Equipment fails and things break but life doesn’t stop. There are still dental appointments and piles of stinky laundry and a sink full of dirty dishes. Amidst the chaos and frustration we still have to eat.
The easy way out in times like these would be to have a hot shower and treat ourselves to a meal ashore. But, like everywhere else in the world, eating out every night becomes an expensive way to swallow your troubles.
Last week, while Steve was covered in diesel reinstalling the lift pump on the engine, back from the repair shop for the third time I might add, I waded though the disarray and cleared a little counter space in the galley. There was no way I could help with the engine, and according to the events of the previous day chances are if I tried I would only make things worse. So I figured that getting a jump on dinner, making sure that at the end of the day, when we are both hot and sweaty and too exhausted to think that a healthy, substantial meal would be quick and easy. You might call me crazy but I whipped up a batch of gnocchi. Continue reading
Back at the beginning of December Steve and I did something that we’ve been talking about for a long time. Something that we should have done years ago. After months of procrastination, and with the holidays just around the bend, we decided there would be no better time for it. We put up our first batch of home brew…or should I say boat brew.
Well, pickling really.
Everyone once in a while I need some serious galley time; Steve calls it my therapy. Something about the methodical actions of slicing and dicing, of stirring and waiting somehow calms me, brings me back to centre. I have to admit, a small boat in the tropics is really not the smartest place to choose an activity that involves standing next to a stove for hours on end. But I can’t resist.
Over the years when fruit is in season and crazy cheap I’ll make a batch of jam or chutney, squirreling it away for a day when we are at a deserted anchorage and we haven’t seen a real store in weeks. Nothing boosts morale like a dollop of homemade Mango Chutney on leftover curry or spruces up breakfast like Passion fruit Pineapple Jam.
Having broken almost a whole tray of mason jars way back in Costa Rica one night (a sad lesson in the thermodynamic differences between solids and liquids let me tell you) I was running low on proper canning jars. So last visit to Aus I ordered a case, carefully packed them in my checked luggage and hoped they would survive the plane ride. Amazingly all 12 jars made it to the boat intact and they sat on the table taunting me until recently.
I started off by making a batch of Tomato Relish when tomatoes went down to $2/kg. Even if it failed miserably I would only be a couple bucks out of pocket- less than if I bought a jar of relish in the supermarket here. I headed straight for the book shelf and pulled two dog-eared and much loved volumes off the shelf for guidance.
No matter which way you slice it, for me, birthdays are all about the cake.
Cake did not make a regular appearance on the family menu when I was growing up. There were desserts, mostly seasonal, like strawberry rhubarb pie, blueberry grunt and apple crisp. There were raisin oatmeal cookies, to dunk in your tea after dinner. There was the occasional decadence of a Lemon Meringue Pie, maybe just because my Mother felt being in the kitchen that particular weekend.
But a cake? A cake was made for special occasions; an airy sponge to go below fresh strawberries and whipped cream at a summer family get together. Gingerbread Cake for Thanksgiving dinner. Lemon Loaf, Date Nut Loaf and Fruit Cake at Christmas. And, of course, Birthday Cakes. Continue reading
I have promised these two recipes to a couple people so thought that I would share with everyone what has quickly become a regular staple in our menu since learning the tricks from a lovely Indian lady up the road a few months ago. Dhal and roti are two very simple things to cook but make up the kind of meal that comforts, nourishes and inspires me to continue to learn and explore the world of food that we all share. The great thing is that they can both be made ahead of time, perfect for those long days when slaving over the stove at the end of it seems more like punishment than pleasure.
Dhal refers to a variety of lentils, but for this dish traditionally yellow split peas are used. You can also add some split black lentils and red lentils if you want to gussy it up. Roti is ever present on board Kate, although the store bough packages barely deserve the same label to the homemade version. We use them for lunch to make wraps with last night’s leftovers, for breakfast as a vehicle for fried eggs, and as a stand in for tortillas when we have Taco Fiesta Dinner (and yes, we really call it that, as some of you can attest 😉 ). It is also good for dessert with a little jam, or nutella (if you’re lucky enough to have some) and makes a killer PB & Banana snack, but then again what doesn’t! So, I always make extra. Continue reading