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Old 25-04-2014, 14:26   #1
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Thermos Cooking

One thing I love about CF is how so often a casual remarks gets me thinking about alternatives, whether it is cooking or navigation or whatever .

Unlike at home, gas usage, steam and heating of the cabin are all issues I need to consider when cooking on board. For several years now when pressure cooking I have been utilising turning off the gas once the contents have been brought to pressure and letting them sit for an hour to cook away slowly. This works brilliantly.

Norna Biron's posts last year on the Wonder Bag followed on from the idea of letting retained heat cook. She made insulated cooking sound enticing, but the size of the bag was a bit off-putting as space is a consideration for me (a reasonable alternative is just wrap a pot in a couple of blankets I already have).

The notion of thermos cooking on the other hand sounds perfect for boat use. Blue Crab recently commented on one of his tea threads that he cooked quinoa in a thermos. I am ashamed to say this is not a technique I had heard of. I tried it for the first time yesterday with great success.

I am going to experiment with grains and lentils and pasta and report back. I did a quick google search and found all these can easily be cooked in a thermos. So can soups.

Anyone else cook in a thermos? What have you found works well? I am looking forward to experimenting a bit and will share the results.

To start with, here is what must be the simplest way of cooking quinoa:

THERMOS QUINOA

1 part quinoa
2 parts boiling water (or stock)

- Use a good quality wide mouthed thermos. The quinoa expands about three times its initial volume, so the maximum amount that can be cooked depends on your thermos size. I used a 24oz (710ml) thermos and 3/4 of a cup of quinoa and 1.5 cups of boiling water.
- Rinse the quinoa, drain and spoon into the thermos (no need to preheat it)
- Add the boiling water and seal.
- It is ready in about an hour, but you can make it in the morning and eat for dinner, or alternatively throw it together at bedtime and enjoy quinoa with cinnamon, sultanas and a chopped banana with a splash of milk for breakfast. Like the Wonderbag it cannot overcook.

I made a Moroccan salad with this lot of quinoa (super easy if preprepared spices and tinned chickpeas are used).

For lots of easy boat recipes using quinoa see this thread:
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...rs-113368.html

Moroccan salad:
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Old 26-04-2014, 14:07   #2
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Thermos fragrant lentil soup

I dived right in and tried lentil thermos soup this morning. Plenty has been written about cooking lentils in a thermos, so there was no need to reinvent the wheel . Apparently unless the thermos is preheated with boiling water they simply won't cook adequately. The lentils need to be brought to a boil first in the liquid being used. Green/brown lentils don't work nearly as well as red ones unless they are pre boiled longer.

I wanted the soup still piping hot at dinner time, so wrapped the thermos in a blanket.

It was a great success. On passages it could be eaten straight out of the thermos minimising spills and dishwashing. There is nothing that can tip out while it is sitting. Little gas is used. Little steam is produced.

I chose this assortment of ingredients as apart from the lentils nothing else really needs "cooking", although I take it as long as any veg are either grated or diced finely they will cook successfully. I also love the combination of tomato/chili/coconut milk .

THERMOS FRAGRANT LENTIL SOUP

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, diced
½ cup red lentils, rinsed and drained (less for a runnier soup)
400 g tins whole Roma tomatoes, broken up
1 flat tbsp of tomato sauce
½ chicken stock cube
¼ tsp chili flakes
½ tsp tumeric
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ tin water
2 heaped tsp coconut cream powder
Optional: A few hazelnuts and stalks of parsley

- Preheat thermos with boiling water or the lentils won't cook fully
- Sauté garlic and onion few minutes while rinsing lentils
- Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, lentils, stock cube, chili, turmeric and pepper
- Mix the coconut powder and water and strain in, mixing to get it all through (prevents any little lumps)
- Bring to the boil
- Ladle into a 710ml wide mouthed thermos (leave a little space for expansion)
- Wrap in a blanket and leave at least 8 hours
- Serve topped with chopped herbs and nuts
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Old 26-04-2014, 14:17   #3
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Re: Thermos Cooking

FYI There is a thermo cooker available in Ireland that is about the size of a med Pressure cooker. name escapes me at the moment but I'll be in Ireland next week and will look it up. My Brother in law has one and it cooks a dream. Just bring it up to temp take it off the heat leave it a lone and trwo to three hours later you have a hot meal.
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Old 26-04-2014, 19:27   #4
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Re: Thermos Cooking

I've used a thermos to speed up cooking of rice & pasta.

Chuck the raw rice or pasta in a wide mouthed stainless thermos with just-boiled water, give it a bit of a shake and set it on the counter top while you microwave everything else..

I think it must be the small increase in pressure caused by the shaking that softens the rice & pasta - cooks it in no time flat.

Oh yeah - careful unscrewing the lid! Pfffst!

No idea what else it might work with & can't remember if I read it, saw it on TV or invented it... I remember thinking a sixty second boiled egg might be possible as long as I didn't start shaking it for 15 seconds or so.
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Old 26-04-2014, 22:05   #5
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Re: Thermos Cooking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalinka1 View Post
FYI There is a thermo cooker available in Ireland that is about the size of a med Pressure cooker. name escapes me at the moment but I'll be in Ireland next week and will look it up. My Brother in law has one and it cooks a dream. Just bring it up to temp take it off the heat leave it a lone and trwo to three hours later you have a hot meal.
Oh, for just an extra metre of galley space .
I am trying to avoid the need for extra stuff on board. My galley cupboards are full (a bit like my clothes cupboards - if I buy a new item, I need to throw an old one out, although new china does always manage to be squeezed in somewhere ).
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Old 26-04-2014, 22:20   #6
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Re: Thermos Cooking

We have one of these and use it all the time, absolutely love it....

Thermal Cookware
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Old 27-04-2014, 01:54   #7
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Porridge

Test report 3:

Porridge is a bit of a pain to cook in the mornings, as it involves a lot of stirring without any skill or imagination. We both really enjoy it though, so this morning I gave it a go in the thermos.

Cooking grains and seeds, where no precooking is needed and no preheating of the thermos is required either, is where I really think this technique shines. I suspect this is how I will primarily end up using the thermos for cooking.

I prefer porridge not too thick, so I upped the recommended amount of water a little (doubling the water seems to be suggested). I used rolled oats, instant tastes like glue . If you like salt in your porridge add this at the end as it will prevent a creamy texture from developing.

THERMOS PORRIDGE

Serves 2:
¾ cups rolled oats
2 cups boiling water

- Put oats into a 710ml wide mouthed thermos (no preheating needed)
- Pour in water, seal and shake a few times
I left it 1.5 hours wrapped in a blanket. It may have been ready earlier. It could also be made the night before, but I suspect it would not be too hot then.

Edited to add: The next time I made this I checked at an hour and it was perfectly cooked.

Top with whatever you fancy. I like banana, cranberries and nuts with a little brown sugar sprinkled on top .
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Old 27-04-2014, 03:05   #8
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Re: Thermos Cooking

Use to cook oats, rice, pasta etc in a wide mouth "thermos" in a previous lifetime but never considered it a culinary art. It was simply a easy way to provide hot food in bad weather on a small boat (30').

Also used it to keep baked beans and sausages hot enough for the next watch.

Somehow I think SWL is about to take this concept to a whole new level of taste .
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Old 27-04-2014, 03:36   #9
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Re: Thermos Cooking

I still love my wonderbag, even have it gimballed now!
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Old 27-04-2014, 04:01   #10
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Re: Thermos Cooking

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Somehow I think SWL is about to take this concept to a whole new level of taste .
I think she needs a large square pink flag, to be raised about 8am each morning when she has breakfast on for all the yachties in the marina, sort of SL's Cafe on the fore deck
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Old 27-04-2014, 04:06   #11
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Re: Thermos Cooking

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I think she needs a large square pink flag, to be raised about 8am each morning when she has breakfast on for all the yachties in the marina, sort of SL's Cafe on the fore deck
You'd be in the wrong place if you're looking for that flag in the marina, try the secluded anchorage instead!
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Old 27-04-2014, 04:32   #12
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Re: Thermos Cooking

Quote:
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I think she needs a large square pink flag, to be raised about 8am each morning when she has breakfast on for all the yachties in the marina, sort of SL's Cafe on the fore deck
Quote:
Originally Posted by NornaBiron View Post
You'd be in the wrong place if you're looking for that flag in the marina, try the secluded anchorage instead!
Yep, the pink flag would be in a secluded spot . We haven't spent a day or night on the water in a marina for many years now .
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Old 27-04-2014, 04:40   #13
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Re: Thermos Cooking

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Originally Posted by Kalinka1 View Post
FYI There is a thermo cooker available in Ireland that is about the size of a med Pressure cooker. name escapes me at the moment but I'll be in Ireland next week and will look it up. My Brother in law has one and it cooks a dream. Just bring it up to temp take it off the heat leave it a lone and trwo to three hours later you have a hot meal.
That might be the Thermal Chef, not sure if it's still in production, the website is no longer working, maybe too much competition, another alternative is Mr. D's thermal cookware.

Have been looking into these, but they do take up a bit of space, but unlike SWL, I'll have no problem with getting rid of the best china
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Old 27-04-2014, 09:03   #14
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Re: Thermos Cooking

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Originally Posted by nigel1 View Post
That might be the Thermal Chef, not sure if it's still in production, the website is no longer working, maybe too much competition, another alternative is Mr. D's thermal cookware.
Mr.D's is very reasonably priced relative to the Aussie equivalent that IslandHopper posted a link to (£105 for the 6.8 litre version as opposed to $500 AUD for a 6 litre one).

The outer container is just a form of insulation though. The Wonderbag NornaBiron has does exactly the same thing at a fraction of the price and it will take any of your existing pots as long as they have a lid that is reasonable. I think I am talking myself into getting one , I can see the value in keeping things hot and ready to eat without reheating. My thermos only does very small quantities (710 ml), although this quantity is extremely useful for lots including quinoa and oatmeal.

One thing to consider is that a pressure cooker works brilliantly as a slow cooker for items that need to be simmered for an hour or several hours, it just won't keep things hot for hours unless you wrap it in something. The only way I ever use my pressure cooker is to bring the pot to pressure, turn it off and leave it (outside in summer and inside in winter to help regulate cabin temperature). Any meat dish and even chick peas and rich chicken stock is fully cooked an hour later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nigel1 View Post
Have been looking into these, but they do take up a bit of space, but unlike SWL, I'll have no problem with getting rid of the best china
A lass needs some indulgences
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Old 27-04-2014, 09:54   #15
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Re: Thermos Cooking

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post

The outer container is just a form of insulation though. The Wonderbag NornaBiron has does exactly the same thing at a fraction of the price and it will take any of your existing pots as long as they have a lid that is reasonable. I think I am talking myself into getting one
The pans I use have vented lids so I cover the pan with foil and then put the lid on. My pressure cooker fits inside, the bag is flexible enough to accommodate the long handle and I have put two pans in side by side - veggie chilli in one and rice in the other, perfect! And now it hangs in a net there is no more chance of spills than there were on the hob.
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