The whirlwind tour may well have finished in Taormina but that did not stop my whirlwind days … !

Our golfers went on a trip early one morning to see the amphitheater in Taormina whilst I scouted for shops in the town on the water, Giardini Naxos …. I found small fruit and veggie shops ! I had also to organise Italian sim internet cards and of course that always takes time especially in the sleepy town I was now in ! I found a great fish shop selling clams of all sizes and lobsters. The clams were in these containers that were being flushed thru with water keeping them clean and alive which meant my work was cut in half should I wish to make spaghetti vongole !  The vongole would be clean … Fabulous and on that note I bought a couple of kilos for the guests as they were probably going to return for lunch but eat dinner out as Germany was playing the world cup quarter finals !  As I came back in the tender the call for lunch was cancelled so the crew were going to enjoy large bowls of fresh vongole with spaghetti!

Spaghetti Vongole

1 tablesp olive oil

1 tablesp butter

1 white onion diced

2 gloves of garlic crushed

1 cup wine

1 cup water

20 cherry tomatoes quartered

2 tablesp chopped parsley

1 kg vongole

Salt and pepper

Spaghetti cooked enough for 4 persons

Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan big enough to hold the vongole with room to spare

Add the onions and garlic and allow them to sweat, before adding the cherry tomatoes and cooking them for about 2 mins. Add a tablesp of chopped parsley and then a 1/2 cup of white wine and allow to simmer slowly adding salt and pepper to taste. When the wine has evaporated to almost nothing add some 1/2 cup of water and again allow this to simmer slowly evaporating the water slightly so that you can add the rest of the wine and repeat simmering slowly.

Once the water and wine have simmered and now there is around 2 cups of liquid left ( 500ml) add the vongole and cover the pot allowing them to steam for about 4 mins until they open up. Stir them  again in the sauce adding the rest of the parsley and tip over cooked spaghetti and serve immediately.

Having rushed to get the vongole on the crew table much to the delight of all I charged back onshore to find a larger supermarket with our mate Kade. I talked with some Sicilians who offered to take us in the car instead of getting a taxi or hiring a car and off we went down the freeway to the next town where we found a larger supermarket. Our driver insisted on helping us and what ever I placed in the trolley he would take it out and have a look at it ! It was almost like having my personal quality controller with me ! Being Italian though I think it was amusing for him to see what this strainera foreigner was buying to have onboard the yacht she worked on! I think I had a lot of approval as he did not tell me to change anything and smiled at the things I was putting in especially the fresh mozzarella id buffalo, the freshly grated parmesan ready to use for pasta, the Italian crackers that we all enjoy with pecorino or other cheeses….  then my look of horror at the condition of the vegetables which he did agree with that I could not buy at this supermarket  meant that we had to proceed onto another one for those and also the mini ice creams for the kids coming.

Filling up the tender with my bags of shopping and then Kade, and I together with Harry our decky we shot back to the boat where as I stepped onboard the owner called to say oh change of plans we will have dinner onboard and will be back shortly to eat in 2hrs… Gulp was my initial thought as there were 15 bags of shopping to put away before I could do dinner and it meant also that crew dinner was going to have to be put back an hour or so as I was not going to have enough time to do both in one go! ..

The whirlwind continues…!!

The following day the 5 golfers left the boat at 7.30am so I did not get up and do my 5 Tibetans today … Yoga can wait until the evening or the next morning as breakfast at 6.45 was requested ! Waving bye to the men only started what turned out to be a hectic day cleaning, cooking and stocking up again ! Finally getting ashore in the morning where I bought from a local van which has fruit and veggies stacked in the back just down from the farmers inland… Delicious cherries, crispy green beans, succulent oranges and lemons that are grown in abundance in this area, aubergines, baby zucchini just to name a few things that these little trucks sell. I love buying off these people as they are the true farmers and have been doing this all their lives with the locals coming out of their apartments to buy just for that day… Unlike me who comes along and takes all the cherries, all the oranges, a crate of them, most of the zucchini and almost buys him out of all his produce in one go… Mind you they must love it also as their selling day is almost done with me coming along ! There was the bakery to get to the fish monger and another fruit and veggie stall if I could in time before dashing back to the boat to make lunch for the crew and the owner…Of course it did not stop there as I went back in to do a final supermarket shop just before the grandkids and the owners wife arrived and we were back into the swing of things ! Go go go…

The first day with the kids we were invited up to the crater of Mt Etna where we walked around the latest crater that erupted in 2003. The views over Sicily were stunning we were very lucky with the weather and how clear it was considering the day before had been so cloudy. It was cooler up on the top but nothing like I had thought and we all walked around comfortably with shorts and long sleeved t shirts… It was an amazing day walking up there looking down on lava rivers that have destroyed huge areas but then have created a lush forest of trees and plants living in this rich soil. No wonder they have such delicious fruits and vegetables around this area… We came back down for a quick lunch and then into Taormina where we climbed all over the Greek Ampitheatre before finding the marzipan shops selling marzipan fruits, vegetables and other sweets… they are a specialty here in Sicily some in soft marzipan and others painted making them go hard. The colour and shapes are great they lie on display in the shops for people to buy ! The local macaroons are delicious we were in a shop and bought one with orange essence … oh boy how soft and tasty was this delectable cookie… oh to be able to make this … I must endeavour to try. The island of almonds does really well at tempting a sweet tooth…which is not me but others onboard love these things so we came out with bags of goodies for the crew and guests !

Marzipan fruits, vegetables and fish

Now we are 3 days into this cruise and I don’t have much time to get things written down even now …. Baking chocolate meringues with chocolate cream, double or triple chocolate cookies, pear sorbet, anything sweet as these kids love all sweet things especially with chocolate ! Each day I delve into my memory of recipes or hunt others down to tempt the kids and know that it will all be consumed with indulgence during the day !