20. ‘Masterbaking …………. or …… Mother Watch preps ……… or ……. ‘If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake’

Never mind the fitness programme, what about Mother Watch preps……………………………………

To quote from the official Clipper guidance, a high performance sailing team needs fuel in order to perform. It is the responsibility of the Mother Watch (one crew member from each watch working together for a 24 hour period) to prepare and serve food for the rest of the crew as well as tidying and cleaning the yacht in order to maintain a healthy crew and living area. It’s something of an added bonus if you can, actually, ………. cook something! It’s even better if you can bake bread or, drum roll please, even bake a cake. So, on the basis of practice makes perfect I’ve been having a go in the kitchen, oops I mean galley. Fruit scones, bread, treacle tart, carrot cake, quiches, Victoria sponges – ok maybe not all entirely suitable for a 5 week crossing of the North Pacific but all good galley practice nonetheless.

Fruit scones. 8oz self-raising flour, 2oz sugar, 2oz butter, 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons(ish) of milk, teaspoon of baking powder, 2-3oz (or a slack handful and a bit!) of sultanas/mixed fruit etc. Rub it together by hand and then add the egg and milk and fruit and mix together. Cut as required, coat with egg/milk wash and bake for about 12-15 minutes.


Bread (Seeded or unseeded). 500g of bread flour, 1 and a half teaspoons of sugar, 1 and a half teaspoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 packet of yeast and 1 cup of luke warm water all mixed together by hand and then kneaded for 10 minutes by hand. Grease the original mixing bowl and put the mixture in the bowl covered by clingfilm of a damp tea towel and then leave for the first rise until the mix has doubled in size. For a seeded loaf bung in about 2.5g of mixed seeds before mixing by hand. After the first rise ‘knock it back’ by kneading for a further three minutes then put the bread mix into a well greased baking tin making sure it is well packed into the tin and cover for the second rise. If making a seeded loaf sprinkle poppy seeds on the top of the mix once in the tin. After the second rise, remove the covering and transfer the tin quickly into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.


Treacle Tart: For the pastry use 8oz of plain flour, 2oz of lard, 2oz of butter and a pinch of salt. Mix by rubbing the mixture through your fingers only until the mix has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Then add about 5 tablespoons of cold water and roll the mixture into a ball. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Then roll it out. Put the rolled pastry into a well greased tart tin, keeping some pastry for lattice covering later, prick the bottom with a fork, placed a greased butter wrapped on the base with some weights – teaspoons will do the trick – and bake for about 12 minutes.

For the filling – 450g Golden Syrup, 1 large egg, zest of a lemon, 25g unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons Double Cream, 40g breadcrumbs plus 30g oats (slightly more for a denser mixture.


Gently warm the golden syrup, then add the butter and stir until melted. Leave to cool a little. Beat the egg and cream together in a separate bowl, then quickly beat in the syrup mixture along with the lemon zest and crumbs/oats. Pour into the pastry case. Cover in pastry lattices and then coat in an egg/milk wash to help the pastry brown. Bake for about 40 minutes ish until brown (ish) and set (ish) …… which in reality for me meant check how it looks in the AGA every 5 minutes from the 35 minute mark!IMG_5091

Carrot Cake. 260g whole meal flour, 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 medium free range eggs, 170ml sunflower oil, 60g soured cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract, 170g dark muscovado sugar, 170g soft light brown sugar, 320g grated carrot.

And for the icing: 220g full-fat cream cheese, 110g unsalted butter, juice of 1 lemon, 110g icing sugar.

Mix together the whole meal flour, spices, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl use a balloon whisk to whisk the eggs, oil, soured cream and vanilla bean extract. Sift the sugars together into the mixture, then whisk until smooth. Working in a figure of eight motion, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combined. Stir in the grated carrots, then pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour 15-20 minutes until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the tin and leave to cool. Meanwhile make the icing. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the lemon juice and sift in the icing sugar. Beat until smooth. When the cake is cool, put it on an upturned dinner plate (as a stand), dollop the icing mixture on top and smooth over the top and around the sides using a palette knife.


(The video is worth a double click and it DOES play the right way up!)

With thanks to my Mum for the camera work and Ruth, for ‘storm effects’ a little too-gleefully applied!

Oh and for the record …….. Eccleshall Show, Saturday 1sst September 2018 …… Second Place for Treacle Tart, Second Place for Carrot Cake, Highly Commended for Seeded Loaf and Highly Commended for Mushroom Quiche. Surely worth a donation:  http://www.justgiving.com/teams/keithsclipperadventure


7 thoughts on “20. ‘Masterbaking …………. or …… Mother Watch preps ……… or ……. ‘If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake’

  1. Hi Keith, Your baked goods look very appetising. I was interested to see that you use a mixture of imperial and metric measurements, but maybe, once you are at sea, you will need to use spoonfuls and cupfuls, as the Americans do. It is not as accurate, but would save taking a set of scales on board.

    We look forward to seeing you up in the tower, when your shoulder is better, but we are off to Lyon tomorrow, via Eurostar. Back on Sept 13th.

    Best Wishes, Jennifer



  2. Storms are unpredictable. Storms are treacherous. Storms are disruptive. Just like Ruth. How many “takes” did she require to get the shot right? More than one, we hope …. 🙂


  3. Mum might have been the camera woman and Ruth might have been Head of Special Effects but I was the Director. One take and one take ONLY! And like Tom Cruise, I do all my own stunts 😉 (see also one small accident at the end of the Level 1 Training blog “Have you heard the one about the Englishman…….” published in July 9)


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