Rod Heikell's very informal site on sailing around bits of the world and an eclectic collection of things nautical or nearly so.

Gourmets and Gourmands

The days are long gone, if they ever really existed, when sailing folk opened a tin of something for dinner or like Tilman, cooked up a pot of gumbo or burgoo which was added to for weeks until it got too mouldy to eat. Most cruising people eat very well and spend a lot of time thinking about and preparing food. I know I do and included here is a very brief section on food from a number of countries with a recipe that uses some ingredients from that country or reflects the local cuisine, though the recipe is not necessarily an authentic national recipe.

All the recipes are used on board by us so they do work although these recipes, in fact any onboard recipes, should be taken as a guide and not absolute instructions set in stone. One of the things most cruising folk get used to is substituting ingredients which look like, taste like, or have the same texture as the missing ingredient. For example if you need roasted pine nuts try substituting roasted almonds, walnuts or even peanuts. And don’t roast them: fry in a little olive oil and then tip onto a kitchen towel. If you can’t get parmesan try some of the local hard cheeses. In Leros in Greece they make an excellent hard white cheese that keeps well and tastes as good as Parmesan. In Greece and Turkey try the local versions of rocket grown there. Make your own sweet and sour sauce by chopping some chilli into marmelade and adding a little balsamic vinegar. As long as it tastes about right, it will do in the absence of the real thing   

 and who knows, it may taste better.




Provisioning in Las Palmas before crossing the Atlantic in seven tenths.  











Provisioning tips

Provisioning list for Skylax Atlantic passage


Getting cooking gas around the world

Fishy Stuff (Fish recipes)


Frank's Pikelets

Stove top pizza

BLT's on passage

Moroccan chicken

Passage food I

Passage food II

Passage food III

Toasted sandwiches

Mediterranean Food

Breakfast muesli

Petala Island Ragu

Provisioning tips

Provisioning tips

Dry goods

All packs of pasta, rice, cous cous, flour, etc. should be packed into zip-lock bags. Just put the original packet into the zip-lock bag and fold it over to get rid of the air inside and zip it up. This is simply to guard against weevils in any one box or bag of dry goods getting out and into others. Weevils are just a fact of life in hot climates and the eggs or larvae will often already be in a box of pasta, rice or flour. Sometimes you just have to live with it if the outbreak is not too bad. Flour is the worst offender and often will have weevil outbreak in weeks.

And whatever did we do without zip-lock bags, by which I mean proper zip-lock bags with a little plastic zipper and not the ones you seal together by running your thumb and forefinger along.


Nobody varnishes tins these days and I’ve never taken the labels off and used a felt tip pen to write what a tin contains on it. As long as you don’t stow tins in the bilge there is no need to do anything. Some tins will have a use-by date on them, though I’m not too sure why. The only precaution I take is to check that the tin is not blown, usually easily seen because the top and bottom will be distended outwards, and to smell the contents when I open it. If a tin is blown then don’t open it or you will have the contents all over the galley and yourself. The only problems I’ve had with blown tins are tomatoes, tomato paste, and mushrooms. The latter always worry me as some years ago I remember one person dying and another being rescued from a yacht in the Indian Ocean after a tin of bad mushrooms had been used for a meal.

Aluminium cans of drinks can be kept in the bilge, though preferably a dry bilge as the aluminium will oxidise, though hopefully not before you have imbibed all that beer. Even aluminium can sometimes leave a rust stain which is confusing as I always thought aluminium just oxidised to white crumbly dust.

Glass or plastic

Where possible it’s best to get goods in plastic containers rather than glass. I’m talking about things like mayonnaise, sauces, honey, spreads, etc. There are a lot of things you are unlikely to get in plastic and that’s just the way it is. This is partly a matter of weight and for safety as plastic is unlikely to break if it falls out of a locker or a hand on passage. There are very good squeezy bottles that are useful for things like honey, salad dressing, sauces and the like that are a lot easier to use than pourers on passage.

I don’t really like advocating plastic on eco-grounds, but it does have it’s place on board. You will need all sorts of plastic containers, ‘tupperware’ type stuff, to store the open packs of biscuits on the go, the goody box for night watches, dried fruit and nuts, leftovers to go in the fridge, any number of items. Like zip-lock bags, how did we ever survive on board without tupperware?

Fruit and veggie

I remember asking a good friend, on her second circumnavigation, what she did about washing fruit and veggies before a passage. Barb replied that she was always bloody seasick for the first four days so she didn’t give a damn what hubby and the kids ate, and by that time half the fruit and veggies had gone off so what the hell, why wash them now? I love that kiwi directness.

Some fruit and veggies can do with a bit of initial preparation to keep them lasting longer.


Tomatoes   Get some medium ripe and some green and keep them in the fridge. Any green toms you want to ripen put under the front of the sprayhood where the sun will get to them, a sort of makeshift greenhouse to ripen them. If you don’t have a fridge put them individually into cardboard egg boxes and stow carefully with plenty of air.

Green peppers   Keep them in the fridge. If you keep them outside the fridge they will shrivel up a bit, but I’ve kept them for nearly two weeks this way and they still taste good.

Aubergines   (egg plant) Will keep for 8-10 days in a cool dark place if in good condition.

Potatoes   Store in a cool dark place and sort through every 3-4 days.

Onions   Store in a cool dark place and sort every 3-4 days.

Lettuce   Keep in the fridge. Take off rotting leaves every day.

Cabbage   Wrap in several layers of newspaper and keep in a cool dark place (not the fridge). Every 2-3 days replace the newspaper and throw the old away which will have absorbed some of the moisture that would otherwise rot the cabbage. You can keep them at least 2 weeks like this.

Carrots   (and other similar root vegetables) Normally don’t keep well, especially if they have been refrigerated. Wrap individually in newspaper and change it every 2-3 days. Should last 5-7 days like this.

Courgettes   Keep in the fridge. Will last without refrigeration for 4-5 days.

Green beans   Keep in the fridge and use in 3-4 days max.

Celery   Keep in the fridge. Invariably it will have been refrigerated somewhere along the line, but in the fridge celery can last 8-10 days and even out of it will last a surprisingly long time.

Ginger and Garlic   Keep in a cool dark place (not the fridge).

Most veggie items need little attention before stowage apart from taking the dirt off potatoes and you can also wipe tomatoes and green peppers with a 5% bleach solution to get rid of bacteria that might cause decay.


Bananas   Don’t buy a whole bunch on a stalk. They will all ripen at once and you will end up throwing them away. Buy a couple of decent hands with some green and some riper. Put them in a bucket of sea water for a few minutes so any nasties (like cockroaches) will have to swim for it and you then empty them overboard.

Oranges and other citrus   Wipe over with a 5% bleach solution and let them dry. Store in a cool dark place. Will last at least 2 weeks if picked through carefully every 3-4 days.

Limes   You usually don’t need to do anything. The skins will often go brown, but inside the lime is still juicy. Last 3 weeks easily.

Apples   So often refrigerated that they will seldom last longer than 5-6 days before going mushy.

Pineapples   Though they look solid, will usually only last 4-6 days. On a trip in the Indian Ocean Frank and I used to have a whole pineapple each for breakfast they were going off that fast – and these were unrefrigerated good ones from Cochin. Dunk in sea water to get rid of nasties.

Passion fruit   Keep in a cool dark place. The skin will often go wrinkly but inside the fruit will still be good.

Kiwi fruit   Usually refrigerated so keep in the fridge.

Mangoes and papaya   Go off in 4-5 days when nearly ripe and around 6-8 days when ripe. If bruised will go off quicker.

Green coconuts   Surprisingly these go off in a couple of days and the juice inside ferments and can build up a fair head of pressure – beware!


In truth most people just keep eggs in the fridge. Even if you are keeping them in the fridge it’s useful to get some plastic egg-boxes. Drill a small breather hole in the top of each egg bubble and the eggs will be a lot less likely to go mouldy if you keep them like this. Turn the egg boxes once a week. If you keep eggs outside the fridge try to get unrefrigerated eggs (difficult these days) and put them in plastic egg boxes with holes in the top of each ‘bubble’. Keep them in a cool dark place and turn every 3-4 days. I’ve kept them unrefrigerated like this for up to a month in the Tropics.

Before you leave

I always cook up a big pot of something before we leave on passage so that for the first few days dinner just needs heating up and maybe some rice or pasta cooked to go with it. I usually do a ragu, but you can do anything from a stew to a casserole or any other dish which is not too spicy or rich. Avoid things like curries and chilli dishes the first few nights out as they may upset delicate tummies just settling into being at sea.

You can also stock up on fresh bread and maybe a pizza or something for the first days lunch – cold pizza goes down remarkably well.



Skylax Provisions list for the Atlantic

Putting a stores list together is much dependant on individual tastes. On Skylax we do not carry anything in the way of frozen meat or other frozen stuff. We have a freezer but do not run it as such, it is more a very cold drinks fridge than a store for frozen stuff which on yachts usually means frozen meat. To keep it frozen down in a Mediterranean summer or in the Tropics would entail running the engine (the fridge compressor runs off the engine to two big holding plates in the ‘freezer’) twice a day for around 45 minutes each time and I’m not interested in spending lots of time and fuel, nor annoy the hell out of others sitting in an otherwise quiet anchorage by running the engine, just to pull a couple of frozen steaks out of the freezer. There is more than enough good food you can magic up from the galley without resorting to the ‘meat and two veggie formula’. See the Gourmets and Gourmands page for some clues. Consequently Skylax carries little in the way of fresh meat on passages.

We also carry way more food than we need just for the passage. Partly this is because its good to stock up in places that have certain items that may be difficult to get elsewhere and also should, god forbid, the rudder fall off or the mast fall down, then we will not starve on board. You may also have a wife, husband, lover or friend who can’t stand certain things like tomatoes (who are these people) or corned beef (understandable) and so the stores list needs to be amended to take these tastes into account.

The list below is for two people and as I’ve mentioned, goes way beyond what you will likely use on passage. A lot of the items such as some sauces or herbs and spices you may already have on board and we really use the list as a checklist for a total provisions list.

Tinned stores

16 tins diced tomatoes

12 tins tuna

6 tins sardines

6 small tins peas

6 small tins mushrooms

6 tins mussels in brine

6 large tins fruit (fruit cocktail, peaches, apricots)

6 tins dolmades (stuffed vine leaves)

6 tins Gigantes (large haricot beans in tomato sauce)

6 tins baked beans

3 tins kidney beans

4 tins lentils

6 tins other beans (cannellini, haricot, etc.)

2 small tins sweetcorn (I’m not fond of it)

4 tins chicken soup

4 tins tomato soup

6 tins coconut milk

3 tins meatballs


4 ready made pasta sauces

6 jars pesto

3 jars stuffed olives

3 jars/cartons passata

2 tubes tomato paste

2 jars beetroot

1 sweet dill pickle

2 jars chutney

2 jars mango chutney

2 jars Dijon mustard

1 tin Colmans English mustard

2 jars sun dried tomatoes in oil

8 small UHT cream

Dry stores

30 packets pasta (Skylax: 6 penne, 4 rigate, 2 spirals, 2 tagliatelle, 4 linguine, 4 spaghetti, 2 parpardelle, 2 farfale, 4 conchigle)

3 kg parboiled long grain rice (when you put it into a container add a bay leaf or two to keep nasties away)

1 kg Basmati rice

½ kg wild rice

2 kg cous cous

2 packets egg noodles

16 packets instant noodles

8 packets sealed long life pittas

4 loaves long life bread

2 kg sugar (we don’t use very much)

2 packets sugar lumps (easier than spooning out sugar)

1 kg plain flour

5 kg strong flour (for bread making: re-bag it into 500 gm plastic bags which is about the amount for a good sized loaf of bread)

3 packets ready-mixed bread

10 packets yeast

2 2kg tins of dried milk powder (if you are making your own yoghurt (see Gourmets and Gourmands)

Oil, sauces, and spreads

6 lt. olive oil

1 lt. vegetable oil

1 lt. wine vinegar

2 bottles balsamic vinegar

1 bottle sesame oil

1 bottle soy sauce

1 bottle teriyaki sauce

1 bottle Worcester sauce

1 bottle tomato ketchup (we hardly use it)

1 bottle hot chilli sauce

2 bottles lime or lemon juice

2 bottles sweet chilli sauce

3 jars mayonnaise

1 jar mint sauce

1 jar sun-dried tomato paste

4 jars olive spread

1 marmite

1 peanut butter

3 jars jam

3 jars honey (you can often get plastic containers of honey which look a bit like a ketchup container with a flip lid and a small pourer – these are a lot easier to use on board than a jar)

Herbs and spices (more a checklist than anything else although in hot climates herbs lose their taste after a couple of years and need replacing. Spices are more long lasting.)

2 cumin

1 coriander seeds

1 large mild curry powder

2 jars curry paste

1 oregano

1 rosemary

1 thyme

1 mint

1 parsley

1 basil

1 fennel seed

1 caraway seed

2 turmeric

1 wasabi

2 paprika

1 chilli powder

1 nutmeg (preferably whole with a little grater)

1 large salt

1 ground black pepper

2 largish whole black pepper

Nuts and dried fruit

3 packets pine nuts

1 large whole almonds

2 packets blanched almond slices

2 packets walnuts

4 large jars/vacuum packs peanuts (my weakness)

2 packets raisins

2 packets dried apricots

1 packet sultanas

1 packet dried fruit mix

Hot drinks

3 medium sized jars instant coffee (it congeals together into a gooey lump when left in hot climates)

2 packets real coffee

8 packets x100 Earl Grey teabags

2 packets x100 ‘builders tea’.

2 packets hot chocolate

2 packets instant soup (for colder climes a lot more)

4 cartons UHT milk (we don’t take milk in tea or coffee so this is just for visitors. You can also get small tetrapaks of milk, usually for the kids lunch box at school, which is a better way to go.)

Cold drinks

2 bottles lime cordial

48 cans tonic

48 cans soda

24 cans iced tea

48 cans beer

12 cartons fruit juice

12 bottles wine

6 bottles red wine (I’m fibbing – we carry a lot more than that on board, but we rarely drink on passage)

24 1½ lt. or 5 5lt bottles water. (We don’t drink bottled water as a rule and these are just to go in the bilge as back-up in case the water in the main tanks is unusable for any reason. See The Bottled Water Myth.)

Biscuits and treats

12 chocolate chip

6 digestive

6 hob-nobs

4 fig rolls

4 cinnamon

6 cheese biscuits/crackers

6 large packs mini choc and nut bars (These are for the ‘goody bag’ on night watch.)

3 bars good dark chocolate (for Lu when the need arises)

Fruit and veggie


5 kg potatoes

3 kg onions

lots of garlic

2 kg tomatoes

12 green and red peppers

1 kg courgette

6 aubergines

½ kg carrots (usually don’t keep well)

1 cabbage

1 lettuce

1 packet mushrooms

1 hand ginger

1 celery

½ kg green beans


20 oranges

15 bananas (don’t buy a bunch like you see in all those how-to cruise articles: they will all go off at once and unless you make smoothies or banana cake, get just enough for the first 4-5 days)

16 limes (keep better than lemons)

12 apples

12 passion fruit (keep well if you can get them)

6 kiwi fruit

Fresh produce (By sealed I mean vacuum sealed packs.)

5 dozen eggs

3 chorizo

6 salami

4 sealed packs bacon

2 sealed packs ham (easy to find in Spain, but they are salty and often fatty as well)

3 sealed packs sausages

2 sealed packs sliced ham

2 sealed packs smoked salmon

2 sealed packs parmesan

1 kg edam/emmental in smaller sealed packs

2 small sealed packs cheddar

2 small sealed packs mozzarella

2 small sealed packs haloumi

8 packs vache qui ri (difficult to explain why I like it, but I became addicted to it on a trip up the Red Sea with a recalcitrant crew member who drank too much and wouldn’t cook…)

6 large plastic tubs butter

4 small plastic tubs margarine

6 small UHT chocolate milks

Other stuff

2 dozen rolls toilet paper (not too thick so it doesn’t block the loo)

1 dozen paper towel (how did we ever survive without it?)

3 bottles detergent

6 large packs baby wipes (perhaps less for those with functioning watermakers though you will need them to keep smelling nice when it breaks down)

1 loo goo to keep it smelling nice

2 lt. cheapest white vinegar (for 101 cleaning jobs)

1 lt. bleach

Any other cleaning materials you need.



The great bottled water myth

Sitting around Levkas reading proofs, well actually when I take a break for a cappuccino in the internet café on the waterfront, I see all the mini-buses bringing in new people to the charter boats lined up on the quay. Along with bags, food, beer and wine and other things, the new charterers unload pack upon pack of bottled water and struggle on board to load the boat down to the gunwales with it. Even if W C Fields said, ‘I never drink water because fish shit in it’ or something like that, I bet he had ice in his drink.

It is a curse of these seas that they are peppered with empty plastic water bottles bobbing around, washed up on beaches and casually disposed of ashore. Even if they are taken ashore to be disposed of they invariably end up being burnt on a rubbish dump somewhere releasing all sorts of toxic compounds into the environment. Plastic bottles are mostly made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), but also contain traces of plasticizers, phthalates, anti oxidants, heavy metals, fillers, and anti-static agents. PET can be recycled, but not by burning it in an open air rubbish dump. And for what?

Here are the reasons why it is pointless to carry all that bottled water on board – APART from the very obvious matter of pollution in the sea and on the land.

  • Most bottled water is not required to comply with the sort of standards and rigorous testing that is applied to municipal water supplies. You get a list of the ‘ingredients’ in terms of x% or PPM sodium, potassium, calcium nitrates, sulphates, nitrites, etc., but these do not have to conform to the levels set by the government for drinking water from the tap. I well remember Mr MD of Perrier being put on the spot in a TV interview and asked if he would give his small child Perrier or tap water to drink. He replied tap water, though rather sheepishly.
  • Drinking bottled water is not going to keep you away from any perceived nasties in the local tap water. What do you clean your teeth with? Do you eat ashore? If you do then what do you think the ice in your drink is made of? What do you think the glass is washed up in? And the plates you eat off and the utensils you use? What do you think the salad ingredients are washed in?
  • You cannot insulate yourself from the local water unless you never eat or drink ashore, never clean your teeth except with bottled water, never touch the stuff.

Water in another country will have some benign bacteria of a slightly different strain to that your gut is used to at home and maybe it will cause a slight tummy upset or a mild dose of the runs for a day or so. Your gut will then adapt to the ‘foreign’ bacteria and you won’t experience any more problems in the normal course of events. And you get to eat ashore.

So don’t buy all those bottles of water. It is an affectation you can do without. And you will be doing yourself and the environment a favour as well.


While local water is often perfectly OK to drink, in some places it is heavily chlorinated. We use a Brita water filter jug to filter water for tea and coffee and fill water bottles to go in the fridge for drinking water. It gets rid of any taste in the local water, especially chlorine, and costs very little compared to bottled water.







I wrote this in response to a letter in one of the yachting magazines which stated that a watermaker was an essential bit of equipment for ocean passages. At the time we were waiting for spares to arrive for our watermaker. The magazine obviously decided to file it away, presumably in the file called rubbish, as it didn't appear. Perhaps the contents didn't fit in with the ethos of flashy yachts equipped to the gunwhales with complicated equipment.

While a watermaker is a useful bit of kit on board, it is not essential and large numbers of yachts make long passages without one. There are drawbacks to watermakers.

  • While watermaker reliability has greatly improved, they are temperamental to say the least. I have helped lots of boats take out their new or nearly new watermaker for it to be collected yet again by an agent so it can be returned to the manufacturer for repairs or replacement. It has to figure as one piece of equipment that suffers from a low reliability record and you certainly need to choose a manufacturer who will give good after sales service.
  • Watermakers like to be worked so if you are leaving the boat for more than a week then you need to go through the complicated procedure of cleaning out the pipes and membranes and then washing them through with the chemical wash and preservative provided by the manufacturer. Before starting them up again you need to wash them through again.
  • Watermakers do not like dirty water with silt and other gunk in it. They really need to be run in clean anchorages or at sea.
  • Depending on the size of the watermaker you will need to run a generator or for smaller models have a good source of amps for a 12 or 24 volt system.
  • If you need spares then getting them to where you are can be an expensive business. Our basic spares for a small watermaker (filters and chemical gunk) cost $250US in Grenada.
  • If you leave the boat for more than a week at times then you may, like us, decide that it is not worth the bother and time, let alone expense, of keeping your watermaker going. The watermaker is still on board as are the spares, though we haven't bothered to get it up and running even after a couple of ocean passages.

The letter

Water on a long trip is liquid gold and you need to hoard it. On a three week trip from the Red Sea to Cochin two of us still had water left from fifty gallons total. On Atlantic crossings of around three weeks, three of us have had lots of water left from 100 gallons total. Forty gallons on board a yacht with two crew should be augmented by at least four five gallon jerry cans and you might want to think about installing another tank somewhere. Two of the jerry cans should be strapped to the guard rails in case of the awful prospect of abandoning ship in which case you can sling them into the liferaft or the water (and they should float in the denser salt water). We also carry around a dozen five litre bottles of drinking water and remember a lot of tinned goods have water in them as well.

You can justly ask how smelly were we at the end of the trips? Well not that bad. Watching the water consumption you do get to shower now and again, but there is no way you are going to shower every day without very large tanks or a watermaker. Most people don’t and the saving grace smell-wise is baby wipes. We always have large economy packs on board and a wipe over with several of these does a pretty good job. Moreover they can be used when the boat is too uncomfortable to shower which is more often than you think, especially crossing to the Caribbean when you roll about all over the place and showering becomes a slippery exercise in holding on.

While a lot of yachts carry watermakers, it is not necessary for a long trip – after all yachts were crossing oceans long before watermakers were around. And they are not always reliable as per my comments above. In most places in the world you can find water and you can also collect rain to augment your supplies. Either let the main down a bit so it has a bag at the bottom and after it has been washed off for a bit to get salt and silt out of it, lower the boom a little (or tighten the kicker) and use a large funnel with a piece of hose to collect it in a jerrycan or directly into the tanks. One idea I saw in a NZ magazine is to fill a pastic bag with water and use it as a dam to direct water directly into the tanks off the side decks - once they have been washed clean. And anyway in an age where water poverty is going to become THE issue, perhaps we need to learn how to be frugal with our water - on land as well as at sea.

Atlantic squall - with rain!

RJH 2006


Getting gas around the world

From the Skylax blog 19-02-09

Its a gas gas gas

Getting cooking gas around the world

We’re talking cooking gas here. One of the problems that doesn’t usually get a lot of thought when arriving in a new country is how easy, or not, it is to get gas bottles filled. In a significant number of countries you effectively need to get a new gas bottle that conforms to the regulations in that country so you can have gas on board. The reason for that is that to get an old bottle certified can be next to impossible and even if you manage it, the cost of certification will often be more than the cost of a new bottle.

Most cookers will run happily on propane or butane. Propane cookers running on butane will give out slightly less heat than when on propane, but for the most part you won’t notice the difference. Butane is stored at a lower pressure than propane so you should never fill a butane bottle (such as Camping Gaz bottles) with propane. In lots of places, Tonga and NZ are examples, the gas is actually a mix of propane and butane.

Once you have a new bottle then there is the matter of connecting it. The fittings for bottles in different countries vary and the chances are that you will not have a fitting for the local bottle. We have just bought the kit that Hayward ( ) makes for cruising boats which has a permanently mounted marinised regulator that can cope with propane and butane and a fittings kit with all the connectors you are likely to come across around the world. We will check it out but the quality of the kit looks good and though it’s not cheap, it’s going to be cheaper than trying to buy fittings and a regulator in another country.

Skylax is in NZ at the moment and we have bought a new bottle there ($NZ50) because they won’t fill any bottles we already have. The regulator to fit on the top of the bottle would cost $NZ40 so we have saved that much already, or should I say it’s gone towards the Hayward kit. When we get to Australia it’s the same story all over again and we will likely need to get a new bottle. The thing you do is sell any old bottles en route, once you have got the other bottles you have on board filled somewhere. Since we are going to Fiji its likely we will take the NZ bottle there because they will be familiar with them. Once we get to Vanuatu and New Caledonia we can get the Camping Gaz bottles filled, but will probably hang onto the NZ bottle to see if we can get it filled in Aus. Complicated huh! But where would you be without that old cooker.

All the components of the kit are sold separately so the thing to do is get in touch with Will Hayward at the email above and tell him where you are going. We have the ‘world’ kit and the marinised regulator which comes out at:

Universal gas system.


The adapters in the  kit 4018 @ £85.99 connect to one end of a 22" or 33" high pressure hose 4017 @ £10.99 the other end of the hose connects to our 4006 bulkhead mounted regulator @ £20.99 which has a 1/2" BSP low pressure outlet.

There are six adapters in the kit.

20mm clip on

Primus swivel valve

Camping gaz swivel valve

BSP male Propane pol.

NPT male pol  

G4-8 left hand EU

2 X Stainless steel spanners.


Fishy stuff

Fishy Stuff

Sate Fish

Lu's coconut fish

Spicy Fish

Fish & Chip salad



Sate Fish

We are rubbish at fishing, but we try and occasionally Poseidon decides to allow us one of his own. So after our drive-by of Palmerston the line zinged and we hauled in a good sized wahoo. Enough for fish dinners for four days, though the weather wasn’t always that great for eating out.

One of my favourite dishes with fish is borrowed from Scott Bannerot’s Cruisers Handbook of Fishing. I’ve amended it slightly but it is basically his recipe.

Sate Fish

(For 2-3)

Several fillets cut into large chunks

4 tablespoons peanut butter

Good splosh of peanut oil

Tablespoon of soy sauce

Tablespoon each of grated/chopped garlic and grated fresh ginger

Tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

Teaspoon of sugar

Heat the oil and stir in peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sweet chilli sauce and sugar. Some people might like more soy sauce and/or more sugar. When the sauce is bubbling gently put the fish fillets in, put a lid on the pan, and let it cook slowly for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes in the hot sauce.

Serve with rice or cous cous and a green salad.

Chicken is also good with the sate sauce. Just saute chunks of chicken until cooked and then put into the sate sauce to cook for 10-15 minutes and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Lu’s Coconut Fish

(for 2 with pasta, but you can also serve the fish with cous cous, rice or potatoes)

Enough pasta for 2, shells, penne or twirls work best.

Fish fillets for 2 cut into largish chunks (say 3 inch/9 cm long bits)

Salt and pepper


1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

coconut milk

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 finely chopped onion

2 medium sized tomatoes chopped into small bits

Put pasta on to cook. Get a plastic bag and put the flour, salt and pepper to taste and paprika into it. Put the fish chunks into the plastic bag and shake around so the fish is coated with flour and spices. Heat oil in a pan and sauté fish for 2 minutes each side, put aside.

When pasta is cooked drain and in the same pan heat up coconut milk, chopped onion, and curry powder. Simmer for several minutes then add fish and tomatoes and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove fish again and add pasta to the pan and simmer with coconut sauce for a couple of minutes. Serve pasta and put the fish on top.


Spicy Fish

For two – double the quantities for four.

This is very easy to make and provides a variation on other fishy stews. Really it is spicy light. You can be creative with the ingredients and even add a few compatible veggies to the basic stew depending on what is on board. We make it without even really thinking about it these days when you don’t want to go to a lot of trouble getting ingredients together or think too much about cooking in general.

Olive oil

250-400 gm cubed fillets of white fish. Whatever you happen to have like snapper, tuna, mahi mahi, cod or whatever.

A large potato cubed into mouth-sized bits

Large onion finely chopped

2 cloves garlic

Tin (400 gm) of diced tomatoes

Teaspoon paprika

Teaspoon ground cumin

Half teaspoon ground coriander

Glug of ouzo, pernod or other aniseed flavoured alcohol or glug of marsala (optional but good)

Teaspoon of sugar

Chopped parsley or coriander (to garnish but optional if you don’t have them)

2 tablespoons flaked almonds (or toasted pine nuts or chopped cashews at a stretch)


Sauté onion and then add garlic (I find garlic often burns if you put it in at the same time as the onion). Add spices and stir until well mixed in. Add tomatoes, sugar, ouzo (or alternative), potatoes and a bit of water if necessary. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until potato is cooked. Add fish and cook over low heat for another five minutes.

Serve garnished with parsley and flaked almonds scattered over the top.

Serve with cous cous. When you make the cous cous add a bit of sesame seed oil and a sprinkle of stock powder.



Fish & Chip salad

Fish & Chip Salad

This is really a Nigel Slater recipe with a few minor changes. It tastes so much better than it sounds…trust me.

For 2

300 gm white fish fillets cut into mouth size pieces

300 gm squid cut into rings (you can breadcrumb the fish and squid if you like - just put some breadcrumbs and a bit of flour in a plastic bag and throw the fish and squid in and then juggle around until the bits are all coated)

3 medium sized potatoes cut into sauté sized slices and par-boiled

Salad: frisee, other lettuce, rocket, watercress – whatever green leaves you have though including rocket is great


4 tbspoons olive oil

Juice of 2 limes or small lemons

Handful of mint

Handful of parsley

Tbspoon Dijon mustard (or other)

Tbspoon capers

4-6 anchovies (if you have them/tinned are OK)


Sauté potatoes in pan until cooked and nicely browned. Put aside in paper towel to keep warm and blot up a bit of oil. Turn up heat and put squid rings in. They will crackle and pop. After 3-4 minutes put fish in as well.

Put salad on bottom of plate. Arrange sautéed potatoes on salad. Put squid and fish on top. Pour dressing over.


A blender is really necessary. I use the big 12V blender we have on board. Put oil, lemon/lime juice, mint, parsley, mustard, capers and anchovies in and blend to a lovely green mush.

You could conceivably use mint sauce, chop parley finely, and mush it up with the other ingredients with a fork.


Crayfish (spiny lobster)

To get to here see below

In many parts of the world you can get crayfish at bargain prices and in some places you can catch them yourself. Dealing with them is another matter. After some experimentation we have found the following works for us.

  1. When you get them stick them in the freezer or the fridge and they will calm down with a bit of hypothermia.
  2. When you want to cook them get a big pot of water on the boil with a lid. Don’t believe the cuddly stories of mercy killing by putting a knife in the brain of a crayfish – it doesn’t really have one. It has a bunch of ganglion serving as a central nervous system, but the chances of you piercing it with a knife are slim and the crustacean will still move about even if you chop it’s head off. Horror movie stuff.
  3. Once the water in the pot is boiling stick the comatose crayfish (or however many will fit) into the pot and put the lid on. Turn the heat off and leave for 10 minutes. Then pull it (them) out and they will be perfectly cooked.
  4. Once the crayfish has cooled a little break the tail off by twisting the head, but taking care to keep the white meat that is tucked into the head end of the carapace.
  5. You can then work your thumb down inside the tail and remove the meat in one piece.
  6. Down the back of the crayfish will be a thin black line (it’s nervous system!) which you need to carefully peel out.
  7. Serve with mayonnaise and a slice of lime or lemon…and white wine.

Once cooked break off the tail and remove the meat not losing any in the carapace.

Getting the meat out of the tail can be a bit fiddly but after a few you get the hang of it.

Remove the black line down the bacl of the tail which is the nervous system and bitter.




From the Skylax blog 30-03-08 Sint Maarten in the lagoon

Years ago in more penurious days I used to make my own yoghurt using skimmed milk powder and a wide-mouthed vacuum flask. Somewhere along the way the flask broke and I reverted to commercially made yoghurt in those deceiving little tubs. Apart from Greek yoghurt, most of this stuff is a sugar-fest and it’s only when you go back to making your own yoghurt that you realise how much sugar, artificial sweetener and other compounds from some organic chemistry lab go into the commercially made yoghurts. I know this because we, actually Lu, have started making our own yoghurt on board. From Easy-Yo we got the wide-mouthed thermos flask and the plastic screw-cap jar that fits inside. Easy-Yo make packets of dried milk powder with the yoghurt culture (good bacteria! including acidopholus) mixed in and you just mix this up with some cold water, boil a kettle of water and fill to the top of the baffle in the thermos flask and stick it somewhere warm (we put it in a shelf above the engine though almost anywhere would be warm enough in the Tropics or Mediterranean summer). It will make yoghurt overnight and then you just stick the screw-top jar in the fridge: viola, one litre of yoghurt.

You don’t need to keep using the EasiYo packets of dried milk and bacteria culture. Once you have one batch just mix up dried milk powder and add a couple of tablespoons of the old culture. Keep some back-up packets in case your culture gets a bit old or you have a no-yoghurt period and need to start it all over again, though you can also do this with any live yoghurts from the grocery shop though not with some of the sterilised sugar solutions passing themselves off as yoghurt.





Apart from yoghurt with honey and cereal for breakfast you can also use it for:

  • Yoghurt dressing. A cup of yoghurt, two tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of honey, salt and pepper, two tablespoons of lemon juice, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard or less of the powdered kind, a squirt of balsamic and mix it all up. Experiment with other things like a bit of sesame oil, chopped parsley/coriander/basil, white wine vinegar, a squirt of hot chilli sauce, etc. Make it up…
  • Stir some yoghurt into curries, stews, ragu, etc. in place of cream.
  • Use on desserts in place of cream.
  • And apparently EasiYo do an ice-cream pack though I haven’t tried it.



For more info go to EasiYo

 Step 1  Step 2  
Half-fill the yogurt jar with
cold drinking water.
Thoroughly mix in the
contents of the sachet
(add 2 to 4 tablespoons
sugar if desired).
Top up with more cold water.
Replace lid and re-shake.
Push the baffle down
inside the Yogurt Maker
as far as it will go.
Pour boiling water into the
Yogurt Maker to the top
of the red baffle only.
(see Diagram A below)
Place jar inside.
The boiling water will rise
up around the base of
the jar.
(see Diagram B below)
Put lid on Yogurt Maker.
Leave a minimum of
6 to 8 hours or overnight
until set.
Then store the yogurt jar in
the refrigerator (4°C).
If you forget, and leave the jar inside the Yogurt Maker for longer, up to 24 hours, it will not
spoil the product. Just take the yogurt jar out and store it in the refrigerator (4°C).

Diagram A



Diagram B

Frank's Pikelets


In NZ pikelets were common fare when I grew up and they are a good treat to make on passage. They are sometimes known as Scottish Pancakes, I guess they are effectively mini-pancakes. Frank made them for me on passage in the Indian Ocean on a slow day and eating hot pikelets with butter and jam in the middle of the ocean is just a great treat. They are also great for breakfast. This is Frank's recipe.

For 4 (or a very 2)

2 cups flour

2 eggs

Teaspoon baking powder

Dessert spoon of sugar

Mix thoroughly to a thick pouring consistency and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Heat a pan with a drizzle of oil in it and when hot use a big spoon to put a dollop of mixture in and cook 3 or 4 at a time depending on the size of the pan. Turn and cook on the other side when browned and bubbles pop.


Stove top pizza

From the Skylax blog 11-10-09

This idea comes from Michael on B'Sherrit and I'm amazed and happy (I love pizza) that it's so easy and the pizzas taste just great. It uses tortilla bases that you can buy with long use-by dates so it's easy to keep a good supply of them on board. Try to get the thickest tortilla bases you can find.

Tortillas (two per person is about right for hungry people)

Olive oil

Pizza sauce or tomato paste

Grated cheese (cheddar types or whatever you have are fine, parmesan is great)

Toppings: salami, bacon, sliced toms, olives, anchovies, capers - choose your favourites or use whatever is on board.

Lay out the bases and dribble some olive oil over them. We use a little brush to cover the top of the base. Spread some pizza sauce on, add toppings of choice, and then grated cheese. Put the first one in a heated pan with a thick base and put the lid on. It should be cooked in 4-5 minutes, but just take a peek every now and again.

Eat pizza while the next one cooks.


BLT's on passage

Lu has a really neat way of making BLT's on passage (and on terra firma as well) that she learnt from the chef of a restaurant she used to manage.

Fry or grill the bacon as per normal and while it is cooking finely chop the tomatoes and lettuce (and anything else you want to put in it). When the bacon is cooked chop it up as well. Put it all in a bowl and mix the mayonnaise into it. Then just spoon it onto the bread or into a warmed pitta.

In lots of places you can buy vacuum packed pittas (usually 6 in a pack) that have use-by dates of several months. They don't have to be stored in the fridge and to heat them up either put them under the grill for a while or put them on a stove-top toaster. You don't have a stove-top toaster. Then go out and buy one.







 Chop it all up and mix in the mayonnaise, freshly ground black pepper, and anything else you think might be good.














Moroccan Chicken

This is a variation on a fairly standard recipe that can be adjusted depending on what you can get. I usually make it in harbour (it's a good dish you can prepare ahead if people are coming to dinner on board) though I have also made it at sea.

For 4

Olive oil

Chicken bits (thighs/breast/even wing all on the bone is fine although cut bigger bits in two) Around 4 thighs and 4 other bits - 2 chicken breasts can be cut in half or even three)

Large onion sliced

4 cloves of garlic finely chopped

Tin of chopped tomatoes (400 gm)

Tomato paste - tablespoon

lemon rind - around 15cm/6 inches (use a vege peeler on a lemon) finely chopped

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon tumeric

teaspoon of ground cumin

2 cinnamon sticks

Garnish: good handful of slivered almonds (or chopped whole almonds or chopped walnuts or pine-nuts), cup of chopped black olives, chopped coriander (or parsley).

Use a high sided pan and brown chicken bits in olive oil on medium/high heat. When browned both sides put in bowl with paper towel to soak up excess fat/oil. Saute onions in same pan and then add garlic, lemon rind, tumeric, cumin and cinnamon sticks and heat for another 2 minutes or so. Return chicken to pan. Add tomatoes and lemon juice and a bit of water so it's all covered. Leave to cook for 40-50 minutes on low heat. Can be reheated later.

When you serve sprinkle chopped olives, slivered almonds and chopped coriander over each serving.

Serve with couscous. I usually make this ahead as well (it's fine cold) and put a bit of stock into the boiling water you add to the couscous, some lemon juice or vinagrette, and a cup of sultanas and a cup of chopped walnuts mixed through it.

Couscous is excellent stuff to have on board. Just add water and let it do its thing and it can be served with all sorts of dishes. It's clumpy and sticks together enough to make excellent passage food with little preparation.


Passage Food I

From the Skylax blog 07-01-08

OK, I'm going to get to the Atlantic passage when I have time, but there is important stuff that happens on passage and none more so than food.

Cooking on passage is an art that needs to be learned. The ultimate passage food is one-pot cooking. If it’s all in one pot then it can go in a dog bowl which makes eating it a lot easier when you are rolling/bouncing/bucketing around on the sea. Of course not all our cooking at sea is one-pot cooking, but it’s handy to have a repertoire of dishes for those occasions when the motion of a little ship at sea makes cooking a difficult chore. And of course there is very little in the way of washing up compared to multi-pot cooking.

One of my old fall-backs is risotto. OK, maybe it’s not the risotto you would have in a fancy Italian restaurant with arborio rice and truffles, but it is a versatile dish that can swallow all sorts of odd ingredients and it invariably tastes OK – sometimes it tastes divine.


Dog bowls. These are American melamine bowls with an excellent rubber ring around the bottom that stops them sliding around. You also need lots of non-slip matting - the black stuff under the bowls. You can often buy it in supermarkets for less than half the price in a chandlers.









Basic risotto

For 2

Olive oil (say 1½ tablespoons but I just glug some in)

Parboiled rice (2 cups)

1 onion finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced

tin of peas

stock (any sort, around a teaspoon, dissolved in a cup of hot water)

chopped ham/bacon/salami/chorizo or lardons (around 200 gms or more)

small UHT cream (usually 200 ml carton. You can find these most places and it’s worth getting a good stock in. They usually have a shelf life of 6 months or so. Alternatively you can get tinned cream. Just make sure any of it is unsweetened.)

Cup of grated cheese. Parmesan is best but use what you have.

Use a large high-sided frying pan (you should have one on board anyway for all sorts of dishes) and glug in a liberal amount of olive oil. On moderate heat sauté the onions, the ham/bacon/lardons (if you are using salami or chorizo put it in with the garlic or it fries into hard lumps) and the rice, stirring gently. Towards the end (usually 5-8 minutes, when the rice has browned but NOT burnt) put in the garlic and sauté gently (don’t burn it!).

Tip in the stock and another 2 cups of water, then the drained peas, and leave on low heat to cook. After 20 minutes or so, just before all the water has been absorbed by the rice, tip in the cream and the cheese and continue cooking until the risotto is just moist.


For more people adjust the quantities accordingly.

Risotto nearly cooked somewhere in the Atlantic. Note the high-sided frying pan, every yacht should have one as it is the workhorse pot on passage, and in harbour as well come to that.

Some other risotto ingredients are:

Vegetarian option

Sauté onion, rice and garlic. Then use a tin of chopped tomatoes, capers and chopped olives.

Tuna option

Same as vegetarian option 1 but put a tin of tuna in.

Ham & bean

Sauté ham/chopped bacon/lardons and onion, rice and garlic as per main recipe. Then add a tin of cannelloni, borlotti or similar beans. Cook then go to cream and cheese at the end. Lu’s speciality and tastes excellent.


Roast squash. Sauté onions, rice and garlic. Add stock and water and diced squash. Cream if you wish. Squash keeps well on board in a well ventilated dark space.


It’s pretty easy to see you can add all sorts of things on board that need using on a passage. Finely sliced green or red peppers (sauté), fresh tomatoes (sliced or diced), mushrooms (fresh or tinned), leftover chicken, fresh fish, sausages (fry up first), carrots (sauté or tinned), tinned mushroom or chicken soup (no cream or cheese or stock as this thickens it up nicely)…. Use your own creative powers to conjure up a special risotto out of what’s available.

Risotto also has the advantage of being a bit ‘sticky’ making eating it when the boat is rolling around easy.



For 2

Olive oil

Pack of sausages, diced ham, chopped chorizo, lardons or chopped bacon.

Tin of beans (baked beans work well)

1 onion sliced

Tomato paste (not a lot, a tablespoon is about right)

2 medium sized potatoes diced/sliced.

Paprika (tablespoon)

Brown sugar (tablespoon)

White wine vinegar (2 tablespoons)

And if you have them 2 celery sticks (chopped) and an orange (peeled and chopped)

Sauté onions and sausages/diced ham/lardons or chopped bacon in olive oil. Chorizo can go in towards the end. Stir in tomato paste, paprika, sugar and white wine vinegar. Add beans and potatoes and enough water to cover ingredients. Add celery and orange if using. Simmer slowly with a lid on for around 30 minutes and check potatoes are cooked.


From the Skylax blog 09-01-08

Passage food II

OK so I'm into a bit of a foodie stage. This section is on pasta.


We eat a lot of pasta, both on passage and at anchor or in harbour. In general we try to buy a well known brand such as Barilla as some ‘own’ brands can produce slimy slushy pasta when cooked. We always cook it al dente as per the instructions on the packet, usually about 10 minutes in boiling water. Commonly we will have penne (large and small), linguine, spaghetti, tortellini, tagliatelle, and some shells and spirals. Yep – we carry a lot of the stuff.

On passage we use a bit less water per serving than in harbour where we can refill the water tanks, purely to save water. It’s important that the water is boiling vigorously when you put the pasta in. Generally we drain it in the galley sink with a little bit of cold salt water pumped in so that the boiling water doesn’t cook the sink outlet pipe. You can drain it over the side from the cockpit but that can be dangerous if the boat lurches and you may also loose the pasta overboard.

Below are a few of the dishes we cook on passage.

Pasta pesto

Some people adore pesto, others hate it. We are solidly in the adoration camp.

For 2

Cook the pasta (3 handfuls of penne or similar, a small bundle of linguine or spaghetti per person – we generally break the bundle in half for linguine and spaghetti to make it easier to eat while bucketing around) and while it is draining put a little butter or margarine in the same pan on low heat. Put the pasta back in and add two tablespoons or so of pesto (we usually use green basil pesto). Stir it around so it coats the pasta and put some grated parmesan on top of each serving.

A one-pot dish if you disregard the colander.

You can also add finely chopped fresh tomatoes or cherry tomatoes when you stir the pesto in and chopped basil or parsley if you have any.

Salmon and cream

For 2

Small pack of smoked salmon shredded into bits

Capers – a couple of teaspoons from the jar

Knob of butter or margarine

Small (200 ml) pack of UHT cream

Pasta – tagliatelle or linguine work well.

Cook pasta and while it is draining add butter or margarine to the pan on low heat. Stir in shredded salmon, capers and cream. Add lots of freshly milled black pepper. Warm through and serve.

Smoked salmon often has a use-by date of 2-3 months on it and keeps well in the fridge.

You can also add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and chopped parsley if you have any. Lu sometimes puts a small tin of peas in as well (drained).

Salmon pasta with big flat pasta


For 2

Pasta. Penne, shells, spirals and linguine all work well.

Tinned tuna 150-200 gm.s. Get good tuna instead of some of the tinned mush that looks like cat food and is sold in places, usually in small tins. The Azores, Portugal, Spain, Canaries and Cape Verdes are good places to buy chunky tinned tuna.

Olive oil – a good glug.

1 onion finely diced.

2 cloves of garlic finely sliced.

Tin of chopped tomatoes or passata.


Sauté chopped onions in olive oil and add garlic towards the end. Add tomatoes and capers and simmer. When pasta is nearly cooked add crumbled tuna and warm through. Don’t add tuna for too long or it will break up into mush. Pour sauce over pasta with grated parmesan and finely chopped parsley if you have it.

To the basic mixture before the tuna is added you can also add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, chopped olives, finely chopped green pepper (sauté with the onion) and a smidge of hot chilli sauce depending on taste. I have some basil flavoured sambal which is divine. The basic mixture can be adapted to your own tastes.

Tuna Nicoise

A bit of a variation on the above. For 2

Pasta – shells or penne are good.

Handful of cherry tomatoes or two medium chopped tomatoes.


Small tin of tuna.

Small can of anchovies

Lemon juice.- about a tablespoon (or white wine vinegar)


Cook pasta and while it is draining put oil, lemon juice, capers, tomatoes, tuna and anchovies into the pan and warm through for a couple of minutes. Tip pasta into pot and mix through.

There are lots more, perhaps later after something else other than pasta.

This is baked tomata and feta pasta. Go here for this.


Passage food III

Passage Food III

Yet more passage food or in harbour, at anchor, anywhere

More Passage Food from the Skylax blog 22-04-09


Moroccan Minted Beef

For two


OK, you need a bit of steak, but all the other ingredients are easy to find or adapt.

Olive oil

400 gm of beef cut into narrow strips about 10cm long-ish (just cut it into strips)

1 onion sliced

heaped teaspoon ground cumin

tin of diced/crushed tomatoes

small bunch of mint or two teaspoons of mint sauce

teaspoon of finely grated or chopped lemon rind (or lime)

Dash of lemon or lime juice

Half cup of slivered almonds

Chopped parsley or coriander (or the mint) if you have it to garnish


Sauté beef in the oil until cooked through. Put aside on paper towel and sauté onions. When soft add cumin and lemon rind. Let them cook gently together then add beef again with tomatoes, lemon or lime juice, and mint sauce (if you have no fresh mint). Cook slowly for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped mint (if using it) and slivered almonds.

Rice or cous cous to go with it.


Turkish Borlotti Bean Stew


This tastes a whole lot better than it sounds and anyone ho has been to Turkey will recognise it as a staple in local locantas there.


Serves two with some left over for lunch the next day


1 tin Borlotti beans (or try haricot or cannellini beans)

1 tin crushed or diced tomatoes

2 fresh tomatoes diced

2 tbspoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves finely sliced

2 onions sliced

2 tbspoons brown sugar (or white)

2 celery sticks sliced (celery keeps wonderfully well on passage but omit if you don’t have any)

1 cup chopped parsley (or add some dried parsley)

1 tbspoon dill seeds (or fennel seeds or maybe a teaspoon of Chinese five spice)

1 tbspoon lemon juice


Lu used celery and dill seeds because we had them.


Saute onions and garlic in a pan with the oil. When soft add celery, tinned toms sugar and the herbs. Cook for a bit then add the drained can of beans and 1½ cups of water and maybe a pinch of stock and fresh ground pepper. Cook for 10 minutes then add chopped fresh toms and lemon juice and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.



Lu’s fruity chicken curry

For four


2 tbspoons olive oil

500 gm chicken bits (thighs, breast, legs) cut into smaller bits if large.

2 onions sliced

2 cloves garlic finely sliced

1 can tinned crushed or diced toms

2 tbspoons mild curry powder

1 tbspoon coriander seeds

Big thumb finely chopped or grated fresh ginger

10 dried apricots chopped

1 mango preferably not ripe (then it doesn’t go all mushy) diced

1 banana sliced

Tin of coconut milk


Saute chicken in hot oil in pan until cooked through and browned over and then put aside on paper towel. Saute onion, garlic, curry powder, coriander seeds, and ginger until onions are soft and covered in spices. Tip in tinned toms, coconut milk, put chicken back in and add apricots and simmer for a good 30 minutes. Then add diced mango and sliced banana and return for another 10 minutes.

Serve with rice.



From the Skylax blog 


When I was a kid we used to make toasted sandwiches with a cast iron sandwich maker over the fire. So when I saw one advertised in YM I sent off straight away for the Diablo (it even prints Diablo on top of the sandwich). It's ideal for no mess (or not much) lunches and I figure you should be able to use it when it gets a bit bumpy on passage. Of course the new one is coated in teflon but it still works the same way as of old. A slice of bread on either side, one side butter-side inside and the other outside. Then whatever ingredients you like: cheese, chopped tomato, egg (beat it up in a cup as the little manual advises you to use cooked egg, but beaten up and poured in it worked fine), ham, salami, whatever you have lying around. Favourite so far is a simple cheese, tomato and ham.

Then a few minutes either side on the burner and a wonderful toasted sandwich.


Mediterranean food



Spain is all tapas of quite incredible mixtures. In a local café in Barcelonetta I used to point to things for lunch. You can find incredible mixtures such as baby kalamari in a beef stew or chorizo in a fish stew, the sort of combinations that you would never dare try yourself. One of my favourite snacks is the crostini which makes a good lunch snack.


Baguette or bread slices

Olive oil

Tomato paste

Tin of sardines


Black pepper

Spread olive oil on the sliced baguette or sliced bread, wipe over a good smear of tomato paste, arrange sardines on top with a few slices of tomato and black pepper and grill until done. You can substitute all sorts of other things but the olive oil and tomato puree make a good base.



Is renowned for it’s markets with all that wonderful fresh produce: salad greens, oysters and mussels, olives, Charolais beef, cheeses ….. I rate French markets the best in the Mediterranean, but I’m biased as I’ve spent a fair amount of time shopping in them. The recipe that follows is a stew that can usefully be made beforehand and then reheated. This can go on for a few days but is a million miles away from the burgoo type of stew favoured by old timers.

Cassoulet   (for 4)

500 gm of mutton or beef cubed

200 gm of salami cut into chunks

100 gm lardon or bacon

olive oil

250 gm of white haricot beans soaked overnight or cheat and get 2 medium sized tins.

2 cloves of garlic crushed

2 carrots sliced

1 large onion chopped

1 medium sized tin of chopped tomatoes


2 bay leaves

small glass of cognac or sherry or large glass of red wine

salt and pepper though remember the lardon/bacon and salami are salty

Put some olive oil in a large pan or pressure cooker and sauté the mutton/beef, onion and lardon/chopped bacon. Pour in a litre of water, less in a pressure cooker, and add all the other ingredients except the salami and alcohol. Simmer for 2 hours or 50 minutes in a pressure cooker. Add salami and cognac/sherry/wine and cook for 30 minutes or 15 minutes in the pressure cooker.

NB   Do not show this recipe to les Francais or you will be in for a lecture on what a cassoulet should or should not include.



The land of seafood combinations where pasta and seafood are combined in novel and unexpected ways. Pizza in Italy is about as far removed as you could get from the lumpen heavy tarts called pizzas in America and northern Europe. And eating in Italy is probably more important for most Italians than the Catholic church. Mass on Sunday morning and mama’s pizza for lunch. One of the ingredients I always carry on board is pesto. It can be added not just to pasta sauces but as a marinade wiped onto meat for the barbecue, on crostini above, in salad dressings and just by itself stirred into pasta with some butter. The recipe below, the Pasta Putanesca, literally ‘whore’s pasta’, is one I often make in bad weather and I’ve eaten it in the Red Sea bashing to windward and across the Atlantic. It tastes alright cold as well.

Putanesca   (for 2)

1 large onion finely chopped

2 cloves garlic crushed or finely chopped

olive oil

1 tin chopped tomatoes


olives (I like olives stuffed with pimentos) chopped

1 tbs capers

chilli flakes or chilli sauce

black pepper

pasta of choice – penne, farfale, spaghetti, tagliatelle, etc

Put a good glug of olive oil in a pan and sauté onions and garlic. Throw in tomatoes, chopped olives, capers, chilli flakes or sauce to taste, 2 tsp min of pesto, black pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.

Additional ingredients you can add (not all in the same sauce!) are: a tin of chopped up tuna; tin of drained mussels; fresh torn basil leaves; chopped mushrooms (even tinned at a pinch); tin of drained and rinsed anchovies; lardons or chopped bacon (sauté with onions and garlic); and even finely chopped courgettes or cucumber. In extremis (really bad weather) you can mix in processed cheese segments to the sauce – not very Italian but in bad weather damn the critics. Serve with al dente pasta of choice.



Greece has some good ingredients usually badly cooked in the majority of tavernas. Things are changing and now some places are reviving Greek cuisine and producing some wonderful dishes formerly only found in private houses instead of resorting to banging something grilled and chips in front of you. Greek salad, properly peasant or farmers salad, is a wonderful mixture of chopped onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and whatever else sprinkled with oregano and doused in olive oil. The mixture of juices at the bottom of the bowl is wonderful for dipping bread into. The following recipe is not Greek but combines some of the ingredients into a wonderful pasta dish.


Feaches or pigs? We were told these were a cross between a peach and a fig. Whatever - they taste great.


Pasta with baked tomato and feta   (for 2)

300 gm feta

300 gm (6 medium sized) of tomatoes roughly chopped

brown sugar

olive oil

fresh basil

cup of olives (stuffed are good)

handful of pine nuts

pasta of choice – penne or farfale are good

Put oven on at 180 °C (about). Roughly crumble feta and wrap with foil and then drizzle olive oil into the parcel. Wrap chunks of tomato (or whole cherry tomatoes) in foil, sprinkle with brown sugar and drizzle oil over. Seal foil packets and put in the hot oven for 20-30 minutes. Half way through open the top of the tomato packet. Fry pine nuts in a little oil until crisp and then put in paper towel to soak up the oil. Cook pasta to coincide with feta and tomatoes finishing. Crumble feta over pasta and add tomatoes with juice. Sprinkle olives, handful of torn basil leaves and pine nuts over and a dash of olive oil.




Turkey has wonderful markets bulging with fresh vegetables – it has long been called the market garden of Europe. It also has fresh spices and herbs, dried fruit and nuts, good fresh fish and poultry and livestock on the hoof or claw or butchered if like me, you are not too keen on killing and cutting. And Turkish white bread is to die for though it does not keep well. One of my favourite dishes in Turkey is mecimek (lentil soup) which is basically made with whatever stock is available and the lentils and you then dribble fresh lemon juice on top. This dish combines lentils with whatever else you have going and although not strictly Turkish, it seems like it should be.



Sausages (or chicken, beef or lamb) with lentils   (for 4)

8 sausages (or 750 gm chicken, beef or lamb cut into small sausage sized wedges)

olive oil

2 onions finely chopped

Tin of chopped tomatoes

Finely chopped green pepper or chopped celery or even a diced courgette or cucumber

250 gm lentils (yellow or green) soaked or get a tin of lentils

Fig jam or jelly

Balsamic vinegar

large glass white wine

stock cube dissolved in a large glass of water

salt and pepper


Brown sausages (or chicken/beef or lamb) in a little olive oil (about 5-8 minutes) and put aside. Put chopped onions in pan and sauté until golden brown. Add the lentils, tin of tomatoes, chopped green pepper or other, stock and wine and bring to the boil. Season and turn down the heat and add sausages (or other meat) and simmer for 30 minutes until just reduced to a thick stew. Add water if it gets too dry.

While the stew is cooking put some fig jam in a bowl and dribble in balsamic until it has the right sweet and sour taste (add a little balsamic at a time and keep tasting). Put aside. At a stretch you can use apricot or peach jam if fig jam cannot be found. Serve the stew with sweet and sour fig jam (or other) and a green salad.



Tunisia as part of the Maghreb is all spices and herbs start to take a back seat. Coriander, cinnamon, caraway seeds, dried chillies and the fiery tomato paste, harissa, are all used extensively along with lots of lemon and garlic. Tunisian food should be spicy but not too hot. I’ve had homemade harissa where the chilli peppers were lightly roasted in the oven before being pounded up into the sauce and the result is a much milder and altogether different beast to the tins or tubes of harissa you buy. The tajine recipe which follows is emphatically a guide and like all stews you can put lots of other ingredients into it.

Tajine   (for 4)

500 gm of chicken, lamb or fish (like tuna or swordfish) cut into small cubes.

2 onions chopped

2 oranges

olive oil

2 tsp sugar (pref. brown)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

stock cube dissolved in large glass of water

salt and pepper

10 cardamom seeds

juice of 1 lime or lemon

250 ml orange juice

2 carrots cut into fine strips


pine nuts

Peel the oranges and cut the peel into very fine strips. Separate the orange into segments for use later. Cover the peel with water and cook for a couple of minutes. Strain and then fry in some oil and then add the sugar and cook until lightly caramelised. In a large pan glug some olive oil in and fry the chicken (or lamb or fish) until sealed on the outside (not long). Put the meat/fish aside and throw in the chopped onions and sauté a bit adding some more oil if necessary. Throw in the cinnamon, cardamom seeds, stock cube and water, orange and lime/lemon juice and heat the mixture for a couple of minutes. Put the lamb or chicken in and cook gently for 45 minutes. If using fish cook the mixture for 35 minutes and then add the fish at the end. Add the carrot strips and cook for 10 minutes and then add the orange segments for another 10 minutes. Add some torn up mint leaves for the last 5 minutes.

Serve with rice and the caramelised peel and some torn up mint leaves and pine nuts scattered over it. It seems long-winded but is actually easy and worth it to get that sweet but not syrupy flavour. You can always leave out a few items like the cinnamon or cardamom and it will still taste good.



Like Tunisia Morocco is all spices and hot dishes. However one of the abiding memories of Morocco is mint tea made with mint leaves in hot water and sugar. A lesser known drink is sage tea made in the same way with sage leaves in hot water and it is a sovereign remedy around the Maghreb and elsewhere for an upset stomach. It really does help and if you have a mild or more serious upset tummy, drink lots of sage tea. Tastes good too.


OK cup cakes may not be the epitomy of on board

cuisine but they taste great mid-ocean.





Tetra muesli


Buying ready made muesli is not possible everywhere in the world and often it can be expensive to buy up the ready-made boxes of the stuff. I always tend to make my own.


  1. Quaker tinned oats. The vacuum packed cans of Quaker oats can be found almost anywhere in the world. I’ve found them in Yemen, India, Sri Lanka, all through SE Asia, all through the Mediterranean, Aus and NZ naturally, many Caribbean islands and in the western south Pacific Islands (Tonga, Fiji, etc.) Being vacuum packed they occupy something like 2½ times the volume after they are opened (or so it seems). Take one can of Quaker dried oats.
  2. Cornflakes (large). Whatever the cheapest brand is – often not Kelloggs.
  3. A box of ready made crunchy muesli (if you can find it) or some other munchy cereal like weetabix (crunch them up), rice crispies, whatever you can get.
  4. Nuts. Whatever are available. Chop up into bits. You can be really flashy if you want and grill them with a bit of oil and honey – shuffle them about lots so they don’t burn.
  5. Raisins, sultanas, dried apricots, dried figs, dried any fruit just about chopped up (though I’m not a fan of dried bananas).


Put in a large container and shake it up so it all mixes together.


Petala Island Ragu - from the Skylax blog

04/06/07 Petala Island Greece

Anchored in 3.5 metres on sticky mud behind Petala Island. Hurricane hole. The weather has turned again with another light front coming through with 20 knots from the SE and rain. Odd for this time of year when the prevailing winds from the NW are usually established. There have been fronts like this coming through every week. Last week we sat out 30-35 knots from the S-SE in Vlikho near Nidri – another hurricane hole.

Anchored off the cave in Petala

At least we have got rid of the proof reading for 10 days or so before we return to Levkas. We will potter down into the Gulf of Patras and Gulf of Corinth before turning around and galloping back to Levkas for the next set which Imrays will Fedex to us. In between we will try to get a bit boat fit and do some much needed work on the boat fixing electrics, plumbing, running gear and all the other things needed before we set off westwards – though there will be a lot more weeks on out return from the UK with things still to do.

Tonight was special ragu night, a dish you might call spaghetti bolognese but which should be a finer dish

Fry up some lardons or chopped up bacon

Add a finely chopped onion, a finely sliced carrot, finely chopped garlic (I like about 4 cloves but to taste) and finely sliced celery sticks x2 if you have them

Fry slowly

After 5 minutes or so add sliced mushrooms (or tinned at a pinch) and fry a bit more

Turn the heat up a bit and add around 500 gm of good mince and brown stirring often

When browned add 400-500 gm of passata or tinned chopped tomatoes, 300 ml of stock, 2 glasses of white wine, a smattering of freshly grated nutmeg, some black pepper and put on a low heat for 1½ -2 hours

Cook pasta of choice (I favour penne)

To serve heap over cooked pasta (al dente PLEASE) and add some cream on top (UHT is fine) and grated parmesan on each plate

Serves four.

If you are two it works well the next day either as a pasta sauce again or with kidney beans and chilli sauce added as chilli con carne (with rice).


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