Friday, September 23, 2011

Favorite Eats - Bangers, Bubbles and Squeak

The former Front St. Ale House in Friday Harbor
For many years our cruising tradition when coming home from the BC central coast was after checking through customs was a trip to the Front Street Ale House in Friday Harbor for supper.  This was always a favorite of mine and the crew.  It had some of the best English style pub fare south of the border - the Canadian border.  Add to that their small on-site micro brewery brewed up some of the best beers.  The Hefeweizen beer tasted exactly like what I would drink in Bavaria, Germany.  Unfortunately the Front Street Ale House has closed and a new restaurant has taken its place.

My traditional meal that I enjoyed repeatedly was the "Bangers, Bubbles and Squeak".  This was English pub fare at its finest.  Bangers are simply English sausages which are akin to German Bratwurst, but the pork is ground finer and the pork is mixed with breadcrumbs and water.  The term "banger" comes from when heated, the water in them turns to steam, expands and explodes.  They also differ from bratwurst in the seasonings used, having more mace, ginger, and sage.  "Bubbles and Squeak" is the mix of cabbage, onions, and mashed potatoes.  It gets the name "bubbles and squeak" because of the sounds as you cook it in the pan.  Of course to serve "bangers, bubbles and squeak" you have to smother it all with a rich brown, onion gravy.

Not to be outdone or disappointed at the loss of the Front Street Ale House, I proceeded to work hard to produce a "boat version" of "bangers, bubbles and squeak" that would not require a lot of preparation or a lot of ingredients.  To satisfy as a boat version, it's got to be easy to prepare - not more than 5 or 6 ingredients; take less than 15-20 minutes to prepare; not use an oven or any special tools or techniques; and not use more than two pans.  Finally, and most importantly it's got to taste good and meet or exceed what you can get in a restaurant.  I set about to make the perfect "boat version" of "bangers, bubbles and squeak."  Here's the recipe:

Bangers, Bubbles and Squeak
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 4 banger sausages
  • 2 T dried or dehydrated onions
  • 1 C dark beer or ale
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 C coleslaw mix - just cabbage mix not mayonnaise or other ingredients that are with coleslaw.
  • 2 C instant mashed potatoes
  • 1 pkg brown gravy mix
Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan that has at least 2" sides.  Fry bangers for 3-4 minutes each side or until the each side of the banger is browned - about 6-8 minutes total.  Sprinkle dried onions in the pan and add the beer.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about another 5-6 minutes. This will ensure the bangers are fully cooked and add a great flavor to them.  When cooked, remove sausages from pan and keep warm, but do not discard liquid.  Pour liquid into a small bowl, you should have about 1/4 C of rich brown onion-beer liquid.

Prepare the instant mashed potatoes per the directions and set aside.

In the pan that the bangers were cooked over medium-heat add the butter and add the cole slaw mix and saute cabbage for 3-5 minutes.  Add prepared mashed potatoes to pan and mix well.  Cook cabbage and potato mix for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If mix gets too thick add milk to thin.

Boil 3/4 C water, pour into a bowl and add instant brown gravy mix as well as reserved liquid from cooking bangers and prepare instant gravy per package instructions.

Place bubbles and squeak on the plate, along with bangers, and top with gravy.  Season with salt and pepper to taste if necessary.  Enjoy.

I apologize for the heavy use of packaged mash potatoes and packaged brown gravy mix, but if you want to put the extra effort into making real mashed potatoes and real brown gravy on your boat - more power to you.  When I'm on shore I do go the extra effort to making real mashed potatoes and real brown gravy.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Cruise

Friday, September 2, 2011.
I left work early and quickly headed down to the boat.  Again I wanted to get out of town.  The past few cruises were so enjoyable that I could not get enough of being out on the boat.  Once again, I would cruise out on the Independence by myself and have Kim and the dogs meet up with me later.  This gives me a chance to get some nice and quiet alone time on the boat, and Kim some time to adventure on the Zipper.  It is a win/win for all.

I left my slip at 1345 to cruise to Jarrell's Cove.  Labor Day weekend in Olympia means Harbor Days.  Harbor Days means tugboat races and lots of visiting boaters.  The weather forecast was for sunny, warm weather so I suspected the waters would be busy.  Sure enough cruising out of Olympia I was greeted by many pleasure boaters and tugboats coming into the Olympia Harbor.  The tide was rising high and I could take the "shortcut" out of Olympia which meant making a straight line from the Olympia #5 daymark to Hunter Point passing well to port of the Olympia Shoal.  The rising tide also meant that I would cruise through the channel between Hope and Squaxin Islands versus staying west of Hope Island.  This provided me with a bit of a navigational challenge to avoid the shoals the extend west of Squaxin Island towards Hope Island.  The winds were light from the north presenting me with only rippled seas and just enough to keep me cool.  Once past Hope Island I cruised up Pickering Passage, beneath the Hartstene Island bridge, past Walkers Landing and into Jarrell's Cove.  It is a cruising route that I am well familiar with.  I got into Jarrell's Cove at about 1600 and once again found an open state park mooring buoy far into the cove.  I tied up to the buoy at 1617.  Once again the mooring buoys are popular but the docks are not - both the outer and inner docks were almost empty.

Jarrell's Cove State Park "inner" dock
I am not only waiting for Kim and the dogs to show up but also some good friends - in the "Explorer" to show up too.  As I cruised up to Jarrell's Cove I texted them and Kim my status, and they too replied with texts letting me know their status too.  The "Explorer" arrived about 90 minutes later and found the last available mooring buoy.  Kim and the dogs in the Zipper arrived just about 1800 and brought supper from town along with some other groceries.  The Labor Day weekend was on.

Saturday, September 3, 2011.
Nice Red Rock crabs!
Woke to a glorious morning clear and cool.  The temperature must have dipped down into the high 40's because it was definitely a bit cool when I took the dogs to the beach in the morning.  I was glad for the sun to come up and warm the boat up.  The "Explorer" invited all of us over for breakfast.  They've got a great boat and the dogs enjoyed it too.  We chatted for a long while reminiscing about times past and about life now.  The idea was floated to go crabbing.  So we loaded up the Zipper and set some crab pots just off of the south tip of Stretch Island.  We returned later to pull up six very nice sized red rock crab!  We decided to re-set the crab pots for the night and will return in the morning to get more.

We were all tired and retreated to our respective boats for supper and the evening and bid the "Explorer" good night.  Although I did return to deliver an appetizer of smoked salmon cream cheese crackers to the "Explorer" as a token of appreciation for the crabbing idea.  I grilled some curry chicken thighs for supper, but once again we decided to have a light supper of appetizers instead.  Kim and I talked late into the evening and I watched the moon dip below the trees.  Once that happened I said, "the moon has went to bed and so am I."

Sunday, September 4, 2011.
If I thought it was cold yesterday morning, this morning was even colder.  I was supposed to pick up the skipper of the "Explorer" at 0730 to pull the crab pots, but I waited until at least the sun came up.  Even then it was cold.  We coldly cruised over to the crab pots noticing that the water was warmer than the air as we pulled the pots up.  Unfortunately we came up empty with both pots.  We moved to a new location and reset them vowing to pick them up later that afternoon when it was warmer.  When we returned we treated the "Explorer" to our famous breakfast of corned beef hash aboard the Independence.  Again, we took our time enjoying breakfast and talking late into the morning.  We then took a long walk with the dogs through the park enjoying the tall trees and cool shade.  It was going to be another hot day.

MV Explorer at Jarrell's Cove
The "Explorer" had guests come by car from out of town.  However one of the crew from the "Explorer" wanted an escape from their guests and we obliged by taking the Zipper over to Fair Harbor.  The dogs and I waited in the Zipper while the gals did some shopping at the store.  Fair Harbor was a busy place with boats coming and going.  The small harbor was packed with boats.  When the ladies finally emerged from the store they were all smiles - they got some nice clothes and other items.  On the way back to Jarrell's Cove we took our time and stopped to pull up the crab pots.  This time we got six more nice red rock crab.  However, we did not re-set the pots instead we pulled them aboard the Zipper and returned to our anchorage.  Again we thanked the "Explorer" for the crabbing and bid them "good night."  Tonight I grilled some pork chops with a red pepper marinade and they were excellent.  Once again we stayed up with Kim picking crab and me watching the moon set below the horizon.

Monday, September 5, 2011.
Happy Labor Day!  Once again the morning was very cold and I could not wait for the sun to rise over the trees to warm the boat up.  After a morning walk with the dogs through the park we came back to the boat and made crab cakes from yesterday's crab.  They were absolutely delicious.  We decided to share some of our crab cakes with the "Explorer."   Again a fun morning of light conversation that was filled with laughter and enjoyment.  The folks from the "Explorer" are absolutely great people.  We hope to do more cruising with them.  Finally we bid them adieu and prepared to leave.  We untied from the buoy at 1135 and made for home.  We cruised once again down Pickering Passage, down Peale Passage and into Budd Inlet.  We sat up on the flying bridge for most of the cruise home until I just got too hot.  Again the boating crowds that came to Olympia for Harbor Days are now leaving and return to their home ports so the waterways were full of boats.  Also leaving Olympia Harbor were two tall ships the Lady Washington and another.  We got into our slip at 1430.  What a great, fun, and relaxing weekend.
Stats: 31.1 nm, average speed 5.7 knots, 5:30 hrs. cruising, ending engine hours 6208.7.
Independence Corned Beef Hash
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 medium sized Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 t dried parsley
  • 1 t Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 can corned beef
  • 1 T Bick's Red Pepper Relish
  • 2-3 eggs, beaten
Heat a frying pan with vegetable oil over medium high heat and fry onions until soft about 3-4 minutes, next add potatoes, dried parsley, and Montreal Steak Seasoning, mix well and cover and cook until potatoes are barely done about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Next add canned corned beef and Bick's Red Pepper relish and mix well and cook for about 5 minutes until corned beef just starts to crisp. Finally make a well in the bottom of the pan and add the beaten eggs.  Cook eggs until just starting to set and then mix eggs into hash.  Serve with grated parmesan cheese and hot sauce if desired.