Merry Christmas from the Galley, Part One

13 December 2018 By Laura Dunn

In honor of the holidays, five yacht chefs have contributed an original recipe to Dockwalk, each with a Christmas flair that will keep you in celebration mode all month long (or longer).

In today’s edition, South African Head Chef Tracy-Jane Ingle of M/Y Hampshire shares a traditional South African pudding called the Tipsy Tart. “This is my late granny’s recipe,” says Ingle. “And I tweaked it to add the toffee apples and the way it’s decorated.” You can find more of her work on Instagram at @garden_full_of_greens.

Tipsy Tart
By Head Chef Tracy-Jane Ingle

3/4 cup of roughly chopped and pitted dates
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp bicarb of soda
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 large egg beaten
3/4 cup boiling water
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp tepid Water
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup of good Brandy

Preheat oven 180 degrees. Put 1/2 of the dates, boiling water, sugar, and butter in a pan bring to boil for three to four minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly. Mix bicarb and tepid water and add to the date mix; it should froth up. Sift the flour and baking powder into mix and add the rest of the dates and nuts. Blend in the egg and mix well. Pour mixture into a buttered dish and bake for about 40 minutes. While tart is baking, make the syrup.

Syrup: Boil all the ingredients except Brandy for three to four minutes just before you take the tart out the oven. When you take it out the oven, poke little holes in it to absorb all the syrup. Mix the Brandy with the syrup and immediately — but slowly — pour over the tart. Leave it to cool so the syrup can dissolve and serve with Chantilly Cream or vanilla ice cream.

Christmas Q&A:
What’s your favorite holiday dish that you look forward to having every year?
It has to be my Granny’s Tipsy Tart, I love the smell and how it tastes delicious. It always reminds me of Christmas.

What makes this time of year so special for you?
The chance to feel like a kid again: Whether you are five or 85, the holiday season is a time to really just enjoy yourself and reflect on all the good things in life.

Any holiday cooking tips for other superyacht chefs?
Don’t go overboard. Also, take some time to enjoy this day with the crew and make time to speak to loved ones far away.

Any holiday provisioning tips or advice for cooking for your guests?
There is nothing worse for a chef to be let down last minute, so it’s a good idea to utilize your network of contacts when researching a provisioner to work with. Whether it’s sourcing rare items, providing the freshest and finest produce do your homework, plan well in advance.

What are wishing for Christmas this year as a Christmas gift?
I would like The Noma Guide to Fermentation Cookbook.

About the Chef: 
I have five fundamentals for creating a new recipe.
1. Crew, family, and friends that are willing to be your lab rats and sample your creations will give their honest opinion.
2. Learn from your mistakes.
3. Look for inspiration by eating out, reading recipe books and food blogs, and by taking long walks in nature.
4. Don’t use ingredients you don’t like. You have to taste your new dish all the time to get it perfect.
5. Know your basics.

Back in 2008, I landed my first job as the owners’ personal chef on board a yacht that was in Sydney. Prior to that, I had never cooked on board a yacht. I was so excited, nervous, and was not sure what to expect.

I studied Hospitality Management in South Africa and upon competing my degree, I decided my true passion was cooking, so I studied another two years at a private chef school. My love for cooking started at a young age cooking with my Granny on our farm.

What I love most about my job is that I’m constantly surprised at the flavors the world has to offer. The way people in other cultures and countries prepare food and break  bread together — not that all cultures even eat bread — astounds me. However, the most difficult part of the job is seasickness…

One thing I’ve learned on the job is to be more adaptable in adverse conditions. The galley moves around physically (pitching and rolling sometimes) from country to country, whereas a shore-side kitchen does not. You have to do a lot pre-planning and be creative with the produce of the country you in.

My style of cooking is comfort food — food that provides a nostalgic and sentimental value to someone. My favorite cuisine is Italian. I love tomatoes — it’s my favorite fruit and is so versatile. My favorite dish to cook is dessert. It’s the last course of a meal and no matter how full you are, there is always room for dessert.

My ideal guest is an adventurist foodie who loves to try new dishes.

The strangest request I’ve ever received was to kill and cook a squirrel because they were annoying the boss and making a mess on his patio at his villa. I was gobsmacked and speechless. I did not do it….