Back online…

I know it has been ages since I last wrote, but work took over and time slipped by way to fast for any control with my writing !

Where to start as there appears to be so many months that have been missed so I will have to condense the last 18mths or so into a few paragraphs with a few photos to help catch up to the present.
The summer of 2011 flew by with intense racing and cooking, then cruising and cooking, back to racing and cooking and into a yard period before heading off to the Caribbean for the winter months. The summer was spent mainly cruising the Spanish and Italian waters, going from La Spezia to Sardegna, Menorca, Mallorca, Barcelona, back to Mallorca cruising Ibiza and over to Mallorca again and onto Sardegna for another regatta before heading to the Italian mainland and French Riviera before being hauled in La Spezia and off to Antigua.

Summer as always was fun, full of fresh fruits and vegetables that I could find in local markets. Visiting Barcelona was wonderful even though it was rushed with guests I did manage to get to La Boqueria one of the amazing markets there, where I scoured for vegetables, fruits and fish. Parts of the market have become so touristic with juices made up, fruit cut up ready to eat in more plastic containers, but into the depth of the market you could find the real fresh foods that I was looking for. The fish market was so full of fish I wondered where all the fish had been fished, caught let alone who was going to buy it all by the end of the market. Did it really all get sold was going through my mind as I left there, and really how many other markets were filled with fish each day and was all that sold as well…

Las Ramblas fish market

Las Ramblas fish market


I could have just kept on buying as I just kept on thinking of new recipes and ideas to use with all the delights around me but also understanding that the fridges would be over flowing with food if I bought more and also the fact that I could barely walk with what I had already bought. I was so thankful that I had a taxi that would come back and pick me up as I had left wonderful fresh bread that I had bought at a fantastic artisan bakery. Wonderful spelt breads, rye breads, regular wheat breads and the delicious smells of a bakery were just wonderful as I walked into the shop. A place I will definitely be back to visit, and buy…
So Barcelona was fun, I did of course have to do the normal run to a supermarket as well, which is always fun to me as you never know what you might find or not in some cases.

Coming back to the boat full of goodies meant a good hour re organizing fridges, storage lockers and just getting my mind around the fact that crew needed lunch and the guests would be back wanting a snack for tea and then a three course dinner. Now was the time to decide as to which piece of fish to use, which vegetable to add to the dish, what starter and thankfully having planned ahead there would be a dessert ready in the fridge.

From Barcelona we headed back out to the islands and ended up anchoring off Formentera the small island off Ibiza which has wonderful white sandy beaches.

Sunset Formentera July 2011

Sunset Formentera July 2011

Formentera to Ibiza to Mallorca and that ended up being our milk run for a few weeks during the summer months before we headed East towards Sardegna to get into regatta mode

Cooking continuously for crew and guests came naturally as we sailed around the islands enjoying the tranquility of the bays we would find to anchor in for the night. We changed guests, food likes and dislikes changed with the guest change, and I served varying meals throughout that period, figs stuffed with mozzarella and basil and wrapped in Jamon, seared monkfish with roasted Prosciutto, skate seared with a rich tomato sauce, sesame crusted tuna, grilled calamari, chicken stuffed with sun dried tomato pesto, octopus and potato salad, roasted snapper, chicken kebabs marinated in yogurt and spices to name but a few and as for desserts the list continues… chocolate mint cake, chocolate fondue, plum and cardamon mousse with roasted plums, pistachio meringue, lemon freeze slice, chocolate tart, rhubarb fool with ginger shortbreads, stripped ice cream cake, poached pears, white chocolate shots with strawberry syrup, pavolova roll with berries…

Berry pavlova roll

Berry pavlova roll

Sardegna meant the final regatta of 2011, the Maxi Rolex Cup in which we pushed ourselves hard against our competitor and we succeeded in a good week of racing and left feeling buoyant on our win, knowing full well that it meant a tougher time in 2012. We had to rebuild what we had removed for the regatta and move on up to the mainland to pick up guests for the final cruise of the season taking us into the South of France.

Leaving there we headed to La Spezia for a quick haul, timely as we had caught more fish on our sail down there so the guys in the shipyard were happy to have fresh fish handed to them as we arrived. Italians are always grateful for fresh fish !

Happy fishermen Villefranche to La Spezia

Happy fishermen Villefranche to La Spezia

Summer 2011 was coming to an end and we had to prepare the boat for the Caribbean winter ahead.

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