Having known Karyn for several years it was a delight to recently be invited aboard Realtime her Norseman 447, for a wonderful roast dinner when we recently shared a marina together in Tahiti. We'd first met at our seminar at Strictly Sail Pacific and in 2010 Karyn and her husband Bob sailed with us aboard Mahina Tiare in the South Pacific before they then headed out from Long Beach bound for New Zealand. Karyn didn't start sailing until 2009 but had always been attracted to water and traveling and as a young women she'd raced unlimited outboards on both runabouts and hydroplanes. Now in late 60's Karyn was thoroughly enjoying the cruising life having always dreamed of travelling by boat to foreign destinations. You can follow her adventures www.sailblogs.com/member/realtime.
My galley aboard Realtime is located on port side and is 'U" shaped with refrigerator/freezer on the left, stove (outboard) in the middle and double sinks on the right that offer a view of the main salon. My galley priorities are to be clean, organized, maintain clear counters and be relatively energy efficient. To save power I try to limit the amount of times I open and close my refrigerator and freezer. I organize plastic bins in the refrigerator to make food prep easier; sandwich makings, salad items, condiments dairy, and meats in another.
Galley must have items are a silicon collapsible bowl and colander, along with non-skid cut into sizes to fit into locker and cupboard shelves. We recently added new frying pans and cookie sheet (non- stick) and I'd like to get a non-electric yoghurt maker like the Yogotherm. We carry adequate staples for about three months including plenty of plastic bags and heavy duty aluminum foil and I try to study where we're going and what is available. I make some premade meals for rough cruising and have back-up canned goods.
As yet I have not canned or preserved but if I found enough fresh fruit, I might be led to make some jam or compote. Rice and noodle packets that can be made into a one dish meal by adding vegetables and/or meat are welcome supplies and I stock up on tortillas for when we run out of bread, they also make a tasty casseroles. I grow sprouts and for passages I provision with fresh goods that are sturdy; carrots, cabbage, zucchini, onions, potatoes, etc.
Chicken Chili Casserole
8 chicken breasts
1 packet flour tortillas
1 large container sour cream
2 cans of Campbell's Southwestern Cream soup
1 onion - chopped
1 small can diced chilies
1lb of jack cheese - grated
1lb of cheddar cheese - grated
Wrap chicken breasts tightly in aluminum foil and bake 325°F degrees 40 minutes, remove and cool. Save juices, break chicken into medium size pieces. To make cream sauce combine sour cream, soup, onion and chilies. Butter flour tortillas on one side and cut them in quarters. Put juice from the chicken in the bottom of an 8in.x12in. baking dish. Make a layer of overlapping tortilla quarters on the base of the dish and up the sides. Cover tortillas with a layer of chicken, cream sauce, and then cheese. Repeat layering until all the ingredients are used, finishing with layer of cheese. Bake uncovered 45 minutes at 325°F. Serves 8.
Fruit and nuts are my comfort food along with Earl Grey tea, and now that we're in Tahiti fresh baguette and cheese is hard to beat. Roast chicken or turkey is our favorite in port meal. It's very homey and a nice treat with carrots, onions and potatoes roasted alongside. Upon leaving port on a passage I like provisioning with a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket market as it's good for quick meals the first few days at sea. Other passage staples include quesadillas, noodle and cheese dishes (with or without meat), yoghurt and granola and crunchy and tart cabbage salads.
½ cabbage - shredded or a mix purple and white cabbage
bok choy - shredded
diced fruit - Tahitian grapefruit, orange, kiwi
shredded pickled pink ginger
diced red onion, optional
olive oil and sweet/sour vinaigrette like raspberry vinaigrette.
Combine all ingredients adding olive oil and vinaigrette to taste.
What inspires me to cook? First, I'm a pleaser, and I like to cook and have someone especially enjoy the meal. Sometimes it's very stressful at sea and a nice meal can calm it all down so I enjoy finding creative ways to use what I have. I try to look carefully in stores for sauces, spreads, tapenades and dressings that will give me some ability to be creative. Recently I've needed banana recipes as we've been given a lot of them. I use the internet or my improvisation for ideas also gather recipes from other cruisers. I've now made banana bread, muffins and even cookies.
1 2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup oil
¾ cup ripe bananas - mashed
2 tablespoons créme fraiche (substitute yoghurt or squeeze of lemon/lime so you have the acid to activate the baking soda)
2/3 cup nuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl beat eggs until fluffy, add sugar, then while stirring drizzle in oil. Add bananas, dry ingredients, crème fraiche then nuts. Bake in greased loaf pan 350°F for 45 minutes to an hour.
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed bananas
1¾ cup quick cook oats
½ cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 400°F. Sift together flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In another large bowl beat together shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add egg then bananas, oats and nuts. Stir in flour mix. Bake cookies 15 minutes.
My advice to anyone going sailing is to know the likes and dislikes of your crew. Stay focused in the galley, I think of cooking a meal at sea as meditation; adjusting to the movement, organizing ingredients, keeping things neat and tidy. Things don't always go according to plan on a moving boat though as once I went to take the fresh baked bread out of the oven and the boat suddenly heeled. The bread went flying over my shoulder and into the bulkhead on the other side of the boat. It totally deflated! Occasionally plan a nice cockpit meal dressing up your cockpit table with flowers and a favorite pareau (Good excuse to buy a new one so you can wear it too!) add some fresh flowers, battery operated candles and use large Polynesian leaves to sit your plates on for a fun tropical presentation.
When a friend told me of the launch of local salt I was eager to discover as I'd became intrigued in salt, the only rock we eat, when we'd sailed by tiny Salt Island, in the British Virgin Islands. In reading of Salt Island's industrious history in the cruising guide it tied in with the fascinating book Salt-A World History by Mark Kurlansky. I've since noticed a wide variety of global salts raise to gourmet status in the form of finishing salts such as Hawaiian black lava salt, Australian Murray River - pink flake salt, Indian black salt - Kala Namak and Celtic grey salt - Sel Gris to name a few. Now San Juan Island Sea Salt can be added to the list as when I attended an artesian fair in Friday Harbor I came across their booth and was able to purchase their salt and learn of its creation.
San Juan Island Sea Salt was founded by Brady Ryan in 2012 after a culmination of events that first started in 2008 when Brady and a friend read about making salt by cooking seawater. After many hours of boiling sea water, and a salt crust forming in their parent's kitchens, they received success but it was rather messy and was not exactly energy efficient. Now building on his knowledge that extends to a degree in mathematics, an interest in agriculture and work experience at Duvall's Local Roots Farm Ryan recently constructed a set of four hooped greenhouses on the family farm that allows the sun to do the work of boiling.
The greenhouses are flooded with 1,500 gallons of salt water to create 3-inch deep ponds upon which the sun gets to work. After a month salt rises to the pond surface and later a jumble of all imaginable shapes and sizes of salt crystals form; cubes to flakes, pyramids to tiny pieces. The salt is then placed into piles allowing any residual super salty brine to completely drain away. Grounding and sifting the salt is next and the aim is to create fleur de sel consistency but with a wider range of crystal sizes for a more dynamic salt that's a treat to use.
In chatting with Brady I asked for suggestions on ways to highlight his salt.
"Amanda, thanks for thinking of our salt. The way we make our salt is fairly rare and allows for a greater range of minerals in than most sea salt, giving it a wilder, brinier taste. Here's few ideas that I think exemplify its use.
Simple: Take a homegrown tomato freshly picked, slice off a piece, and sprinkle our salt over it. Sea and earth collide!
Popcorn: Mix our salt with nutritional yeast, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and apply liberally to popcorn.
Bruschetta: When making a bruschetta the trick with using salt well is not mixing it in with the ingredients, but rather pinching it on top, once the mix has been put on the bread. This gives a more dynamic experience with the salt, especially one with some crunch like ours."
Avocado Chimichurri Bruschetta
Adapted from Vegetarian Times I think is this bruschetta one of the best dishes on earth.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic - minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 avocados - peeled, pitted, and cubed
San Juan Island sea salt
6 slices ciabatta bread – toasted
Combine lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and black pepper in small bowl. Whisk in oil, then cilantro and parsley. Fold in avocado cubes. Spoon mixture onto toast, top with pinches of salt. Serves 6.
Sweet with Salty: chocolate chip cookies, when almost done in the oven, sprinkle with sea salt. We do it then so the salt doesn't all fall off like it will if salted when the cookie is done.
Photo Credit Dave Schiefelbein
To learn purchase San Juan Island Sea Salt either on line or in store visit www.sanjuanislandseasalt.com. After purchasing my San Juan Sea Salt I've enjoyed pinching it onto the following recipes.
Salty Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies
¾ cup unsalted butter - sliced, slightly cold
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup rice flour
2 cups rolled organic oats
½ cup dark chocolate chips
Beat butter until mashed. Add sugars, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon and combine until a crumbly texture forms. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Fold in flours then oats and chocolate. Refrigerate 1 hour. Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Bake cookies 13 minutes adding salt when almost done.
Sea Salt Baked Apple Chips
4 apples - core removed and thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 300°F. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray, arrange with apple slices then sprinkle with salt. Bake 40 minutes, flip and sprinkle with more salt. Bake for 30 additional minutes or until crisp.
Sea Salt Crusted Burgers
1lb ground beef
½ bunch chives - diced
mayonnaise - preferably homemade
mixed salad leaves
4 Panini buns
Shake 1 teaspoon of salt in a skillet and to cover base. Heat over high heat for 3 minutes or until very hot. Meanwhile, combine beef and chives, season well with black pepper. Form 4 burger patties and sear approximately 3 minutes. Remove burgers, shake pan to redistribute salt to where the burgers were. Return burgers, uncooked side down, and sear for another 3 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Spread buns with mayonnaise, add patty and salad. Serves 4.
Pasta with Chicken & Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
8oz penne pasta
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
12oz jar roasted red peppers - drained
3 garlic cloves - minced
ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1 small shallot - minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano - minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley - minced
1 celery rib - sliced very thin
2½ cups shredded roast chicken
Prepare pasta as directed. When done, drain and set aside ½ cup of pasta water. Meanwhile purée oil, vinegar, red peppers, garlic, and black pepper until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and mix in chipotle pepper, shallot, oregano, parsley and celery. Gently mix in chicken. Add 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water, at a time, to the pasta until penne are just moistened. Add chicken mixture and toss gently to combine. Serve with pinches of sea salt. Serves 4.
Amanda celebrates St. Patrick's Day with musical friends at Friday Harbors Farmer Market
Top o' the mornin' to ya! Sure, and it's a grand day to be dreamin' o' the wearin' o' the green. Tisn't long before we'll be tippin' our hats to St. Paddy and his Emerald Isle. You know what they say about bein' Irish, don't you? "If you're lucky enough to be Irish, then you're lucky enough! Whether you be from the Isle of Mists or no, St. Patrick's Day be as fine as any to have a hooley. So gather your lucky clover and make merry on St. Paddy's Day, because everyone knows, "The whole world is Irish on the Seventeenth o' March!" I'va even sailed and jigged to the end of the rainbow to discover some ole recipes to help ya celebrate like the Irish.
But, in passing I haven't always known of St Patrick's Day as it was not celebrated in New Zealand when I was growing up. As for St Patrick himself I learned of his origins when I chanced upon his life story printed on a souvenir tea towel whilst I was poking around a wee shop in the Aran Islands. At the time we were sailing up the west coast of Ireland and had been immersed it's Bronze and Iron Age history after visiting many magnificent stone sites like Dun Aengus so St Patrick seemed like a rather modern day chap. According to legend, he first came to Ireland in the late fourth century as a young slave, kidnapped from Roman Britain by seafaring raiders. After years as a shepherd Patrick escaped, made his way home, and grew up to become a Christian missionary. Then, as soon as possible, he chose to return to Ireland where he set about converting the pagans apparently using the three leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.
As to the wearing of green it may stem from the ancient Celtic practice of wearing green during the vernal equinox to celebrate the rebirth of the earth. When Christianity invaded Ireland, many of the Irish traditions were adopted into practice, to make conversion easier. St Patrick included using bonfires and incorporated the symbol of the sun onto the cross, creating what is now known as the Celtic cross. Since the local pagan population was hesitant to give up wearing green that too was adopted as St. Patrick's original color was blue.
Irish Eggs Benedict
1 tablespoon butter
½ onion - chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 cups chopped corned beef
2 boiled potatoes - crushed
¼ cup cream
¼ cup beef broth
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
a few dashes of smoky paprika
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons butter
4 English muffins
In a large oven proof skillet over medium high heat, melt butter and add parsley and onions. Sauté until translucent and slightly golden. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine the next 8 ingredients. Add hash mix to skillet and sauté, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to crisp up. Pat down hash and with the back of a spoon make 4 indentations. Break an egg into each indentation and dot with a tablespoon butter. Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes. To serve slice corned beef hash into 8 wedges splitting each egg in half and top on toasted buttered muffins. Drizzle with hollandaise sauce. Serves 4.
4 egg yolks
4 teaspoons cold water
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup unsalted butter - diced
Place egg yolks into a heavy sstainless steel saucepan on a low heat, or in a bowl over hot water. Add water and beat thoroughly. Add butter, bit by bit, beating all the time. As soon as one piece melts, add the next. The mixture will gradually thicken, but if it shows signs of becoming too thick or slightly 'scrambling,' remove from heat and add a little cold water. Add lemon juice to taste. If sauce is slow to thicken increase the heat slightly and continue to beat. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt.
Guinness Beef Chili
1lb lean ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
½ tablespoon ancho chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 28oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 15oz can kidney beans - drained
1 15oz can white kidney beans - drained
1 11.2oz bottle of Guinness Draught beer
1 tablespoon brown sugar
salt to taste
In a large pot sauté onions in olive oil 5 minutes. Add garlic then ground beef, breaking it up into small chunks, cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain fat. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 30 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and grated cheddar cheese!
Fruit Soda Bread
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons butter - diced
1 cup flour
1 cup whole meal flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup sultanas
¼ cup - finely chopped
3 tablespoon mixed peel
2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons demerara sugar
Heat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl rub butter into oats with your fingertips. Stir in flours, sugar, baking soda, spice, salt, raisins, sultanas, dates and mixed peel. Quickly stir in buttermilk. Tip out onto a flour-dusted surface and gently bring together into a ball with your hands. Transfer to a flour-dusted baking sheet and scatter with demerara sugar, pressing it into the top. Cut a deep cross into the bread, this is called "blessing the bread and then prick it in the four sections to let the fairies out so they don't jinx it but really it aids in even baking. Bake 25 minutes, turn bread upside down and cook another 10 minutes. The bottom should sound hollow when tapped.
Irish Coffee Truffles
½ cup espresso
1lb semisweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter - room temperature
½ cup Irish whiskey
1 cup cocoa powder for coating
In a small saucepan heat coffee, pour it into a mixing bowl and cool to 120°F. Melt chocolate in a double boiler to 120°F. Whisk butter into chocolate bit by bit until mixture is smooth. Gradually whisk chocolate/butter mix into coffee, beating until creamy. Scrape mixture onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. Use a melon-ball scoop to form balls, placing them on a sheet of waxed paper. After forming 6 balls roll them in cocoa, arrange them on a serving dish and refrigerate. Continue until batch is finished. Keep refrigerated until 15 minutes before serving. Makes 5 dozen.
Mum's happy hens
Eggs certainly show their true value on a cruising yacht; they're inexpensive, widely available, packed with protein and nutrients, incredibly versatile and easy to keep. Very well designed by nature, the egg is actually a single cell with the shell being a solid layer of calcite crystals which is almost impermeable to bacteria and fungus. If possible provision with fresh eggs that have not been washed as washing removes the eggs natural bloom coating that reduces moisture loss and prevents bacteria from getting inside the shell.
To check for freshness crack an egg open and check there is no sulphur or garbage smell. There are three main components - the yolk, which should be firm and plump (not wrinkled or easy to tear), and the albumen, in two distinct parts: a gelatinous mass around the yolk, and a runnier liquid. As the egg breaks down, the albumen becomes more runny therefore the runnier the white, the older the egg. As time goes by the chances of an egg being bad increase, so it's best to crack each egg into a small cup or container before mixing.
To test an egg, without cracking it, place the egg in a cup of fresh water:
•If the egg sinks to the bottom and lays on its side, it's very fresh.
•If the egg sits on the bottom at an angle, it's good to eat but a little older..
•If the egg stands on end but still sits on the bottom, use for baking, or hard boil..
•If the egg floats, it is old, and possibly rotten...
An egg's shell is semi-permeable so as an egg ages it slowly loses internal moisture. Fresh eggs can last up to five weeks unrefrigerated when kept in a cool constant temperature and one of these two techniques is applied:
•Turning: Turn stored eggs completely upside down a couple of times a week. This avoids the eggs pulling away for the shell causing the shell to dry out and the egg to turn bad.
•Sealing: Seal each egg with a smearing of Vaseline or mineral oil. I use Vaseline and still turn the eggs once a week.
Ham, Cheese and Green Chili Egg Casserole
1 cup diced ham
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese - shredded
1½ cups zucchini - grated and squeezed
4 green onions - sliced
1 4oz can green chilies - drained
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine all ingredients and bake in a greased 9x9 inch baking pan until eggs set and the top is light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serves 6.
This classic Greek soup is dairy-free, yet velvety smooth and a perfect way to use up leftovers.
4 cups chicken broth
1½ cups slivered cooked chicken
1½ cups cooked rice
3 eggs - well beaten
zest of 1 lemon - finely grated
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
snipped chives or parsley
salt and pepper
In a large saucepan bring broth and chicken to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat. In a medium, heatproof bowl, whisk together eggs, zest and lemon juice until smooth. Slowly pour a ladle of hot stock into the eggs, whisking all the while. Slowly add a second ladle stock then a third. You are tempering the eggs so they don't curdle when you add them to the hot broth. Slowly drizzle egg mixture into broth, stirring well, the soup will turn a cloudy creamy color. Add rice and gently heat soup for a few minutes, while constantly whisking, until it thickens slightly. Season to taste and serve garnished with chives. Serves 4.
Achieving the Perfect Poached Egg
Bring a large deep sauté pan with water to a heavy simmer. Add 2 teaspoons of vinegar to effectively lower the pH of the water and help keep the egg white together. Crack an egg into a shallow dessert bowl. Gently slip the edge of the bowl into the simmering water and slowly pour the egg into the water. Repeat with as many eggs as you require. The beauty of using a sauté pan is that the eggs doesn't have far to fall and thus risk pulling apart their whites. If the white starts to stray gently use a spoon to fold it around the yolk. This is a no wake zone - move slowly through the water as too much jostling will disrupt the Zen. Let each egg simmer for about 2 minutes, or until the white sets and the yolk is runny. Gently remove poached eggs with a slotted spoon.
Potato, Egg and Olive Salad
4 small cooked red potatoes - cut into chunks
½ red onion - thinly sliced
¼ cup olives
flat leaf parsley
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
4 hardboiled eggs - cut into chunks
red pepper flakes
In a large bowl combine potatoes, onion, olives, and parsley. In a small bowl whisk lemon juice and olive oil until creamy. Mix dressing with potatoes and season to taste. Gently fold in eggs and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
1 lb spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 oz pancetta or good bacon
1¼ cups freshly grated parmesan
4 eggs - separated
freshly grated black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, add 1 tablespoon salt and cook spaghetti until al dente. Meanwhile, sauté pancetta and red pepper flakes in a large sauté pan. Drain pasta, reserving a ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water. Add reserved pasta water to pancetta, toss in pasta and heat, shaking the pan, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup parmesan, egg whites, pepper to taste, and toss until thoroughly mixed. Divide pasta among 4 warm bowls. Make a hollow in the center of each one and gently nest in an egg yolk. Sprinkle with more pepper and remaining parmesan.
¾ cup butter - melted
3 cups milk
6 eggs - separated
2 cups confectioners sugar
1½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
confectioners sugar and whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter an 11x7x2 inch baking dish. Warm milk to lukewarm temperature. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks. In a large bowl beat egg yolks and sugar until very pale in color. Mix in butter then flour, do not over mix. Slowly beat in milk and vanilla. Gently mix egg whites until there are no big chunks, the batter will appear curd-like. Pour batter into pan and bake 45 minutes or until top is golden. Serve dusted with confectioners' sugar and a dollop of whipped cream.
Amanda ready to enjoy lunch at Ilot Amedee
...A warm breeze, blue skies, clear turquoise seas, an endless white palm-fringed beach, and a decadent melt-in-your-mouth pain au chocolate. Ah, where am I?
There are a few places where this could but Ilot Amedee in New Caledonia has to be a small slice of heaven. This country, and particularly its capital, Noumea, is a true outpost of France, while its South Pacific location possibly makes it the most far-flung of all the Pays d'Outre-Mer. Surrounding Grand Terre, New Caledonia's largest island, as well as several smaller island groups the New Caledonia Barrier Reef forms the world's largest lagoon.
John and I had been enjoying the bustle of Noumea when local friends Yves and Nicole stopped by to say bonjour. They mentioned they'd be out cruising the lagoon on their yacht and asked if we'd like to share some anchorages. A change of scenery sounded great and we agreed on Ilot Amedee as a rendezvous. It's a 14 mile sail to the palm dotted islet which is dominated by an impressive white lighthouse that marks the Passe Boulari reef entrance. Upon arriving it felt wonderful to be removed from the metropolitan buzz and have time to reflect on our experiences.
If you're of French descent and living in New Caledonia you are aptly given the name métrosand Noumea's supermarket closely resemble those in France so the previous evening I was excited to attend a country food fair held in Noumea's central park. The native Kanak (indigenous Melanesian inhabitants) diet reflects their close association with the land and we sampled tasty variations of bougna their traditional dish. Bougna is an assortment of yams, sweet potatoes and taro mixed with fish, prawn or lobsters and chicken marinated in coconut milk then cooked in banana leaves on a hot stone oven. Perhaps anything marinated in coconut milk is delicious but I later discovered if you're in the bush your bounga would more likely have, snails, pigeons, fruit bat or fat candlenut worms that supposedly taste like hazelnut.
Alongside the Kanak stalls Caldoche stockmen were busy giving children pony rides while barbecuing massive sides of beef and selling home-smoked venison sausages. Caldoche is the name given to native-born French settlers and their culture compares closely to the Australian stockmen. These French-style cowboys own and work on cattle ranches, drive large American pick-up trucks and round up their cattle on horseback with the help of blue dogs (dog with bluish fur, robust and intelligent, crossed with Australian dingoes). I purchased some of their beef and sausages to create the following recipes.
French green lentils and a selection of shells and coral from the Ilot Amedee beach.
Warm French Lentil Salad
8oz smoked sausage or diced bacon
1 red onion - diced
2 carrots - diced
4 stalks chard - stems diced and leaves chopped
1 clove garlic - minced
2 cups French green lentils - rinsed
3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 lemon - zest and juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup minced parsley
salt and pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add lentils and cook until tender 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, sauté sausages over medium high heat. Set aside onto paper towels to drain then slice. Saute onion, carrot, and chard stems in fat from sausages or 2 tablespoon of olive oil for10 minutes. Add garlic and chard leaves, saute 2 minutes. Drain lentils and combine with sausage and vegetable mix. Add mustard, lemon juice and zest, vinegar and oil. Stir in parsley, season to taste.
Pressure Cooker Beef Stew
If you don't use a pressure cooker add an extra 20 minutes cooking time.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½lbs flank steak - cubed
2 celery stalks - sliced
4 carrots - sliced
4 leeks - sliced
5 cloves garlic - minced
1½ lbs potatoes - cubed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups beef stock
1 cup red wine
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and ground pepper
Heat olive oil in pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper then brown for 4 minutes each side. Add remaining ingredients, except salt, and seal pressure cooker lid. Cook 20 minutes under pressure. Remove from heat and release pressure. Season to taste. Serves 8.
The next morning Yves and Nicole offered to be our guides on snorkel safari where we encountered colorful coral cover, green turtles, giant trevally and more intriguingly the banded sea krait, a venomous sea snake that is inquisitive but generally not aggressive. Returning ravenous from our morning excursion I invited Nicole and Yves to lunch of Salad Nicoise with grilled tuna and mustard dressing.
Dijon Mustard Dressing
2 shallots - minced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
salt and ground pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Slowly whisk in oil, first in droplets then in a steady stream.
Later we decided to take a closer look at the lighthouse. Started in 1862 by an engineer from the Eiffel Tower workshop, the cast iron lighthouse was erected in Paris for two years to show off its new technology before being disassembled and shipped to New Caledonia. As we approached we could see it was special, particularly for its extreme height, 185 feet, and decorative construction. Inside, as we climbed the 247 spiral staircase, rather than being starkly functional its interior is trimmed with impressive mahogany paneling.
Nicole and Yves invited us aboard for a scrumptious dinner which included the following recipes and when I asked Nicole how she created such a delightful meal in her galley she replied that she'd previously prepared most of the meal at home in her kitchen.
Fillet of Salmon a la Mango
2 lemons - sliced into rounds
1 mango - cubed
1 apple - cubed
1 pear - cubed
1 cup green grapes - sliced in half
Place salmon on baking paper or aluminum foil and sprinkle with fresh sage. Cover with lemon then top with fruits. Bake at 350° F until salmon is cooked.
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter - melted
zest of 1 lemon - grated
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
3 cups - raspberries
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-inch gratin dish. In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Whisk in eggs, butter and zest. Whisk in milk for 3 minutes until light and smooth. Pour into dish and top with raspberries. Bake 30 minutes, until set and golden. Cool slightly then dust with confectioners' sugar. Serves 6.
I was first introduced to Marcie Connelly-Lynn and David Lynn aboard "Nine of Cups" in 2009 at a cruiser's potluck barbeque on the island of Niue. While chatting I was impressed to discover that they were not your typical South Pacific "Milk Run" cruisers as they'd sailed to South Africa from South America and twice cruised to Chile. In a recent edition of the Seven Seas Cruising Association bulletins upon reading that Marcie and David were now enjoying Australia I decided to ask Marcie if she would share some insights of her galley life.
Nine of Cups is a center cockpit 45' Liberty cutter designed by Peter Hoyt and Doug Peterson. The name derives from the tarot card signifying "dreams realized". We've lived aboard since April 2000 and are sailing around the world...ever so slowly. The independent lifestyle, travel, pride in self-reliance, cultural immersion is what attracted us to cruising. Currently we're cruising the Western Australia coast then crossing the Indian Ocean to arrive in Cape Town by end of the year. We will then have tied the circumnavigation knot along with rounding all the great southern capes. After that...who knows?
The galley is located on the starboard side, midships featuring double sink, limited counter space, 3-burner Force 10 oven and a 12V Adler-Barbour fridge with a cold plate. We only use the freezer in cooler climates and when in warmer climates, we use the fridge/freezer as a cold box. The microwave is only useable when we're in a marina, which is seldom. There is good stowage plus we have space for several crates in the forward cabin, use hammocks and store tinned goods beneath the salon floorboards. Wine is stored in lined locker under the aft berth; it can hold 7 cases as we enjoy wine. David just completed a refit of new countertops, necessitated more by re-insulating the fridge/freezer than cosmetic issues.
Jelly, the ships cat, supervises Marcie in the galley
Galley priorities are easy, safe to prepare and cook meals underway making the best use of limited space. My motto in the galley is: It's a one-butt galley and it's my butt. I do the majority of the cooking although David is the master of bread baking and pizza. An item I really like is a traditional English teapot. We've used for ours for 10 years and it still shines up like new. I also use a little plastic food grinder, like the ones used to grind up baby foods, it's handy since we don't have a food processor. Our old simple top of the burner toaster works quite well and I use my pressure cooker frequently especially for cooking dried beans, peas, etc. I love the new silicone bake ware and utensils, they're easy to stow (it smushes up), and clean and no greasing the pan first.
We really don't have an "at sea" vs. "in port" recipe distinction, it's usually whatever is available, but I don't feel constricted in my cooking when we're at sea. Depending on weather, sea state and what's in the larder, I might decide on one recipe or another, but in general, I cook the same fare at sea or in port. More fish at sea though, it's our favorite food on passages. We fish lots and have advice and recipes on our website www.nineofcups.com, also our new cookbook will be available soon. First day of fresh fish is usually sashimi, sushi, poisson cru or pan-seared sesame-coated tuna; next meal is grilled or baked fish; Thai satay follows then if there's a little fish left I'll make chowder.
1½ lbs fish, shrimp or chicken - cut into bite size chunks
½ cup chunky peanut butter
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 teaspoons ginger - minced
½ cup soy sauce
1 15oz can pineapple
hot sauce or crushed pepper
2 green onions - chopped
Melt peanut butter in a large skillet with oil, garlic and ginger. Add hot sauce to taste. Bring to a gentle boil while stirring. Add soy sauce and liquid from pineapple to equal one cup. Add fish and simmer 10 minutes. Add pineapple and heat through. Serve on rice or couscous garnished with green onions. Serves 4.
Any Fish/No Fish Corn Chowder
When we're in the mood for chowder David's throws out a line and I make corn chowder. If he catches a fish, we have fish corn chowder and if he doesn't...well, we have corn chowder.
½ onion - chopped
1 tablespoon butter
6 medium potatoes - diced
1-15oz can corn
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper
1 cup milk or cream
½lb fish or seafood - cut into bite size pieces
In a soup pot sauté onion in butter till soft. Add potatoes, the liquid from the canned corn and enough water to cover. Add bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until potatoes are nearly done. Add fish, cook 10 minutes. Add corn, and milk, gently heat through. Serves 4-6.
We tasted this curry dish (pronounced plo!) first in Tristan da Cunha, but found out it was traditional St. Helena fare.
3 tablespoons oil
1 onion - chopped
4 potatoes - chopped
½lb bacon - chopped
½ cabbage - chopped
2 large carrots - chopped
2 slices of pumpkin - chopped
1 tomato - chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup white rice
salt to taste
1 heaped tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
1-2 cups cooked chicken or beef
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Sauté onion in oil till slightly brown. Add curry and sugar, cook 2 minutes. Add bacon and vegetables, cook 10 minutes. Add water to cover ingredients. Add rice, salt, herbs and sauces. Cover and bring to a boil then simmer till water has evaporated and veggies are tender. Add more water as necessary. Add chicken or beef when veggies are nearly cooked. Serves 4-6.
For chocoholics, this easy-to-make, light, but rich mousse is wonderful.
6 oz dark bitter chocolate
1 teaspoon milk
6 eggs - separated
sugar to taste
Melt chocolate with milk. Add the yolks to chocolate and mix well till cooled. Whisk egg whites separately till firm and fold into chocolate mixture. Serve in individual ramekins or custard cups. Serves 6.
My advice for the galley is don't outfit with a lot of extra stuff until you find you need it. We brought along plenty of "must have" gadgets that we later gave away as we had no use for them. Other items such as manual juicer we picked up when we found abundant citrus and wanted an efficient way to juice them. Check out our website at www.nineofcups.com for more information and we also blog daily at www.justalittlefurther.com.
A sunny day at Kingston, Norfolk Island: Photo Credit Norfolk Island Tourism
Also our crew wanted heavy weather experience at sea rather than at anchor. My disappointment in not stopping was that they were going to miss a unique entertaining island as was proven our previous visit. Back then an equally pesky frontal system was passing but we chose to wait it out at Norfolk Island.
We'd dropped anchor in Sydney Bay located on the South side of the 4 x 6 mile island. It's a picturesque bay with a stone breakwater-jetty, sandy beaches and the impressive cream-painted Georgian stone buildings of Kingston. Norfolk was uninhabited when the British attempted to establish a penal colony in Kingston in the early nineteenth century but it became uneconomical and was moved to Tasmania. A second penitentiary established in 1825 soon became a place of infamy and dread. When the prison was abandoned in 1855 Britain decided to resettle the then-overcrowded Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of Bounty mutineers, to Norfolk.
After only a brief visit to town to clear customs there was a possibility we would soon be forced to put to sea as the wind was shifting to the east causing large rollers in the anchorage. We decided to give our six crew shore time and John and I would take anchor watch. With a loaded dinghy and rain forecasted I recommended crew dress in quick-dry gear and they replied that was perfect as they were only going for a hike. Little did we know that by the time the tail-enders of our crew had reached the road the front runners had thumbed a truck for a ride to town.
By early afternoon John and I were stir-crazy from the rolling boat so we headed ashore to check out Kingston. Upon arriving at the landing a local climbed down to fill a substantially large pot of corn on the cob with sea water. After a brief g'day he asked if we'd join him and his mates up on the hill for a drink. We'd just wandered up to the group when it started tipping buckets, though no one was too fazed as someone dug out the boat shed key from their pocket. Before long as more mates, dressed in various outdoor work attire, arrived and a sizable party had formed. The corn, set upon and outdoor burner was no sooner cooked when it was switched out for an equally large pot of small mottled eggs. It so happened that the season for collecting shearwater eggs was now open and a few sprightly lads had been on an egg mission to nearby Phillip Island.
A number of families also arrived each bringing a mix of items from bread, dips and chutney to ginger crunch. It was all delicious and as I stood about chatting and munching it was interesting listening to everyone joke about in the Norfuk dialect which is blend of 18th century English and Tahitian. When the rain eased it was time to head back to Mahina Tiare although while we were going about our thanks word spread that we were from the yacht. Folks were soon dashing off to their vehicles only to re appear with a bounty of fresh garden produce for us.
Amanda and locals enjoying shearwater eggs and ginger crunch
Our crew soon appeared in high spirits. Apparently when they arrived in town they realized that all but Brad had left their wallets behind. At the Sportsman's Club Brad's Speedos weren't appropriate attire and he was hurried into Michael's spare dry shorts. He presented his only Aussie bill, a $50 note, from his socks in a Ziploc bag asking what the cheapest beer was. A round of Tui beer left $25 and Brad said, "We can either use this for the taxi (there is only one) or buy another round". They ended up hitching back Kingston; the locals thanking and even hugging them for letting them give them a ride!
It was time to put to sea but we'll always remember Norfolk's hospitality and the following tasty recipes it inspired me to create.
Broccoli & Parmesan Soup
4 heads broccoli - chopped including tender stalks
2 pieces of parmesan rind
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
Bring 4 cups water to boil in a saucepan. Add broccoli, parmesan rind, and soy sauce. Cover and simmer until broccoli is tender, 8 minutes. Puree with a stick blender until smoothish. Add lemon juice and season to taste. Serve garnished with parmesan. Serves 4.
Couscous with Tuna & Cherry Tomatoes
2 cups couscous
1 bunch green onions - chopped
1½ cups boiling water
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic - crushed
2 5oz cans tuna in olive oil
4 cups cherry tomatoes - halved
salt and pepper
In a medium saucepan combine couscous and scallions, boiling water, and olive oil. Season to taste and cover. In a skillet saute garlic, tuna and tomatoes until tomatoes have broken down and everything looks saucy. Season to taste. Serve couscous topped with the tuna and tomatoes. Serves 4.
Lamb, Feta and Eggplant Casserole
2 tablespoon olive oil
1½ lbs lamb shoulder - cubed
8 shallots - peeled
2 garlic cloves - crushed
1½ tablespoons flour
3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon each - chopped fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 medium eggplant - thinly sliced
5oz feta - crumbled
¾ cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper
In a large skillet heat oil and brown lamb in batches transferring to a plate. In same skillet saute shallots and garlic 2 minutes, sprinkle with flour, add stock and cook stirring until boiling. Return lamb with herbs and zest. Season to taste. Cover skillert and simmer 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 390° F. Place lamb in an ovenproof dish, arrange eggplant over lamb, slightly overlapping, sprinkle with feta and parmesan. Bake 20 minutes. Serves 4.
¾ cup butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup coconut
1½ cups rolled oats
¾ cup flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
4 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons golden syrup
2 teaspoons ground ginger
8 tablespoons icing sugar
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a saucepan melt butter, golden syrup and brown sugar. Ina bowl combine next 5 ingredients then mix into saucepan. Press mixture into greased 8x8 pan; bake 15 minutes. In a saucepan heat remaining ingredients until melted; beat until smooth and pour over cool base, slice when set.
Crew of Mahina Tiare and Gracious enjoying dinner
On a typical Fijian sunny day last August we set sail from the island of Makogai on the start of our passage thorough Bligh Waters. This body of water named after Captain William Bligh, is a shallow marine area of approximately 3,700 sq. miles of water in western Fiji east of the Yasawa Islands. The first Europeans to visit the area was the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1643 and James Cook who later sailed through the area in 1774 but it is Bligh who is most commonly credited with the "discovery" of Fiji having sailed through Fiji in 1789 following the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty and again in 1792
After successfully navigating the reef strewn Vatu-I-Ra passage we sailed for Volivoli Bay. This was a new anchorage for us but we'd heard there was a small kiwi-owned resort with road access for running. As soon as we anchored one of Volivoli's Beach dive boat crews came by, welcoming us to the anchorage and inviting us ashore for their sunset beach meke. A kava drinking ceremony during where the performers and guests shared coconut bowls of kava started the meke, after which the resort's friendly and outgoing staff performed numerous chants and war dances. Although they were a little disorganized their music, chanting and dancing was enthusiastic and authentic. Afterwards they eagerly encouraged everyone to join in their follow-up kava drinking but we declined in lieu of our waiting dinner aboard Mahina Tiare which included the following recipes.
Smoked Chicken, Apple and Walnut Salad
3 apples - diced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4 smoked chicken breasts - thinly sliced
1½ cups chopped celery
4 cups chopped watercress leaves
1¼ cups chopped toasted walnuts
In a large salad bowl combine salad ingredients. Serve with lemon-mustard dressing. Serves 6.
Lemon Mustard Dressing
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup olive oil
Combine lemon juice, mustard, egg yolk, salt and pepper in a blender. Add oil in a slow, steady stream and blend until emulsified. Makes 1¼ cups.
Coconut Shrimp Risotto
2 cups risotto rice
¾ cup fresh grated coconut
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoons mascarpone
24 cooked shrimp
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons butter
salt and ground pepper
Melt butter in a pot and sauté rice 4 minutes. Add half the coconut milk, don't stir for 4 minutes. When the rice has absorbed all the coconut milk, begin adding more coconut milk 2 tablespoons at a time. When the coconut milk covers the rice add honey, sour cream and mascarpone, salt and pepper. When the rice has absorbed all the liquid, begin adding the stock spoon by spoon. Cook until al dente. Add coconut and shrimps. Serve garnished with peas sprouts. Serves 4.
Volivoli staff gathered around the kava bowl
The next say we set sail in the early morning and continued our passage along the scenic shore line and numerous reefs. We were sailing in the company of Mum and Dad aboard their Oceanus 432 Gracious so it was day of concentrated sail trim and smart helming to keep them from passing. That evening we ended up in the strange but one of our favorite anchorages off Ba Roads. The anchorage is far from land and near a shipping channel but in shallow water with sandy bottom and an amazing 360 degree view of the surrounding islands and waters. Thankfully Gracias had caught a couple of fish so we rafted for an enjoyable meal.
Eggplant, Basil and Mozzerella Involtini
½ cup golden raisins or sultanas
3 large eggplants
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups arrabiata (spicy pasta sauce)
¾ cup olives
2½ cups mozzarella cheese - roughly chopped
½ cup torn fresh basil
2 tablespoons pesto
¾ cup toasted pine nuts
chopped fresh parsley
Place raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water, soak 20 minutes then drain. Meanwhile cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/8in thick slices and brush with olive oil. Preheat non-stick skillet and cook eggplant in batches 3 minutes each side. Preheat oven 400 F. Reserve 12 eggplant slices, chop the remaining into a bowl. Stir in, basil, raisins, 4 tablespoons arrabiata and half the olives and mozzarella. Spread each eggplant slice with pesto then a twelfth of the mixture on one end. Roll up and place seam-side down in a baking dish. Spoon over remaining arrabiata and top with remaining mozzarella. Bake 20 minutes. Serve garnished with pine nuts, remaining olives and parsley. Serves 4.
Fish Vegetable Casserole
1 cup V-8 juice
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green or red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic - minced
fresh ground pepper
1½ lbs firm white fish
grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease and 8x8 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl stir together V-8 juice, onion, mushrooms, celery, bell pepper, garlic and pepper to taste. Place half the mixture in baking dish then layer fish over vegetables. Cover fish layer with remaining vegetable mixture. Bake 20 minutes or until fish and vegetables are desired doneness. Sprinkle top of casserole with Parmesan and bake an additional 5 minutes. Serve with crusty bread. Serves 4.
Papaya Spice Cake
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups flour
1¾ cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
Beat eggs well and add sugar, oil, lemon juice and papaya. Sift flour, soda, salt and stir into mixture. Pour into a well-greased baking pan. Bake at a moderate temperature for 45 minutes or till testing skewer comes out clean.
Unfortunately Bligh's first passage through these waters was not so pleasant. The mutineers led by Fletcher Christian provided Bligh and eighteen loyal crewmen with a 23 foot launch, so heavily loaded that the gunwales were barely inches above the water. They were given four cutlasses, only enough food and water to reach the most accessible ports, a quadrant and a compass. Bligh decided to head for the nearest European outpost of Timor a seemingly impossible 3,618 nautical mile voyage to the west.
In need of more supplies Bligh first decided to visit the volcanic island of Tofua in Tonga but they were attacked by hostile natives and a crewman was killed so they fled to Fiji. Bligh did not dare to stop at the Fijian islands as he had no weapons for defense and again expected hostile receptions. With little water and only meager rations of rum, coconuts, bread and salted pork, Bligh and his crew succeeded in reaching Timor after a 47-day voyage which is considered one of the most remarkable feats of seamanship ever.
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