chicken and pineapple (cold weather)

cookery chat with david & sandra biddle

7: chicken and pineapple

Last year when we owned Captain Hastings a 58ft Dutch Barge style narrow boat we winterised her for four months over the winter period. This was the worse decision we have ever made – firstly we missed nipping on to the boat for the odd weekends during winter and secondly when we un-winterised her it took ages for her to warm up. We also had a broken fridge and microwave - whether this had anything to do with this process we have no idea – but funny that both would not turn on after this period!

This year on our 41ft Sea Otter (Hercule) we are not doing this. We have purchased an electric oil radiator and intend to turn off the water and leave taps open and we are told this will be ok – especially as we will be visiting regularly.

Someone informed us that he was ‘cling filming’ his windows to help condensation – we did that last year and getting the tape off the windows afterward was an awful job – we even purchased special fluid – but it still took us hours.

I have made round wooden disks with a thermal lining for the portholes which pop in and out easily when required and similar for the larger windows at the bow of the boat – albeit these are made of foam for easy cutting. They don’t look great from the outside – but inside we have no condensation issues and they are a little more protection for when the bad weather comes our way.

We also have a very good dehumidifier which we put on when hooked up to a landline and this allows us to cook without producing too much humidity.

Taking the above into account we have avoided cooking for long periods – or producing food that produces a large amount of steam, so our pressure cooker is out of action. We have been drawn to the WOK for its ability to cook fast and although we are Indian curry freaks – we cannot say no to a good Chinese now and then. Mostly when we fancy one of these – we opt for a takeaway, but in this weather who wants to leave a warm and cosy boat. Our typical evening is pyjamas on, wine in and a glass of something good in our hand!! So, its good to know that Sandra can cook an authentic Chinese when the fancy takes us.

This is one of our favourites and it’s really easy to do. We serve it with egg fried rice – or just good old fashioned boiled rice.

Chicken and Pineapple

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 celery stick sliced to your liking
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 chicken breasts sliced into strips
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ pint good chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 can of water chestnuts (or a good handful of peanuts crushed)
  • 1 can of pineapple chunks in natural juice – drained


Heat oil in Wok and stir fry the celery and onion for 3 minutes. Then add the chicken and cook for a further 2 minutes, stir in flour and pour in the stock. Bring to boil, stirring at all times then add the soy sauce and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in water and chestnuts and pineapple, then simmer for a further 5 minutes. At this stage you could add cooked noodles and/or bamboo shoots. Serve with rice. We sometimes add a bit of chilli sauce at this stage – to spice it up a little!

Hope you all have a healthy prosperous New Year – cheers!!!

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About David Biddle

David & Sandra Biddle have been boating for around 25 years. They have both made their careers out of cooking, and enjoy sharing their passion for food and good wine. Their tastes are wide ranging - from spicy, to Italian to good old English.