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Amanda brings you Galley Essentials gally essentials galley essentials


galley jan 2017

When Marie Claude and I met at the 2010 Vancouver Boat Show she said she was keen to go cruising. Now for several years I've been following her blog and recently had the chance to ask about her galley life.

I sail with my husband Mark and our children Matthew and Meghan aboard Amelie, our Amel Super Maramu 53. The freedom, opportunity to travel to places where few people have been, and the slower pace of life attracted me to cruising. It's also a chance to teach our children and to spend more time together as a family. We've just arrived in Brisbane, Australia having completed three years of sailing from the Caribbean through the Pacific and before setting out I was worried about the availability and diversity of provisions and how to keep two hungry teenagers satisfied, healthy and happy.

For me the galley must have storage and be in a central location so that I'll be in the middle of all the activity while preparing food. I also require refrigeration, and I'm in awe of sailors who don't. Our galley is a large "U-shape" with sinks and counter on one side, long counter on the other and a gimbaled stove at the end. Many cruisers would consider my must have galley items ‘non-essential', even superfluous, but with teenagers aboard I LOVE my pizza stone, ice maker and soda stream. Its great having a special "under-the-stars movie night" complete with pizza, pop, and ice. But I also couldn't live without my nesting pots, mini compost bin, silicone muffin holders and pressure cooker.

I do most of the cooking, cleaning and food shopping but on the pre-crossing, very large provisioning everybody helps. If I didn't have to teach the kids I may have considered canning food as it might have helped with the budget constraints. Since starting our cruise we're conscious of drinking more water to stay hydrated than we used to in Canada and other than the obvious increase in seafood and coconut consumption we've enjoyed new meals made from the abundant Asian cabbage and eggplants.

Eggplant Parmigiana

2 large eggplants - peeled and sliced into ¼' circles
seasoned salt
1 lb. jar of pasta sauce
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
½ lb shredded mozzarella
¼ cup grated Parmesan

Cover eggplant slices with salt for ½ hour. Rinse off salt and dry with paper towel. Moisten eggplant in milk and coat lightly with flour. Quickly brown eggplant in hot oil, sprinkling each side with seasoned salt. When fork tender transfer to roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 25 minutes. In a saucepan heat pasta sauce and tomatoes. Spread eggplant with mozzarella, sauce, then Parmesan; bake 10 minutes. Serve with bread and salad. Serves 4-6.

San Antonio Taco Salad

flour tortillas or corn chips
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
½ onion - finely chopped
1 cup salsa
1 15oz can kidney beans
1 can kernel corn - drained
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

optional garnishes: sour cream, chopped tomato, sliced black olives and additional salsa
In a skillet, brown meat and onion; drain. Add next 7 ingredients; cook 5 minutes. Divide lettuce over tortillas. Top with meat, cheese and garnishes. Serves 4.

I look online for recipes, try them out and keep the ones I like. I also want to keep the kids happy, so endeavor to regularly make the family favorites. These get adapted as needed with whatever ingredients are onboard.

Old Fashioned Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

4 eggs - separated
½ cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 20oz can sliced pineapple
10 maraschino or glace cherries - halved
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter - melted
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a 10-inch heavy oven-proof skillet melt butter. Remove from heat and sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange pineapple slices then cherries over bottom. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add granulated sugar gradually, beating after each addition, then beat until stiff peaks form. Beat egg yolks at high speed until very thick and yellow. Gently fold yolks and flour mixture into whites. Fold in remaining butter and almond extract. Spread batter evenly over pineapple. Bake 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before inverting onto serving plate.

Vegetable Jambalaya

Mark sometimes hunts for land crabs which we add to alfredo pasta or this non-traditional jambalaya from "Good and Cheap", a free PDF recipe book download from, which we recommend.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion - chopped
1 green pepper - chopped
3 stalks celery - chopped
3 cloves garlic - finely chopped
2 tomatoes - chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
¾ cup long grain rice
2½ cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
salt and pepper

optional: cooked chorizo, crab, tuna or mussels
In a large saucepan heat oil. Add onion, pepper and celery, cook 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except rice, broth and meat; cook 1 minute. Add rice and slowly pour in broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs the liquid; about 20 minutes. Add meat at the 15-minute mark. Serves 6.

Half way to the Marquesas I had a disastrous galley event. The sea was calm and the wind was from astern so my work space had spread out further than usual. Feeling ambitious, I had hot water cooling to make bread, I was sifting flour and had the yeast ready. Rice was soaking in the rice cooker and I'd just poured a cup of tea when a sudden big wave hit us on the side. My rice cooker spilled and a rippling of wet rice and water escaped into every little nook and cranny in the floor while I stood I watching in horror, my attention turned away from the flour. When a second wave hit flour dust went everywhere and the yeast vaporized. As to my tea? I never got to enjoy it. By the time I'd everything cleaned up my nerves begged me to forego our no drinking underway rule so I had a shot of rum and gave up trying for the day. Now when underway, I only attempt ONE project at a time, keep both hands on the ingredients and wedge everything in place. Oh, I also keep myself balanced between the galley sides using a wide leg stance. For you yogis think "warrior pose".


I first met Sarah Curry in Tahiti. Over the cruising season our island-hopping paths crossed numerous times and it was always a delight to share an anchorage with SV Hydroquest and hear Sarah's stories, so much so, that I've asked her to write this month's galley. Now an accomplished ocean voyager Sarah presents entertaining and informative seminars at boat shows, including Seattle, and you can follow her adventures at

The sign said "THE GALLEY: Help Wanted!" and when if first saw it I had to have it.

The paperwork for our first offshore cruising boat, SV Hydroquest, has just been finalized. My husband Will was still trying to sell me on the fact that she had a large, seaworthy galley: U-shaped, double sinks, with plenty of storage and prep space. "A galley fit for a Boat Chef!" he claimed.

Hmm. I was game for the cruising lifestyle, but there were certain fears niggling away... The problem was that I considered myself a terrible cook. I was the girl who burnt eggs, and don't even get me started on the frightful concept of preparing meat! Moving my less-than-adequate skills from a stationary kitchen and into a boat galley had me worried. How would I possibly produce anything edible? Therefore, my new-found sign described it perfectly: "THE GALLEY: Help Wanted!"

What happened next surprised me. We moved aboard. I mounted my sign, found homes for my plastic plates, one dull knife, garlic car roller, retractable salad spinner/bowl, and spent time arranging spices in the galley's one coveted drawer. I looked around my new space and felt... a sense of calm. This galley was not grandiose, not expecting fancy things. My culinary self-deprecation began to seep away and within weeks a newfound confidence and motivation took over.

That being said, any glitch could easily throw me off my game. Months later friends Tara and Tim visited us in Mexico. I'd been having moments of panic knowing Tim is a ‘real' chef and the open galley would have my technique (or lack thereof) subject to teasing scrutiny. It was an eventful start to the visit. As we motored out of Paradise Village Marina, squealing noises from the prop shaft led us to believe we'd possibly wrapped a rope around the propeller. We carried on with a rigorous upwind sail to Punta Mita, and sailed onto anchor as if it was something we did every day. Fortunately, our guests were having a great time and I was all set to dazzle them with a meal under the stars. Look how easy and carefree cruising is! You can imagine my horror when I went below at 8pm and the propane switch wouldn't flip on. The breaker was toast.

 "I'm so sorry guys – we can't cook tonight. It's too late to tackle electrical work. How about peanut butter and banana sandwiches?" That was my idea of creative thinking under pressure. Will and Tara nodded in starving submission while Tim was incredulous. "Come on guys – this is an awesome challenge. It's Dinner: Impossible - Boat Edition." We set the timer for 30 minutes and gave him access to anything he needed. 35 minutes later we enjoyed the following amazing meal. No cooking required!

Dinner Impossible: Boat Edition – Lettuce Wraps

1 15oz can black beans
1 15oz can corn
½ red onion - chopped
1 small zucchini - chopped
1 green pepper - chopped
½ cup cherry tomatoes - halved
½ cup cilantro - minced
salt & pepper
large lettuce leaves
1 avocado - diced
red cabbage - diced
cilantro - chopped

In a bowl combine first seven ingredients. Season to taste. Fill lettuce leaves with mix, then top with avocado, cabbage, and cilantro. Serve with the following Crema.

Chipotle Cashew Crema

½ cup raw cashews
½ cup water
3 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotles in adobo
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon agave nectar or another sweetener
salt to taste

Soak cashews in water for 8 hours or overnight. 2 hours in hot water can also suffice. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes.

One mistake we made in outfitting SV Hydroquest was misjudging our fridge's power demands. As soon as we arrived in French Polynesia, our water-cooled fridge ran non-stop and our two dinky solar panels couldn't keep up. Our only choice was to continue sans réfrigération. Luckily by that point, I was on a galley gastronomical roll. Fridge – who needs a fridge? Canned goods – I can work with those. Cabbage obsession – I get it!

After first getting to grips with your boats tropical power consumption the next thing to master for the cruising life is a great potluck dish. For my potluck creations, I enjoyed the discovery of Mountain Bread; a versatile long lasting and non-greasy Australian flatbread and although expensive in North America, it can be found at Whole Foods.

Sweet Chili Lentil Pockets

2 garlic cloves - minced
1 onion - diced
1 green pepper - diced
1 carrot - diced
1 large zucchini - diced
1 15oz can lentils
1 teaspoon curry powder
sweet chili sauce
4 pieces Mountain Bread

Saute garlic and vegetables in a bit of olive oil. Add lentils and curry and heat through. Cut each piece of Mountain Bread into three pieces lengthwise. Carefully spoon a dollop of mixture onto one end of a strip. Top with ½ a teaspoon of chilli sauce. Brush edges of the Mountain Bread with a little bit of oil. Wrap the content up into a triangle and warm in the pan so that edges stick. Makes 12.

As cooking is challenging enough for me, there's no sense in trying to get complicated at sea, especially during the first few days of a passage. In my opinion, producing a warm bowl of anything edible is a feat. The truth is our favorite at-sea dinner is a warm can-of-something and in Papeete, Tahiti we stocked up on cans of ratatouille. In my expert opinion, this is best served over a bed of couscous because it doesn't get easier than boiling the kettle for couscous. As we sailed further west we went mad over cans of Taste of India's Lentil Dhal – produced in Fiji.

Since selling Hydroquest in Australia and now cruising our second boat SV Kaiquest in the Pacific Northwest, I love taking the time to re-create similar dishes in calm anchorages in my new galley. These meals are my favorites and definitely more delicious than their canned counterparts. And yes, the sign is featured prominently once again. Though I will never be the best cook, I would venture to say that help is no longer wanted...or needed.

Red Lentil Cauliflower Soup

1 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion - diced
4 large cloves garlic - minced
4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1-3 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and cumin
6 cups water
2 vegetable stock cubes
2 cups red lentils
1 cauliflower - chopped into florets
1 sweet potato - diced
2 handfuls baby spinach
salt and pepper
chopped cilantro for serving

Saute onion and garlic 5 minutes in coconut oil. Stir in ginger, curry, coriander and cumin; saute 2 minutes. Add broth and lentils, bring to a low boil. Stir in cauliflower and sweet potato. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Season to taste, adding more curry, if desired. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

Terry and Jack the breakfast crew of Janey's Coffee Co. with Amanda

A getaway trip last March had John and I flying to Arizona for a few days. I was excited to return to the "Copper State" as I'd only once before visited. I was in my teens on a family road trip clockwise around America after we'd sold our cruising boat and home Swanhaven II, in Seattle. We'd enjoyed a few days hiking in the Grand Canyon but with flights booked home to New Zealand from LA we were on a final deadline so had to hightail it though the remainder of the state.

Phoenix greeted John and I with clear blue skies and as we headed north to our Carefree destination we slowly began to take in the landscape. The transition from Washington green to desert brown is rather dramatic and when we spied our first roadside saguaro cactus, with its classic upright vertically ribbed trunk and upward reaching arms, we both commented that it looked like the perfect disguise for a cell tower. I was intrigued to discover that the trunk only grows arms when 50-100 years old and that along with being an important food source they're also nesting sites for desert animals including martins, woodrats, lizards, owls, woodpeckers and wrens.

When our stomachs started growling we opted for a pit stop lunch at Sprouts Farmers Market which is based in Phoenix. It's impressive salad bar offered an amazing array of colorful and interesting salads which inspired me to create the following recipes. On driving the remainder of the way to Carefree the streets with names such as Lone Mountain Road, Desert Hills Drive, Stagecoach Pass and Dynamite Boulevard soon cemented us into a desert mode.

Nopales Cactus Salsa

1 poblano pepper
1 serrano pepper
5 tomatillos
½ onion
2 prepared nopales (cactus paddles)
handful cilantro
squeeze of lime
salt to taste

Heat oven to 400F. Over a gas stove flame roast peppers until black. Roast tomatillos, onions, and cactus until the tomatillos split. Peel the blackened peppers. Roughly chop everything and whizz it all together in a blender.

Southwestern Pasta Salad with Black Bean Dressing

½ lb. cooked short pasta
1 15 oz can black beans - drained
1 cup chopped tomatoes
½ cup sweet corn
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup chopped red onion
½ of hot green chile - finely chopped
½ cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons black beans (from beans above)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chipotle pepper flakes
1 garlic clove - minced
1 teaspoon mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos
3 tablespoons lime juice

For the salad, combine first nine ingredients (through salt and pepper). For the dressing, blend remaining ingredients until smooth then combine with salad.

We were to be guests at Sam's house; a longtime friend who has done many memorable expeditions with us. It was also John's birthday so celebrations were in order and Sam had also invited Ron, another ex-expedition member and his partner Donna. Once parked at Sam's house I went running into the house to announce our arrival. Sam & Ron were astounded that I'd contemplated navigating the driveway and on into the house barefoot. They asked "Don't you know about translucent scorpions, rattlesnakes or gila monsters? Oh, and don't let the terrier out or she'll be attacked by a coyote or perhaps catch rabies from a javelin". It was a fantastic to be with good friends and everyone lent a hand to create the following birthday dinner.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic - minced
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 lb. large raw shrimp - peeled and deveined
8 6-inch flour tortillas
Toppings: chopped red cabbage, chopped cilantro, homemade guacamole and salsa, and Cojita cheese

In a large bowl combine first 6 ingredients. Add shrimp and let marinate while grill is heating. Thread shrimp onto wooden skewers that have been soaked in water. Grill shrimp 3 minutes each side. Warm tortillas on the grill. Assemble tacos by placing some shrimp and topping ingredients in each tortilla finishing with Cojita.

Almond Pear Clafoutis

3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
2/3 cup cream
1/3 cup flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 pears - peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup sliced almonds
confectioners sugar - for dusting

Preheat oven to 325F. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, flour, sugar, extracts and salt. Heat a 10" cast iron skillet, add butter and pears: cook 3 minutes. Add brown sugar and nutmeg; cook 3 minutes. Pour batter over pears, sprinkle with almonds. Bake 35 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

The next day saw us off to Janey's Coffee Co. and Bodega on Cave Creek Rd for morning coffee and burritos. I was a little skeptical as to the cuisine as the building is not much to look but once inside it's reveals a charming deco of old west meets funk art. The best part along with its scrumptious food is a gigantic dinning garden with tables and large umbrellas scattered around cactus rock gardens. This place is defiantly a local hangout and it was fun to get a view of desert life from the posters ranging from the latest yoga hangouts to the art and band scene. Sadly, we'd miss the Cave Creek Fiesta Rodeo, it starts mid-March, but Sam took us on tour of town to view the venues and there certainly seemed to be any number of cowgirls and boys ready for action. An afternoon hike was in order before dinner out at another Cave Creek establishment which inspired me to create the following.

Tequila Spiked Tortilla Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
8 Roma tomatoes - halved
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon dried cumin
½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
4 cups vegetable broth
4 corn tortillas - diced
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons tequila
juice of 1 lime
for garnish - corn tortilla chips, Cotija cheese and cilantro

Heat oven to 350F. Toss tomatoes, garlic and jalapeno with olive oil and bake 20 minutes. In a large pot combine roasted ingredients with next 6 ingredients. Simmer 20 minutes then puree with a stick blender add tequila and lime. Serve with garnishes. Serves 4.

All to soon it was time to leave and as we headed back down the highway hot air balloons dotted the early morning sky as if to say hurry back and have some more adventures.

Easter dinner with Captain Hafsten

Whew. Our flight had landed in Gothenburg, Sweden after a whirlwind of packing in Friday Harbor to return to Mahina Tiare. As we transited the airport it seemed in a festive mood and on exiting the main doorway we passed through tall willowy branches decorated with bunches of colored feathers all of which I thought rather bizarre. We picked up our rental car and headed north and when the scenery turned to countryside I noticed that some households had decorated a small bare garden tree with feathers. When I saw a tree with colored feathers and eggs it clicked that this must be an Easter tradition. With my focus on travel I'd forgotten all about Easter.

The boatyard on Orust island where MT had wintered was deserted; Easter is a 4-day holiday in Sweden. We'd shopped for fresh provisions, that included kale for quinoa salad, and were more than happy to work on boat projects until the yard returned to normal. But as everything was rather quiet John suggested a Sunday Easter celebration at the nearby seaside Hafsten Resort. I was surprised that their restaurant was also gaily decorated with feathered branches and that it was deserted. When I asked the waitress why she said that the Swedes celebrate Easter with a big family lunch on Saturday and that Sunday is a quiet day. As to the decorations, they're called Paskris. It has its origins in the 17th century when on lent the master of the house whipped the household with birch branches to commemorate the suffering of Christ. The flogging died several centuries ago and the now the branches are decorated. Thankfully the restaurant was open and I enjoyed a tasty slice of quiche while John dinned on fish.

Quinoa and Kale Salad

1 bunch kale - stems removed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
4 cups cooked quinoa
½ lb. red grapes - halved
½ red onion - finely chopped
½ cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts plus extra
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic - minced

Combine kale, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Gently massage the kale to soften and wilt it slightly. Toss in quinoa, grapes, onion and walnuts. In a small bowl whisk together remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over salad and sprinkle with extra nuts.

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Quiche

1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1 stick very cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg
1 tablespoons ice water
5 eggs
1½ cups half and half
salt and pepper
¼ cup minced chives
½ head of uncooked broccoli - sliced into 3-inch florets
2/3 cup sliced roasted red peppers
4 oz goat cheese - crumbled

In a food processor combine flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse a few times to mix. Add butter and process until incorporated and texture resembles wet sand. Whisk egg with 1 tablespoon water. With food processor running, drizzle egg mixture into batter. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap and form into a disc. Chill for 30 minutes. Roll out crust until ¼ inch thick then press into pan. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, salt and pepper to taste, and chives. Pour mixture into crust, distribute with broccoli and red peppers. Sprinkle with goat cheese. Bake 30 minutes.

Our major boat chores were accomplished with in a week and we returned our car to Gothenburg. It was now a chance to also catch up with sailing friends Vickie and Roland. We met at the downtown marina beside the Opera House and strolled a few avenues before arriving at Stora Saluhallen, the city's largest indoor food hall established in the late 1800's. Under Saluhallen high vaulted ceiling top end specialty stalls display wonderful produce behind polished glass cabinets and we couldn't resist fresh bread, crackers and stinky cheese. After short walk along the canal we then arrived at Feskekorka another old architectural gem that resembles a Gothic church. This market specializes in seafood and we chose mussels for our evening meal. To wind up our city tour before catching a tram to Vicky and Roland's apartment we had afternoon tea in Haga, a charming old neighborhood across the canal with beautiful wooden houses, small café's and quaint boutiques.

Mussels with White Wine and Tomatoes

½ cup unsalted butter
1 onion - diced
7 cloves of garlic - minced
4 vine-ripened tomatoes - chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 lbs mussels - washed and debearded
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup of good white wine
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh parsley - chopped

Melt butter in a large, deep and wide pan. add onions and garlic, sauté until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper, cook 2 minutes. Add mussels, tomato juice, wine and lemon juice. Turn heat to high, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until all the muscles are open. Transfer mussels to bowls, pour sauce ingredients from pan onto plated mussels. Sprinkle with parsley. Discard any muscles that don't open.  Serves 6.

A hike in the large forested park of Delsjon was on our agenda the next morning before returning to Mahina Tiare and we shared the lakeside trails with runners, horseback riders and walkers on our trek to and from Bertilssons Stuga; a cozy cabin friendly staff that serve great goodies like open faced sandwiches on rye bread, heartwarming soups and decadent chocolate treats

Swedish Chocolate Balls

1 cup rolled oats
½ cup fine muscovado sugar or confectioners sugar
3 tablespoon Dutch cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cold espresso coffee
½ cup coconut oil or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt
unsweetened fine coconut flakes

Place ingredients in a food processor and mix until combined. Mixture should be easy to roll; adjust consistency with oats or coffee. Shape mixture into bite-sized balls and arrange on a tray covered with parchment. Roll balls over coconut flakes, refrigerate 10 minutes and serve. Serves 10.

Swedish Sticky Chocolate Cake – Kladdkaka

2 eggs
10 oz sugar
3 oz flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 heaped tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3.5oz melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a round springform pan. In a bowl whisk to mix all ingredients together until smooth. Pour into pan and bake 30 minutes. Let cool in pan. When ready to serve, remove the spring form side. Do not attempt to remove the cake from the bottom; it's too sticky and fudge-like. Serve warm with fresh berries and vanilla ice cream or cream.

Heather and Mark dinning on passage

“There’s an interesting Kiwi yacht anchored at Roche Harbor and I’ve invited them to dinner” exclaimed John when he returned from his morning kayak. Over the next few days we enjoyed visiting with Heather and Mark aboard Larissa. Heather is currently writing her second historical novel, set in her homeland Scotland, but took time out to answer the following questions.

How long have you been sailing? Nine years full time since leaving NZ on Larissa, our 2004 45’ steel Alan Wright Oceans 10 with twin keels and cutter rig. Previously we’d sailed together on our 25 footer during breaks from our jobs as University Academics and Mark was occasionally rail bait on Rum Races in Auckland.

What are your plans? We’re into our third year in the Pacific NW and are presently contemplating the Northwest Passage then Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Scotland.

Describe your personality: Mark calls me Piglet from Winnie the Pooh because of my temerity, tending to cast a negative lens on the unknown; and to continue the analogy, I call Mark Pooh Bear because he’s very focused on food and Larissa can be like Pooh’s bottle boat - “Sometimes it's a Boat, and sometimes it's more of an Accident.”

Larissa’s Galley

Describe your galley layout? L-shaped with gimballed stove, double sink with freshwater only (thanks to an Open Oceans Watermaker and rain collection on our hard top bimini), a 12v 80L Vitrifrigo freezer. We’ve a new 12v 85L Isotherm stainless steel fridge drawer. It’s a vast improvement on our previous front opening door fridge as the contents would end up in my lap on a port tack.

Who runs the galley? Generally I do, although Mark serves as a handy packhorse when provisioning and fulfils the obligatory role of tending the cooking on our Weber Baby Q barbecue, a recent addition and a great alternative to stainless steel options.

What are your favorite items? A breadmaker along with a Lemair 2.2kg top loading washing machine; it’s changed my life aboard. We have two Aladdin insulated tiffin sets (available from Amazon) that we now use on passage instead of plates and bowls We like being able to put the lids on to keep the food hot in the event of a quick sail change, or perhaps keeping a meal ready to eat later.

What food concerns did you have? Provisioning, although I’m now more relaxed, as long as I have 4 dozen toilet rolls in reserve! We seldom stay in marinas and often go bush for 6 weeks to gunk hole and explore. For passages we might carry more snacks like nuts, protein bars, and chocolate but we eat more or less the same on passage as when cruising coastally. I’ve two pressure cookers but we’ve just purchased a larger one with temperature gauge to can some of the salmon and crab Mark catches.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion - diced
2 cloves garlic - sliced
1 inch knob ginger root - sliced
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste - to taste
2¼ lbs pumpkin - peeled and chopped
1 can coconut milk
1 pint vegetable stock or water

Add oil to pressure cooker and sauté onion, garlic, ginger and curry paste 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, coconut milk and stock. Bring to pressure for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to reduce naturally. Puree until smooth. Serve with lime wedges, salt and sugar so your guests can balance the flavours to suit themselves.

What’s your favourite food? Chocolate for me and a good old Kiwi roast dinner for Mark. At sea we like flapjacks, the energy bar not the pancake and roasts. When entertaining, as a talking point, I make chocolate mousse with tofu.


1 1/3 cups butter
2 2/3 cups light brown sugar
6 rounded tablespoons golden syrup or 8 tablespoons maple syrup
4 cups whole oats
1 cup instant oats
Optional - dried fruit, chopped if necessary

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a shallow baking pan and line with parchment. Add butter, sugar and syrup to a saucepan and gently heat until melted. Stir in oats and fruit. Turn into the baking pan, level and press evenly and firmly with back of spoon. Bake 25 minutes or until just golden around edges. Cool 10 minutes, mark into squares and when completely cool turn out onto a board and cut with a sharp knife.

Mediterranean Vegetables

2 potatoes - chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 eggplant - sliced and quartered
2 zucchini - sliced thickly
2 bell peppers - chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 red onion - halved and cut into wedges
1 garlic bulb - broken into cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon rosemary, basil and/or oregano
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place vegetables in a shallow roasting dish. Combine oil, vinegar, and herbs, salt and pepper. Drizzle over vegetables and toss to coat. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Serve with roast meat or grilled fish.

Tips: Add a drizzle of honey in the last 15 minutes to glaze and cut the vinegar. Add a bunch of baby tomatoes on the vine in the last 15 minutes as a special touch. Serve cold as a salad.

Guilt-Free Chocolate Mousse

1¼ cups chocolate chips
2 packs extra-firm silken tofu (approx. 1½ pounds)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch is best)
1 teaspoon coconut essence, dark rum, cherry brandy or orange liqueur
¾ cup of pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh berries and wafer rolls

Melt chocolate. Drain tofu and puree until creamy and custard like in texture. Fold in cocoa and puree until blended. Add maple syrup, coconut essence and melted chocolate, and puree until combined and smooth. Season with salt to taste. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours. Serve with berries and wafer rolls.

What inspires you in the galley? Perhaps not so much inspiration as philosophy, we consider regular meals a safety issue so that we’re prepared for any eventuality. Larissa is our home and we eat more or less the same as we did when we lived ashore, subject to what’s available locally.

Do you have a funny incident? Funniest drink incident - the invention of the Hairy Cossack in Tonga; a variation on a White Russian. Take one coconut, machete off the top, drink some of the coconut milk, replace with Kahlua and vodka, pass out the straws and share the Hairy Cossack around, careful with the machete after the first one or two!



Fresh caught cod

In preparation for our expedition season last year John and I had allowed a few more weeks to ourselves aboard Mahina Tiare to give our new engine a thorough sea trial. To achieve the engine warranty inspection, we had to clock up 50 engine hours. When we discussed the best way to accomplish this I suggested a round trip from Gothenburg to Oslo so after a few inquiries we were invited to the be speakers at the Oslofjordmusseet.

Located on the outskirts of Oslo in the town of Vollum the Oslofjordmusset in a modern new interactive maritime museum that not only traces the history of boating in Norway but also boatbuilding. The museum sits on the small bay of Maudbukta where Roald Amundsen built his polar ship Maud for his 1920’s explorations and where Anker and Jensen boatyard launched more than 350 prestigious racing yachts from 1905 to 1940. We moored Mahina Tiare nearby and our presentations were well received by Oslo’s keen sailors. The museum’s café was a wonderful place to socialize with our new friends was and we soon became addicted to the café’s morning pancakes.

Norwegian Pancakes - Lapper

4 eggs
½ cup sugar
4 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups plain kefir (you can substitute buttermilk)
3 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons of sour cream (optional)

Dissolve baking soda in the kefir and set aside. In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, salt, kefir mixture and sour cream (if using). Sift in flour then mix to combine. Grease a large skillet with butter, then heat over medium. Pour 1/4 cup of mixture onto skillet. Flip pancake when bubbles begin to burst on the surface flip. Cook for a bit less time on the second side. Serve with jam and sour cream. Serves 6.

We were given numerous invitations to be shown around Oslo and chose to visit three sea vessel-themed museums that spiked our interests; the Viking Ship Museum, The Fram Museum and Kon Tiki Museum. After a day of fascinating indoor viewing I was ready for the outdoors so our next day’s tour started high on the hill behind Oslo which provides great views of the city. It’s also home to the Holmenkollen National Arena for Nordic skiing and biathlon events, and its impressive ski jumping hill is so large it can be seen from Oslo’s waterfront. The neighboring Frognersetern Restaurant offers traditional Norwegian home cooking in a historical ornate Dragestil (dragon style) building. We dined on rømmegrøt (sour cream porridge), meat balls and potatoes finishing with slice of divine lemon almond cake. Our tour of Oslo continued downtown into the late evening and we both easily concluded that it’s a charming city.

Lemon Almond Cake

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter - softened
¾ cup granulated sugar - divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup lemon zest
4 eggs - separated
2½ cups ground almonds
1¼ cups ricotta cheese, not fat free
flaked almonds to decorate

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan. Beat butter, ½ cup caster sugar, vanilla, and zest with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, continuing to beat until fully combined. Add almond meal and beat to combine. Fold in ricotta. In a clean bowl beat egg whites, with a hand-held electric mixer, until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold egg white mixture into the cake mixture. Pour into pan and top with almond flakes. Bake 1 hour.

Upon our return to Gothenburg our new engine was given its check out and certification and we set sail on the first of our season’s expeditions across the North Sea to Orkney. After crew change in Orkney we sailed back to Norway in blustery winds making landfall at the Krossfjorden south of Bergen. After a quiet motor through the fjord we arrived at Bergen’s downtown quay very late Saturday night to find the city in full swing. Too tired to join in the partying we went to bed and awoke the next morning ready to explore. Sadly, Norwegian cities are shut tight on Sundays but thank goodness the waterfront fish market was buzzing and I was able to sample beet chutney and pick up supplies to create fish soup.

Bergen Fish Soup

6 1/3 cups quality fish stock
1 bay leaf
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, plus additional for garnish
12 whole peppercorns
2 carrots - diced
2 celery stalks - diced
1 leek - cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup brandy
1¼ cups heavy cream
3½ ounces salmon fillet - cubed
3½ ounces prawns - shells removed
5 ounces cod fillet – cubed
8 ounces clams - with shells
finely-chopped chives for garnish

In a large pot add first 7 ingredients and simmer 10 minutes. Add the wine and brandy, simmer 5 minutes. Add cream, bring to simmer, add salmon, cod, and clams and cook for 1 minute. Add prawns and cook 2 minutes. Serve garnished with parsley and chives. Serves 4.

Beet Chutney

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1¾ cups chopped red onion
1 2-inch-diameter beet - peeled, cut into ¼-inch cubes
½ cup water
½ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoon raisins
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
pinch of cumin seeds

In heavy saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and beet, cook until onion is tender about 8 minutes. Add water and bring to boil, cook 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until beet is tender and chutney is thick, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Season to taste.

For the next two weeks, we sailed up the Norwegian coast ducking and dodging the many fjords and thousands of islands. We enjoyed the seclusion of the offshore islands like Floro, Froya and Louvund for the hiking, scenery and a chance to fish for cod, the fjords for their majestic snowcapped peaks and tumbling waterfalls, and the towns of Alesund, Bodo and Svolvaer for their interesting architecture, exciting atmosphere and a chance to sample local cuisine like the following cod recipe.

Herb Crusted Roast Cod

4 chunky cod fillets
salt and pepper
4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil - chopped
2 tablespoons oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes
4oz cheddar cheese - finely grated
4oz fresh white breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons parsley - chopped


Preheat the oven to 390°F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Place cod fillets on parchment and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients. Top cod with crumb mixture pressing it down gently. Bake 15 minutes until cod is just flaking and the toppin


The Legendary Foxy of Jost Van Dyke

As I’ve been plying the northern waters for wee while I thought I’d turn up the heat a little by taking you on our last passage through the BIV’s.

 We’d entered the Caribbean from Panama and struck out across the Caribbean Sea to Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico then an overnight visit to St. Croix Marine in the US Virgin Islands. Before lunch we set sail on a glorious reach for the British Virgin Islands. This was the first serious off-the-wind sailing since leaving Panama and our crew were in a celebratory mood. We arrived at Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda at 1900, just before dark, and promptly devoured a scrummy dinner of grilled fish with salsa and rice to complete an enjoyable day.

Mango Salsa

3 ripe mangoes - peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped red onion
2 jalapenos - deseeded and diced
1 bunch cilantro - diced
juice of 2 limes
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Golden Vegetable Rice

2 cups Jasmine rice
1 onion - chopped
3 cloves garlic - crushed
2 carrots - grated
3 cups chopped West Indian pumpkin (calabaza squash)
10 sprigs thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2½ cups chicken stock
½ cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon canola oil
salt to taste
2 scallions - finely chopped

In a large pot heat oil, add onion and garlic, cook 1 minute. Add carrot, pumpkin, thyme, and red pepper flakes, cook for 5 minutes. Add rice, stir to coat. Add stock, coconut milk and salt, bring to a boil then simmer; cover the pot. Cook for 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped scallion. Serves 4.

After clearing customs the next morning, we set sail under sunny skies for Gorda Sound at the north end of Virgin Gorda Island. We picked up a mooring ball at Bitter End Yacht Club and went ashore for a long walk on pathway that snakes up the islands ridge. There’s stunning vistas across the sound and a bird’s eye view of tiny Saba Rock resort and Richard Branson's Necker Island. Continuing the trail, we ended up at a scheduled white sand beach with rustling palm trees. It’s an easy return to BEYC, which is not a yacht club but vacation resort with a “Pirates of the Caribbean” feel. It’s a happening place and a cold drink in hand is a must while watching the resort’s activities.

A mooring ball on the outside of Great Dog Island was the perfect next stop: there weren't any boats, the snorkeling was incredible, and during a passing rain comical goats clamored down the steep rocky cliff to drink up water that had collected in small rock pools. It was then on to The Baths and after swimming ashore we had a great time meandering amongst the remarkable jumble of giant granite boulders. The wreck of the Royal Mail Ship Rhone at Salt Island was the afternoons snorkel adventure and we all worked up an appetite for a tasty shrimp dinner.

Chile Cashew Shrimp Noodles

8 ounces uncooked rice noodles
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fish sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 lb. raw shrimp - peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic - minced
4 red chilies - seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper - sliced into matchsticks
2 carrots - sliced into matchsticks
2 oz snow peas
1 cup chopped cashews
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles according to directions but leave them with a bit of a bite as they will continue to cook in the sauce. Drain noodles. In a bowl combine next 5 ingredients. Heat a large sided skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and sear shrimp until cooked, about 2 minutes per side. Remove shrimp from pan. Add remaining oil, garlic, chilies and red pepper, carrots and snow peas; saute 4 minutes. Add cashews, sauce and shrimp; cook 2 minutes. Add noodles and heat 3 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro and lime wedges. Serves 4.

Road Town, is the colorful capital of the BVI’s and home to Village Cay Marina & Hotel where we did a crew change. Our new crew joined ready to explore and we spent their first night aboard anchored at Peter Island before sailing to Soper's Hole, a delightful marina-village with all the amenities including hot bread.

We then made the four-mile crossing to Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke Island and enjoyed checking out the beach village before a tasty dinner at Foxy's. Foxy, now in his late 70's is a West Indian icon, frequently appearing at the BVI booth at boat shows, and it was a treat to have him stop by our table and entertain us with his non-stop jokes and banter. His quintessential beach shack restaurant and bar is chocka with memorabilia of signed articles of clothing, yacht club flags and number plates, while a dinghy dock, sandy beach with hammocks strung between palm trees, beach bar- barbecue joint and gift shop complete the picture.

The Azores was our next destination and the following recipes, inspired by the flavors of the BVI’s, were a hit on passage.

Caribbean Spiced Carrots

¾ cup fresh orange or mango juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper
3 cups shredded carrots
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander

In a nonreactive sauce pan add juice, sugar, ginger and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook 2 minutes. Add carrots, reduce heat to medium, and cook 4 minutes. Serve hot or cold garnished with coriander. Serves 6.

Tamarind Chicken

6 chicken pieces
½ cup of tamarind paste
1/3 cup of coconut nectar (or other low GI sweetener)
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
2-inch piece of ginger - peeled
¼ cup of chopped tomatoes
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves
2 scallions
1 red chili - deseeded and diced
¼ teaspoon salt

Prepare marinade by puréeing ingredients together in a blender. Reserve half of the marinade for glaze/sauce. Combine remaining marinade with chicken overnight. Remove chicken from marinade and discard the rest. Place chicken on a roasting tray, roast at 400°F for 35 minutes. Or electronic grill or barbecue use accordingly. Frequently baste chicken with juices. Remove from oven and glaze each piece then serve the rest of the tamarind as sauce. Serves 6.

Amanda with Jan Mayen Staff: Ellen, Elisabeth and Rune

During our expedition season last year, we sailed from Norway up to Svalbard and 80° north. The expedition crew for that leg was fantastic and we’d experienced many adventures from the daily sighting of whales, visiting a walrus haul-out, to following a polar bear for three hours as it walked along the coast for four miles. Now back in Longyearbyen, the largest settlement and administrative center for Svalbard, John and I had time for exploring before our next expedition.

Longyearbyen has the feel of a frontier town. There are abandoned coal mines, the Global Seed Vault, a university, sports center, museums dedicated to the arctic environment and its history, an art gallery and plenty of activities for tourists from glacier walking to dog sledding. There’s also no lack of dinning venues and it’s intriguing to read through the menu’s knowing that all provisions in imported. We took hikes up the Longyear valley and enjoyed checking out the old coal miners’ accommodations and dining hall that has been turned into a vintage hotel. The central Kroa restaurant resembles a rustic fur trappers cabin and our crew raved about their New Zealand lamb dinner.

Kroa’s slow cooked lamb

Braised Lamb Shanks with Lentils

4 tablespoons olive oil
4 lamb shanks
12 shallots - peeled and halved
4 cloves garlic - halved
2 teaspoons cumin seed
½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 preserved lemon - chopped
1¾ Puy lentils
3 2/3 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper
black pepper

Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large casserole dish heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook lamb shanks 6 minutes, until well browned on all sides. Remove from the casserole. Add remaining oil and saute shallots, garlic and spices for 5 minutes. Add lentils, lemon and stock, bring to a simmer and return lamb shanks. Cover and cook in oven 3 hours. Serves 4.

Svalbardbutikken is the town’s only grocery store and it’s so well stocked with global goods that it’s hard to determine what country you’re in. This made it easy provisioning and I was delighted to stock up on fish sauce which adds a nice depth to the following salad. When our new crew joined at the end of our free week we immediately set sail for Bellsund, an anchorage 70 miles to the south, where a polar bear had recently been sighted. We didn’t see a bear but sailing along the face of the impressive and actively calving tidewater Fridtjovbreen (Fridtjov glacier) was a blast.

Asian Chicken Salad

2 chicken breasts
1/3 head of purple cabbage - shredded
1/3 head of green cabbage - shredded
2 carrots - shredded
1 red pepper - sliced
½ cucumber - sliced
2 spring onions - sliced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sriracha
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
handful cilantro - chopped
1/3 cup peanuts - chopped

Fill a skillet with water, add chicken and cook at a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove chicken, place on a plate and shred using 2 forks. In large serving bowl combine chicken with next 8 ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the next 6 ingredients. Toss salad with dressing. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts.

Upon leaving Svalbard we had four days of broad reaching conditions in brilliant 24 hours a day sunshine that turned to fog as we approached the island of Jan Mayen. Located at 71° north Jan Mayen is a 146 sq mile barren volcanic island dominated by the active 7,470 foot Beerenberg volcano. In the 1600’s Jan Mayen was a summer whaling station and fur trappers stayed on the island at the beginning of this century. Since 1921 Norway has maintained a meteorological station on Jan Mayen and in the 1960’s a LORAN station was built. Batvika is the only approved anchorage on the south coast and it’s an open roadstead. After setting the anchor we headed ashore in the dinghy through the surf. We’d been given permission for a 24 hour visit and Rune, the station commander, was waiting for us on the black sand beach.

Jan Mayen has 18 inhabitants employed by the Norwegian Armed Forces or the Norwegian Institute of Meteorology and they’re on the island for six months with a summer and winter change over by plane. Wednesday and Saturday nights are "social pub nights" at Olonkin station and most of the crew were enjoying quizzes and libations when we arrived. After introductions, Ellen, the nurse, opened the small shop which sells souvenirs, postcards and warm clothes and then introduced us to Elisabeth the assistant chef. We were invited to a supper of homemade olive bread, chorizo stew and cake and enjoyed chatting with the base crew about their jobs and outdoor leisure activities. When I asked the chef if they needed any supplies she shyly mentioned they were out of tomatoes so I promised to bring some in the morning.

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Stew

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. fresh chorizo sausage
1 onion - chopped
1 green bell pepper - chopped
1 red pepper - chopped
4 cloves garlic - minced
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons curry powder
4 cups chicken stock
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2 large sweet potatoes - peeled and cubed
1 large bunch kale - sliced
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

In large pot saute chorizo in oil until brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate, let cool, then slice. Reheat pot, add onion and peppers; cook 8 minutes. Add garlic, paprika and curry; cook 1 minute, Add stock, tomatoes, sauce, sweet potatoes and chorizo; simmer 15 minutes. Add kale and cook 5 minutes. Add vinegar and season to taste.

Sandkaka - Sandcake

1 cup potato flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons brandy

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan. Sift flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add salt. Cream butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add sugar and vanilla and beat 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add potato flour in 3 batches alternating with brandy. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes.

Rune had mentioned that Jan Mayen’s weather is constantly changing - what might be a protected anchorage one moment could become a dangerous lee shore the next. This proved true the next morning as after our shoreside excursion we returned to Mahina Tiare to find the winds gusting up to 30 knots. Thankfully we had a temporary lull in the weather to set sail for Iceland and more adventures.

Sigmar delivering cod fish

Upon leaving Jan Mayen last year a slow-moving low pressure cell gave us great sailing for two days with 30 knot broad reaching conditions. Excited about our landfall on Iceland’s east coast we’d been busy studying the cruising guides and thankfully our arrival at Seydisfjordur was easy. We’d arrived during an annual festival that celebrates creativity art and culture and several thousand very colorful young festival goers were camping around the fjord, catching busses to the nearby concert and festival venues.

The small village was a short hike to the head of the fjord and its quaint avenues are lined with lovely 19th-century wooden buildings that were imported from Norway as kits during the herring boom. Sitting most prominent at the end of the main street is the pretty Blue Church which also holds summer music concerts. The little supermarket was low on fresh provisions due to the festival but they were feverishly baking pastries and bread. Armed with hot bread, the ubiquitous kale and skyr, a dairy creation unique to Iceland, we returned to Mahina Tiare, via a few diversions up the hillside tracks to check out some dramatic waterfalls and scenery, to create a tasty lunch.

Kale Waldorf Salad

¾ cup Icelandic skyr or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
a pinch of sea salt
2 cups curly kale
2 cup grapes - halved
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
2 celery stalks - sliced
1 apple - diced
½ cup dried cranberries

For dressing combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss with dressing.

Pasta with Lemon, Kale and Pecans

1 lb. angel hair pasta
½ cup chopped toasted pecans
½ cup olive oil -divided
4 cloves garlic - minced
½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
½ lb. kale - sliced
1 lemon - juice and zest
10 basil leaves - torn
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile in a large skillet heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chili and stir 30 seconds until fragrant. Add kale and zest; cook 2 minutes. Add pasta and remaining ingredients. Toss to combine. Serves 4.

We set sail south after lunch on what turned out to be a very rough upwind passage to Faskrudsfjordur. Our C-Map chart displayed a small marina but on our approached the depth got down to 0.5’ mid channel, so we gingerly backed out. Minutes later a guy came sprinting down the dock and after introducing himself Sigmar said we were welcome to moor at the new town pier in front of the old French fisherman’s hospital which is now a very nice hotel, museum and restaurant.

After taking our lines Sigmar accepted our invitation to come aboard. Sigmar crews on the village rescue boat and he’d been watching our AIS signal on even before we’d entered the bay. He was born in the village, has two kids and drives forklifts in the impressive cooperatively-owned fish processing plant that was directly off our bow. The operation employs over 200 people and owns three 180’ fishing boats that work locally and off Greenland catching cod and haddock, much of which is exported to Belgium, Poland and the UK. The next morning Sigmar gave us a large box of frozen cod and for dinner I made the following recipe.

Cod with Oranges, Scallions and Ginger

4 6oz cod fillets
1 cup chopped scallions, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 orange - zest and juice
4 oranges - peeled and sliced
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. Lay out 4 large sheets of parchment paper. Place one cod fillet on each sheet, season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, combine scallions, soy sauce, oil, ginger, zest and juice. Pour on top of cod fillets and top each fillet with 4 orange slices. Fold and crimp parchment paper into a packet. Place on a baking sheet and bake 12 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and easily flakes. Season to taste and garnish with scallions.

We enjoyed visiting the French hospital museum; a tribute to 300 years of French sailors and fishermen working out of this village and their loss of over 400 boats and 4,000 men. It bought home the reality of early life in Iceland as in the 17th and 18th centuries the strict Danish-Icelandic trade monopoly was very detrimental to the economy. Climatic conditions had reached an all-time low and to add to Iceland’s subsequent poverty Laki erupted smothering the country in ash and fumes causing a period known as the "Mist Hardship".

Our next stop was Breiddalsvik a wide-open fjord with lots of light that offered a very different feel to the narrow, deep and high-sided fjords we’d previously visited. The tiny town, with a population of 140 has a charming general store built in the 1950’s. I got chatting with one of the staff who explained that as the land was extremely harsh for crop cultivation traditional Icelandic food consisted mainly of lamb and seafood that was either smoked, pickled or dried to preserve it for the long winters. As to our lunch? She insisted they made the best lamb soup and rhubarb cake in Iceland.

Kjotsupa - Icelandic Lamb Soup

1½ lbs. lamb shanks
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots - diced
2 garlic clove - minced
2 sprigs thyme
1/3 cup white wine
2 carrots - cubed
1 rutabaga - cubed
3 potatoes - cubed
½ cup chopped parsley
6 cups water
½ teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper

In large pot heat 2 tablespoons oil and cook lamb shanks 6 minutes, until well browned on all sides. Add shallots, garlic and thyme. Deglaze pan with wine, add water and salt; cover and simmer 1½ hours. Remove lamb and shred, discarding bones. Add root vegetables and half the parsley, simmer 15 minutes. Return lamb and heat soup through. Season to taste. Serve garnished with parsley. Serves 4.

Rhubarb Cake

1/4 cup butter - melted
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 large stalk rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl combine butter and milk. In a medium bowl beat eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. While continuing to stir slowly pour in the melted butter. Mix in flour and baking powder. Pour batter into an 8-inch spring-form pan, scatter top evenly with rhubarb. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean; about an hour. Serve with whipped cream. Serves 6.


Fiona serves lunch at the Smithy

Situated off the north coast of Scotland approximately 70 islands and skerries make up Orkney of which 20 are inhabited. We reached North Ronaldsay, the northernmost island, after a breezy 24-mile broad reach from Fair Isle and anchored in an open sandy bay on the southern side of the island. We’d been looking forward to checking out the unique ancient breed of seaweed-eating sheep but with a choppy dinghy ride, extremely low tide and no apparent landing place we decided to hunker down for the evening.

It was foggy the next morning and still windy so we scoured the charts for a place that would provide shelter in easterly winds. We chose Pierowall Pier on Westray Island, 20 miles downwind. To avoid continually gybing the main as we dodged shallow banks, tidal currents and headlands, we sailed the entire way under headsail maintaining a steady 6 knots of boat speed. Upon arriving in Pierowall, Tom, the dockmaster, eagerly took our lines. He’d just retired after 49 years as the captain of the 45’ ferry that serves Papa Westray, the neighboring small island, population 60, and he was keen to give us the islands scoop.

Pierowall has a thriving crab and lobster fishery plus a busy processing facility, bakery, abandoned 16th century castle and a small village with two shops, hotel/pub/restaurant, museum and art galleries. I was thrilled to visit Hume Sweet Hume; a designer knitwear shop run two very creative sisters Lizza and Jenna. Having completed art degrees, they both felt a strong pull to return to island roots and for 17 years they’ve been running their business from an old croft home. We chatted for a while swapping stories and I left inspired to get creative both on my knitting and with the following recipe they’d shared with me utilizing the local crab.

Crab Pasta with Lemon and Capers

1 lb. fettucine
½ lb. cooked crab meat
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
½ tablespoon kosher salt
1 lemon - sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic - thinly sliced
dried chili flakes - to taste
½ cup white wine
½ lemon - juice and zest
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons chopped parsley - divided

In a small pan over medium heat saute capers in a bit of oil for 1 minute. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel. In a small bowl combine flour, bread crumbs and kosher salt. Dredge lemon slices, add to pan and fry each side for 1 minute. Remove to paper towel. Cook pasta according to package direction. Meanwhile in a large skillet heat ¼ cup olive oil, add garlic and chili; cook 1 minute. Add lemon juice and zest, season to taste. Add crab and 2 tablespoons parsley. Add pasta and toss to combine. Serve garnished with lemon slices, capers and parsley. Serves 4.

Wheeling steen is Old Norse for ‘resting stone’ and it’s the name adopted by the gallery and tearoom run by the Rendall family. It’s located on the road to the Westray airfield and has an interesting interior; a ships cabin. In 1879 the Emerald, a Norwegian barque was shipwrecked while enroute to Gothenburg from New York. The ship was sold off and a young couple turned the deck cabin into a croft. Edwin Rendall visited the croft as small boy and it became his family home when he married Elaine. When building Wheeling Steen Gallery they incorporated the historic cabin as a point of interest and along with wonderful art, baked treats also abound. I’m never one to turn down a slice of date loaf.

Date Loaf

1 cup chopped dates
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg - beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts
¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

In a bowl add dates, water, baking soda and butter. Stir until butter has melted. Set aside for 1 hour. Beat sugar, egg, walnuts and vanilla into date mixture. Sift in flour and baking powder and stir to combine. Pour mixture into a greased 8-inch loaf pan. Bake at 360F for 45 minutes or until loaf springs back when lightly touched.

Our next port was Kirkwall; Orkney’s vibrant capital. Historic buildings line the narrow streets and they’re filled with cozy shops that represent the islands creativity. The magnificent medieval St Magus Cathedral is next to The Reel, my all-time favorite café/pub venue. Jennifer and Hazel Wrigley, both excellent Orkney musicians, created The Reel and in addition to wonderful nosh, decadent fudge, regular evening traditional music sessions and concerts they also run a music school.

The Kirkwall City Pipe Band parading past The Reel

Whisky & Ginger Fudge

1 14oz can condensed milk
½ cup milk
½ cup unsalted butter
2 cups demerara sugar
3 tablespoons whisky
3oz stem ginger - diced

Line an 8in x 8in square pan with greaseproof paper. In a large saucepan on a medium heat, combine condensed milk, milk, butter and sugar, stir regularly until sugar has melted. Add whisky and simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring continuously, until a small amount of mixture dropped into a glass of cold water forms a tiny squidgy ball. Transfer mixture to a bowl and beat for 10 minutes, until the caramel glossiness has gone and you have a thick, soft fudge consistency. Stir in ginger, scoop into pan and let cool at room temperature until firm. Cut into squares. Will keep in a sealed container at room temperature for several weeks.

It’s a short sail from Kirkwall to the agricultural island of Shapinsay. The ornate Balfour Castle stands proud on the waterfront, a reminder of the Balfour family domination of the inland for two centuries, while the adjacent village of Balfour offers a glimpse into past. Beneath the old sail loft, now a heritage museum, is The Smithy; a delightful café in what was the blacksmiths. Fiona served us perfect fare, including dal to warm our souls, after a day of exploring the islands standing stone, Iron Age broch and bird life.

Dal Soup

1 cup red lentils
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
6 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds - crushed
2 shallots - minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
chopped cilantro

In a large pot add lentils, turmeric and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer with lid on for 20 minutes. Season with salt. Mash lentils with potato masher. In a pan heat oil and fry cumin seeds 3 minutes. Add shallots and curry; saute 2 minutes. Add spice mix to soup, bring to a boil then simmer with lid on for 40 minutes. Serve with chopped cilantro. Serves 4.

Anna and Per of Bobo’s Salladcafe

Last November we left Mahina Tiare at a remote boatyard on the west coast of Sweden for the winter season. She was to hauled out and placed in a shed for work to be done so John and I were in full organizing mode. We’d written up a numbered job list and placed green masking tape, with corresponding job numbers, around the boat to avoid confusion. Parts needed to be purchased so we took a drive to the nearest town to visit a chandlery and refill the propane tanks after which we were famished.

Luckily across the street from the chandlery we spotted Bobo’s Salladcafe. On stepping inside we were instantly greeted with a whimsical décor of pastel colors, girly frou-frou, and the smell of home baking. Per introduced himself and explained the café procedure to us. They do a hot lunch item, today it was lasagna, and accompanying salad which you select from the salad bar or you can choose a set salad. I ordered tuna salad with honey mustard dressing. While waiting for my lunch I met Anna, she runs a cake decorating business in the café’s kitchen and was busy working on two orders. Intrigued, I watched Anna as she began frosting an orange chocolate cake for a baby shower while baking 200 tiny pink meringues for a birthday party. Anna said that she’d started the cake business on a whim but she now receives so many orders she might have to close the salad bar.

Honey Mustard Dressing

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoon honey
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil in a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

With the boatyard closed for the weekend we went to visit friends Sara and Nick. They’d recently moved from London in search of a quieter life and were now living inland from us in horse country. Sara’s a great cook and thankfully they’d just gotten a puppy which gave us all an excuse to go for long walks to work up an appetite. With the forecast for a sunny day we decided to take Otto the puppy on his first big adventure so headed to the southern shore of Lake Vanernthe and the Ekopark of Halle-Hunneberg; two magnificent forested table mountains. The hiking was most enjoyable as were the crackers, beet salad and pickles of the smorgasbord lunch at Spiskupan; a homely café in the park that utilizes local produce.

Smorgasbord lunch at Spiskupan

Seed Crackers

½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup poppy seeds
¼ cup flaxseeds
¼ cup chia seeds
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
sea salt flakes

Heat oven to 340°F. Place all the seeds and first measure of salt in a large bowl. Pour in water and mix to combine. Leave for 15 minutes to allow seeds to bind together. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spray with vegetable oil. Turn out mixture onto prepared tray and lightly press down with a spatula. Lay another piece of greased baking paper (greased side down) over top of mixture and using a rolling pin, roll the mixture gently and evenly until 1-inch in height. Remove top layer of baking paper, sprinkle mixture with sea salt, then bake 30 minutes. Remove tray from oven, using a sharp knife, slice seeds into cracker size. Bake another 20 minutes until crisp and just turning golden.


Roasted Beet Root and Greens Salad

3 small beets (tennis ball size) with greens
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt - divided
3 tablespoon olive oil - divided
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic - minced
1 teaspoon fresh parsley - chopped

Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut off beet leaves and set aside. Peel beets and place on baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with ½ the salt. Bake 45 minutes, remove from oven, let cool then dice into cubes. Bring a medium size pot of water to boil, add leaves and cook 2 minutes. Remove leaves and roughly chop. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, thyme, garlic, remaining olive oil and salt. Combine beets and greens, drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with parsley.

Swedish Pickles

3 English cucumbers - thinly sliced
2 tablespoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
1 teaspoon caraway seeds - coarsely ground

In a bowl, toss cucumbers with the salt and let stand for 1 hour. Meanwhile boil remaining ingredients in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Let cool then strain through a fine sieve. Squeeze cucumbers to release excess liquid then add to pickling liquid. Chill before serving. Pickles keep refrigerated, for up to a week, in an air-tight container. Makes 2 cups.

Just before flying home we partook in a traditional crayfish party at the boatyard. Everyone was invited; workers, sailors, neighbors and friends. The corner of a boat shed decorated with sails, nautical flags and paper lanterns depicting the man in the moon and we dined on long tables loaded with cheeses and knakebrod. The fresh crayfish, boiled in salt water seasoned with fresh dill, were delectable and a rowdy atmosphere prevailed especially when we started on the many drinking songs that involved snaps. Artur, a Polish sailor had made bigos, Polish hunters stew, and it was well received by all.

Bigos - Polish Hunters Stew

1 cup pitted prunes
½ oz dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon bacon drippings or vegetable oil
1 medium onion - chopped
1 small head fresh cabbage - chopped
1 lb. sauerkraut - rinsed and drained
½ lb. smoked Polish sausage - cut into 1-inch pieces
½ lb. pound cooked fresh Polish sausage - cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb. leftover boneless meat - cut into 1-inch pieces
3 large tomatoes - peeled and chopped
1 cup dry red wine, preferably Madeira
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Combine boiling water with prunes and mushrooms, let steep 30 minutes. Meanwhile in a large pot, sauté onion and fresh cabbage in bacon drippings. When cabbage has collapsed by half, add remaining ingredients. Simmer, covered, for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally and adding liquid as necessary to prevent burning. Serve garnished with a piece of frisée to resemble the feather in a hunter's hat. Accompany with boiled potatoes. Serves 8.

The Dance of the Elders procession in Friday Harbor

In the Port of Friday Harbor parking lot a crowd gathers in the early evening darkness. Shy smiles and greetings are exchanged as candles and sheets of Spanish lyrics are passed around. A pickup truck mounted with two large speakers slowly starts up Spring St and the gathering follows behind singing a Spanish hymn. Women carrying pots of large roses lead the procession, they’re dressed in long embroidered skirts and blouses. Elaborate aprons and shawls add more color to their ensemble, their dark hair braided with wide colored ribbons.

As the hymn comes to a close a loud clack, clack, clack erupts in time to mariachi music emanating from the trucks speakers. It’s the Dance of the Elders, an ancient pre-Columbian ritual and a dozen hunched men stamp their wooden soled sandals and walking sticks to create the distinctive clacking. Colorful serapes, ribboned sombreros and comical ‘white old man’ masks accent their white trousers and shirts. Weaving amongst the stomping men is a scary clown and menacing wolf and they’re soon joined by the women. The procession continues after the dance with a four-foot lighted statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the center preceding a group of singers holding candles. The dancing and singing alternates all the way up through town to St Francis Catholic Church where the statue is taken inside.

The next evening is the 12th of December and Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass is being held at the St Francis Church. The church is jam-packed and looking very festive. Long rows of red, white and green papel picado (decorative paper cut banners) hang across the ceiling and the Virgin of Guadalupe statue takes pride of place at the front of the church surrounded with the pots of abundant roses. A sermon and prayer is given by the priest honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe and just when I think we’ll sing a hymn a mariachi band blasts out a few joyful traditional carols totally taking me by surprise as they’re been hidden from view up in the balcony.

After mass we’re invited to a Mexican fiesta at the community center. It’s in part a Catholic celebration of the belief that a Juan Diego encountered the Virgin Mary, Mexico’s patron saint, in Mexico City on December 9 and 12 in 1531. Mary told Juan to ask the bishop to build a church on Tepeyac Hill. The bishop required proof, asking for a miracle. Returning to the hill Juan discovered there were now roses instead of cacti so he showed them to the bishop also revealing an image of the Lady of Guadalupe on his cloak. The bishop was convinced and built a church in honor of the event.

More rows of papel picodo decorate the community center and our dining tables are set with red tablecloths and roses. The mariachi band arrives with much gusto. Up from Seattle they’re real deal, looking elaborate in their charro suits, flamboyant bow ties, pointed boots and wide brimmed hats. The priest leads the arrival of the Virgin of Guadalupe statue accompanied by her flowers and offers a prayer of thanks for our meal. As the mariachi band serenades we enjoy socializing and a wonderful traditional Mexican dinner with salsa verde and flan to follow.

Dinner at the Friday Harbor Fiesta

Beef Colorado

5 guajillo chilies (de-seed if you prefer)
2 cups water (if using dried chilies)
2 cloves garlic - crushed
½ teaspoon cumin
1 14.5oz can fire roasted tomatoes
2 tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 lbs chuck roast beef - cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoon oil
1 onion - finely diced
1½ cups chicken stock

If using dried chilies place them in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water, let seep 30 minutes.
Combine chilies, garlic, cumin, tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the steeping water in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Mix together flour, salt, and pepper. Toss beef in the flour mixture until coated. Heat oil in Dutch oven and sauté diced onion until soft. Brown beef in batches. Deglaze with chicken stock and return beef and onions. Stir in sauce mix. Simmer for 3 hours, until beef is tender and sauce is lusciously thick. Serves 6.

Mexican Rice

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic - minced
1½ cups dry long grain rice
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
½ cup tomato sauce
3 Roma tomatoes - finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. One hot, add the onion and garlic cook 5 minutes. Stir in rice and cook until just starting to brown, about 3 minutes.

Add broth remaining ingredients bring to a boil, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook rice for 15 minutes; turn off heat and allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Serves 6.

Salsa Verde

1 lb tomatillos - husked and washed
1 white onion - chopped peeled and quartered
1 small jalapeno - stem removed, seeds left in for spicy salsa or removed for mild
3 cloves garlic
1 small bunch cilantro

Add tomatillos, onion, jalapeno, garlic, and cilantro to a blender. Blend on medium speed until mixture is roughly chopped and evenly combined. Don’t blend it too long, or the salsa will be too thin and watery Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tomatillo mixture and simmer while stirring, 10 minutes, until the color has darkened to a deeper green.

Flan Mexicano

3/4 cup sugar
1 8oz packet cream cheese - softened
5 eggs
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 12oz can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan stir sugar over medium-low heat until melted and golden, about 15 minutes. Quickly pour into a 2-qt. baking dish, tilting to coat the bottom; let stand for 10 minutes. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour over caramelized sugar. Place dish in a larger baking pan. Pour boiling water into larger pan to a depth of 1 in. Bake at 350°F 50 minutes or until center is just set (mixture will jiggle). Remove dish from a larger pan, cool 1 hour. To unmold, run a knife around edges and invert onto a rimmed serving platter. Serves 8.



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