When we started cruising I made the classic mistake of anxiously provisioning for our first trip as if we would not see another shop for the next six months. It didn’t take long for us to realise that where there are people there is generally food for sale. However, some food are more ubiquitous than others.
Soy sauce, and Worcester sauce (aka Worcestershire sauce and salsa Inglesa) seemed to be available in even the most remote islands. On the other hand peanut butter, cheese and English mustard are tradeable in many places and, if the are to your taste, stock up on the Marmite and Vegemite.
As we sailed into Colon harbour the Pacific crossing sharpened to a reality.
The anchorage lies to one side of the main channel into the Panama Canal with a steady stream of ships passing by 24 hours a day. Ashore in the Panama Canal Yacht Club there is an undercurrent of anxiety and anticipation. Everyone leans in to share plans and vital information.
“What are you feeding your transit crew? Make sure you have bottled water, some of the pilots won’t drink tank water.”
“I’m doing pizza, can’t go wrong with pizza.”
“Can I get Marmite here?”
“Do you want to share a taxi to the supermarket tomorrow?”
“We can get one together there but I think we will need one each to bring stuff back.”
Transiting the Panama Canal in a small boat in 2002 meant supplying a crew of five plus paying for an official Pilot to guide us through. The crew were one at each ‘corner’ of the boat to throw, catch and secure lines plus the Captain to steer. The pilot’s role was to direct us up through the locks from Colon to Gatun Lake, across the lake and then down the locks to Panama City and the Pacific Ocean. The transit starts at first light, around 5.30 am, with luck and good progress you can make the trip by sundown, around 6.00 pm. For half of the sailors, including Whimsey, the trip takes two days and includes a night anchored in the lake.
Catering breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks seemed to take on epic proportions and an element of competition. I decided on kedgeree for lunch and pasta for dinner, we provisioned with plenty of fruit, crisps and other snacks as well as cans of fizzy drinks. Space in the fridge was at a premium – note, cooked rice cannot be stored unrefrigerated. The batch made in advance fed the fish and the fresh batch was probably the best rice I have ever made.
More to follow…
Chopped nuts or a mix of nuts and seeds can be used to add texture to veggie bakes, pasta bakes and salads. You can buy flavoured nut and seed mixes or just buy the nuts and seeds you like. Chop nuts roughly and add in herbs. Add to the dish just before serving.
Make healthy and tasty garlic mashed potato by adding in left over hummus instead of butter.
Thicken and flavour a veggie soup by adding in left over hummus.
This blog is not written by, or for, those who delight in creating gourmet dinners. I am a sociable creature though and like to get together with friends.
My favourite solution is to plan for grazing. Shared food is sociable, people can move about and mingle and all you really need is a few core dishes then little ‘asides’.
The foundations for me are hummus and flatbread. Then, if I can get them, I will add fresh carrots and celery cut into sticks. Gherkins cut lengthways, a jar of sundried tomatoes, olives, nuts.
If the crowd is a little larger I add in a couple of other dips, red bean dip and Tzatziki, some crisps and crackers. Usually people will bring along a dish to share so there is always more than enough to eat.
If you have a couple of tablespoons of mashed potato or other mashed root vegetables these can be added to the flat bread recipe to make potato bread. Reduce the amount of water added.
Eat within 24 hours.
Recently we held a lunch at work to raise money to help the people of Nepal following the earthquakes that have caused so much damage and destruction.
Using the recipes in this blog I took along hummus, red bean dip, tzatziki and veggie sausage rolls.
The team is multi-cultural and the food reflected this with Yorkshire pudding and gravy, wontons, pasta, chicken pie, curried veggie patties in tamarind and coriander chutneys, cup cakes and gulab jamun.
Tips for adding crunch
Add crunch to pasta or vegetable bakes with a small bag of crisps or a few crackers crushed to crumbs and mixed with herbs and parmesan cheese.
About 10 minutes before taking out of the oven uncover the bake and sprinkle on the mix, put back in the oven uncovered.
The topping will crisp up nicely for a crunchy top.
Tips for adding crunch
Add water chestnuts to salads, stir fry or pasta bakes.
You can add in as slices or chop to small chunks.
One small tin goes a long, long way!!