alternatively you can use the mooring stake hammer in order to access the claw meat.

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