Easy recipes to cook on your canal boat holiday
Our modern narrowboats are like floating holiday cottages, with hot water, central heating, showers, flushing toilets, comfortable beds and fully equipped kitchens.
In our galley kitchens, you’ll find a sink with hot and cold running water, a cooker with four gas hobs, and an oven/grill beneath. There’s a fridge with a small freezer compartment, a larder, work tops, pots, pans, kettle, cutlery and crockery. Many of our canal boats also have a microwave. So, while the space is relatively small, it’s easy to cook simple and healthy meals on board.
You can find out more about our floating kitchens, by watching our short video guide ‘What is a kitchen is like on board an Anglo Welsh narrowboat’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=669cd3r1GOQ
To provide inspiration for your next holiday afloat, we asked some of our experienced narrowboat holiday-makers and colleagues who live on board their own boats, for their favourite recipes afloat.
Stan Cullimore’s Venison Ragu with Tagliatelle
Stan Cullimore was a member of the 80’s band The Housemartins. Now a journalist and children’s author, Stan has been enjoying regular narrow boat holidays for years.
Cooking time: around 1 hr
- 500g venison mince*
- 400g chopped tomatoes (tinned)
- 2 x medium carrots
- 1 x large onion
- 1 x bulb of fennel
- handful of fresh tarragon (or a large pinch if dried)
- 200ml beef stock
- 200 ml red wine
- dollop of tomato puree
- 75g of Tagliatelle per person
*If you prefer, you can replace the venison with pork, beef or Quorn mince. And use vegetable stock instead of beef stock.
- Put the venison mince into a frying pan with some olive oil and brown for a few minutes. Whilst it is sizzling away, chop the carrots, onion and fennel.
- Remove the mince from the pan, leaving the juices behind. Place the meat to one side in a bowl. Place the chopped vegetables in the pan with the meat juices. Heat and allow to soften for a few minutes.
- Return the meat to the pan, with the vegetables, and allow this marvellous mixture to bubble away gently. Add the chopped tomatoes. Stir in the stock, red wine and tomato puree. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Finely chop the tarragon (if fresh), the chilli and the garlic. Add to the pan. Place a lid on the pan, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for at least 40 minutes. By now, you should have an open bottle of red wine to hand which is still quite full. Pour yourself a glass, sit back and relax. The hard work is over, it’s time to kick back, chill out and enjoy the smells wafting from the cooker. Mmm. Should be good.
- Twelve minutes before the ragu is due to be ready, fill the kettle, boil it, then put the pasta on to cook. Should take around ten minutes, but read the pasta packet for details.
- Finally, plate up the pasta, spoon a large portion of ragu on top and munch away. With that and another glass of red in hand, you are definitely living your best boat life.
Kevin Yarwood’s Cauliflower, Broccoli & Tomato Gratin
Kevin is our base manager at Great Haywood. He lives aboard his own narrowboat with his wife and two children.
Cooking time: around 40 minutes
- 1 head each of broccoli and cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 4 large tomatoes sliced
- 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 180g of cream cheese
- 150ml tub of sour cream
- 200ml tub crème fraiche
- 2 teaspoons of English mustard
- 2 handfuls of grated cheese
- bunch of finely chopped spring onions
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pre heat oven at gas mark 6
- Put florets into a pan of boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes
- Drain and put into a roasting tin
- Mix all topping ingredients together season with salt and black pepper
- Spread the mix over the florets
- Top with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle over the Parmesan
- Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling and browned on top
- Serve with a crisp mixed salad and garlic bread
*This recipe is vegetarian but can be made vegan by exchanging the cheese and dairy products to vegan alternatives.
Matt Lucas Stern’s Scotch Egg Recipe
Matt is our operations manager, and he lives on board his own narrowboat at Wootton Wawen.
“Scotch eggs are great for a cruise on the boat, as you can have them hot in the evening with a salad, and any left-over eggs can be eaten cold the next day, when you are on the move. These home-made scotch eggs are soft boiled, making them far better than the dry ones you buy.”
Cooking time: around 45 minutes
- 5 eggs
- 70g pack of Panko breadcrumbs
- 720g sausage meat
- salt & pepper
- fresh parsley
- dijon mustard
To soft boil the eggs
- Boil a pan of water with a small amount of vinegar.
- When on a rolling boil, lower your free range eggs in to the water making sure they are covered by the water.
- Time for 6 minutes for soft boiled, longer for harder centres. When time is up, cool immediately in a bowl of cold water and peel and set aside.
To make the outer casing
- Mix 180g of sausage meat per egg with pinch of salt, a generous amount of cracked pepper, a pinch of thyme, a tablespoon roughly chopped parsley and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
- Flatten out the mix and wrap each egg in the sausage meat mixture.
To finish the egg
- Preheat oven at gas mark 6.
- Make an egg wash dip by whisking an egg and preparing a Panko breadcrumb bath.
- Dip the egg and sausage meat ball in the egg first, then the breadcrumbs. Do this twice for an extra crispy outer crust.
- Put eggs on a non-stick baking sheet and spray with a small mist of light oil. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.
Bridget Harrison’s Mars Bar Crunch
Bridget writes for The Times and has been going on regular family holidays on board boats for over 30 years.
“This is an easy recipe that kids can do alone, and makes delicious snacks that you can hand out at tea time, or as rewards to any crew driving or doing locks. But be warned, they are very moreish!”
- 6 Mars bars
- 200g butter
- 200g Rice Crispies
- Cut the butter and Mars bars into chunks and melt in a saucepan over a low heat until liquid.
- Put the Rice Crispies in a bowl and add the Mars bar /butter mixture.
- Stir well until they are combined. Tip into a baking dish and press down until firm.
- Pop in the fridge if you have room, but you may not on the boat, so it’s fine to leave on top also.
- When the mixture is set, turn out and cut into squares and store in a Tupperware box.
Howard Fisher’s Bread & Butter Pudding
Howard Fisher has been on a canal boat holiday almost every year for the last 50 years, including around 15 with Anglo Welsh.
“This is for a pudding I’ve made for years. It has been modified over the years, but it always disappears, no matter how much I make!”
- 600ml milk
- 30g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 30g currants
- 6 small slices bread and butter
- and optionally 2 tablespoons marmalade
- Heat oven to 175°C (Gas mark 6)
- Grease dish and line with 3 slices of bread and butter.
- Sprinkle with currants, sugar and grated nutmeg. Spoon over marmalade if using.
- Cover with remaining bread and butter.
- Beat eggs and milk. Pour over the pudding.
- Sprinkle pudding with grated nutmeg.
- Leave to stand 30 minutes before cooking.
- Bake for 1 hour.
Enjoy!Tags: canal boat holiday, Canal Boats, family holidays, Narrow boat holidays, narrowboat holiday, narrowboats, recipes