Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

JAN09

    109When Mel joined us aboard Mahina Tiare for the Lisbon to Madeira passage we all took an instant liking to his friendly, entertaining and outgoing personality. Mel lives is Buenos Aires, Argentina and travels internationally for work. Although his first love is sailing, closely followed by fishing, I soon discovered he had exuberant passion for food and cooking.

    On night watches with Mel I'd reminisce about the delights I'd experienced in South America such as my first taste of dulce de leche. A brown jar was amongst the groceries upon our arrival at the crew house in Uruguay, during the round the world race. Jeni pounced upon it with a squeal of delight and smartly consumed a spoonful with a huge grin. The jar was passed around the crew and when I scraped the thick substance from the spoon between my teeth I too was instantly hooked on this sweet caramel. We demolished the entire jar it was that "delicioso”.

    "Ah” replied Mel, "That may be so, but you have never tasted my homemade dulce de leche. I'll send you the recipe and perhaps a few more......to remind you of South America!”

    Mel was true to his word and I was soon flooded with recipes. Some like "Rabbit Paella” and "Squid with Chocolate Sauce” are a little too obscure to include here but I'll certainly be making the following recipes, whilst also playing my tango tunes. I had once heard that tango is not about steps, it's about the connection of the heart and the mind. I think Mel does the tango of life. Muchas gracias Mel for the recipes and tango lesson!

Dulce de Leche
Dulce de Leche is an essential Argentinean and Uruguayan delicacy and if it were ever to suddenly disappear suddenly so would ¾ of all Argentine desserts. I've recently heard it is now also popular in the U.S, even as an ice cream flavor. Here is the recipe I make. An excellent dessert is to fill pancakes or crepes with it, in this case add some lemon juice to the crepe mixture.

4 cups whole milk
1½ cups sugar
1 or 2 vanilla sticks
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a tall heavy saucepan bring milk, sugar and vanilla to a boil. Lower heat to minimum and stir with a wooden spoon for 15 minutes. Add a pinch of baking soda; it will foam up for a moment. Keep stirring another 10 minutes, the mixture will begin to darken slightly. Add remaining baking soda and continue stirring until it darkens and thickens, about 45 minutes. Final color will be dark caramel (my preference) but it is just as good if is lighter. Thickness will be as jam, but only after it cools. Test as for syrup, put a drop on a plate and if it does not run it is ready. Cool by placing the pot on cold water and stirring for a few minutes to avoid it making a skin. Since it takes the same amount of time, if you like it you can triple the recipe next time!

109Saffron Sauce
Excellent with fish (use fish stock). I use more than a pinch of saffron as I like the taste, so if it is in thimble form, use 2 or even 3, and if in fiber form, the whole blister.

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoons flour
1½ cups chicken or fish stock
saffron
2 tablespoons sour cream

Melt butter in saucepan, add shallots and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. Slowly stir in flour and cook a couple of minutes. Add stock and cook 5 minutes whilst stirring in saffron, salt and pepper. Mix in sour cream and serve.

Pan Dulce Argentino

3 tablespoons fresh yeast
11/3 cups sugar
¼ cup water
6 tablespoons butter - melted
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon malt
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon cognac or sherry
4 cups flour - approx
pinch of salt
2 cups assort nuts and glazed fruit

Dissolve yeast in water with a little sugar. When activated set aside. Whisk together 3 eggs and next 7 ingredients. Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Slowly add yeast and egg mix to form a light dough. It should not stick to hands or bowl, add flour as necessary. Cover with cloth and let double. Add the fruit, previously shaken in flour so it won't sink to the bottom, and knead until incorporated. Form a ball and put in a tall paper mold. An 8 inch diameter base, should have an 8 inch total height. Paint top with 4th egg, and sprinkle with nuts. When volume has doubled put in hot oven, reduce heat and cook for about 60 minutes or until needle comes out clean.

Chimichurri
This fresh spicy herb sauce may also be made as hot as you like. Goes well with barbecued beef and sausages, such as in the Asado Argentino.

½ cup oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
10 garlic cloves
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon salt
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sweet paprika (or sharp paprika, to taste)
½ tablespoon cumin seeds
½ tablespoon ground pepper
hot chili to taste
1 cup boiling water

Grind the garlic cloves and mix with other ingredients. Best to put all in a bottle and shake well. You can put a slit cork in the bottle to sprinkle it on the meats as they are cooking, as we do here. Or if used at the table, put chimichurri in a bowl and serve with a spoon.

109Red Peppers Stuffed with Corn
If baking is not convenient aboard ship, you can roast the peppers directly on a gas flame fire, cook the filling in a skillet then stuff the roasted peppers.

6 red peppers
3 ears of corn
1 onion - diced
1 tomato - diced
1/4 cup chopped almonds or pine nuts
salt and pepper
fresh basil - chopped

Remove corn grains from cob Sauté onion 2 minutes, add tomato, salt and pepper. Mix in almonds and basil, adding a little milk if too thick. Fill peppers with mixture, place in an oven dish with a little oil in the bottom. Bake at medium heat until peppers are tender, about 25 minutes

Chestnut Puree
Goes well with pork or turkey, as well as wild meats.

1¼ lbs chestnuts - unpeeled
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
½ cup milk
½ cup cream

Roast chestnuts by first making a crosscut in the base of the outer skin and putting them in a pre warmed 450F oven for 15 minutes. The outer skin will open, and while warm, take out the chestnut. Or boil chestnuts in water for 20 minutes until fork tender, then peel. Combine all ingredients and mash well, adding milk as necessary.

Condensed Milk Flan

2 cans condensed milk
whole milk - same amount of as condensed milk
4 eggs
lemon or orange zest - or both
few drops vanilla extract.
grated coconut  - to taste

Mix everything together. Burn some sugar on the bottom of pan and spread around the sides. Add mixture to pan and place in large shallow baking pan filled with 1 inch of hot water. Bake until sets, about 50 minutes. Easy and VERY GOOD!

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feb09

 

    After a 3 day sail from Lisbon we arrived at the island of Madeira. It's was my third visit to "the pearl of the Atlantic” and as always I fell under its charms: magnificent scenery, mild climate, serene ambience, colorful folklore and last but not least - the most seducing gastronomy.

feb09

    The capital Funchal was in the midst of its 500th anniversary with the Madeira wine festival in full swing. That evening the main boulevard and plaza was packed with friendly locals and it was great to join in the celebration. Free wine tasting, displays of grape stomping by handsome lads including sampling their efforts, folk dancing and modern performances relating to wine continued until midnight when impressive fireworks showered the city. It's impossible not to depart the island without a bottle of Madeira wine so I'll share with you its history and a few recipes.

2

    Though Prince Henry the Navigator was less than 30 years old when he commenced his school of navigation in Portugal, he was a significant factor in the settlement of Madeira. Being somewhat a scientist he ordered his explorers to bring back exotic fruits, nuts and plants from the new lands. In 1420, he sent settlers to colonize the newly discovered Madeira with plants he believed would thrive in the volcanic soil and subtropical climate, including grapevines from Crete and sugar cane from Sicily. These especially bought economic and cultural development to the island, mainly in the form of wine.

    To prevent the local Madeira wine from spoiling aboard ships heading to the New World or East Indies neutral grape spirits were added. The long sea voyages exposed the wine to excessive heat and movement transforming the flavor, as the wine producers discovered when an unsold shipment returned. Madeira wine soon became the islands famous calling card, although it was the English that made Madeira renowned in Europe and America.

In 1662 Charles II of England demanded ownership of the island as part of an agreement to marry Catarina de Braganca. Madeira wine became the only wine exported to the American colonies and solely on English vessels; a privilege that attracted many English to the island such as Leacook and Blandy, who is still a prominent Madeira wine producer. Thomas Jefferson toasted American independence with Madeira on the 4th of July 1776 and Shakespeare's Falstaff traded his soul for a glass of it. In 1800, around 9 million bottles of Madeira were exported and the English were in Madeira to stay.

    Today, Madeira's unique winemaking process involves heating the wine to high temperatures and deliberately exposing it to oxidation thus resulting in a robust long lived wine.

Filet Mignon with Mushrooms and Madeira

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
12oz  mushrooms - sliced
½ cup minced shallots
4 garlic cloves – minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
4 5oz filet mignon steaks
½ cup Madeira
1½ cups beef broth
½ cup whipping cream
salt and pepper for seasoning

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon oil in skillet. Add mushrooms and sauté 10 minutes. Add ¼ cup shallots and half of garlic, sauté 3 minutes. Stir in thyme and season. Transfer mushrooms to bowl. Melt remaining butter with oil in same skillet. Season steaks, add to skillet and cook to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to plate. Add remaining shallots and garlic to same skillet, sauté 2 minutes. Add Madeira and boil until reduced by half, 3 minutes. Add broth and boil until reduced to 2/3 cup, 6 minutes. Add cream and simmer 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and season. Return steaks and cook until heated through, 1 minute. Place on plates and spoon sauce over.

Pasta with Chard, Currants and Madeira

1lb orecchiette pasta or similar
¾ cup Madeira
¼ cup water
1/3 cup currants or raisins
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion - diced
2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
2 bunches Swiss chard - stemmed and thinly sliced
¾ cup chicken broth
salt and fresh ground pepper
Parmesan to garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring Madeira and water to a boil. Remove from the heat, add currants, cover and set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add onion and cook until soft and golden, 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Return skillet to medium heat, add remaining oil and garlic, stirring until garlic softens. Remove and discard garlic. Add half the chard and cook, until wilted, 5 minutes. Transfer to onions; repeat with remaining chard. Drain pasta and return it to the pot. Add currants, chard and broth. Toss gently and season. Drizzle with a splash of Madeira and top with Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Madeira Cake
The name for this subtle lemon cake, which is also of my "Kiwi” favorites, comes from the fact that starting in the nineteenth century in Victoria England, this cake was served at mid-morning with Madeira wine. Some cooks also sprinkle the baked cake with Madeira before it cools.

6oz butter - room temperature
6oz caster sugar
3 large eggs
9oz self-raising flour
3 tablespoons milk
1 lemon - zest only
2 pieces of candied lemon peel

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Grease a 7in round cake pan, line base with greaseproof paper and grease the paper. Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour with the last egg to prevent mixture curdling. Sift flour and gently fold in, with enough milk, to give a mixture that falls slowly from the spoon. Fold in lemon zest. Bake 30 minutes on middle oven shelf. Place candied peel on top of cake and bake 30 minutes more. Let cool 10 minutes before turning out.

Madeira Ginger Cake
This heavenly spice cake is often served on the pastry cart at infamous Reid's Hotel in Funchal.

4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ lb, plus 3 tablespoons, unsalted butter - room temperature
2/3 cup shortening
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup light molasses or dark corn syrup
5 large eggs - separated
1/3 cup sweet Madeira
1 cup milk

Preheat oven 325F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Cream butter, shortening and sugar together until fluffy. Mix in molasses and cream, beat in eggs yolks, one at a time. Combine Madeira and milk. Add sifted dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with combined liquids, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Beat egg whites to soft peaks and gently fold into mixture. Bake 1¼ hours or until the cake beings to pull from the sides of pan and feels springy to the touch. Let cool 10 minutes before turning out. Serve plain or frosted with your favorite butter cream to which you can add 1 tablespoon of Madeira wine and 2 tablespoons of chopped preserved ginger.

feb09

Fresh Fruit in Madeira

2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup red-skinned pear - cubed
1 cup orange sections - chopped
½ cup pomegranate seeds
½ cup Madeira, or dry sherry
2 teaspoons powered sugar
2 bananas

Combine the first 4 fruits. Combine Madeira and sugar, and toss with fruit. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for up to 8 hours, stirring occasionally. Just before serving add sliced banana. Serves 8

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march 09

1

"Let's go to Lopez!” John announced one winters day.
"What do you mean?” I questioned.
"Oh, you know, check it out, have an adventure” he replied
    Lopez is one of the neighboring island to our winter home on San Juan Island, a ferry stop on the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes, and where a creamery creates the best gourmet ice cream. Other than these facts the only extra information I knew was that it; A. it has summer bicycle tour, B. a past Mahina Expeditions's member may grow berries there, and C. John raves about a bakery he once visited when hauled out near the village.

    I'm always up for an exploration so his idea sounded great. Finding accommodation mid-winter was not so great but we lucked out with Lopez Farm Cottages and Tent Camping. Although they offer "Gourmet Tent Camping in peaceful wooded setting” this girl was not quite up for winter camping all be it "Gourmet” Later I discovered it's the only campground on Lopez with showers. Thankfully our splurge on one of their Northwest Scandinavian cottage, situated on the edge of a cedar grove beside a paddock of bouncing bunnies, was toasty and perfect. A welcoming basket of fruit, biscotti, chocolates plus exotic teas and coffee helped us settle in as we planned our first forage. Dinner!

    In the last of the afternoon light we set out for Lopez Village located on the islands west side at the mouth of Fisherman Bay. As we parked on the waterfront outside The Bay Café we were greeted with darkness; no warm fuzzy restaurant lights or tables of chatty people. I gazed about I realized there were no glowing neon signs anywhere. A large building further down Lopez Rd appeared to have some activity and as we wandered in that direction the village definitely showed signs of in winter hibernation. Notices were posted on the storefront doors announcing return dates and although we were now well into the New Year Xmas sale stickers appear on many windowed items. Drifting into the Red Apple Market I discovered an impressively stocked grocery that would satisfy any galley provisioning and after grabbing a few tide-us-over supplies it was definitely time for dinner.

    Open year-round for breakfast, lunch and dinner The Galley further south on Fisherman Bay boasts a dock and free mooring buoys along with being the island's favorite place to socialize, eat and be refreshed all whilst listening to local live entertainment. Their creative two page daily specials menu highlights the islands produce from organic greens to grass-fed beef and makes for a tough decision process. I opted for the smoked seafood platter as I couldn't resist the in-house apple cider marinated apple wood smoked mussels along with the roasted red pepper cream cheese, and that's just two of the five items served. John delighted in Loraine's baked sockeye salmon with a soy and whiskey marinade and it was truly delicious. The following two recipes are in inspired from The Galley.

Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Cream Cheese Spread

6 oz cream cheese
1 red bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves of garlic
sea salt and black pepper
    Heat cream cheese in microwave until soft. Brush red pepper with olive oil. Roast red pepper and unpeeled garlic under broiler until red pepper is mostly black. Place red pepper and garlic into a plastic bag until cooled. Peel garlic and skin from red pepper. Chop red pepper and garlic, combine with cream cheese. Season to taste.

Whiskey Salmon

4 salmon steaks
½ cup brown sugar
4 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons whiskey
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 garlic cloves – crushed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    Mix all ingredients together. Marinate salmon for at least an hour. Grill on barbeque; baste with leftover sauce while cooking.

2

    Over the next few days we enjoyed numerous hikes, wanders, runs and strolls about the island. In preparation for our day's outings we stopped by the village numerous times to load up on goodies. Sadly the infamous Holly B's Bakery was closed for the season but I highly recommend Holly's cookbook and there's even a few recipes on www.hollybsbakery.com. The girls behind the counters at both Vita's Wildly Delicious and Vortex Juice Bar were always busily creating and a village visit wasn't complete without a stop at Isabel's Espresso.

3

    Not wanting leave the island empty handed we stopped by Blossom Organic Grocery to double check the Lopez Food Producers bulletin board and load up with local produce. Our selection included fresh beetroot and parsnips, a bag of pepitas, and vacuum packed Jones family farm steaks with which I made the following.

Spicy Pepitas
  Pepitas is the name for shelled green pumpkin seeds.

1 cup pepitas
1 teaspoon corn or peanut oil
1 teaspoon pure chili powder such as New Mexico or ancho
¾ teaspoon coarse salt
    Combine ingredients and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Roast 375° until pepitas pop - 7 minutes.

Roasted Beetroot Salad

5 small beets
3 fresh rosemary or thyme sprigs
½ teaspoon coarse salt
drizzle of olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
4 cups shredded red cabbage
1 red onion – sliced
4 cups mixed salad greens
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup of spicy pepitas
salt and pepper
    Line a baking sheet with foil. Place beets, herbs, salt and olive oil in center, toss beets to coat. Fold foil onto a loose-fitting sealed parcel around beets. Roast 1¼ hours at 400°.Let cool in foil then slice. For vinaigrette whisk together mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice. Slowly whisk in oil. Toss cabbage, onion and beets with ½ the vinaigrette. Just before serving add remaining ingredients and toss.

Chipotle Marinated Steak
    This marinade with its terrific smoky chipotle kick is equally tasty with pork, chicken, fish or shimp.

4 steaks
juice of 4 limes
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup olive oil
ground pepper and salt
    Combine lime juice, chilies and sugar. Slowly whisk in olive oil and continue whisking for 4 minutes to form a frothy emulsion. Place steaks in a glass baking dish and cover with half the marinade, refrigerate for at least 2 hours along with remaining marinade. Remove steaks from marinade and season. Cook steaks on pre-heated grill for about 5 minutes each side. Serve with reserved marinade spooned over steaks.

    On the ferry home I pulled out a number of leaflets I'd picked up at Blossoms. On glancing through the Lopez Island Farm Products Guide, to help visitors finding homegrown and homemade goods, I realized that on a chilly frosty morning run down Port Stanley Rd I'd passed our friend Eric Hall's farm. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity of saying hello, I've just given him a ring. Eric, who'd sailed around Cape Horn with us, was out working on the farm though I got to chat with his wife Elf.
    "Eric still mentions the Cape Horn expedition. He got a sailboat last year and it was the first summer he's taken time away from Crowfoot Farm. It's not berry or cherry season now but in summer if you kayak over or anchor in either Fisherman's Bay or Spencer Spit State Park it's an easy walk to the farm. We specialize in organic pick-your-own raspberries and strawberries from June through Labor Day, on Tuesdays and Fridays. You must come over to pick berries and try our yummy strawberry pie recipe”.

Crowfoot Farm's Strawberry Pie

3 pints strawberries - sliced

    Crust
½ cup butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flour
    Mix crust ingredient together and bake in 9in pie pan 350°12-15 minutes. Cool.

    Glaze
1 pint strawberries – 1 cup total crushed
¾ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 ½ tablespoons corn starch
    Boil glaze ingredients, stirring occasionally, until thick and clear, cool until warm. Layer the pie crust with glaze and sliced strawberries ending with glaze. Served chilled.

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409

galley
Jake Crump, Peter Hancock, Terrie, A&J, Nigel aboard Nada

    We were having battery problems – they weren't holding a charge. This wouldn't be a problem if we could stay plugged into shore power. We (thankfully!) don't have a generator on Mahina Tiare and generally charge our batteries with two large alternators off the engine. Unfortunately, the type of replacement batteries we needed, 8D Gel weren't available here in Sweden. A few months ago John read about someone with the same problem which was solved by deeply discharging the batteries and then recharging them; thus restoring the capacity. We decided to give this a try and set about switching on every light appliance. By mid-morning the lights were rather dim and the voltage was down from 23 to 11 volts. Then who should pop by but Nigel Calder, author of Boatowner's Electrical and Mechanical Handbook as well of a raft of other technical marine books and articles!

    Nigel and his wife Terrie were commissioning Nada, their Malo 46, in the bay next to us and he'd come by to invite us to dinner. Nigel confirmed that deep discharging might restore the batteries but cautioned taking them below 8 volts as it may cause the batteries to reverse polarity thus ruining them. At 9 volts we shut down all the loads down and plugged in the battery charger from shore power. Nothing happened! So we started the engine to charge with the alternator. Still no charging! After a couple of minutes of troubleshooting I figured out we had to switch wires from the hi-tech voltage regulator to the basic system. Phew….now we could go to dinner on Nada and not bother Nigel with our battery troubles. I put together a salad and we dinghied over.

    Terrie welcomed us aboard and introduced long time friends; Peter, who was in cocktail mode and Jake, who'd just emerged from the galley. Nigel popped up into the companionway inviting us below. I don't know why I had stressed on our battery problem. Nada, recently launched out of the factory, was "the project boat”. Multi sized colored wires were spewing out of every orifice as if someone had grabbed the boats internal wiring system and given it a mighty squeeze. Nigel enthusiastically began showing us around shoving boxes, packaging, tools and stuff in different directions whilst talking some sort of new-tech language; "diesel-electric, nodes, multiplexing, hybrid, Capi2, permanent magnet” Thankfully just as my brain matter suffered critical overload Jake announced "Dinner's ready”

galley

Jake's Chili con Carne

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion - sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 can tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 can mild green chili peppers
1 green bell pepper – diced
1 yellow pepper - diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
dash cayenne pepper, or to taste
dash ground cloves
1 small bay leaf
2 cans red kidney - drained
salt
    In a large skillet, sauté onion, and beef in oil. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili peppers, ½ the bell peppers and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Add beans and heat through. Serve on rice and garnish with remaining bell peppers.
Serves 6.

    Over Jake's scrummy chili con carne I deciphered the technical conversations to conclude that basically Nada has a standard diesel engine, and an electric motor driven by either a sophisticated generator or batteries to propel the boat, possibly new battery technology capable of accepting extremely high charge rates, and a "distributed power system” called Capi2. Terrie had been rather quiet all evening but every time Nigel mentioned Capi2 she'd roll her eyes. In essence most systems were not functioning. There was no promised electric motor yet and the "multiplexing” electrical system continuously started up and shut down gadgets throughout the boat including the galley appliances therefore causing way too much problem solving at the dock rather time out time out cruising.

    During the next week we had a bow thruster installed in M.T. Between needed sessions with Nigel, to problem solve the thruster's powering, and moves to lighten our forward stowage locker by passing on gear, including our treasured bicycles, to Nada we all reasoned that as MT was hauled out these gatherings best take place over dinner aboard Nada. Great! Nada proved far more interesting as to their day's events, Jake and Terrie are great cooks, Peter is the dishwasher king and I'm a queen at bringing salads.

    Earlier in the month Nigel had driven over to Nada, in Sweden, from England enabling him to not only load the car with boat equipment but also provisions. Now anyone outfitting a boat quickly finds themselves on a budget so Nigel in his wisdom provisioned with this in mind. At a super store he bought all the pork on special and at a cookie factory he purchased a gigantic box of broken cookies and crackers, then he reckoned a generous supply of rice and cabbage would fill in the hunger gaps. This did little to impress Nada's cooks, who arrived a week later, so together we had a brainstorming session and assembled the following recipes. They created terrific dinners served with a Mahina Tiare salad and rounded off with broken Swedish crackers, tasty Shetland cheddar purchased on our last passage, and English stilton courtesy of Jake.

Cabbage Rolls

1 head green cabbage
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion - diced
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ lb ground pork
½ lb ground beef
1 egg – beaten
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 cups salsa
salt and pepper
    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add cored cabbage and simmer until leaves loosen. Immerse leaves in cold water then drain. Sauté onion in oil 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and oregano, sauté 1 minute. In a bowl, combine pork, beef, onion, egg, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Prepare cabbage leaves by cutting out the lower central stem. Spread each leaf with a portion of filling and roll into an enclosed cylinder, overlapping small leaves if necessary. Place cabbage rolls in baking dish, folded side down, cover with salsa. Bake, covered, 1 hour at 350°. Serve with rice.

Sweet and Sour Pork

1½ lbs pork loin - sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can pineapple chunks in juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 cups broccoli florets
1 onion - sliced
1 carrot - diced
1 red pepper diced
1 can baby corn
2 garlic cloves - crushed
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
salt and pepper
    Drain juice from pineapple into a small bowl add soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch and vinegar. Stir-fry pork in half the oil until white. Add broccoli, onion, carrot, red pepper, corn, and pineapple, stir-fry 5 minutes. Transfer to plate. Heat remaining oil, add garlic and ginger, stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Stir in pineapple juice mixture. Add pork and vegetables mixture, stir-fry until liquid has thickened and meat is cooked through, 5 minutes. Serve over rice or noodles. Serves 6

Skillet Tomato, Cabbage and Pork

1lb ground beef or pork
1 onion – chopped
1 green pepper - chopped
½ head cabbage - chopped
1 cup raw rice
1 can tomatoes
6 oz can tomato paste
2 cups water
1 teaspoons salt
sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
    Brown beef in skillet. Add onion, green pepper, cabbage and rice. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste, water and seasonings. Cover and simmer 25 minutes until rice is tender, stirring occasionally. Serves 4.

    I'm happy to report that Nigel's "Nada Project” has recently been awarded a 2.2 million euro grant by the European Union ‘Framework Program 7' Perhaps this means no more "specials” dinning for Nada's crew. To view Nigel's Blog visit www.maloyachts.se – sorry, no recipes yet.

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May 09

may galley 2009

    In the later months of last year we enjoyed island hopping through the Canary Islands in preparation for our Atlantic crossing. The Canaries, located 65 miles off of the west coast of northern Africa, enjoy a sub-tropical climate referred to as "eternal spring”. The seven main islands vary in size and terrain and contain four of Spain's national parks plus tons of stunning beaches making them a popular tourist destination for Europeans.

    The cuisine of Canaries is equally as intriguing and surprising as its landscapes. Traditional Spanish dishes rub shoulders with African and Latin-American influences giving way to recipes characterized by their simplicity and extensive use of local produce. Several of the islands have there own typical cheese-specialties, honeys, traditional cakes, deserts and wines. When I caught up with Katie Thomsen (October 2008 Galley) on the yacht Tenaya at a local 'Canarian Tipico' I delighted in this simple tapas followed by Tuna al Salmorejo.

Almogrote
    Take a big piece of very ripened cheese, hard as a stone. Cut it into very small pieces and mash them or put them into the mixer. Mix it with peeled tomatoes without seeds, a few hot peppers, several garlic cloves and a little bit of oil. All this must be emulsified and achieve the texture of pâté. Serve spread on toasted bread.

Tuna al Salmorejo
    Serve this rich spicy take on tuna as an appetizer, or as a main course with sautéed greens and wrinkled potatoes.
1½ lbs tuna steaks - cut into large steaks
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 dried ancho chilies
2 roasted red peppers - jarred is fine
6 garlic cloves - chopped
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
½ cup sherry or white wine
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
��� To make the salmorejo soak the ancho chiles until soft, 30 minutes to 2 hours. Remove stems and seeds and chop finely. Add ancho chilies to food processor, then garlic, red peppers, thyme, oregano, cumin, salt and paprika. Buzz at low speed to combine. Add sherry vinegar and sherry, buzz on high speed. The sauce should be thick but not paste-like. With food processor on, add half the olive oil in a slow stream. Salt tuna steaks well and set aside for 10 minutes. In a large, deep frying pan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté tuna well on one side, about 3 minutes. The steaks will release from the bottom of pan when they're ready; don't pry them off. When first side is seared, turn the tuna over and pour in sauce around fish; careful not to get any on the seared part -- you want it nice and crispy. Swirl the pan around and bring sauce to a boil. Cook 2 minutes then turn off heat. Let fish stand in the pan for 3-4 minutes then serve garnished with parsley.

    When Katie and I compared our local dinning experiences we realized we were hooked on ´mojos´; a variety of cold sauces which are an indispensable component of many Canarian dishes. Made with several fresh mashed ingredients they all have the same basis: oil and vinegar. The better known mojos are picon or colorado (red), and green or coriander. Other common mojos are oregano and cumin, parsley, garlic, green pepper, cheese, roasted tomatoes, wine, and sweet mojo or ´salmorejo´.

Hot Red Mojo
6 garlic cloves – peeled
½ teaspoon cumin
dash of cooking salt.
´puta de la madre´ hot pepper (very hot) – to taste
1 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons water
Spanish sherry vinegar to taste
    Mash together garlic, cumin and salt. Add hot pepper then mix in oil, water and sherry.

Green Mojo
6 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon coarse salt
1 bunch cilantro
1 cup virgin Spanish olive oil
5 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons Spanish sherry vinegar to taste
green hot pepper to taste
    Process cumin, garlic, cilantro and salt in a blender to create a paste. While blending, drizzle in olive oil gradually. Add small amounts of water until the sauce is thick, but not as thick as a paste. Add vinegar or more to taste. Keep refrigerated in a sealed glass jar. Makes 1½ cups. Serve with potatoes, meat or fish.

may 2009

Wrinkly Potatoes
    Wrinkly Potatoes are the next best signature dish of the Canaries. They're simple to make and are terrific dipped in a mojo.
4 servings of small potatoes
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
    Place potatoes in a large pot, add water to just cover and add salt. Boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes until cooked. Remove from heat and pour off water. Return pot with potatoes to the stove, letting the steam evaporate. You should see a layer of salt form on the dry skins.

    One of our intriguing Canarian dinning experiences was at the impressive volcanic Parque Nacional de Timanfaya on the island of Lanzarote. From 1730-1736 an eruption devastated 200 sq km claiming more than twenty villages and extensive farm land. Although the final eruption was in 1824 heat from the volcano still abounds and at the park's El Diablo restaurant it was a blast to have adobo chicken grilled over the volcano vent.

Canarian Grilled Adobo Chicken

1 whole chicken – cut up
6 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon fresh oregano
¼ teaspoon fresh thyme
sea salt
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
pepper
    Using a mortar and pestle, mash garlic and salt, then add paprika, oregano, thyme, and pepper. Add red wine vinegar and combine well. Coat chicken with marinade and refrigerate several hours. Grill chicken until done.

    Lanzarote native Cesar Manrique undoubtedly shaped the islands architectural landscape. Inspired by the volcanic terrain he developed several striking natural sites that along with El Diablo include a water cave theatre, sculpted cactus garden, dramatic northern lookout and many exclusive homes. On a day out touring we decided, on the spur of the moment, to lunch at LagOmar; a hillside home designed by Manrique for Omar Sharif. Story goes that Omar Sharif lost his home in a poker game. These days LagOmar's extensive pools, fountains and grottos serve as a bar and restaurant plus feature in numerous movies and magazine fashion shoots. Once we talked our way around the snooty waiter, as we did not have reservations, we enjoyed and exquisite lunch that finished with bienmesabe.

may 2009

Bienmesabe
    Throughout the Spanish-speaking world "bienmesabe" (tastes good to me) is given to a wide variety of dishes not just desserts, though in the Canaries they label this traditional almond cinnamon custard, of Arabic origins, bienmesabe….and so it is.
2¼ cups almonds – blanched and peeled
2 cups water
1½ cups sugar
zest of 1 lemon
cinnamon stick
8 egg yolks - beaten
4 wafers
���

Toast almonds on a baking sheet under a broiler until golden brown, 5 minutes. Process almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Ensure the food processor blade is sharp or the almonds will not be fine, but "chunky”. In a small pot heat water and sugar, once hot add zest and cinnamon. Keep stirring over medium heat until syrup forms – on lifting the spoon a thick stream should fall. Add almonds and simmer 20 minutes - experts say it is ready when the almonds start to "jump". Take mixture off heat, remove cinnamon stick. Continue stirring while slowly adding the egg yolks. Heat custard in a double-boiler until it turns a nice caramel color. Serve cold with homemade vanilla ice cream and wafers. Serves 6.

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galley header june 09

  As I follow the Volvo Ocean Race I'm excited that the fleet will be in Galway, Ireland the first week of this month. Having raced in the Whitbread, the Volvo's predecessor, I know the excitement and importance of a stopover. I've also visited Galway so I can assure anyone attending the Galway Volvo Ocean Festival that they're in for a terrific time or some "craic” as they say in Galway.

   After our southern Ireland landfall last year John and I decided to take up the offer of George, one of crew, to visit him on Ireland's rugged west coast at Rosmuc on the Connemara peninsula. I'd been fascinated with this area west of Galway for some time, as it's known for its sean-nos dancing or old style Irish stepping, of which I've been learning. We rented a car in order to see more of the countryside but George informed us that Rosmuc is rather difficult to navigate to, so he offered to meet us in Galway.

    It was fabulous having George as a personal guide and Galway proved to be a culturally vibrant medieval city; an experience I enjoyed savoring and will always remember. The historic city of the tribes definitely dances to a beat uniquely it's own. Easily walked from one end to another in half an hour, there's a certain chemistry and vibrancy to this friendly university town; music, festivals, pubs, restaurants, shops, parks, theatres and most of all the Galway people create a lively festive atmosphere.

    Ever the sailors we soon fled the busy cobbled High and Quay street shopping lanes and gravitated towards the waterfront where the Spanish Arch provides a decorative end to the sturdy town stone wall. Built in 1519 to protect the merchant trade ships from looting, its current name refers to Spanish galleons that often docked under its protection to exchange wine and fine cloth for animal pelts and fish.

   George explains that the Spanish Arch was formerly known as the Fishmarket; it was here that the women from the Claddagh area sold the fish caught by their husbands. The Claddagh is located on the west Corrib river bank directly across the from Spanish Arch and is famous for the Galway Hookers, working sailboats which were used for hundreds of years to transport turf, fish, cattle and people all over Galway Bay. Recently there has been a major revival and renewed interest in the hookers and George promised to introduce us to the fleet he races with out at Rosmuc. Perhaps an even better known association with this area, to us girls, is the distinctive Claddagh Ring featuring two hands clasping a heart, usually surmounted by a crown.
   
   "O.K” says George. "It's time for lunch. How about my favorite café: Nimmo's?”

    Nimmo's, located in the renovated stone smoke house at Spanish Arch courtyard, is owned by George's friend Aoibheann McNamara whom he claims is a wonderful woman who talks fast, works fast and moves fast. Lunch was excellent and I highly recommend trying their chowder recipe along with those following, gathered during our captivating Galway discovery

Galway Bay Mussel and Smoked Haddock Chowder

½ cup unsalted butter
½ onion - diced
1 carrot - diced
½ leek - diced
2 celery stalks - diced
¼ cup flour
2 large vegetable bouillon cubes - coarsely chopped
Pinch of saffron
5 cups whole milk
1 8oz bottle clam juice
1 lb smoked haddock
½ lb cooked baby shrimp
1 lb mussels - rinsed and debeared
2 tablespoon chopped dill
    In a large flameproof casserole, melt half the butter. Add onion, carrot, leek, and celery. Cook, 8 minutes stirring frequently. Add remaining butter. Blend in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until flour colors slightly. Stir in bouillon and saffron. Gradually pour in milk, stirring constantly, ensure mixture is smooth. Stir in clam juice, bring to a boil. Add fish and shrimp. Lower the heat and simmer gently 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mussels and cover with lid. Turn up heat and cook 2 minutes (watch the pot so it doesn't boil over) or until the mussels open. Sprinkle with dill.

Mussels in Guinness

2 lbs fresh mussels, scrubbed, debearded, and rinsed in cold water
1 shallot - minced
3 cloves garlic - minced
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley - diced, plus extra for garnish
1½ teaspoons fresh thyme
½ cup Guinness
½ cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
lemon wedges for serving
    Put a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When pot is hot, add mussels and remaining ingredients, cover immediately. Cook stirring once or twice, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until mussels open. Discard any that don't open. To serve, divide mussels among shallow bowls and ladle the broth over them. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with a wedge of lemon and slices of Irish soda bread. Serves 4.

Baked Cod Florentine with Cheddar and Mustard

6 220g cod fillets
2 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
salt and pepper
paprika
    Preheat oven 400F. Toss spinach with a little melted butter, season with salt and pepper. Place in the bottom of buttered ovenproof dish and arrange the fish on top. In a bowl, mix together cheese, cream, and mustard. Pour over the fish. Season and sprinkle with paprika. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart

  Poached Pears
3 ripe medium pears - only need 2 pears but recommend having an extra one
1½ cups wine
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Tart Shell
1½ cups flour
½ cup confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk

  Frangipane
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup ground blanched almonds
2 teaspoons flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
   Combine wine, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan, bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, cut pears in half, remove core, then peel. Add pears to syrup adding water to cover. Poach on low, 10 minutes, turning them halfway. Let the pears cool in liquid.
    Put flour, confectioner's sugar, and salt in food processor and pulse to combine. Add pieces of cold butter, pulse until butter is cut into pea-sized pieces. Add egg yolk and pulse several times until dough starts to turn clumpy. Don't let dough form one giant ball or it will be overworked - when dough pieces looks like they'll stick when pressed together, stop. Butter a 9-in tart tin with removable bottom, turn out dough and press into the bottom and sides with your fingers, save extra dough. Freeze 30 minutes. Take a piece of foil and butter shiny side, press buttered side tightly to shell. Bake 375F, 25 minutes. If cracks appear, repair with extra dough, let cool.
    For frangipane combine butter and sugar in food processor until smooth. Add almonds and blend. Add flour, cornstarch, then egg and egg white, process until smooth. Add vanilla and almond extracts, blend. Spread frangipane evenly into shell. Drain pears on paper towels. Cut pears crosswise into 3/8 in thick slices, don't separate yet. Slide a spatula underneath sliced pear half and transfer onto the tart, press on pear to create fans. Repeat with other halves. Bake 350F, 45-50 minutes, until frangipane is puffed, golden, and firm to touch.

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galley header june 09

   We've been at sea 2 for weeks now, half way on our passage to Hawaii from Panama. To celebrate I've chilled down the watermelon for lunch. I'd purchased the green rotund monster melon at the equally gigantic open market in Panama, a last minute whim during the final stage of our fresh provisioning run. It was quickly snatched from a heap, no time to sample a wedge, cut and offered on a knife from one on display. Now as I slice through the striped dark skin and split it open to reveal the center I realize I've hit the jackpot. She's a beauty – sugary, bright red, firm and seedless. Just perfect eaten chilled and included in this spicy salad.

1

Watermelon, Feta and Olive Salad

3 cups salad greens
1 cup flat-leaf parsley
1 cup torn mint leaves
2 lbs watermelon - cut into 1” cubes
20 Kalamata olives
1 jalapeño – stemmed, seeded, julienned
¼ red onion – thinly sliced
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 limes
coarse sea salt
fresh ground back pepper
     In a bowl toss together arugula, parsley, and mint. In medium bowl toss together watermelon, olives, jalapeño and onion. Spoon watermelon mixture over greens. Sprinkle with feta and drizzle with olive oil. Squeeze lime over salad, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    Provisioning for this passage started six months ago in England with the stashing away of exotic condiments such as mango chutney, Thai red curry paste, and pesto. Items I was not too sure I'd readily find in Panama. Then a few days before we recently transited the Panama Canal I sorted galley cupboards and lockers whilst creating a four week menu plan and provisioning lists for 8 people for 34 days.

    The canal transit from the Atlantic to Pacific is now a two day affair and it too required its own provisioning plan as I needed to feed four line handlers, ourselves and the pilot advisor. Upon leaving Shelter Bay marina around 4:30 pm, to headed out to the flats to collect our pilot, I questioned Ricardo, our hired local line handler as too when I should serve dinner. He recommended it be early as we would be climbing the Gatun locks into the lake until around 10:30pm. I threw together mahi tortillas and topped them off with fresh pineapple salsa. When our pilot boarded at 7:30 he was also thankful to be offered a tortilla, so much so that as we locked up through the second Gatun chamber a demure request for a fish tortilla came from the pilot on our neighboring side tied yacht. I guess he did not like the French cuisine aboard Graine D'Etoil.

2

Fish Tortilla Seasoning

2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoons chili pepper flakes
1 garlic clove - minced
1 teaspoon lime juice
sugar to taste
salt and pepper
    Combine seasoning ingredients. Sauté 1 onion, add diced fish and cook 5 minutes. Stir in seasoning and continue cooking until fish is done. Serve on tortillas, warmed in a pan, with diced lettuce, grated carrots, chopped tomatoes, grated cheddar cheese and salsa. Garnish with a lime wedge.

    The remainder of our transit was pleasant, if you could call a night anchored on Gatun Lake surrounded with noisy howler monkeys and a morning swim to scrap bottom barnacles amongst rumored lurking crocodiles appealing. As we locked down into the Pacific the hot lunch menu of roasted chicken, rice and salad was greatly appreciated by George, our second day pilot.

    The next three days passed in a blur of major provisioning excursions. These were made considerably easier by being moored at the pseudo-swanky Flamenco Marina and the hiring of our canal agents trusted taxi driver Oscar, all be it that his tiny car bottomed out when loaded with groceries. Finally Mahina Tiare's lockers were overflowing, the last of the persistent Caribbean barnacles had been scrapped from the hull, and we were off across the Pacific. Fortune showered us the second day with the landing of a skip jack tuna, perfect for this fast robust meal.

Tuna Steaks on Basque Ragout

4 tuna steaks
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 onion – sliced into half moons
1 red bell pepper – sliced
1 yellow bell pepper – sliced
3 garlic cloves – chopped
1 14 oz can tomatoes in juice – drained and chopped
1/8 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
½ cup Kalamata olives – pitted and coarsely chopped
    Season tuna with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. In a skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil, sear tuna for 1 minute per side, set aside. Heat remaining oil, sauté onion, bell peppers and garlic 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, remaining salt and hot pepper. Simmer 15 minutes or pressure cook for 5 minutes. Stir in olives and gently add tuna, cover and simmer 3 minutes. Tuna will be cooked around the rim and rare in the center. Cook longer if desired. Spoon ragout onto plates and top with tuna. Serve with couscous or rice. Serves 4.

    Excitement aboard mounted a few days later when we anchored in the dead of night at Cocos Island, a national park and marine conservation area located at 5 degrees north and 340 miles from Costa Rica. Swimming, hiking and visiting were the agenda and we greatly enjoyed the hospitality offered by the park rangers and volunteers, even exchanging our rapidly ripening fresh fruit for cans of asparagus, something not quite on the Costa Rican's menu plan.

3    Upon leaving Cocos I discovered the very bottom of our freezer had not coped well with the very warm sea water and ambient cabin temperatures, so I was forced to jettison some thawed provisions in the hopes of making up for it in catching fish. Nightly tons of flying fish and squid land on deck and over the last week we've lost one lure and passed 3 working tuna boats but to date it's been grim on the fish front. We cruised by Clipperton Atoll two days ago passing though working birds and feeding dolphins. A large strike on a lure caused the line to go drum tight and hum but whatever it was broke the hook and we've had no further strikes on the other lure. So…. the following recipe will help stretch provisions for another day.

Chipotle Chicken Slaw

3 ounces of firm tofu or substitute mayonnaise
juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 canned chipotle in adobo
¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
3 cups shredded cabbage
1½ cups shredded red cabbage
1 red onion - sliced
1 carrot - grated
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3½ cups shredded roast chicken
salt and pepper
    Blend together first 6 ingredients. Beat in olive oil in a slow stream and mix until creamy. Stir in zests and season. In a large bowl, toss cabbage, onion, carrot and cilantro. Add chicken and dressing, toss to coat. Serve slaw with warm tostadas or tortillas. Garnish with lime wedges and chopped chipotles. Serves 6.

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galley header june 09

1

    It's August - time for Viana's festival of Nossa Senhora d'Agonia. Viana do Castelo, Portugal's northernmost port, is located at the mouth of the Lima River. We'd surfed into the city with northerly winds, gusting 40 knots, a few years ago. It was then October, long past the summer season activities but the tranquil city with remarkable 16th century architecture, generous hardworking folk, stunning beaches and wholesome restaurants tugged at something inside us.

    King Afonso III of Portugal founded the town in 1253 in the name of Viana but it was during the 16th century that the city gained great importance as one of the main ports from which the Portuguese explorers set sail. Now days the historical city is renowned for kite surfing, countryside exploration and traditional folklore festivals. The official festival season begins in May with the Festival of Roses and when August arrives the town is in full celebration.

    While sailing the coast of Spain last August we realized we'd be arriving in Viana around festival time. Our sailing conditions were terrific as we crossed the border and when we closed the 35 miles to Viana John and I had to do some quick talking to convince our crew to put on the brakes. As we powered up the flowing river to the small marina, tucked into the riverbank at the base of the Gustave Eiffel Bridge, we grew in awe of decorated waterfront and were soon informed that the city was also celebrating its 750th anniversary. It was definitely time to go exploring.

   Tonight was the start of the five day festival beginning with the salting of the streets in the fish district. I assumed salt would be sprinkled throughout the lanes in blessing but when we arrived we found hundreds of people spreading the narrow cobbled lanes, meticulously by hand, with a thick layer of variously-hued salts. Elaborate designs were being created from large metal templates that were transferred along the lanes by eager helpful guys. Traditionally it is the fisherman's wives who spread the salt but even a Girl Scout troop was busy salting. I quickly jumped right in to lend a hand and was soon chatting away with several charming girls. They happily conveyed they always come home from university for the event and that they'd be up all night salting. John had other plans and soon dragged me away to a tiny restaurant for a simple dinner of Portuguese salad and rustic Caldo Verde soup.

Portuguese Salad

1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
3 tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
1 cucumber - peeled
¼ cup cilantro - chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili paste
salt and pepper
    Char over a flame, grill or broil red and green peppers, turning occasionally, until lightly blackened. Place in a plastic bag to steam. Repeat with tomatoes, but first lightly coat in olive oil as they will cook quicker. Remove when lightly blackened and cool on a tray. Slice cucumber into ½ inch thick slices, set on a rack and sprinkle with salt. Let rest 20 minutes to release some water. Peel skin off peppers and chop. Repeat with tomatoes, discarding most of the pulp. Toss vegetables in a large bowl, add remaining ingredients.

Caldo Verde

1 onion - minced
1 garlic clove - minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 potatoes - peeled and sliced
8 cups vegetable stock
6oz garlicky type sausage - sliced thin
2 teaspoons salt
large bunch collards, kale, or turnip greens - sliced
smoked paprika
    In a large saucepan sauté onion and garlic in, oil 3 minutes. Add potatoes and sauté, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Add water, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile sauté sausage, 8 minutes. Mash potatoes in the pot or puree them. Add sausage, salt, and pepper, simmer 5 minutes. Add greens, simmer 5 minutes. Garnish with swirl of mixed smoked paprika and serve with chunks of country bread. Serves 6.

    Later we caught up with our crew who raved about their evening. They'd dinned at a low-key restaurant enjoying assorted dishes with pork and red peppers being a winner. Their evening's entertainment culminated in the town plaza with traditional dancing and the discovery of a café that served delectable ice cream and slices of almond cake. Taking a liking to the rich cake, they purchased an entire one to bring back to the boat.

Portuguese Pork with Red Peppers

4 garlic cloves
1½ teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 lbs pork tenderloin - cut into 1 inch medallions
2 red bell peppers - julienned
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 lemons
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
    Using a mortar and pestle, mash garlic, salt, 1 tablespoon oil, and peppercorns into a paste. With a mallet, flatten pork medallions to 1/4 inch thick. Place pork in a bowl with garlic mixture, toss to coat. Marinate 2-4 hours in refrigerator. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sauté pork with garlic mixture, 1 minute each side. Remove from pan. In same skillet sauté red peppers 3 minutes. Remove peppers, add wine to skillet. When alcohol is cooked off reduce heat to low. Add stock, pork and peppers, simmer 10 minutes. Slice 1½ lemons into thin rounds. Squeeze juice of remaining lemon over pork and garnish with lemon and chopped cilantro.

Portuguese Almond Cake

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups caster sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups ground almonds
4 medium eggs
5 egg yolks
pinch of ground cloves
toasted flaked almonds
    Preheat the oven 350°F. Spread butter over the base and sides of an 8in spring-release cake tin. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Place remaining sugar with the water in a heavy pan on a low heat. Stir occasionally until dissolved, without boiling. Add almonds, cook gently, stirring, for 3-4 minutes. Cool. Whisk eggs, yolks and spices, then beat into almond mixture. Stir over a low heat for 10 minutes until thickened. Spread into tin, bake on a baking sheet for about 25 minutes. Cool, turn out, sprinkle with almonds.

    John and I went for our run extremely early the next morning; excited to discover the results of the nights salting. Many streets were finished and deserted but others had groups still working Each lane was magnificent with its own unique theme and colors; some were lined the entire length with fishing nets while other were decorated in flags, scarves, boughs or wreaths of flowers. It's all to honor the "Lady of Sorrow” was soon is to be paraded from her home in the harbor church, back and forth down the numerous salted streets, to the fishing fleet. A night's work by many destroyed in minutes.

2

    Down at the harbor large flower arrangements adorned the handsome fishing fleet. They sat quietly, waiting in preparation. An eager flower arranger was thrilled to chat to us. He explained that the "blessing of the fishing fleet” flotilla proceeds out to the ocean with the "Lady of Sorrow” then returns and parades up the river before a cheering crowd lining the river bank.

    I must have appeared interested in our new friends' explanations for he continued in rapid English. "For the next few days you must visit parades. Some are traditional folk dances in costume from the surrounding Minho region others are music with large comical figures. It's a must for any visitor and at the end of the week a grand fireworks serenade illuminates the city, starting from the bridge, passing through Santiago da Barra Castle, and on to the Temple-Monument of Santa Luzia way up there on the mountain. It's our way of thanking you visitors.”

    Sadly I didn't have the heart to tell the florist that we'd soon be setting sail. The breeze was still up and we'd some miles to make. But Viana will always be in on our minds and hearts each third week in August.

3

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galley september 09

sept 09

    The Isle of Muck, at 2 miles wide, is the smallest of the "four small islands” of the Inner Hebrides on Scotland's west coast and our evening destination. As we approached the tiny harbour of Port Mor a running ground swell made the inlet too rolly and tight for Mahina Tiare. We quickly studied the Imray cruising guide finding a more suitable spot at Gallanach on the north side of the isle. We were not alone in the anchorage and with a windy chilly blowing we spent the evening sharing Cauliflower Cheese Soup with the neighboring yacht. On charter from Isle of Skye Yachts this crew of old varsity chums, sans wives, were on a hiking holiday throughout the isles.

Cauliflower and Cheese Soup

1onion
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons butter
1 cauliflower - finely chopped
1 tablespoon grain mustard
4 cups boiling water
¼ cup double cream
½ cup grated cheddar cheese - ideally Scottish
fresh flat leaf parsley - chopped
splash of whiskey
    Heat butter in a large pan, add onion and garlic and sauté 3 minutes. Add cauliflower, stir in boiling water and bring back to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in mustard and cheese. Stir in cream and blend if processor if possible. Season to taste and add whiskey. Garnish with parsley. Serves 4

    The following early morning dawned calm, clear and warm and John and I were joined in the dinghy by three of our crew for the ferry ashore to go running. We all took off at different paces down the one an only road assuming it would lead to Port Mor.  We found the old farm road delightful and admired fat fluffy sheep as they lounged on the roadway, cows munching on seaweed on the white sandy beach and comical highland ponies galloping along the grassy shoreline. Upon returning to the dinghy Barrie, one of our crew, was noticeably wet. He apparently incorporates a secret "Full Monty” swim into morning workout…burr.

    We were now not the only two yachts in the bay as a small classic expedition cruise ship had anchored astern of Mahinasept 09 Tiare. The Hebridean Princess then proceeded to launch large inflatables that landed a portable dock at the beach. Kath, Barrie's wife, had us wondering if Queen Elizabeth was aboard as now that Britannia is now longer in service the Queen had rented the entire ship (49 berths) two years earlier for her 80th birthday cruise of Scotland's west coast.

    Our hopes of seeing Queenie were dashed when the inflatables were loaded with assorted bodies (definitely ancient tourists) that got landed ashore. Knowing the island was now going to be a zoo our crew weren't too keen to go ashore. But I pointed out that for sure the tea house at Port Mor would be open. I was right!

    Little did I know that the small Craft Shop and Tea Room is a happening place of Scottish renown and the focal point of the Muck community which number around 30.  Nearly everyone contributes to it's running either by helping out in the tea room, creating woolen crafts and art to sell, growing fresh produce in their gardens, fishing, or lending a hand on the MacEwen's farm. I should also mention that they also hold intensive craft courses. We were treated to a delicious morning tea on the lawn over looking the village while chatting to the most interesting of passengers and lecturer/guides for the expedition ship.


    I was not leaving the Tea Room empty handed and after choosing some quirky knitted socks, I also purchased fresh bread, duck eggs for salmon roulade, and lamb from their selection of Muck raised lamb and pork, as thanks Ruth Harland kindly gave me their popular Carrot Cake recipe. If you're looking for a gem of an island to muck around on or perhaps even stay a while in a cottage to watch puffins or learn a skill I couldn't recommend a more inviting place than Muck.

sept 09

Smoked Salmon and Herb Roulade

3 duck eggs - separated
¼ cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
¾ cup warm milk
1/4 freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2/3 cup crème fraìche
115g smoked salmon coarsely chopped
salt and pepper
    Melt butter in a saucepan, blend in flour and cook over a low heat to make a thick paste. Gradually stir in milk, whisking as it thickens, cook for 1-2 minutes to make a thick sauce. Stir in the egg yolks, two-thirds of the cheese, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk the egg whites and fold into the yolk mixture. Pour into a prepared Swiss roll tin and bake for 12-15 minutes. Leave covered with greaseproof paper for 10 minutes then turn out onto greaseproof paper sprinkled with a little cheese and allow to cool. Mix together crème fraìche, salmon and dill. Spread over the roulade and roll up. Leave to firm up in a cold place. Serve sliced.

Grilled Sticky Lamb with Plum Chutney

6 lamb cutlets
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and fresh black pepper
2 garlic cloves - peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoons plum jam
5 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce - optional
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce - optional
    For sticky marinade; in a large bowl combine all the marinade ingredients. Add the lamb and marinate for at least 2 hours. Meanwhile make the chutney. Grill marinated lamb for 14 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve lamb with the chutney, sauté potatoes and wilted spinach. Serves 6

Plum Chutney

1 lb dark plums - stoned and halved
2 apples - peeled and chunked
½ cup sultanas
1 carrot - peeled and grated
¼ cup demerara sugar
pinch salt
pinch ground cloves
½ cup white wine vinegar
    Place all the ingredients in a large stainless steel pan and bring to q boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the fruit is soft. Remove from heat and pour into a sterilized jar. Keeps for a week

Rosemary Lamb with Blackberry Honey Dressing

1 3lb lamb leg joint
salt and fresh black pepper
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 garlic cloves - cut into slivers
3 red onions - peeled and cut into wedge
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup white wine
2lb red potatoes - cut into wedges
1 cup fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons runny honey
1 lime – grated zest and juice
1 tablespoon flour
2½ cups hot lamb stock
    Preheat oven to 350-375°F. Make several slits over the joint and season. Stuff slits with small rosemary sprigs and garlic. Put onions in a large roasting pan and place joint on top, arrange the potatoes around joint and toss in the olive oil and wine. Roast lamb for the calculated cooking time, basting occasionally with meat juices and tossing potatoes Combine blackberries, honey, lime zest and juice, gently mash and set aside. One hour before end of cooking time smear the blackberry mixture over the joint. Cover joint with foil during cooking if browning too quickly. When done let rest 10 minutes before serving with gravy made from cooking juices, flour and lamb stock.

Muck Carrot Cake

2½ cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil
4 eggs – separated
5 tablespoons hot water
2½ cups self-raising flour – sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups grated carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts
    Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, except the egg whites. Whisk the egg whites and add to the mixture. Beat the mixture well. Pour into 8” tins or pan. Bake in moderate oven 30-40 minutes. Let cool then ice with lemon cream cheese icing.

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

1 cup cream cheese
1 cup confectioners sugar - sifted
1 lemon - grated zest and juice
½ cup chopped walnuts
    Mix cream cheese and icing sugar together. Add zest and a little juice to taste. Ice cake and top with walnuts. Keep refrigerated.

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galley header

As we neared the equator on passage from Hilo, Hawaii to Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia, a call from below was heard as crew gathered around the cockpit table for the daily weather briefing.

"Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Tomorrow, at the precise moment the sailing vessel Mahina Tiare is "on the line” all pollywogs must assemble on the aft deck. The ceremony of initiation into the mysteries of the Order of the Trident shall occur. To appease Neptunus Rex and his assistant, Davina Jones a ditty must be presented by all shellback want-to-be's”.

The next day during the final moments of approach to "the equatorial line” we created a brief respite from crashing along to windward, under the intermittent squalls that had hounded us for what seemed like days, by easing the sheets. With a calmer and dryer boat it was now possible for all pollywogs to steadily muster on the aft deck. At the precise moment Mahina Tiare was "on the line” John, the captain of the vessel, turned his command over to King Neptunus Rex.

Neptune appeared sporting a vivid red and white flowery Tahitian pareau that matched his red flaming Scottish hair and equally gregarious plaid beanie topped with a hideous oversized pompom. By his side came his trusty assistant Davina Jones dressed in a tropical tattoo pareau, exquisite worldly jewels of the reef, and Viking helmet adorned with tiare flowers. As Davina clutched a receptacle of repulsive food which had been created far in advance in preparation of the ceremony the first of the novitiates Brian aka "Bruce” was called upon to present his limerick.

"Across the equator perhaps, Warm tap water to drink alas, My supply of clean clothes is shrinking fast, The stench it increases; my crewmates gasp, Come Rangiroa save us at last!”

Upon the completion of his ditty Bruce then proved his loyalty to the Royal Court by consuming a tablespoon of Davina's vile goop and was thus duly initiated into the Order of Trident as a shellback and is forever a member of the brotherhood of the nautilus. One by one the remaining five pollywogs were called upon with Carol also presenting another poignant rhyme.

"There once was a gal named Carol, who went to sea in a barrel, she drank the wine, wrestled a gator and then she crossed the Equator!”(Can ya tell she's from North Carolata?)

Davina's Vile Equatorial Administrations

2 cups rolled oats
1 generous splash rum
a few drops Tabasco
2 teaspoons ground coffee
a few drops green food coloring
    Mix all ingredients together and serve in large doses to pollywogs.

october  

Our crew, now officially shellbacks, will be expected to come up with some equally noxious concoction for the pollywog crew when they next sail across the line, perhaps on their own boats. Soon we were all enjoying deck showers (AAAH!) before sheeting the sails back in and continuing on our bumpy course south. In celebration of the equator crossing a day of royal feasting commenced with inspiration derived from a couple restaurants John and I enjoyed while outfitting in Hawaii. Our tasty and refreshing lunchtime gazpacho was a fun reminder of the funky Tres Hombres Beach Grill that overlooks the outrigger canoe club at Kawaihae Harbor on the Big Island.

Mexican Gazpacho

1 ¼ cups cucumber - peeled and finely diced
1 14 oz. can tomatoes - drained and finely diced
½ cup finely diced green bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely diced onion
¾ cup tomato juice
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 tablespoon jalapeno - minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon fresh oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Tabasco
¼ cup cilantro - chopped
    Combine 1 cup of cucumber and remaining ingredients. Cover and chill. Garnish gazpacho with diced cucumber and cilantro. Serving with tortilla chips on the side. Makes 4

With a bounty of fresh tuna in the fridge I went to work to re-create this wonderful combination of Balsamic and Wasabi. Both dressings were served drizzled around seared ahi along with colorful citrusy heirloom tomatoes at the family-owned Seaside Restaurant in Hilo, Hawaii.

Making a Balsamic Reduction

1 cup Balsamic vinegar
Pour vinegar into a saucepan on medium-high heat. Reduce until it is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Some people suggest adding some sugar in the final stage of reduction for a thicker sweeter syrup. If it's then too sweet when you are done add tiny bit of salt. For an exotic and flavorful balsamic reduction include a few split dried figs to the balsamic in the beginning. Keep reduced Balsamic dressing in the fridge.

Real Wasabi Aioli

1 tablespoon wasabi paste
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 egg yolks
1 cup canola oil
freshly ground salt and black pepper - to taste
In a food processor add wasabi paste, garlic, ginger, vinegar and yolks. While processor is on drizzle in oil, slowly at first until it emulsifies then more quickly. Check for seasoning. Store in refrigerator.

Quick Wasabi Aioli

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons wasabi powder
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Heirloom Tomatoes with Citrus Dressing

2 limes - juiced
1 grapefruit - juiced
1 clove garlic - minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¾ cup olive oil
2 spring onions - sliced
1 green pepper - sliced into rings
1 red pepper - sliced into rings
8 heirloom tomatoes of varies sizes - sliced into wedges
In a large bowl combine lime juice, grapefruit juice, garlic and pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil. In a skillet, sauté onions and peppers until soft, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and tomatoes to dressing. Toss to combine Serves 4.

Nancy's Passionfruit Butter

Just before departing Hilo a good friend gave us a few jars of her passionfruit butter, also known as "passionfruit curd" or "passionfruit honey” along with the recipe. She assured me it can not only be enjoyed on toast for breakfast but also as an icing on cakes. Nancy was right! It was delicious spread on a plain ole Betty Crocker cake mix.

½ cup passionfruit pulp
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup of castor sugar
½ cup butter
4 extra large eggs - beaten
Melt butter in the top of a double boiler. Add sugar and stir until it dissolves. In a small mixing bowl combine passionfruit pulp, lemon juice and eggs. Add to butter mixture and stir continuously over medium heat until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, about 12 minutes. Pour into sterilized airtight jars and store in refrigerator. Makes about 4 jars.

Miriam's Texas Hash

With starry skies, Mahina's sails well-trimmed, and steering mastered; Miriam rattled off her all time easy family favorite recipe during our 2am night watch together.
1 lb ground beef
2 onions - diced
1 14oz.can chopped tomatoes
1 cup uncooked rice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt and pepper
Brown beef in a sauté pan or oven proof dish, pour off excess fat. Remove beef and sauté onions. Combine all ingredients in oven proof dish and bake 350 for 45 minutes until rice is cooked. Serve with a salad. Serves 4

 

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november galley

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    After an overnight sail from the Tongan island of Niuatoputapu we arrived in Apia, Samoa on Monday the 29th of September completing Leg 4 of this season's sail-training expeditions. Early the next morning John and I went for a run exploring downtown. We'd just stopped by Farmer Joes supermarket and were loaded up with hot raisin buns and bread when the street began to shake. I looked around thinking a truck was passing by but saw no heavy equipment.
     "Earthquake?!” John and I said to each other.
    "Not a bad one” commented John as the ground continued to roll and shudder.
    "Hum” thought I.

    It took John and I 10 minutes to high tail it back to Mahina Tiare where we found crew in good spirits especially Elaine. She said as the quake struck she had awoken to a strange jiggling and gone to the cockpit assuming it was an earthquake. Just as I entered my cabin to collect my shower kit loud civil defense sirens sounded. It took a few moments to register that the sound was for real then only a few seconds to realize it was a tsunami alert.
    "Grab your passports and run for the hills!” I told our six crew members.

    I set about shutting ports and hatches while John collected our boat papers and passports. We had to make an instant decision. Do we run or put to sea? We noticed the water in the marina was moving about. It had quickly dropped four feet and was surging up and down. When we entered the marina we only had 1.7' under the keel and knew there were numerous coral heads scattered about. Would we have enough depth to get out safely?

    We decide to run and joined a mass of people and vehicles heading uphill. Although the fire department kept directing everyone further inland John and I soon decided there was no way a tsunami would go further than where we were so we took shelter a church courtyard. After half and hour we hailed a taxi heading back to the harbour to see if he had any news. He mentioned that the radio said a tsunami had stuck the eastern end of the island causing a school to collapse. Little did we know that the same time the sirens went off an 18' tsunami struck the south side of the island causing death and destruction. John and I concluded that a tsunami can't hit both sides of an island and returned to Mahina Tiare.

    Our crew had gotten rides inland and were not able to return until around noon due to police road blocks and no final all-clear given over the radio or sirens. Relived to be safe we set about making a late breakfast with raisin buns, scramble eggs and bacon.

Samoan Raisin Buns

1½ cups milk
3 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons active yeast
4½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1½ cups raisins
¼ cup mixed peel
    Heat milk until almost boiling. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and butter. Set aside until lukewarm. Sprinkle with yeast and leave 15 minutes until frothy. Combine 4 cups flour, salt, cinnamon, and spice. Stir in remaining sugar and beat in yeast mixture. Add remaining ingredients and knead until smooth. Shape into 16 buns. Place on a greased tray and let double in size. Bake 400ºF for 20 minutes.

    Three of our crew volunteered at Red Cross for the next few days ferrying supplies while the rest of us were on alert as aftershocks coninued. On Wednesday we all met at Aggie Grey's for their infamous Fiafia. The waterfront hotel was founded in 1933 by Aggie Grey and became a renowned club for American servicemen during WWII. The hotel has hosted many famous people with James Michener basing his character Bloody Mary on Aggie. I wasn't too sure if there was going to be a show that night due to the tsunami. But there was and it was terrific. When hotel owner Marina Grey danced onto the stage she gave a heartwarming speech expressing her condolences to the island's losses saying that the show must go on to brighten everyone's week. The island feast was delicious and we were thankful to have such comforting food as roast turkey with cranberry conserve, suckling pig and a down under classic; trifle.

Dried Cranberry and Apple Conserve

2 cups sweetened dried cranberries
1½ cups boiling water
½ cup diced dried apples
½ cup raisins
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground chili pepper
dash of all spice
dash of ground cinnamon
dash of ground ginger
¼ cup of red plum or raspberry jam
    Combine first 5 ingredients, let stand 30 minutes. Combine vinegar and next 5 ingredients in saucepan, bring to a boil, stirring mixture frequently. Add the fruit mixture. Bring to a boil then simmer 5 minutes, Stir in jam. Cool to room temperature. Makes 2½ cups.

Sherry Trifle

1 plain sponge cake
¼ cup raspberry jam
¼ cup sherry
2 cups mixed fruit salad
4 tablespoons custard powder
3 tablespoon sugar
2 cups milk
1½ cups cream
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
¼ cup chopped nuts
    Cut sponge in half horizontally, spread jam and sandwich halves together. Cut into cubes and place in a serving bowl. Spoon sherry over sponge then top with fruit. In a saucepan mix custard powder, sugar and ¼ cup of milk into a smooth paste. Add remaining milk and cook over low heat, stirring until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool. Pour custard over fruit and chill. Beat cream, vanilla and confectioners' sugar until thick, spoon over trifle. Decorate with nuts. Serves 6

    Over the next few days outside aid poured into Samoa and our crew were happy to be catching flights home. Apia was quiet as government workers did not return to work for two days so John and I had a long wait for a cruising permit to allow us to anchor in the next bay. As a treat we dined on $1 restaurant ship docked in the marina. The ports authority had bought it as a wreck for $1 hence the name. When Jazz, our waiter/chef served the following tasty satay I asked why there were no other customers.
    "Samoans get seasick on the ship and are still afraid of another tsunami” he replied with a grin.

 

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Amanda with Jazz the waiter/chef at the $1 ship restaurant

Satay Chicken

2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoon soy sauce
juice of 2 limes
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoon brown sugar
½ cup coconut milk
4 chicken breast sliced into strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red chili - thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 cloves garlic - crushed
2 cups snow peas
2 cups diced carrots
½ cup fresh cilantro
    Whisk together first 6 ingredients. Sauté chicken, chili, ginger and garlic 5 minutes. Add peas and carrots cook until tender. Add peanut sauce and cook 3 minutes. Serve over cooked rice. You may substitute shrimp for chicken adding them after the vegetables. Serves 4.

  

rule

1209

1209

    We're all familiar with the French baguette; that long slim loaf of bread that one often associates with stinky cheese. So when you sail through French Polynesia you can't help but notice the baguette's stronghold on the local cuisine. If you're now having trouble wondering where French Polynesia is or what it consists of, think of Tahiti and hopefully the vision of a beautiful tropical island rising from a turquoise sea comes to mind. In reality Tahiti is just one island in one of the five island groups that make up French Polynesia and all the inhabited islands, except a few small remote ones, have bakers producing baguettes and frequently pastries.

    Your first fresh baguette upon landfall in the Marquesas is one of the most memorable. Generally it's eaten a la natural; tearing off chunks as you wander back to the boat absorbing the tropical surroundings. You'd best buy two and at 51 CFP (about 76 cents U.S.) it's a pretty good bargain although if you want more than two you'd better order them for pick-up the next day. With our crew of 8 we can easily go through 5 baguettes a day.

    As you cruise through the next island group of the Tuamotus you begin to notice subtle qualities in the different baker's baguettes. Soon you're judging your daily baguette; rating its crust texture and thickness, inside dough properties and taste. You may think this strange but back in France there's the annual Grand Prix de la Baguette de la Ville de Paris. The competition attracts more than a hundred bakers, all dedicated to preserving the art of the baguette. Each contestant submits a baguette which must measure exactly 27½ inches long, weigh between 8 and 10 ounces, and consist of nothing more than wheat flour, salt, water and yeast. The winning baker receives more that a ceremonial prize as a baguette from their bakery will grace the table of the French president every day for the coming year.

    Baguettes are best when hot, this most often is around 6am when they're delivered to the small Chinese stores dotted about every village. It's perfect timing as we can collect our daily order after our morning run. They're great at breakfast with marmalade and equally tasty for lunch although by then they've lost their initial crunchy crust and tend to be a little chewy. By dinner time the baguette is wilting and needs a little "pick me up” attention like the following recipes.

Garlic Bread

8 slices of baguette
¼ cup butter
2 garlic cloves - crushed
    Combine garlic and butter. Butter both sides of baguette slices and toast in a dry Teflon frying pan until lightly golden on each side. Serves 4.

Croutons

bread cubes - from about eight slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
    Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place bread in a bowl and toss with oil. Place on the baking sheet and bake 12 minutes, turning once during cooking, or toast in a large dry frying pan.

    On the 200 mile sail from the Tuamotus to Tahiti it's possible to jazz up a day old baguette for breakfast with French toast. For lunch it's best to revive it by slicing it into rounds and toasting them in dry Teflon pan; about a minute each side. This works great for following bruschettas.

Walnut and Parmesan Bruschetta

½ baguette - thinly sliced
1 cup walnuts
1 cup grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
    Pulse walnuts, Parmesan and salt in a food processor until crumbly. Add lemon juice. While machine is running add olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Spread toasted rounds with walnut-Parmesan mixture and garnish with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Blue Cheese and Honey Bruschetta

Spread 4 ounces of blue cheese among toasted rounds.
Drizzle 2 tablespoon of honey evenly over them.

French Toast

2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
16 slices of baguette
½ teaspoon vanilla
butter
    Lightly beat eggs milk and vanilla together. Heat a little butter in a large frying pan. Dip bread in egg mixture, place in pan and cook until golden on the underside. Turn and cook other side. Serve with butter and warm maple syrup or jam. Serves 4.

    When Sue Connolly, from Powell River Canada, joined us aboard Mahina Tiare in Papeete for the Tahiti-Rarotonga expedition she let out a squeal of delight at the sight of the fresh baguettes served at lunch. "Wow, baguettes always remind me of Christmas. We race all year round out of local yacht club and I have a wonderful recipe that I always create to take to the club's Christmas potluck.”

Sue's Christmas Cranberry Brie

1 brie cheese - fresh from the farmers market
1 cup fresh cranberries
pinch sugar
1 baguette
    Cover cranberries with water, add sugar. Boil 8 minutes until cranberries are tender. Place brie on  a pie dish and cover with half the cranberries. Bake 10 minutes at 350º. Place brie and cranberries on a serving dish, top with remaining cranberries and garnish with holly. Serve with a fresh baguette.

French Onion Soup

This simple soup is enjoyed by John and I, especially on the island of Moorea, when we retreat to a quiet anchorage between expeditions.

3 tablespoons butter
6 medium onion - thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups liquid beef stock
salt and pepper
¼ cup dry sherry
6 slices baguette
6 slices tasty cheese

Melt butter in saucepan. Add onions and sugar, cook slowly 15 minutes. Add beef stock, bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving add sherry, toast baguette slices and grill cheese on top. Serve soup in bowls topped with cheese on toast. Serves 4.

If you charter in French Polynesia you'll be cruising from Raiatea to the islands of Tahaa, Huahine and Bora Bora. On these islands many homes have a baguette box, similar to a mailbox but a lot longer, into which their daily baguettes are delivered. If you're in remote anchorage and hear lots of car horn tooting early in the morning it'll be the baguette truck. It's possible to wave it down and make a purchase, perhaps even getting a pain au chocolate to dip in your morning bowl of fresh brewed coffee…Tres Francaise.

Sadly the island of Maupiti, 26 miles to the west of Bora Bora, contains the last of the Polynesian bakeries and its here that we place an order at the boulangerie for 20 baguettes. We purchase this many as we always give away numerous baguettes to the caretakers on Mopelia, 102 miles to the SE on the way to Rarotonga, and to cruisers who have been staying there a while. If there's space in the freezer any errant baguette gets frozen.

Banana Bread Pudding

If you're not up to making a traditional Christmas figgy pud perhaps try this bread pud. It was originally made for a potluck beach barbeque on Mopelia and has since always been a winner aboard Mahina Tiare at numerous dinner parties.

1 baguette - sliced and buttered
6 bananas
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 cups milk
4 eggs
¾ cup honey and/or brown sugar
½ cup rum
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon each of nutmeg, cinnamon and ground ginger
    Slice bananas and mix with lemon juice. Butter a large baking dish or line it with baking paper. Layer bread in dish followed with a layer of bananas, chocolate chips and cranberries. Continue layering bread, fruit and chocolate, ending with bread. Beat together milk, eggs, honey, rum, vanilla and spices, pour over bread. Bake 45 minutes at 325º until egg has set. Serve hot or cold with whipped cream. Serves 10.

 

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