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.

galley jan 2010

Amanda with Ratu on Mopelia

    Just after first light our crewmember Sue spotted a fringe of palm trees on the horizon. The 102 miles from Maupiti to Mopelia in French Polynesia had been windy and rough. We knew it would be as we'd left Mopelia in 25 knot winds to avoid being trapped in the lagoon for five days due to a forecast of consistent reinforced trades. As we neared Mopelia huge breakers pounded the windward reef of the tiny, nearly uninhabited coral atoll. Our plan was to anchor off the pass to wait until the sun was higher for better visibility to transit the narrow pass and cross the lagoon. But when we arrived at the anchorage we realized that with winds blasting at 30+ knots anchoring on the coral reef was now rather treacherous.

    We decided to try the pass and as we lined up the entrance we were surprised to see only .5 kt ebb current. I felt it was safe to go inside and we smoothly shoot the pass crossing the lagoon to the sheltered SE corner. Five boats were anchored off the beach and not long after we had the anchor set Sebastian and Celine, a nice young French couple aboard Touteau, their recently purchased an ex-charter yacht, dinghied over to invite us to a birthday celebration ashore that evening.

    Upon landing the dingy at the white sand beach we discovered we were in for a feast. Kalami, his wife Sophie and their son, plus a couple of friends are one of only two families, with a total of only ten people, living on Mopelia now, down from 100 a few years ago. Several of the cruisers, Kalami and two of his Tahitian helpers had been out the previous night diving for lobsters. A pig had been slaughtered, several fish and coconut crabs had been caught and I think nearly every boat had made a salad and baked banana cake.

Potluck Bean Salad

1 potato - cooked and diced into cubes
2 cups green beans - trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces and steamed
1 can chickpeas
1 can black beans
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 scallions - sliced
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 garlic clove - minced
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
fresh ground pepper and salt
In a large bowl combine all the beans with the onions, scallions and parsley. In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients, pour over the salad and toss to coat.

Banana Bread

1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup butter
3 cups sugar
3 eggs
6 ripe bananas - mashed
16oz sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
4½ cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease four 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a small bowl, stir together ¼ cup white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture. In a large bowl, cream butter and 3 cups sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda and flour. Stir in nuts. Divide into prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

    Most of the yachts in the anchorage were either French Canadian or French thus creating a fascinating evening with conversations in French, Tahitian and a little English. I chatted with Ratu about life on Mopelia; he was staying awhile to harvest copra. He asked if I'd like some coconuts and in exchange I offered him some cumin seeds and orange juice to make the following recipe from the remaining pork. Everyone was certainly partaking in the celebration and when we left the beach to go home the dancing was in still in full swing.

Pork and Chickpea Stew

2 tablespoons olive oil
3lbs pork shoulder - cubed
freshly ground pepper and salt
1 onion - diced
4 garlic cloves - minced
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 quart water
2 teaspoons cumin seeds - toasted and ground in a mortar
1 can chickpeas - drained
1½ teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Heat olive oil in a large casserole. Working in 3 batches, add pork, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 9 minutes. Remove pork. Add onion and garlic to casserole and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add orange juice and simmer until reduced by half. Add water, cumin, and pork. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add chickpeas and heat through, season with salt and pepper, stir in zest and parsley. Serve with rice. Serves 6

    High winds buffeted the anchorage over the next few days keeping us storm bound. When we set crew ashore for an afternoon hike we decided to invite Celine and Sebastian to dinner. Celine was finding the swinging aboard Touteau a little uncomfortable but that may also be because she was pregnant. We'd planned to meet crew on the beach at sunset but there was no sign of Blake, Toshiko or David, and no one ashore had seen them. If they didn't appear by 9pm we'd all start a search. Even though the island was totally flattened by the hurricane about eight years ago the new coconut trees and shrubs have now created a thick jungle over rocky coral.

    Just as I was serving our lamb casserole our missing threesome arrived bringing tales of a lost trail and adventures in bush whacking.

Lamb, Feta, Eggplant Casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil
2lbs lamb shoulder - cubed
8 shallots - peeled
3 garlic cloves - crushed
1½ tablespoons flour
3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 medium eggplant - thinly sliced
6oz feta - crumbled
¾ cup grated Parmesan
Heat oil in large heavy-based pan. Working in 2 batches brown lamb 3 minutes, remove. Sauté shallots and garlic for 3 minutes, sprinkle flour over, add stock and cook, stirring until boiling. Add lamb, herbs and zest. Season to taste. Cover saucepan tightly, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450º. Place lamb in a flat casserole dish, arrange eggplant over lamb slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with feta and Parmesan. Bake 25 minutes until golden. Garnish with extra herb leaves and serve with salad. Serves 4.

    I had a chance to visit with Celine and admired her enthusiasm for the new life they've planned. Having sold their previous steel cruising yacht in Asia and upgraded to Touteau they will be living aboard in Noumea, New Caledonia while they replenish the cruising kitty and get the baby settled into shipboard life. We hope to meet again next year in their marina.

Celine's Tarte aux Poivrons - Green Pepper Tart

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon yeast
¼ cup water
¼ cup olive oil
Combine flour, yeast and salt. Make a well and slowly mix in water and oil. Knead to form dough. Press into a greased pizza pan.

5 peppers; green, red or yellow - diced
1 onion
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
hot chili pepper to taste
1 egg
Preheat oven to 450º. Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté peppers, onion and garlic until golden. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and chili. Remove from heat, add egg and mix well. Top dough with pepper mixture and bake for 20 minutes or until dough is cooked.


Raro's Hash House Harriers

Did you make one of those New Year's resolution to get yourself in shape? If you did ….are you sticking with it?

Yep, I'm sure you've read all this stuff before but here's my take on the matter. A few New Years ago I tossed aside my gimmicky diets and fitness fads with the goal of focusing on the long haul; life. Whilst ocean voyaging I find it hard to maintain a workout regime but thankfully I know there are small challenges looming on the horizon. My favorite of these is the Rarotonga Hash House Harriers.

On our arrival in Rarotonga, 600nm SW of Tahiti, the Monday Cook Islands Daily Newspaper announced "The 29th birthday Hash Run will start from the Edgewater Resort car park at 5:30 pm. The run will be a pareau (sarong) theme and participants are invited to dress up as the motto is "the louder the better”. A BBQ will follow and all runners and walkers are welcome.”

The Hash House Harriers (HHH or H3) is an international group of non-competitive running clubs or kennels. Participants call themselves Hashers and claim they're a drinking club with a running problem. Hashing originated in Kuala Lumpar in the late 30's when a group of British expatriates met on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional "Hare and Hounds" paper chase. After meeting for some months the group was informed by the Registrar of Societies that they needed to be registered. The name "Hash House Harriers" was suggested after the Selangor Club, where the men were billeted, for it was known as the "Hash House" due to its monotonous food. Along with the excitement of chasing the hare and reaching the trails end, harriers would be rewarded with beer.

Raro's 29th birthday Hash was wet a one, but wet in the tropics doesn't stop anyone or everyone from dressing beyond one's loudest pareau. After a quick celebration photo and the allotment of whistles we were soon dashing about the resort, much to the guest's surprise, in search of the trail. Toilet (long time Hashers have Hash names) was the hare who had laid the trail with shredded paper which included false trails, short cuts, dead end and splits. As we left the resort' white sandy beach we found ourselves plodding along a muddy storm culvert to the next split. These features allow the pack to stay together as front-runners are forced to search for the true trail thus allowing stragglers (like me) to catch up. John soon came panting back to the split having disappeared down a path lined with staked pigs and on into a papaya patch. On On! cried Fungus and Mattress as the true lead was discovered. We were off again on a live trail, a fun colorful noisy pack on mission. Many of the Horror's (children) ran island-style in bare feet and as my shinny trainers continually sank into thick mud I too wished I was running barefoot.

After an hour of running, cut short due to the weather, we were back at the carpark for the after run function know as the circle. Ole and Tosser, Raro's hard core founding leaders, said few words before launching into the down-downs. A down-down is a means of punishing or rewarding an individual according to the customs or whims of the group. The accused is required to consume, with out pause, the contents or their drink and thence wear a toilet seat for the remainder of the circle. John had won it on our second hash for not calling the appropriate "On On”, instead rambling forth a verbal torrent of information as to where the trail led.

The evening socializing was in true island form; yummy food, good company and plenty or encouragement for the weeks upcoming events which included the "Nutter's Cross Island Run”. Dare I say I was the second women to finish that competitive event. Presently there are around two thousand H3 kennels worldwide, I've run at five, and Western Washington has seven so run along, check out their site. Perhaps I'll see you at a Hash. On On!

Mona "Mattress's” Papaya Salad

2 papaya peeled and diced
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry paste
¼ cup diced cilantro
Combine mayonnaise and curry paste, gently mix in papaya and garnish with cilantro.

Island Spiced Chicken with Mango Ginger Sauce

1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground anise seed
1 dash cayenne pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 mango - peeled and diced
¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger
½ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1½ tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1½ tablespoons water
2 tablespoons dark rum
Mix ginger, cinnamon, cumin, anise, and cayenne pepper. Rub chicken with spices and refrigerate 30 minutes. Meanwhile in a saucepan, mix mango, ginger, orange juice, lime juice, and honey. Bring to a boil, simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix cornstarch with water until dissolved, stir into mango mixture and simmer until sauce thickens, 1 minute. Stir in rum. Grill chicken, serve over rice, and top with mango sauce. Steamed green beans go well on the side. Serves 4

Wild Rice Salad

½ cup long grain rice
½ cup wild rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 stalks celery - sliced
4 green onions - sliced
1 cup thawed frozen peas
¼ cup pine nuts - toasted
½ cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
salt and pepper
Cook rice in chicken broth; about 40 minutes. Let cool. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Combine rice, dressing and remaining ingredients. Serves 4.

Honeydew Salsa
This stunning refreshing green salsa adds a perfect spicy-sweet punch to grilled fish or chicken.

1½ cups diced honeydew or other melon
1/3 cup diced cilantro
¼ cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons lime zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped seeded chili
salt and pepper
Gently toss all ingredients together. Serves 4.

Tangy Lime Bars
 Although not found on any "healthy diet” you'd best be ready to pucker-up for this treat. They're also delicious made as lemon bars.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter - melted
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 large eggs
1½ teaspoons grated lime zest
½ cup strained fresh lime juice
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine butter and sugar, vanilla and salt. Add flour and mix until just incorporated. Press dough into a 8-inch square foil lined baking pan. Bake 25 minutes. Meanwhile make topping by combining sugar and flour. Whisk in eggs. Stir in zest and juice. Turn oven down to 300°F. Pour filling onto hot crust and bake 20 minutes longer or until topping sets. Cool completely in pan before transferring bars to cutting board by lifting the foil liner. If the bar surface is covered in a moist foam blot up the excess moisture with paper towels. Cut into 16 or 25 bars. Dust with powered sugar before serving.



shannon and bill bailey
Shannon and Bill Bailey, owners of Catalyst

    I'm always thrilled when chance meetings lead to fascinating and insightful friendships as in recently when John and I simultaneously met Shannon and Bill Bailey at the FridayHarbor Fitness Club. An interest in each others businesses soon lead to a tour of their M/V Catalyst from which they lead kayaking and wilderness adventures in the Pacific Northwest, catering to twelve guests. How could I resist inviting Shannon to share insights of life onboard?

WARNING: A Wooden Boat Can Change your Life – as told by Shannon Bailey

The first time I stood in the pilot house of the Catalyst, I wept. Not for joy, but in grief and fear, as I knew that this boat was going to change my life. Why, because wooden boats are dangerous, they ruin you for life. Take my husband, Bill, for example. When he was thirteen, he was a normal typically Southern California surfer dude. Then he met his first love, a 36ft schooner named Lobo that was being built in the local shop near his parent's place of business by an already gone crazy wooden boat lover. This man would serve as my husbands mentor for his entire life and this boat would serve as his dream, but for me, it was my constant nemesis, my husband's first love that showed up in our marriage before I was ever in the picture. The Catalyst, built in 1932, as a research vessel for the University of Washington's chemistry department, was now used as a charter boat for trips in the San Juan Islands, British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. When we bought her in 2005, we bought a business, and a new life.

Now I can stand in the pilot house of the Catalyst and enjoy it. The boat has changed my life and it is not so bad. I now alternate as both cook and naturalist aboard her and have the joy of sharing my new world with up to twelve passengers at a time as we cruise the northwest waters.

The aroma of fresh-baked scones wafts its way from the galley and beckons one to breakfast. I just baked those scones, full of fresh blueberries, using a recipe from a Lopez Island bakery and now get ready to pull a large pan of summer frittata out of the oven. Our guests have risen from their sleep, coffee mugs in hand, and are watching the horizon, ready for a new day of adventure. The Catalyst is underway, bound for one of my favorite places, Brothers Island in the heart of Frederick Sound in Southeast. Along this route we are likely to see humpback whales feeding on krill or herring. There she blows, and we slow down to view. Suddenly three or four of these large beautiful mammals emerge from the waters beside our vessel. We stop the engines and drift, and listen to their sonorous calls on the hydrophone as they dive again into the reaches of the deep for more fishy delights. We move on and eat our own breakfast.

Arriving at Brothers, we are in time for a low tide and the banquet table of the Tlingits. Once anchored, we go ashore and explore the tide pools of the rocky shore, finding anemones, chitons, crabs, nudibranchs and many small fish. After our foraging, we mosey our way back to the boat. Energized after a delicious Thai chicken salad we fit into our kayak gear, climb into our small vessels and kayak around Little Brother. As we search in the kelp for sea treasures, harlequin ducks scuttle ahead of us and black oyster catchers observe from ashore. Steller sea lions swim over from their nearby haul out to show off, porpoising and flipping around us, as we raft up to watch.

That evening after a dinner, barbecued halibut caught by a local fisherman, we take advantage of the late summer light and walk in the magical moss forest of Brothers Island, on a nature foray. We succumb to its beauty by lying down on the soft mat of green to look up at the tall waving trees and listen to the breathing whales that are feeding around the island against the cacophony of growls and roars of the sea lions as they climb over each other on the rocky island nearby. Meanwhile the rest of the crew has prepared a campfire on the beach, and we join together in community to laugh and sing and share stories while indulging in chocolate cake, s'mores and wine as the sunset lingers into the Alaskan summer night and the pigeon guillemots take to their nests on the rocks of the nearby cliffs. This old wooden boat has changed my life, but it has been worth it, every minute of it: the hard work, the sacrifice of time and possessions, reordering my priorities, letting go of old dreams, learning new skills, so that I can now live this blessed life aboard the Catalyst.

Summer Frittata

16 oz. asparagus - trimmed, broken into pieces
1 cup chopped broccoli
3 medium potatoes - unpeeled and cubed
1 large sweet potato - peeled and cubed
1 red bell pepper - chopped
1 sweet onion - chopped
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 cup of cubed cook ham, sliced sausage, crumbled bacon or smoked salmon
12 eggs
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
4 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup shredded Parmesan or crumbled bleu cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place ovenproof skillet over medium heat, cook vegetables and garlic till potatoes soften, 8 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and ham, transfer skillet to oven and bake till puffy, 25 minutes. Sprinkle top with cheese and bake till cheese is melted, 4 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes then cut in wedges. Serves 12

Thai Chicken Salad

5 cups cooked pulled chicken
½ cup canola oil
3 tablespoon peanut butter
juice of 3 limes
2 tablespoons water
3 cloves garlic - minced
2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1½ teaspoon chili pepper flakes
1 cucumber - diced into matchsticks
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup snow peas
2 carrots - grated
4 scallions - diced
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup chopped toasted peanuts
salt and pepper

Puree oil, peanut butter, juice, water, garlic, ginger, sugar and chili in blender. Transfer to large bowl, add vegetables, cilantro and chicken. Let stand 15 minutes, adjust seasoning then sprinkle with peanuts. Serve over warm jasmine rice. Serves 6.

shannon bailey

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs - room temperature
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sour cream - room temperature
¾ cup milk
¼ cup butter
2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour 2x9 inch round metal cake pans. Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler. Mix all ingredients together with electric mixer using flat beater. Divide batter between pans and bake 30 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean and cake edges begin to pull away from sides. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then invert on racks to cool completely.

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate - chopped
½ cup butter
4 cup confectioner's sugar
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup whipping cream
2 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt

Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler, after melting cake ingredients. Let cool. Whip all ingredients in electric mixer for 4 minutes till frosting is smooth and creamy.

Place a cake on platter, flat side up, and spread with a cup of frosting. Top with second cake spreading top and sides with remaining frosting.


April Galley Essentials

april 2010
I've just received this informative update from Charlie Beasley aboard Cicero.

    When I last saw you I was about to depart Rarotonga for a tour of the Northern Cooks...... and both you and John expressed a few doubts about how easy it might be for me to take 6 locals, who had never sailed, on that kind of trip. I am happy to report that it was a great success; 2000 miles and 8 islands over 5 weeks and no one jumped ship, in fact they all loved it. I must admit it was a huge job to keep it all organized and safe with all the tough sailing and dodgy anchorages but I enjoyed it thoroughly and learned a lot from the islander's attitude of not stressing and it all will work out anyway!

    I then caught the top of a low and had yet another fast downwinder to Tahiti where Mom & Dad met me. You would be forgiven if you would doubt again my choice of crew; a 72 & 75 year old couple for a 4,000 mile southern ocean passage. But...after a tough beat down to Mangareva we had a great trip together. My Mom cooked big and baked all the way and we had a bottle of wine with dinner every night save for a very few. (We had one spell at 40 South running with the wind speed pegged at 50 knots and the biggest swell I've ever seen.) Our stay in Gambier and also Pitcairn were highlights for my parents and I was happy to be able to fulfill my Dad's long-held dream to land ashore in one of the Pitcairner's longboats. My Mom asked me what they speak among themselves and I said "Pickineese". On arrival here in Chile my brother and his family met us and the second day we set off on 8 days of racing with 45 other yachts through the islands down by Chiloe and back to Pto. Montt. It was all a bit too soon for me to really enjoy like I might have otherwise but my brother had it all set up, so...why not?! I am now trying get settled whilst looking forward to a fly/sail trip with my brothers plane and Cicero.
Cheers, Charlie
P.S. As promised:

Pineapple Upside-down Cake
I often whip up this exceptionally good and super easy cake while dinner is finishing cooking, and serve it hot later.

1 large can pineapple rings
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

Melt butter in an iron skillet. Cover with brown sugar, DO NOT STIR!! Place pineapple slices on top. Beat eggs, stir in flour, sugar, baking powder. Pour batter over pineapple. Bake in a moderate oven ½ to 1 hour. Check when done. Place a plate over skillet and flip it over, letting the cake drop onto the plate. The pineapple shows up surrounded by a sweet crusty topping.


Yes, in Rarotonga John and I had wondered how Charlie would handle 6 locals aboard Cicero on an extensive sailing trip around the isolated outer islands. We'd even given him a copy of our Expedition Companion, which we use for orientation and teaching aboard Mahina Tiare, gone over the charts and anchorages plus handed over a few recipes. Perhaps we shouldn't have had doubts as this was not the first time we'd met Charlie with crew. We'd first met about 13 years ago, on an evening when it was my turn to make dinner, whilst John and I were conducting a sailing expedition north from Cape Horn through the labyrinth of Patagonia's archipelagos.

It had been three days since our last passing contact with civilization; a radio exchange with a remote lighthouse to give the required identification information so when we sighted the distinctive shape of a sail on the horizon excitement broke out onboard. John hailed the vessel on the VHF and a reply came stating they were the yacht Chiloe on their way south. In the elation of seeing another vessel John asked them to consider stopping to join us for Thai stir-fry dinner. "Yes” came the short reply. As Chiloe's sails grew larger I wondered as to the extent of her crew so I called on the VHF asking how many to expect for dinner. "There are thirteen of us and a dog” came the reply. Yikes! Suddenly the enchantment of company became daunting with 20 mouths to feed. Five minutes later a providential crackle came across the radio. "This is the 32' sloop Chiloe and the entire crew of myself and my friend Peter will be happy to join you for dinner and we'll bring the beers!”

Thai Fried Rice with Shrimp

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup sliced green onions
1 carrot - julienned
1 cup snow peas or ¼ cup frozen peas
3 cups cooked jasmine rice - cold
1 teaspoon sugar
*4 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño
*1½ teaspoons minced garlic
*2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
*2 tablespoons soy sauce
1½ cups cooked shrimp, diced cooked pork for chicken
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
     *or 1½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste

Sauté onions, carrots and snow peas in olive oil until limp, 4 minutes. Add rice, sugar and next 4 ingredients

I've never forgotten that fun evening in Chile and sometimes wonder what happened to Charlie and Peter. It's a good thing the sailing world is small for when we sailed into Raro Harbour last summer both John and I admired the smart aluminum yacht from New Zealand. When the owner introduced himself as Charlie ex Chiloeit was as if time stood still. Charlie had recently purchased Cicero in Auckland. She was the famed kiwi boat builder Chris McMullen's personal yacht and now Charlie was basically single handing her from Australia to Chile, 8,000 miles against the tradewinds. A true sailor and his latest update proved it.

The following recipes that I shared with Charlie are two of my favorites.

Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade
This easy tapenade gives a potent boost of flavor to mild seafood such as wahoo or mahi and even coconut crab.

1 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes - undrained
½ cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 garlic clove - chopped
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

Combine ingredients in a food processor and pulse until minced or chop with a sharp knife until finely minced. Makes 4 servings.

Chili Lime Fish Tacos

1 batch lime, chili and onion relish
1 lb fish fillets
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced chives
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium ripe avocado
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup shredded cheese
2 cups shredded cabbage
8 corn taco shells - heated according to package directions.

Marinate fish in garlic herbs and olive oil. Season with salt. Cook on a hot grill for about 3 minutes per side. Mash avocado with garlic salt, spread on taco shells. Fill tortilla with cabbage, fish, cheese and top with relish.

Lime, Chili and Onion Relish

1 onion - peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
½ hot pepper - seeded and chopped
¼ cup chopped parsley
juice of 3 limes
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup boiling water

Combine the first four ingredients. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Pour on the boiling water then cover and leave for five to 10 minutes Spoon over fish tacos.



Friday Harbor High School Chefs with Kitchen Supervisor Liz Varvaro

Recently I pick up an arty flyer at the Market Chef Café in Friday Harbor. It was an invitation to a Community Dinner at the High School with Chef 1.0 students exhibiting their skills by presenting a trio of soups made from scratch featuring local meats and vegetables, along with a performance by the Jazz Band plus Art and Community Project Presentations. Unfortunately I was unable to attend but it sparked my interest as to what was happening at the school so I arranged a meeting with Liz Varvaro, the Kitchen Supervisor, and Chef Andy Radzialowski.
Does the kitchen have a goal?
Over the past years the school lunch program was loosing revenue to the extent it was cancelled. The Friday Harbor "Foodies Group" and PTA got together to bring in help; Chef Andy and myself. 2009 was a pilot year on the Experience Food Project - a large scale implementation of a new school lunch program nation wide. We've now moved on and have created a "Food for Thought Project" under the local districts umbrella. We've defiantly ramped things up in establishing resources, labor pools, and a connection with the culinary arts class and community. Our goal was to be revenue positive in 3-5 years; we achieved that in the first year and have since raised our lunch price to $3.50 thus allowing us to become completely sustainable with our food, overheads, equipment and student chef program costs.

We aim to create a technical location where students learn trade skills outside of the academic work force and standard cooking classes, enabling them to better transition to the work force. The high school Chef 1.0 students learn work ethics by experiencing a fast paced, high volume kitchen. They become familiar with the challenges and expectations of a work environment; Are you ready to work? What's your attitude, your cleanliness, attention to detail? Chef 2.0 is the next step up. Students come to the kitchen before school and attend a 2-3 hour lab once a week after school. Their responsibilities include leading the new 1.0's and learning kitchen skills. At the semesters end they've created a portfolio containing recipes, skills, resumes, personal statements and images of the food they can complete. This gives them the beginning to go on to culinary school or community college.

What is behind the Food for Thought Program?
What's nice for the students is that with our kitchen and what we produce starts with the primary use of local food. We use real food. Everything is processed from a raw state; there are no commodities what-so-ever, no binders, high fructose corn syrup or processed meats. Here on the island we're pioneers in working with the farmers. All the farms are small; they're not mono-crops producers. We maintain continual contact as to what produce will be available, when and in what quantity. Chef Andy even takes the hand cart to the dock to collect the produce from Waldron Island. By interacting with the food producers and community the students become more energized and connected on what food should be. They experience the full circle from grower to table with even the pre-consumer waste going back to farms for use as compost or pig food, not ending up in the land fill.

West African Cabbage and Pineapple Salad

1 lb cabbage - shredded
1 cup celery - sliced diagonally
¼ cup sliced scallion
½ cup green pepper - thinly sliced
½ cup diced tomatoes
1 cup fresh pineapple - cut into ¾-inch chunks
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon tarragon
½ tablespoon parsley


1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons light sour cream
2 tablespoons milk

Place salad ingredients in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl beat together dressing ingredients, gently toss with salad. Serves 8

Curried Yellow Split Pea and Vegetable Soup

61 lb (about 2 cups) yellow split peas
hot water
2 tablespoons butter
2 carrots diced
8 broccoli florets
1 zucchini - diced
1 cup diced yellow squash
1 12 oz can of coconut milk
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Indian curry paste
salt and pepper
chopped cilantro to garnish

Place spit peas in a bowl and pour over hot water to cover by 1 inch, let stand 1 hour. Sauté onion and carrot in butter add the remaining ingredients except broccoli and squash. Simmer until the peas are tender, about 50 minutes. Add broccoli and squash near the end of cooking time. Garnish with cilantro. Serves 6.

How do you plan the meals?
It's a delicate balance to fit within the national school lunch requirements. With 500 lunches created daily we aim to meet and exceed it in the best way. As our ages range from 3 years to 18, not forgetting the staff and adults, there's the logistics of keeping old favorites and introducing new flavors like hosin, ginger and curries. A favorite is pizza day; it's a lot of prep work as we make the dough and sauce. Enchiladas, fajitas and Greek gyros are a hit. The students now have access to more fresh fruit and vegetables, local grass fed beef, fresh fish and chicken. We carefully track our program and have noted that not only are the students eating healthier, they are also learning how to interact with each other. They're here, in the dinning hall sharing food they've created, communicating and conversing in groups instead of dashing off campus to sit in their cars eating junk food and text messaging.

Chicken Yassa

4 onions - thinly sliced
½ cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3.5lbs chicken breast - cut into 8 pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot - chopped
1 celery stalk - chopped
4 cloves garlic - minced
1 chili pepper (jalapeno) - seeded and minced
½ cup chicken broth

In a large bowl combine onions, lime juice, salt and pepper. Add chicken, toss to coat, refrigerate 3-6 hours. Remove chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Drain marinade in colander set over large bowl. Reserve both liquid and solids. Heat oil in 5-quart Dutch oven, cook chicken in batches, turning often, until browned, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to plate. Add reserved marinated onions, celery, garlic and chili pepper to Dutch oven; sauté until onions soften, 8 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and marinade; bring to boil. Add chicken and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Serve over rice or couscous.
Serves 6.

Fudgy Brownies

½ lb butter - melted
1½ cups white sugar
1½ cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1½ cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven 325° F. Lightly grease baking pan. Cream butter and sugars together. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla. In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread into pan, bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool then cut. Serves 10.

What are your future goals?
We've established a logistics plan for the elementary school enrichment program such as "Food Art" in addition to the connection already created with the high school art teachers. The English class is onboard in writing to our senators and representatives about what they want from school lunches, our next Community Dinner is an innovative rhythm jam with over 300 drums, and the Film Lab has entered a grant competition with the story line "What is Real Food?" Then there's the updating of our kitchen. Most of our equipment dates back to 1975 and is not holding up to what we're now putting it through. We're always thinking beyond the San Juan's and hope to take our "Food for Thought Program" state wide.



We'd slowed down on our passage from Rarotonga to ensure our landfall at Palmerston Atoll, in the Southern Cook Islands, was a comfortable hour after sunrise. Approaching from the south meant we needed to skirt around the barrier reef that encompasses the six sandy islets to reach the farthest north, largest and only inhabited islet. First impressions of Palmerston include idyllic, beautiful, serene and welcoming due to the vibrant colors; striking blue ocean, vivid green palms and crisp white sand beaches.

As we approached the anchorage three yachts rolled heavily on moorings. Simon Marsters greeted us from his aluminum skiff and we enquired about the last available mooring. "I'm not sure whose it is or if it's safe but you can also anchor over there" he said pointing near the pass. We knew from previous visits, that the bottom is covered with tall coral heads and deep anchor-swallowing chasms. I dove into the crystal clear water to check the location and as it proved flat enough I directed our anchor to be dropped in a very specific spot.

Simon said he'd go notify customs and immigration (a surprise on such a tiny island!) and that later he'd return to give us a ride ashore. "You're in for a big day,” he grinned. "You're invited to Joshua's Marsters 21st Birthday” The officials arrived with jokes and laughs and after glancing at our papers they warmly welcomed us to visit ashore. Minutes later Simon helped us scramble into his skiff in the difficult rolly conditions but John opted to stand anchor watch as we're not comfortable leaving the boat anchored on an exposed reef. All too soon we'd sped through the tight pass, across the lagoon and landed on the beach.

After a refreshing cool drink in the shade of his house Simon took us on a tour. He's the island policeman so is well informed on all activates. Highlights include a new school house for the 22 children and three teachers. It provided great entertainment as our crew donated a substantial supply of learning tools. Then there's the phone both and adjacent satellite dish outfitted with solar panels where a call to New Zealand costs $30 a minute and down along the beachfront sits the house and grave of William Masters. Originally from Leicester, England William settled on the uninhabited island in 1863 with two Polynesian wives, to which he later added a third. He sired 17 children and today there are over 1,500 Marsters though only 45 or so live on the island.

It was now party time. As the last of the palm fronds were woven onto the watershed posts we were welcomed into a palm shaded courtyard where the minister led a substantial band. We joined the other yachties and mingled as the party guests arrived; nearly the entire island. I knew we were in for a feast when, as we were ushered to the table, a 4-wheeler pulled up towing a trailer laden with prepared dishes. The minister opened with a prayer as a young delegation escorted Joshua, adorned with a flower crown sporting NZ dollar bills, to the head table. It was a terrific meal with many local and exotic dishes. Our crew enjoyed the crab cakes and when I enquired about the tender orange-ginger chicken a young girl said they'd used 9 island chickens and one frozen New Zealand chicken. I wondered who got the NZ chicken?


The customary speeches began with heart warming stories from Joshua's three grandmothers; Sarah, Teinono and Akarotouna Marsters. The ladies looked delightful in matching aloha party frocks and flower crowns; proud of their grandson. It is interesting to note that Sarah was previously married to Tom Neale author of An Island to Oneself. The story of his six years on the desert island of Suvarov is now a South Seas classic. Joshua's uncle was manlier in presenting the wooden carved "key to the front door” stating that Joshua duty was to now find a good wife; one who would work hard, take care of him and give him plenty of children. He then went on to say that if Joshua's wife was lazy he must not bring her to the island. Joshua's reply was short and one of respect before the humungous chocolate cake had the candles blown out and the island dancing began.


As the sun started setting and our dancing feet became weary we bid our farewells. We'd made many friends while sharing a special moment in Joshua's life and he sincerely invited us to return to his small island home.

Orange-Ginger Chicken

1 whole chicken
¾ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
¼ cup sherry
2 tablespoons salad oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
orange sections from 2 oranges - for garnish
fresh cilantro - for garnish

Cut chicken into pieces and combine with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate 6 hours turning occasionally. Drain chicken, reserving liquid, place pieces in a baking pan. Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes. Pour reserved liquid over chicken and bake, basting occasionally for 25 minutes. Serve garnished with oranges and cilantro. Serves 5.

Sweet Potato Crab Cakes

1 lb sweet potatoes
½ lb potatoes
1 egg - beaten
1 cup crabmeat
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
3 tablespoons flour
oil for sautéing
salt and pepper

Peel potatoes and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash. Add egg, crab, paprika, flour, season with salt and pepper. Shape into cakes with about 2 tablespoons of mixture in each. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Heat oil in frying and sauté cakes 4 minutes each side, drain cakes on a paper towel. Keep warm until serving. Serve sprinkled with cilantro and a dab of cucumber relish. Serves 4.

Cucumber Relish

½ cucumber
1 teaspoon white malt vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

Grate cucumber and place in a cheese cloth. Gently squeeze out excess juices. Mix in remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

Crisp Coconut Fish

4 white fish fillets
1 lemon grass stalk - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - crushed
6 tablespoons fresh grated coconut or ½ cup desiccated coconut
2 green chilies - deseeded and finely chopped
handful coriander leaves
lime wedges
fresh cilantro - for garnish

Combine lemon grass, garlic, coconut and chilies. Smear mixture over each fillet and refrigerate 2 hours. Grill fish until cooked and golden. Serve on steamed rice with the following sambal, lime wedges fresh cilantro for garnish. Serves 4.

Coconut Tamarind Sambal

A sambal is an Indonesian for Malaysian chili based sauce used as a condiment.

1 onion - finely diced
1 garlic clove - crushed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut
1 red chili - deseeded and finely chopped
2/3 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons dried tamarind pulp
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped coriander

Sauté onion and garlic in oil until wilted. Add coconut and chili and cook 3 minutes. Pour water over tamarind pulp and leave to stand 10 minutes to dissolve. Strain juice from tamarind pulp, mashing as much of the pulp with the sugar and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add vinegar, remove from heat and when cooled stir in coriander.

Baked Banana Custard

4 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1½ cups coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
dash of nutmeg
pinch of salt
3 bananas - sliced

Heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl beat eggs until light colored. Gradually beat in sugar and coconut milk, a little at a time. Whisk in vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Fold in bananas then pour custard in to a well-buttered soufflé dish. Place dish in a pan with enough water to come 2 inches up the sides. Bake 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 6



Breakfast Crew – Lisa, Mark, Kathy, Joe, Amanda, Christine and Allan

Rangitoto Island is as iconic to Auckland as Angel Island is to San Francisco and makes a perfect final anchorage of a coastal New Zealand passage before entering the grips of bustling Auckland City.

Our expedition leg down from Fiji last year featured excellent sailing conditions that provided a great platform for intense learning for our crew. For the last hurrah I wanted to show them something magical from my home stomping grounds so chose a sheltered anchorage at the foot of Rangi's eastern sloops called Islington Bay, known by us Kiwi's as Izzy Bay.

Rangi was designated a public domain in 1890 and became a popular destination for picnickers arriving by ferry. During the ‘20s and ‘30s prisoners built hand-paved roads and trails, some of which are still in use, and constructed the stone walls around the landings and old swimming pool. To help pay for the island developments bach (holiday cabin) sites we leased and by 1937 the number of baches in the three settlements totaled 140. The bach families formed a close-knit community with dances and film evenings in the Stone Hall, tennis tournaments and fishing contests that continued through many generations.

However, since 1937 opposition arose over the existence of the baches on public land and leases were only renewed for twenty years. In1956 the leases were extended for the lifetime of the current lease holder but no sales, transfers, new baches or modifications to existing baches were permitted. Hence the baches stood as if time stopped. A realization came in the 1980's that they were the last of their kind in the country, and the families of the Rangi bach community were permitted to establish a Historic Conservation Trust to preserve a unique treasure. Upon anchoring we went for an evening wander along the sandy track that winds around the foreshore, peering in the windows and back gardens of some of the remaining 34 baches. No one was at home, but if you listened carefully you could hear the generations of blokes tell fish stories around the barbeque as the kids play on the tree swings and the ladies chopped up a fresh fruit salad.

John and I pondered what would make a strong finale to the expedition and hatched the idea of crew hike; 1.5 hours to Rangi's summit crater for breakfast. We had a 6am wake-up call and everyone split up the breakfast goodies to carry to the top. The weather, which had been a little misty, cooperated with a brilliant sunny windless morning. Hiking Rangi is like stepping onto another planet. 600 years ago a series of fiery volcanic eruptions created Rangi's classic 800' cone-shaped profile. When the red-hot lava flowed down the volcano it formed into the black basaltic rock which makes up 95 per cent of this roughly circular 3 miles across island. Bare lava fields, caves, pillars, tunnels and a variety of lava flows are all features of the island's eruptive history.

The Maori people previously used the island as a reserve for kaka; New Zealand's native parrot. In the 1800's possums and wallabies had been introduced and by the 1980's they were threatening to destroy Rangi's rare pohutukawa forest. In efforts to encourage native forest growth and bird life, the Department of Conservation has nearly completed 20 years of intensive pest eradication programs along with efforts to control invasive weeds.

During our scenic nature hike we all chatted about our past and future adventures. Somehow, we girls got onto the subject of food, I wondered if it was because they could hear my grumbling tummy, and they promised to send me their all-time favorite recipes. Upon reaching the summit, the view of Auckland and surrounding Waitemata Harbour was awesome; a fitting reward to a morning's ramble.

Kathy's Mexican Caviar

½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cans black beans - drained and rinsed
2 cans Green Giant Mexicorn - drained (recipe below)
10 cherry tomatoes quartered or cut into eighths
½ cup chopped green onions
2 avocados - chopped

Whisk together oil, vinegar and salt in the bowl from which you will be serving the Mexican Caviar. The result will be pink and kind of creamy. Add remaining ingredients to dressing and mix together gently. Serve with tortilla chips.

Homemade Mexicorn

1½ tablespoons olive oil
2 cups of fresh or frozen corn kernels
¼ cup red bell pepper - diced
¼ cup green bell pepper - diced
¼ cup red onion - diced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
a pinch of cumin
1 teaspoon lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro - chopped

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add corn, bell peppers, red onion, salt, pepper, cumin, and lime juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with cilantro.

Christine's South of France Tomato Soup

generous ½ teaspoon dried basil
generous ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
generous ½ teaspoon dried oregano
generous ½ teaspoon dried thyme
good-tasting extra virgin olive oil
3 medium onions - finely chopped
salt and fresh ground black pepper
3 large garlic cloves - minced
generous ¼ cup tomato paste
1/3 cup dry vermouth
2 lbs good tasting fresh tomatoes (not Romas) - peeled, seeded and chopped or one 28 oz can of whole tomatoes with their liquid, crushed. I use a can of Muir Glen crushed tomatoes with basil It is so much easier and works fine.
*2 14oz cans of chicken or vegetable broth
*2/3 cup water
    *I substitute almost one box of Pacifica chicken or veggie stock
generous ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon to taste
4oz goat cheese

Combine herbs in a small cup, crush them lightly until they become fragrant. Film the bottom of a 6-quart pot with olive oil. Heat over med-high heat, stir in onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until onions are golden brown, 5-8 minutes. Add herbs and garlic, cook until their aromas open up, about 30 seconds. Blend in tomato paste until there are no lumps, add vermouth and tomatoes, boil 2 minutes. Stir in broth, adjust heat to a light bubble and cover pot. Cook 20 minutes. Blend in cinnamon and taste the soup for seasoning. Serve in bowls topped with crumbled goat cheese.

Kathy's Tuna Salad Polynesian for Two

This recipe is from years ago when Mark and I were first married.

8oz can chunk pineapple - drained (I've used fresh)
6½oz can water-packed albacore tuna - drained and flaked
¼ cup sliced celery
1 small banana - sliced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
lettuce for two
fresh fruit and melon wedges
macadamia nuts or pecans - chopped

In medium bowl, combine pineapple, tuna, celery, banana, mayonnaise and curry powder; toss lightly. Place lettuce on individual serving plates; mound tuna mixture on center of lettuce. Arrange fresh fruit and melon wedges around mounded mixtures. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Serves 2.

Lisa's Fresh Tomato-Herbed Pasta

Serve warm or cold, as a main dish or side, ,and in the summer when tomatoes and fresh herbs are at their best,! I like to add  fresh parmesan shavings on the side.

1½ lbs ripe tomatoes - seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 lb. spahettini (thinnest spaghetti)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Place tomatoes and herbs in a large heat proof bowl. Cook pasta until al dente as directed. When pasta is done, heat olive oil in a small saucepan on high heat until oil is smoking hot. Pour hot oil over the tomatoes and herbs. The oil should be hot enough to sizzle as it hits the contents of the bowl. Toss with salt & black pepper to taste. Serves 4-6.


It's August which reminds me of my friend George, who lives in Rosmuc, Ireland, as about now he'll be racing in the annual Féile an Dóilín; Ireland's oldest and largest Galway hooker festival. I introduced you to George last June when we went on a discovery of Galway and now we'll get reacquainted as I enlighten you on his special part of the world – Connemara.

Connemara is the broad, jagged peninsula to the west of Galway famous for its stony granite, bogs, green/white marble, small lakes, quartzite mountains and desolation. Surrounded by the Atlantic on three sides and Lough Coribb, Ireland's largest lake, to the east there's no wonder the name derives from the Irish Conmhaicne Mara meaning descendants of the sea. Mainly inhabited on the coast there were few interior roads throughout the peninsula therefore the locals looked to the sea for transport.

The connection between Connemara's inhabitants and the ocean is best seen in the sturdy Galway Hookers, a powerful craft, clever by design in that it was not only able to carry substantial cargo but also fish and scallop. Identified by the distinctive sail formation, the rig consists of a single mast with a gaff main and two foresails. The boats were traditionally black being coated in pitch, and the sails were hand cut and woven from calico then varnished with tar and butter giving them a dark reddish color.

In the early 1800's the hookers were well established, the Claddah fleet in Galway alone numbered at least 100 vessels. Ranging in size from 20 to 45 feet they provided a vital link to the coastal towns whose population was around 60,000. Locals traditionally eked out a meager living from fishing and kelp harvesting but sadly the Great Famine plus failed potato crops in 1878 and again 1879 caused the area become on the poorest in Ireland forcing many to immigrate to America. Depleted fishing stocks and the advent of modern technology gradually sealed the hookers fate as a working vessel.

Recently the last few remaining hookers have been lovingly restored and new ones constructed creating an impressive fleet of around 20 vessels that regularly race at various locations in Connemara. Using George's cottage as a base John and I spent numerous eventful days exploring the countryside, checking out hookers and savoring the local cuisine. In Roundstone we met Michael Caine on the small hooker-like boat Theo and enjoyed some fresh pollack he'd just caught. Whilst visiting the Clifden boat club we wolfed down hearty mussels in cider as we watched a spring storm threaten the coast, and a picnic on the riverside of pirate queen Grace O'Malley's Ballynahinch Castle saw us devour local smoked salmon from Connemara Smokehouse followed by fruitcake.

George was the perfect host. He cooked scrumptious meals and insisted we not venture out on our days adventures, or even back home to Mahina Tiare empty handed, and loaded us up with fresh scones and barmbrack baked by his neighbor. Connemara has me hooked - someday I'll return to sail a hooker, step a jig on her deck, and chat with folks to gather a more recipes to add to the following Connemara collection.

George's Tropical Prawn Thai Red Curry

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1½ tablespoons red Thai curry paste
1 spring onion - diced
2 teaspoon fish sauce
1can chickpeas
1 can coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
1lb pre-cooked king prawns
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 cups mango or pineapple - diced
4 tablespoons chopped unsalted peanuts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons Thai basil

Heat sesame oil in a large heavy-based frying pan. Sauté spring onion 1 minute, add curry paste. Whisk in coconut milk, chicken stock and fish sauce. Add chickpeas and shrimp, bring to boil. Add lime juice, basil, mango and peanuts, simmer 3 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice or wide noodles.

Mussels in Cider

2lb fresh, live mussels
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup shallots - finely chopped
3 garlic cloves - finely sliced
1Granny Smith apple - peeled and cut into cubes
1 lemon
1¼ cups cider
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Heat oil and butter in a large wide saucepan. Add shallots and garlic and sauté gently, stirring all the time, for about a minute. Add apple and cook 2 minutes. Add cider, grated lemon peel, lemon juice and thyme. Bring to the boil, add mussels, shake saucepan a few times and cover with a lid. Cook 2 minutes then shake mussels again. Cook for another 3 minutes until mussels have opened, throw away the few stubborn ones. Serve mussels with the cooking broth, garnish with some extra thyme. Irish soda bread would be a perfect accompaniment for mopping up the cidery juices.

Connemara Roast Lamb

1 shoulder of lamb, about 3½ lbs, boned
¾ cup cooked rice
½ cup sultanas
½ orange rind – coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram
1 clove garlic - crushed
1 tablespoon - flour
2 tablespoon - oil
1½ lbs potatoes - peeled and diced
½ cup stock
6 tomatoes
salt and pepper

For stuffing; mix rice, sultanas, orange rind, a little marjoram, garlic and seasoning together. Spread on inner surface of meat, roll up and tie. Rub surface with flour. Calculate cooking time 15 - 20 minutes per lb and put lamb in tin with oil and potatoes. Pour on stock and cover with foil. Roast at 350°F. Halfway through cooking tome remove foil and baste. 25 minutes before end of cooking put in tomatoes. Remove lamb and boil remaining liquid in roasting tin to make gravy. Serve gravy with sliced lamb, tomatoes and potatoes.

Connemara Pancake Mix

1¼ cups flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup oats
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 eggs
½ cup milk
¼ cup molasses
1½ teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons oil

Combine all dry ingredients. Beat eggs, milk, molasses and vanilla until light. Add dry mix. Cover bottom of pan with oil and heat. Pour 1/3 cup batter onto hot pan and cook pancake, turning when bubbles form on surface. Cook until done



1lb flour
¾ cup sugar
1lb of mixed dried fruit
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon allspice or mixed spice
a pot of hot Irish tea

The trick to making a barmbrack is soaking the fruit over night in the tea. While this makes the dried fruit softer and more appealing in general, you must be careful when mixing the dough not to over knead or the rehydrated fruit will break up and speckle the cake. Add the sugar and egg to the fruit mix the next day. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients. Mix gently. Use a 7" round baking tin at 350°F for 80 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve with hot tea.

Eggs Benedict Royale

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
2 English breakfast muffin
olive oil
8 large slices smoked salmon
½ cup double cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
juice ½ lemon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
dash of Tabasco sauce
fresh dill sprigs - to garnish

Place cream, butter, lemon juice, mustard and tabasco in a small pan, heat 4 minutes whisking until sauce is thick and glossy. Season to taste, keep warm. Meanwhile, heat a large pan of water with vinegar. When water is bubbling, break in eggs, simmer gently 3 minutes, until whites are just set. Toast muffin halves. Meanwhile heat a non-stick frying pan, add a thin film of olive oil and lightly sauté smoked salmon, 1 minute each side. Remove the poached eggs with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and trim off any ragged edges with scissors or knife. Put a muffin half on 4 warmed plates, arrange salmon on muffins, top with poached eggs and either spoon over the beurre blanc or serve it on the side. Garnish with dill and black pepper. Serves 4


galley sept 2010

Galley Essentials September 2010

The start of our current sailing season incorporated the outfitting Mahina Tiare in my home country of New Zealand. To take a break from the seemly endless boat projects I embarked on a road trip north from Auckland to Whangarei for much requested "Auntie Time”. The little person I especially had to visit was my niece Mary-Ann. I'm not an exceptionally clucky person but this little pumpkin is a cutie and we had a mighty time together.

At only 16 months old Mary-Ann has not yet come across a food she does not like. "Yum Yum's" is one of the three words she utters although by the time Auntie Mandi left she'd also learnt "Oh Oh!". Little did I know that a trip outside to play in the garden has a dedicated sequence of events starting with mum Karen reproachfully requesting Mary-Ann to wear her gumboots in the yard. Then we were off, first it's a dash to the cherry tomatoes where after grabbing a fistful a few quickly get shoved into the mouth. Next it's the swing for a pushing session after which it's a run to the vegetable patch were carrots get yanked from the ground along with a silver beet leaf being ripped from it's mother plant. We're not done yet for a bounce on the trampoline and a ride in the wheelbarrow are both required to complete the backyard tour.

I was not to leave Mary-Ann's garden empty handed for I returned to Mahina Tiare with a bounty of cherry tomatoes, silver beet and fresh herbs of mint, basil and cilantro; courtesy of my brother David's green fingers. Karen attached the following recipe to the lush bunch of silver beet and it proved to be a scrumptious dinner for John and I a few nights later. We were celebrating the launching Mahina Tiare and leaving the boatyard for a quiet anchorage.

Mushroom Lasagna

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion - sliced
3 garlic cloves - minced
1 lb mushrooms - sliced
bunch fresh basil - chopped
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
2½ cups milk
1 cup grated cheese
8oz fresh lasagna sheets

Heat oil in a large pan, add onion and garlic, sauté 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, cook 5 minutes, remove from heat, add basil, salt and pepper. Melt butter in a medium pot, stir in flour then nutmeg, salt and 1 cup of milk. Whilst stirring allow the sauce to thicken, add remaining milk and return to boil. Remove from heat and add 2/3 of the cheese. Grease a 8x10 casserole dish, spread half a cup of cheese sauce over the bottom, cover with a sheet of lasagna, then half the mushroom mixture. Repeat, finishing with cheese sauce, lasagna then cheese sauce sprinkled with remaining cheese. Bake 40 minutes at 425°F.

A few days later our last remaining boat chores were accomplished including bending on the sails. Our Leg 1 expedition members joined at noon and after clearing customs at the downtown quay we set sail for Tahiti. John had been watching the always-changing weather for a month but now the standard weather pattern had drastically changed. A low had formed NW of NZ and was predicted to deepen and very slowly meander toward the northern tip of the country. The computer analysis from Bob McDavitt MetService recommended that our most efficient routing was that of the letter W!

Our first goal was to reach East Cape, the eastern tip of NZ, to catch the tail end of the large high pressure that had favored NZ with summery conditions for the past few weeks, thus avoiding storm force winds forecasted for northern NZ. We were able to sail occasionally but mostly the winds fluttered around 5-7 knots. The spells of motoring were frustrating for our crew but the calm conditions gave me the opportunity to utilize my fresh herbs in these lunch salads.

Minty Sprouted Mung Bean Salad with Chicken

2 cups dry mung beans – sprouted for 2 days
2 lb roasted chicken meat - shredded
2 bunches scallions - sliced thinly
1 bunch of fresh mint - chopped finely
4 eggs - hard boiled
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Combine sprouts, chicken, scallions, mint and salt. For the dressing combine olive oil, vinegar and mustard, pour over the salad and toss to coat. Cut eggs lengthwise by four for garnish. Serves 6.

Waldorf Bulgur Salad

1 cup bulgur
4 tablespoons hazelnut oil or olive oil
1 cup hot water
2 stalks celery - chopped
1 green apple - chopped
½ cup hazelnuts pecans or walnuts - toasted and chopped
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
salt and fresh ground pepper

In a medium bowl toss bulgur with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add water and let sit 1 hour. Add remaining ingredients, toss to mix. Marinate 2 hours before serving. Serves 6.

From previous passages I knew that albacore tuna were possible at these latitudes and we'd set the lines in anticipation of a fresh catch. We had a false start when hooking a small feisty shark and after setting it free we were soon rewarded with not one but three fine tuna. This tuna recipe burst with flavor thanks to Dave's tomatoes.

Tuna with Chickpeas

2 onions – diced
dash olive oil
4 tuna steaks
10 cherry tomatoes or 1 can of diced tomatoes
2 teaspoon tomato puree
2 cans of chickpeas
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon dried chili flakes
2 handfuls chopped coriander
1 lemon - zest and juice
2 eggs
salt and pepper

In a pan dry roast cumin and mustard seeds until fragrant. Crush seeds in a pestle and mortar. Massage remaining seeds into tuna, add lemon juice and zest. Sauté onion in oil until translucent, add half the seeds, chili and garam masala, sauté 20 seconds, add tomatoes, tomato puree, chickpeas and seasoning, simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add coriander. Boil or poach eggs, meanwhile sear tuna on hot griddle. Dish up chickpeas, place tuna on top and top with egg. Garnish with coriander and sea salt.

Unfortunately our plans didn't pan out as two intense lows parked over NZ for a week when a large 1032 high pressure cell stalled east of NZ. The resulting squash zone was forecast to have 50 kt headwinds. In an effort to avoid the worst weather we reefed down and tacked over to a course that had us heading north for Fiji. For a nearly a week we were slammed with continual gale to storm force winds and very large, confused swells. Meals were down to the bare basics and it was surprising that none of our crew succumbed to seasickness. After being lashed with freezing rain as the front passed, left-over rice made a hearty lunchtime soup; the surviving cilantro a perky addition.

Wild Rice Salmon Chowder

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8 scallions - chopped
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon hot sauce
freshly ground pepper
2 cups cooked wild or brown rice
1 lb fresh salmon - cut into bite-sized pieces
handful fresh cilantro

Heat oil in skillet, sauté scallions for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in flour then whisk in milk. Gently cook, stirring , until sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Season to taste. Stir in rice, add salmon and gently cook until fish is cooked, about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro. Serves 4

Finally the high picked up her roots and began her onward journey towards Cape Horn. In doing so the seas calmed as the wind shifted to a more favorable direction for us to sail on our course to the island of Rurutu, then on to Tahiti where tropical fruits replaced my brother's homegrown veggies and herbs.


galley essentials oct 2010

Rita Gibbons busy in the Galley aboard Furthur

    Wow, our passage from New Zealand to Tahiti then on to the island of Moorea was over and our expedition crew departed with praises and thanks for a rough but rewarding experience. John and I now had a week to work on varnish, laundry, sewing projects, deck maintenance and chores while mixing in some fun reef swims, runs up the valleys and kayaking. Surprisingly, there were few cruising boats about. We weren't sure if that was because we were early in the season or if there are fewer boats in general for the year. Cook's Bay, with its striking volcanic peaks that rise like a sharks jaw from the island's basaltic base, usually has 15-20 yachts but John had only counted four during his sunset kayak. Still….we had a few more days on the island so perhaps we'd encounter a new boat or two and perhaps some old friends.

Happily a day later we received a treat with the arrival our old friends Laura and Giorgio Cagliero aboard their Nordhaven Lisa Marie. Laura, who featured in a Galley Essential's back in 2006, is Italian and a wonderful cook so it was terrific to catch up over one of her simple pasta's and meet her daughter Frederica and son in law.

Laura's Green Olive Pasta

1 lb pasta
1 jar of green olives stuffed with pimentos - rinsed
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
1 onion - diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook pasta until el dente, meanwhile sauté onion in olive oil, add tomatoes and olives. Drain pasta and serve topped with tomato sauce.

I'm always a little amused and confused with Laura's cooking style as I seem to remember that she once mentioned that pasta should only have three ingredients and that they are to be the color of the Italian flag. Frederica confirmed my thoughts when she mentioned that another one of Laura's Italian cooking rules is to never use onion and garlic together in the same recipe. Oops, there went my entire Italian recipe collection. Knowing that Laura refuses the allowing fishing aboard Lisa Marie; when queasy she once saw me land a bloody mahi aboard Mahina Tiare, I offered her some tuna we'd caught. Laura quickly rattled off the following recipe as she dove into a locker to retrieve a bottle of extra virgin olive oil in exchange. Mmmm, perhaps it's time for me to master Italian cooking.

Laura's Easy Tuna

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2½ tablespoons finely chopped basil
4 tuna steaks
3oz black olives - rinsed if too salty
1 tablespoon capers
½ teaspoon finely chopped anchovies
14oz tomatoes - peeled, seeded and chopped
4 potatoes

Mix half the olive oil with lemon juice and 1 tablespoon basil. Season, add tuna and marinate 15 minutes turning once. While tuna is marinating boil potatoes. Sear tuna in olive oil turning once, remove from pan. Combine olives, capers, anchovies and tomatoes with remaining olive oil and basil, along with marinade. Heat tomato mixture in large frying pan, add fish and diced potatoes. Sauté until fish is just cooked. Serve with baguette slices.

In order to have dewless nights (better for varnishing), John and I choose a secluded reef anchorage at the entrance to Opunohu Bay. So the next morning we're rather surprised when a loaded dinghy zooms up to us. It takes us a while to sort through the swimsuit clad bodies, with John doing a double take of the three girls in bikinis, but finally we recognize Brian Calvert from Friday Harbor and Seattle. He's made it to the South Pacific aboard Furthur his Selene motor vessel though who's in the dinghy with him?

Aboard with Brian is Rita Gibbons also from Seattle; she and Brian are friends from way back having first meet at the Seattle Singles Sailing Club. There's a mate of Brain's, who is anchored nearby Furthur aboard his Island Packet, and oh la la...two lovely girls Urška and Lučka from Slovenia; they've jumped ship from a Tall Ship.

"We're off further down the reef to feed the stingrays” smiles Urška
"Do you want to come?” Lučka asks
"No” I reply, "I need to finish up my varnishing”
John on the other hand has already gathered his snorkel gear and camera and somehow I don't think he's only after stingray photos. The dinghy zooms off and I get the first moment of time to myself that I've had for a while. What's a girl to do but have a nice cold fresh fruit juice and browse a magazine.

They're reading 48North here on Moorea – Urška, Rita, Brian, Lučka & Amanda

Before long the intrepid ray feeders return looking sun kissed and wind swept. They bring tales of dancing rays that slither up one's body in search of morsels of food while black tipped reef sharks dart about in search of tidbits. Slices of refreshing chilled pamplemousse (large grapefruit) are greatly appreciated and amidst their eager ray stories, one which mentioned John's underwater camera flooding just as a ray slithered away with Urška bikini top, Brian invites us over to Furthur for dinner and a music session.

An unspoken rule aboard Furthur is that Rita cooks while Urška and Lučka (nicknamed together or singularly as Lurska) do dishes along with boat duties. Rita, who claims you can never have too many cabbage recipes, pulls out all the stops. Pupus, on the top deck, are an assortment of crudités along with Rita's tomato jam and toasted baguettes. Dinner; an impressive proscuitto wrapped halibut served atop a bed of braised cabbage with accompanying Dijon sauce. I'd made Indonesian rice salad and the Island Packet crew of two bought an eclectic tapas tofu pasta. This had been their ongoing nightly staple since leaving Mexico, the base of which starts with caramelized onions.

Rita's Tomato Jam

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 8oz jar sun-dried tomatoes
1 onion - thinly sliced
1 clove garlic – minced
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup water
½ cup chicken broth
½ teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper

Sauté sun-dried tomatoes, onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 5 minutes. Cool before serving.

Rita's Boat-Fancy Fish and Cabbage

4 halibut steaks
enough proscuitto to wrap halibut
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded cabbage
salt and pepper

Wrap halibut in proscuitto and sauté in skillet until done. Remove and keep warm. Sauté cabbage in butter until just wilted, season to taste. To serve place a large spoonful of Dijon Sauce on a plate, top with cabbage, then fish.

Dijon Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
¼ cup white wine
2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Sauté shallots in butter for 3 minutes, add wine and reduce by half. Add cream and whisk with a spoon for 7 minutes. Stir in mustard and season to taste.

Over dinner I chat with Lučka and Urška. They'd flatted together in an old house in the capital city of Ljubljana while both saving to go traveling. Although Urška, a qualified masseuse, and Lučka, a professional cello player, had both spent summers cruising the Adriatic Sea they'd never realized it was possible to sail the world on your own yacht. The evening ended with them singing sweet choruses they'd learnt as young girls in church. When they couldn't remember the words they hummed the complex rhythms that somehow held a magical charm of a place far from the moonlit swaying palm trees ashore.



Larry, Lin and Lesley serving pumpkin pie

We'd completed the offshore passage of our Fiji to New Zealand expedition and were now enjoying coast hopping down the coast from Opua to Auckland. At sea storm avoidance and tactics had been a popular class with Lin and Larry Pardey's Storm Tactics book and video a hot item of discussion. So, for a treat John decided to arrange a surprise visit to the Pardey's waterfront cottage and boatyard on Kawau Island. John secretly emailed the Pardey's and their response was as welcoming as ever; including a Thanksgiving invite. Unfortunately our crew would be on their way home before then but after we all enjoyed a wonderful homestead tour John and I promised to return for Thanksgiving.

It so happened that my mum and dad had also gotten a Thanksgiving invite and were planning on sailing to the Pardey's aboard their yacht, Reality. As we were due to haul out Mahina Tiare mum suggested we should sail to the dinner with them. It was perfect early summertime weather and the day sail from Sandspit to Kawau was the most enjoyable John and I had had for awhile for we rarely get to relax while sailing aboard Mahina Tiare.

Upon sailing into north harbor we eagerly looked around as to who else might be joining us for Thanksgiving. It was not until we dinghied ashore that we met our fellow diners. Larry's cousin
Marie-Belle was visiting along with some long time friends of Lin and Larry's. Old cruising friends Loraine and Robbie from Southern Cross were passing around nibbles. By coincidence they just happened to be anchored in the bay for they had recently swallowed the anchor and were currently cruising with new farming/sailing friends. More folks kept arriving; locals who had either tramped through the bush or come by runabout.

Amanda joined by Marie-Bell, her mum and a Kiwi mate around the BBQ

The barbeque was smothered with fresh rock oysters, gathered by Marie-Belle, and they were being devoured right off the grill in true Kiwi style. Before long we were requested to be seated at the long decorated table that stretched the entire length of the cottage. A colored paper turkey held center stage; an icon that Lin had placed on the table for their past 25 Thanksgivings the world over. As plates were passed around two turkeys were ceremoniously carved; one by Larry and the other by Robbie. Food was piled on with all the correct trimmings including a stunning sweet potato dish, peas and innovative cranberry chutney. As the wine flowed stories were told...mostly about yachts and sailing. We were all thankful for having boats and good friends in our lives.

Lin's Thanksgiving Sweet Potato

This sweet potato dish is actually one that works just as well with canned sweet potatoes and I always keep a few cans on board when we will be cruising during Thanksgiving - might have to substitute chicken for the turkey, but we always celebrate wherever we may be.

Scrub one sweet potato per person and cut into 3/4 inch chunks. Boil for about 10 minutes until just beginning to be tender. Or use one can of sweet potatoes per three people. Put sweet potato chunks in a lightly oiled roasting dish, add one can of pineapple chunks plus half of the juice, for every six people 5 or 6 maraschino cherries. Toss lightly, top with a generous sprinkling of soft brown sugar. Bake for 35 minutes with the turkey.

Cranberry Ginger and Lemon Chutney

The chutney can be made up to two weeks ahead if kept in the refrigerator.
1 medium lemon
1 12oz bag cranberries
2 cups sugar
½ cup diced crystallized ginger
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove -minced
1 jalapeno -seeded and minced
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt

Grate the yellow zest from lemon. Cut away and discard the thick white pith. Dice lemon into ¼ inch pieces. In a medium, non reactive saucepan combine cranberries, lemon, lemon zest and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer 15 minutes until sauce is thick and cranberries burst Cool. Remove cinnamon stick before serving. Serve at room temperature. Makes 3 cups, 12 servings.

When we'd received our Thanksgiving invites Lin had announced that she'd be baking turkey whilst other dishes were be divvied out. My mum, Lesley, and I were given the quintessential Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Knowing that I was in the middle of boatyard haul out my wonderful mum offered to make my pie; thus she had to make three for the expected 20 or so guests. This is not such an easy task down under as canned pumpkin is unavailable so first a pumpkin puree had to be made. Here's a few recipes if you ever find yourself in the same boat.

How to make Pumpkin Puree

When choosing a pumpkin note that you will get 1 cup of puree per pound of the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half and dig out the stringy stuff plus seeds. You may wish to save the seeds for roasting later. Peel and cut the pumpkin into chunks. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the pumpkin is tender. Let cool then puree the flesh in a food processor or mash. Line a large sieve with paper towels or flattened coffee filters and place it in a bowl. Pour puree in sieve and place in the fridge. Allow to drain for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. You may freeze the puree.

Gingersnap Pie Crust

1 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
2½ tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Press into greased 9" pie pan. Bake at 350° F for 5 minutes, until crust is set. Cool completely.

Pumpkin Pie

For a firmer pie, use just two eggs. For a creamier custard, use three eggs.
2 or 3 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
1½ cups evaporated milk
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
Put an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375° F. In a bowl whisk eggs well. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugars, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt, and mix. Pour pie filling into crust and bake about 35 to 40 minutes, or until filling is set but still a bit quivery, like gelatin, when lightly nudged. Cool pie on a rack and refrigerate. Serve with a generous dollop of cream

    Mum made these great waffles at a family breakfast the morning before John and I hit the road to return to boat yard.

Pumpkin Waffles

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
4 eggs - separated
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
oil for brushing waffle iron
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl with buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients until just combined. In a mixing bowl whisk egg whites until they hold soft peaks, fold them gently into the waffle batter. Serves 6.



Neisha in the galley aboard Grace

Grace, Grace; Mahina Tiare
Mahina Tiare, Grace, Channel 78?
M.T, Grace, so good to hear from you guys..Neishas become quite the cook, in fact, shes been wanting to bake a cake for Amanda for quite some time now so youll have to visit.
    Wed met the Collins family of Shane, Nicole, Neisha, Jessica and Jackson in 2007 when we both moored in the village of Ellos, Sweden. They were outfitting Grace for a family voyage back home to Mooloolaba, Australia. Neisha was 7 at the time and the twins, Jessica and Jackson, were 5. As Grace, a Halberg-Rassy 46, is a sistership to M.T the Collins were eager for outfitting advice and we spent a few enjoyable hours together sharing ideas.
    So, how could anyone turn down a slice of cake even if it meant an adventurous two mile upwind wet kayak from the head of Opunohu Bay, Moorea to Graces outer reef anchorage? Knowing that they might be heading to sea that night for Huahine John and I paddled strongthe rewards of cake a high second to again meeting the crew of Grace. It was a fleeting and fun catch up on the years of miles and adventureswith a super delicious chocolate cake to boot.

Neishas Chocolate Cake

2 cups water
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter - chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups self-raising flour
4 eggs

    Preheat oven to 325F. Grease deep 10x13 baking dish then line with baking paper. Combine water, sugar, butter, and sifted cocoa and soda in medium saucepan; simmer until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to large bowl, cool to room temperature. Add flour and eggs, beat until mixture is smooth and pale in color. Pour mixture into pan, Bake 50 minutes. Stand 10 minutes then turn out onto wire rack to cool. Spread cold cake with fudge frosting

Fudge Frosting

cup butter 1/3 cup water
cup sugar
1 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
    Combine butter, water and sugar in small saucepan, stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Sift confectioners sugar and cocoa into bowl then gradually stir in hot butter mixture. Refrigerate 20 minutes until frosting thickens, beat with wooden spoon until spreadable.

Jackson, Neisha, Nicole, Amanda, Jessica and Shane with chocolate cake aboard Grace

    Three weeks later we happened to share our first anchorage with Grace when a 17 southerly swell made it prudent that we return to Bora Bora rather than sail for Maupiti as planned. Wed experienced a 3.6 knot ebb current and high surf as we exited the pass from Bora Bora and felt it would be unwise to risk to exposed south pass on Maupiti. On returning to the lagoon wed chatted with Grace on the VHF and discovered they were enjoying a motu anchorage near the pass. Great; a perfect opportunity to interview Neisha! And.yumm.shed even made ginger fresh ginger cake.

Fresh Ginger Cake with Ginger Cream

1 cup butter - chopped
cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup golden syrup
5 inch piece fresh ginger - grated finely
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self-raising flour
teaspoon bicarbonate soda
2 eggs beaten lightly
cup thickened cream
Ginger Cream
1 cups thickened cream
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 teaspoons ground ginger
    Preheat over to 180C. Grease 22cm-round cake pan. Melt butter in saucepan, add sugar, syrup and ginger. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Whisk in combined sifted flours and soda then egg and cream. Pour mixture into pan; bake about 50 minutes, cool on wire rack. Meanwhile beat ginger cream ingredients together until soft peaks form. Serve cake with cream.

What is your sailing experience?
Id only done a little bit of sailing in Australia and New Zealand before we got Grace; wed rented some boats to see if we liked sailing. After sailing Grace in Sweden we sailed to France, the Mediterranean, Panama, Galapagos and now French Polynesia.

How do you describe you personality?
Jessica: Neisha is like a mum when there are other kids around. She looks after everyone and makes sure were all O.K. She really likes writing and planning things. Shes made a plan for the future. When she graduates with a BA she is going to open a cake and biscuit company. Shes then going to create a resort in the ski town of Silver Star in Canada. Im going to be the architect, Jackson the builder and accountant and Neisha will oversee the menus and the running of it.

How does the galley work for you?
I think the galley is very small, though I dont mind the high bench height. The pressure cooker has to be kept screwed down on the stove as there is nowhere else that it will fit. We have a very deep fridge. We fill our water bottles with the pressure tap as it is faster but sometimes do the dishes with the foot pump. I cant light the gas stove as there is a lighter and matches and we have to be careful that we turn it off as theres the worry of running out of gas. If we had and electric stove I could do that; its easy with a switch.

Do you get seasick?
Yes, it helps if I look at the horizon or up at the sky. I take Stugeron and think of nice what I can bake when arrive at a new place. I like plain simple rice when Im seasick, it calms your tummy; theres not too much stuff in it to disagree with you. Dad cooks the best rice with grated cheese on top.

What are your galley priorities?
I really like cooking sweets most, so sugar is the most important ingredient. We dont always have the right things and stuff to cook with but we do a lot of guessing and making do with what we have.
What is your favorite food?
Chocolate! I would really like to have a cookbook called Chocolate: 70 Wicked Recipes.

Choc-Peanut Caramel Slice

cup butter - chopped
1 cup sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
6oz dark eating chocolate
1oz butter - extra

    Grease deep 8x8 cake pan. Fold 16 inch piece of foil lengthwise into thirds, Place foil strip over base and up two sides of pan (this will help lift slice out of pan). Line base with baking paper. Combine butter, sugar and milk in saucepan, stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture is dark-honey color and comes away from sides, about 10 minutes. Working quickly, pour caramel into pan, smooth with spatula. Press nuts into caramel with spatula, cool 20 minutes. Stir chocolate and extra butter in heatproof bowl over small saucepan of simmering water until smooth. Spread over slice. Refrigerate until set. Use foil to lift out slice before cutting into squares.

What places have you enjoyed?
France does the best lunches as you can carry it around; the baguettes have yummy cheeses and salamis. Italy has wonderful ice cream and pizzas.
What advice can you give potential sailors?
Make sure you understand the motion of the sea. Take seasick tablets that work and always remember to wear your life jacket. The best part of cruising is the new places you sail to that are even better than the last place.
To view more of Neishas and the Collins family adventures sail to

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