Preparing food for Passages

OK, so cooking when you're anchored up in a quiet secluded bay somewhere watching the sun set is a different prospect to trying to cook when bashing to windward on an ocean crossing.

Get creative with passage foods for those long passages. Passage food doesn't need to be bland create Indian, Asian and Moroccan dinners, like easy beef rendang, terriyake salmon or slow cooked lamb risotto. With some forward planning the right utensils and quick and easy cooking solutions, stops you from spending long periods of time in the Galley. Passage making is tiring so take the time to prepare early.

Through much trial and error, we've figured out what needs to be done before leaving, how to prepare, and what to do during the trip to make eating healthy simple and easy. In this blog we will be looking at main meals.

The more you can prepare prior to leaving the better. You never quite know what the weather conditions will throw at you. So having even your snacks prepared will help you to gain those all important energy boosts when needed.

Buying produce in advance and in bulk saves money and time.

We usually plan for a two day cook in the Galley the week prior to departure. Planning the menu and provisioning well in advance of this. If we were planning a five day passage we would plan for 8 days, weather can be inconsiderate, but even when arriving on time knowing there are extra prepared meals allows us to relax on arrival without the need to plan meals for a couple of days.

Making time to cook in advance saves you a lot of effort once you are at sea.

The real ingredient required here is prior preparation. Cruisers have come a long way from dried bread, biscuits and salted fish, but sometimes leaving the dock lines means you feel you need 100 ways to cook cabbage and a taste for canned spam. Well not on our boat. Having a well-stocked pantry, knowing how to buy and store fresh goods and a willingness to be creative and flexible is all you need to make cooking and eating on board stress free. All it takes to provision is a bit of planning, some smart choices and a lot of trips to the supermarket. When provisioning for passage food ensure you have provided for easy make, one pot, instant, ready made and one bowl meals. If you are prepared for these the task of making them under rough conditions isn't so daunting. 

Packing food ready to freeze in either ziplock bags or by cryovacing.

Ready made .... Prior to leaving port we make up passage meals. Cryovac them and freeze. If you haven't got a freezer a great idea is canned food recipes they are easier to make on the way as you are not prepping for long periods of time below or using sharp knives in bad weather. You might try some of the freeze dried ingredient as there is now a huge range available. Including, mince, chicken, beef, lamb and grated cheese to name a few. You can actually make your own recipes substituting for canned and freeze dried-goods. Canned meat if you have it in a one pot meal will make a crew happy to be eating in bad weather.

The first couple of nights out on an ocean passage you need to consider delicate stomachs. We won't all have our sea legs within the first 24 hours so try to stay away from hot, spicy, tomato, milk, cream and acidic foods. Try the more gentle approach with chicken stews, soups with crusty bread and rice to fill those bellies. One main cause of seasickness is an empty stomach so try to keep food up to crew even if it is in small amounts at a time.

You will need to keep everyone's protein and carbohydrate levels up as extra energy will be spent trying to fit the new watch system on the boat, and dealing with the boats motion. So high carbs like pasta, rice, Cous Cous, potatoes and quinoa are great bases. Add protein (no bones) in a sauce that can be cooked in one pot and served in a bowl.

We love to use our ShuttleChef for Passage Food making. Not only is the meal contained in one pot, but it's not requiring extended power use. Karen isn't in the galley supervising the cook and at any time of the day or night crew can help themselves to a hot meal. 

Have plenty of snacks including fresh fruit, energy bars and chocolate on hand for crew. We also use thermos' for tea and coffee it's nice to have them ready made for those days where boiling the kettle is like performing a circus trapeze act. 

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”—Virginia Woolf

For passage food ... Hot food always wins over cold every time. Food needs to be a motivating force when you have hard work and ugly weather. It may be the only bright spot of the day. A good crew gives just a little bit more knowing what is for dinner. When nothing else matters having something to look forward to does matter a whole lot. The psychological effect is huge. Cooks rule!

You can have a few complicated meals planned as you generally don't have terrible weather the whole trip but you need something reliable when the situation requires it like when it is really s#^t out there. Make sure you know the crews LIKES and DISLIKES before you provision its to late when your 200 miles out to sea. Also some instant, soups or noodles, "just eat it food" is worth providing for too. When you have a crew member effected by seasickness sometimes this is all the comfort food they can handle. It may not make you the chef of the year, but they need extra energy and they need to eat. Plan for the five types of meals. Easy to make, one pot meals, already prepared just needing to heat, one bowl meals and instant food in a box.

One bowl meals that can be eaten with a fork are a great option.

So what are our favourite "passage foods" or meals that we cook when we're in transit or making an ocean passage?

Here is Our Galley's top 8 Passage Meals

  1. Pumpkin Soup. Can be eaten for lunch, dinner or throughout the night to keep warm.
  2. Kerala Chicken Curry. A good tasty meal served with rice. Pre prepared and cooked in the ShuttleChef.
  3. Chicken Stew. A filling meal that you can get lots of vegetables into. Pre prepared and cooked in the ShuttleChef.
  4. Lamb Tagine served with CousCous. Another filling meal which is prepared in advance and cooked in the thermos cooker. 
  5. Creole Prawns. A favourite on Our Dreamtime, however it is spicy so if seasickness is a concern stay away from this one and maybe choose something like the next one.
  6. Thai Green Chicken Curry served with rice or noodles. This is an easy meal to prepare and have ready for the ShuttleChef. 
  7. Lamb Vindaloo traditionally is a spicy hot dish made with coconut, vinegar and lots of hot red chilli peppers. However you can vary the Chilli temperature to your liking. It is a great passage meal for cooler weather sailing.
  8. Chicken and Pumpkin Lasanga. Pasta is always good and this one made into individual servings so it can be served whenever the meal is required works well.

Galley utensils that we find helpful on passage. 

The Cryovac machine is an innovative vacuum packaging system which extends food freshness up to 5 times longer than conventional storage.  

The Shuttle Chef an amazing energy and time saving non-electric portable slow cooking concept from Thermos. After only minutes of boiling on a stove top your food will continue cooking for hours without any flavour or quality loss.

The ShuttleChef has an honoured spot in our Galley.

Recipes for you to try.

Pumpkin Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1  brown onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1.2 kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
1L (4 cups) chicken  liquid stock or vegetable liquid stock
Dollop of natural yoghurt
1 garlic clove minced

To serve
4 slices Turkish bread, 
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle on bread
1 teaspoon dukkah, to sprinkle

Let's get Cooking:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. 
Cook onion, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden. 
Add cumin and garlic cook, stirring for 1 minute or until aromatic.
Add pumpkin and stir to coat. Add stock. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Set aside to cool slightly. 
Use a stick blender to blend until smooth
Cool completely and divided into serving quantities for passage meals.
Cryovac or seal in bags and freeze.

When required. 
Defrost and warm in ShuttleChef or on stove top..

To Serve.
Cut Turkish bread in half and cook on a chargrill until golden. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and rub with the cut side of a garlic clove. Ladle soup among serving bowls. Top with a dollop of natural yoghurt. Sprinkle with dukkah. Serve with the bread.

Keralan Chicken Curry
Directions for using my Shuttle Chef or the oven.

800g Chicken thighs (8 thighs) no bones for passage food,
1 Onion large
2 Green chilli
2 Tomato medium chopped deseeded
3 tsp Ginger and garlic minced
2 Cardamom pods

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Coriander powder1 tbs Of Our Galley Garam masala Spice Blend
1/2 tsp Fennel powder
3/4 cup Coconut cream
3 Curry leaves
3 tbs of Oil

To Marinate
3/4 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
2 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tspTurmeric powder
1 tsp Ginger and garlic minced
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds

Let's get cooking 
Mix all the ingredients to marinate.
Add little water into it and make it to a paste.
Add chicken pieces into it and mix well.
Add to it sliced onion, green chilli, curry leaves and mix well.
Marinate for at lest 2 hours.
Pre heat oven to 150 degrees.
Heat 1/2 of the oil in pan (Shuttle Chef Pot) Add chicken skin side down.
Brown the skin.

In the other ShuttleChef pot ... Heat remaining oil add sliced tomato and sauté till it becomes soft.

Add ginger garlic paste and sauté for a minute
Add crushed cardamom pods, all spice powders and sauté till oil starts appearing on the sides of the pan.
To the pan add the chicken stock in the pan and mix well.
Add the chicken pieces and mix well so that gravy gets coated on the chicken pieces. Bring to the boil. ( If using Shuttle Chef Cooker simmer for 15 minutes)
Remove pan from heat
Add coconut cream and mix well

Passage food prep: at this stage cool completely and seal in bags for freezing. When required thaw and continue instruction below.

In oven:
Transfer chicken and curry gravy into oven proof dish. Cook slowly on low heat for min 2 hours, meat should be falling off the bones.

In ShuttleChef
Alternatively if using Shuttle Chef place the pot into the bottom of cooker, prepare rice with boiling water in top pot and close main lid, leave cooking min 4 hours.

Serve with the rice and steamed vegetables if inclined.

Chicken Stew


¼ cup of oil
1 cup chopped onion
1can diced tomatoes
2 cups  chicken broth
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp  thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp  salt
1⁄2 tsp  pepper
4 cups diced potatoes

1 1⁄2cups sliced carrots
2 cups chopped chicken breasts into 2 cm pieces.
Add any other vegetables you might like.

Let's get Cooking

Heat oil in large pot, saute onions for 2 minutes.
Add next 7 ingredients.
Bring to a boil.
Add potatoes, carrots, and chicken.
Simmer until vegetables are done, about 30 minutes.
Thicken with cornstarch if you like a thicker stew.

Cool completely and then place in bags or cryovac to freeze.

When required.
Thaw and warm on stove top or in ShuttleChef. 

Serve with lots of crusty bread.

Lamb Tagine


2 tbsp olive oil 
500g lean diced  lamb 
1 large Onion  roughly chopped
2 large carrots, quartered lengthways and cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp ras-el-hanout spice mix (see in my spice recipe page)
400g can chopped tomato
400g can chickpea, rinsed and drained
200g dried apricot
600ml chicken stock

To Serve
120g pack pomegranates 
2 large handfuls coriander, roughly chopped

Let's get Cooking

Heat oven to 180C. (For stove top cooking)
Heat the oil in a ShuttleChef pot (baking dish)  brown the lamb on all sides. 
Scoop the lamb out onto a plate, then add the onion and carrots and cook for 2-3 mins until golden. 
Add the garlic and cook for 1 min more. 
Stir in the spices and tomatoes, and season. 
Tip the lamb back in with the chickpeas and apricots. 
Pour over the stock, stir and bring to a simmer. For 15 minutes.
Cover the pot and place in ShuttleChef thermos outer with the second pot filled with boiling water. Cook for 3-4 hours
(Oven cookers. Place baking dish covered in the oven for 1 hr, If the lamb is still a little tough, give it 20 mins more until tender).
When ready, leave it to rest so it’s not piping hot, then serve scattered with pomegranate and herbs, with couscous or rice alongside.

If using as passage food. Cool completely and place servings in ziplock bags or cryovac to freeze. Thaw when required and warm in ShuttleChef or on stove top. Serve as per previous instructions.

Creole Prawns


1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons corn flour
1 400g can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of my Louisiana Spice Blend  (see Spice Blend page for details)
1 kg medium prawns - peeled and deveined, you can leave tail section on if you prefer

also if you love Chorizo add a chopped sausage at the same time as the prawns.

Let's get Cooking

In a large saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. 
Add onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic; cook until tender.
Mix in cornflour. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and spice blend.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. 
Stir in prawns, and cook for 5 minutes.
Serve with steamed rice.

If using as passage food. Cool completely and place servings in ziplock bags or cryovac to freeze. Thaw when required and warm in ShuttleChef or on stove top. Serve as per previous instructions.

Thai Green Chicken Curry


2 tbs Garlic EVOO
1 tbs butter
4 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 can of coconut milk
1 onion, small, peeled and quartered
4 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tbs ginger, minced
2 tbs corn flour
2 cups vegetables of choice we used bamboo, peppers, and carrots

2 tbs fish sauce
3 tbs of Our Galley's Green Curry Spice Blend 

Let's get Cooking 

In blender or food processor, combine garlic, ginger and onion and pulse until it forms a paste.
at olive oil and melt butter. 
Add spice paste stir well. 
Add chicken.
Cook for a few minutes, then add Green Curry Spice Blend. 
Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
 Add vegetables to the curry mixture.
Add coconut milk.
Add fish sauce and the vegetables of choice. Cook on very low for an hour.
If preparing for passage cook for a further 15 minutes. 

Passage food prep: at this stage cool completely and seal in bags for freezing. When required thaw and continue instruction below.

When required thaw and place in ShuttleChef heat through to simmer. 
Simmer for 15 minutes. Place ShuttleChef with the other pot with boiling water and rice (or use water later for cooking noodles) in outer shell and cook for 2hours min.
If sauce is not thick enough for your liking .....
Whisk corn flour with a few tablespoons of milk or water until smooth and add to the curry. Stir well. Let thicken and serve over rice.

Keep in mind our seasonings are low in sodium. You may need to add some salt for seasoning. 

Lamb Vindaloo


750 grams Diced lamb 
2 tbs White vinegar 
4 tbs of Our Galley's Vindaloo spice mix 
2 Onions Chopped finely
2 tsp Fresh garlic grated
1 tsp Fresh ginger grated
2 cup Beef stock 
1/2 tsp Salt
4 potatoes cut in 2cm cubes
2 tbs Ghee
Add other vegetables of your choice such as beans and carrots.

Let's get Cooking

Place diced lamb in a bowl and place 2 tablespoons of white vinegar on meat and mix. 
Then place 2 tablespoons of Vindaloo spice and also coat meat, let stand for 20 mins, or overnight if time permits.
Add oil or ghee and chopped onions to pan and fry until soft and just about to brown (the browner the onions the darker the dish will look) then add garlic and ginger and cook for a minute, then add 2 tablespoons of Vindaloo spice and fry for 30 seconds.
Add marinated meat and stir until meat is browned all over then add beef stock. 
Add salt.

Passage food prep: at this stage cool completely and seal in bags for freezing. When required thaw and continue instruction below.

Bring to boil then simmer for about 45 minutes * on stove top or until stock reduces, 

*Note: add potatoes and vegetables to this recipe when you have cooked meat for about ½ an hour on stove top, otherwise they will go mushy.

Slow Cooking in ShuttleChef 
If you want to cook in your ShuttleChef bring the pot to boiling point, (do not simmer for 45 minutes) 
Add potatoes/vegetables and then simmer for 10 minutes. (If using as passage food stop here and package for freezer. Defrost when required reheat to boiling point and simmer for 10 minutes).
Transfer pot into the ShuttleChef with the bottom pot full of boiling water and two cups of rice. Seal and cook for minimum 4 hours. 
Serve by draining any remaining water from rice and serve with Lamb Vindaloo.

Chicken and Pumpkin Lasagna


500 gm chicken mince
1 onion finely diced
1 piece of pumpkin cut into very thin slices
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbs Tomato Paste
2 tsp Of my Herb and Garlic Spice Blend (see Spice Blend page)
1 tbs Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves minced
1 cup grated cheese
packet of lasagna sheets

Let's get Cooking

In a large pot heat Garlic and Oil and saute onions for 2-3 mins
Add chicken mince stir until browned 
Add  tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, a little water, Spice blend and simmer until thickens a little.
In a rectangle baking dish, (use a foil tray if you are going to freeze) spoon some sauce into the base of it, then place lasagna sheets, then layer with pumpkin, sprinkle a little Cheese over and continue to layer, making sure a sauce layer is on top.
Cover with foil and bake in oven til pumpkin and lasagna sheets are soft, remove foil and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and cook until golden brown.
Serve with garlic bread and a salad.

If you are going to freeze after cooking cool completely, cover the top of the Lasagna with baking paper and then foil. Wrap tight in plastic wrap and freeze. When required, thaw, remove plastic, foil and paper and heat through in the oven. Serve as previously instructed.

If you would like to follow Our Galley's Blog ensure that you subscribe by clicking the Subscribe button.... you can also follow us on Instagram and FaceBook details are below.


  1. Wow, thank you so much for this. We are just preparing for our next trip. Heading to SE Asia via The Red Sea. We leave Hurghada early Jan. I had already planned to get a cooking Thermos, after reading this I will now invest in a Shuttle Chef. Thank you

    1. Sheens we are pleased the blog was helpful ... we love our ShuttleChef even though it is the top of the range available we feel the temperature and the versatility of the unit is brilliant. We also use the cake tin and meatloaf containers that you buy separately. While curry is cooking in the base pot a cake can be cooking in the top. No taste is transferred to the cake from the curry it is fantastic. Have a safe trip through the Red Sea .... Cheers Karen and Rob.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

10 Storage Ideas for Small Living ....

10 Easy Techniques to Preserve Foods on your Boat

DRUM ROLL ..... Delicious Food Afloat has been released.

Our Galley Food Porn

Dreamtime Sail Instagram

Dreamtimesail Facebook