Our last day on the hard has come and gone…. I am in disbelief in a way but the yacht is sitting in slings, the last part of the hull has just been sprayed, 8.30pm with antifoul, the apartments are all being packed up as I write this and we will go in early tomorrow to watch the boat being launched.

It has been a crazy week outside the shed with so much going on, long hours and tiring days. I stocked up with heaps of food, and drinks, whilst the boat was being cleaned and detailed inside, as the boys continued to work on engineering issues and whilst the deck crew worked on getting the deck ready for the mast and boom to be reinstalled on Thursday.

Mast stepping May 19th 2011

It took a while but with the largest crane I have seen next to a boat the mast was lifted and installed… having put more silver coins, plus some others on the tongue we were all happy with the stepping of the mast. It was in and the boom was brought up and the gooseneck was secured with the pin… yeh ! We are looking like a sailing boat again, and it is only a matter of a couple of days when we shall perform as a sailing boat again!  

Food however this week was slightly pushed aside as we would be onboard until 9pm so on the way home we would stop for a pizza locally before all collapsing into our beds. I can only imagine that this is going to be the same for the next week as the owner arrives also and we will be sailing as much as possible once he is onboard, testing the new sail and every system to make sure we are fit to race in 10 days in Sardinia !  Mind you I am going to have to start cooking immediately with the owner and friends onboard, so once my fridges are on it will be all systems go for me as well, and as I have lots of new ideas and recipes to try I am keen to get cooking again onboard !                                                                                  

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Saudade leaving the shed 4pm May 16th 2011

Wow… finally at 4pm yesterday afternoon we were moved out of the shed. Had we really been in there since Dec 22nd 2010 ? I had a similar feeling when we actually took the boat out of the shed in Fano for the first time in April 2008. This time however the boat had plenty of room, so with the travel lift she slowly came out of the large shed we had been in for so long. There had been a long wait of anticipation all day as we had arrived and expected her to move earlier on in the day but no the preparation was long and slow but they did make sure to protect the paint job which we all appreciated as it was only a week old.  Slowly she came out and then had to be turned and put over the pit where our keel now hangs. We have to be over this area, on containers so that the engineers can finish off the work on the changes made to the keel during the winter months. It is all in aid of us being a faster, stiffer race boat when we are racing against our arch rival, Visione.

It was quite exciting going onboard today having natural light flood through the port holes, coach roof and hatches ! Might seem trivial but it means a lot after having been stuck inside for so long. 

However, reality kicks in as time is running out and we have to get everything ready for not only the regatta but also for the owner to arrive next week to come and partake in the sea trials that we have to do after we go back into the water. What it means for me is stocking up and being ready to cook again  ! Having done one major stock up of dry stores, I had to finish this off with some items I just could not get last week, so I shot off to another supermarket where there is also a small health food shop so I could get a few more things, before heading back to the large cash and carry to do a beer stock up. This I knew was going to be large as I need to get guest beer and race beer… 

Beer trolley

Beer trolley

It may seem like a large quantity of beer to be hauling up on the boat for a regatta that only runs for 4 days with 2 day of training but we do have some thirsty boys onboard ! We get through it all and then two weeks later have another regatta so I guess I will be stocking up again for the next regatta ! 

As I got back to the boat I had to get the beer into a scissor lift with the help of Pete, the Mate, and then with more help on deck we managed to get it all onto the boat and then away in lockers. Tomorrow will be water, coke, poweraid, ice T …

Getting things ready for dinner

Getting things ready for dinner

Back to the apartment to do dinner with some of the tomatoes I  bought ! Well I just could not resist the cherry tomatoes, just one crate ! It might be a large crate but I was eating them the moment they were on my trolley… just like eating sweets/candy to me … delicious.

Tonight though was pork spare ribs, risoni ( rice pasta) with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil with olive oil, and steamed asparagus with mashed boiled eggs and crispy prosciutto.

It all went down well with the hungry crew when they came back from the boat after a long day onboard.

Now I am baking some banana bread as we in all the apartments we had some bananas that no one was going to eat but they were just perfect for banana bread so as I write this down the smell of the banana bread cooking is wafting around the room…. I will have to run down to the other apartments and make a delivery of banana bread tonight so they can all have some for breakfast … or midnight snacks!

Banana Bread

a very simple recipe I use so much with the old bananas that I have onboard. It is delicious straight from the oven warm, the next day or toasted a few days later with lashings of butter !

3 brown soft bananas ( or more up to 6 )

2 eggs, whisked lightly together

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup broken walnuts

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180/360

Grease a loaf tin 

Mash the bananas in a bowl and add the beaten eggs and mix well. Stir in the sugar, and then the flour and baking powder. Finally stir in the walnuts and pour into the prepared tin and back in the oven for 50 mins. Turn it once during the baking.

Enjoy




 

Well we have been in the shed in Picchiotti shipyard in La Spezia since Dec 22nd, and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We will be out on the hard over the pit this week, meaning that we will be in the water the following week meaning we will be in on our way down to Sardinia for the Loro Piana regatta. I am getting excited but am also slightly panicked at the amount of work still to do to be ready for the regatta, let alone just to go sailing again after so long, with the boat having been almost stripped of so many things that are all being put back together having been serviced, painted, overhauled. Now they just have to be turned on again and tested, and being that we are a boat, most of these things have to be done once we are in the water so of course there will be this immense rush when we go in the water.

I drive past the mast and boom lying in cradles as I go in and out of the shipyard. They have both been sprayed, touched up and now are being re built ready to go in this week. The halyards are being re led, the lighting has all been re wired, the aerials are all reinstalled and new rubbing strips are tightly secured onto the spreaders as we have been destroying our spreaders whilst we tack. The riggers have been down regularly and now have finished what is needed to make sure the mast is ready to be installed next week

My first big dry store shop was interesting as I battled with two huge trolleys which are flat so can hold boxes of food and drink, so are way bigger than your regular supermarket trolley! I had to push my trolley past the tasty cherry tomatoes which is so hard for me but with no fridges on and only small household fridges in our apartments I knew I could not buy the crates that I would love to have. Next week I kept on reminding myself ! I had not realised how much food I would have to buy not only for the regatta but also just to replenish my empty lockers which look only semi full after being filled with what I had bought. I have many more trips to the shops to do yet to feel satisfied with what I need for summer cruising with race crew, guests and family onboard for the majority of this coming summer. As we are so late in being launched the owner will want to be onboard as much as he can having missed cruising this summer he is so keen to get back onboard, and I have certainly some similar feelings.

The shed has been cleaned, any covering on the boat has been stripped off, the sails well almost all the sails are back in the sail locker, and also in the lazzarette. The bimini is back on, but is ready to be removed the moment we get down to Sardinia. The magic trims are being tested, the winches are all working, the mast is rebuilt and ready to be put back in next week, as is the boom. The travel lift has been moved into the shed into position but no straps until we get the call from the paint company that they are happy with the paint and we can be lifted up and out over the pit to work on the keel for the next week.

Tomorrow is a big day then for the shipyard and for the boat… 

Yeh the Wally regatta I can watch and not make sandwiches for but of course bake a cake for Y3K as I get to use their tender to get out on the water to watch the regatta ! Last year was a wash out and I was going to get hot chocolates, and coffee in the cafes whenever we could whilst the boats raced outside, but this year … t shirts, shorts, bikinis, sunscreen and shades!  A day on the water was just what I needed after so long time ashore working hard inside the shed, trying to get Saudade back and ready for our season, but we have been delayed in the shipyard due to our paint job and it does not look like we will be in the water for another 10-12 days… arh.

Anyhow the night before I baked a cake for the owner of Y3K, and the crew as I always do as they are so appreciative of a cake after a days racing. So a new cake, using sponge fingers which I have adapted to incorporate almond meal. It is one I found on the internet and have adapted which has worked well and enjoyed by all…!

Chocolate almond sponge finger cake

250gm butter

2 mins until the start gun on the final race of the Nespresso Cup May 2011

250gm dark chocolate

150gm ground sponge fingers

6 eggs separated

200gm almond meal

or 200gm freshly ground almonds 

Ganache

150gm dark chocolate

100ml cream

1 punnet strawberries, hull and sliced in half

Pre-heat the oven gas mark 4/180/360

Butter a round cake tin 24cm and then line the bottom with baking paper

Melt the chocolate and the butter in a bowl over simmering water until they are both melted and combined. Remove from the heat and allow to cool

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, and set aside for a few mins whilst you whisk the egg yolks one at a time into the chocolate mixture.

Gently fold the eggs whites into the chocolate mix. Start with 1/3 of the whisked egg whites which can be stirred in and then gently fold in the rest of the whites, before folding in the ground sponge fingers and the almond meal.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 mins, covering the cake with foil if you notice it is cooking too fast.

Remove and allow to cool on a rack

Whilst the cake is cooling make the ganache with the remaining chocolate and cream. Heat these in a saucepan over a pan of simmering water, carefully making sure not to heat too quickly so that the mixture splits.

Once the cake is cool spread the ganache over the top of the cake letting the excess to fall over the sides. Just before serving top with strawberries and enjoy

Walking home from the shipyard I have been watching the progress of the elderflower or sambucca trees and finally started to pick the flowers to make my cordial for the summer. I have a recipe that my mum gave me which she has used for years, as we grew up on the cordial.  I have followed the recipe, doubled it and then trebled it as I seem to get carried away with picking the flowers and end up with a large bag full of elderflower heads. 

Elderflowers and lemons May 2011

Being that we are in apartments at the moment with the boat still in the shed being re sprayed again I have ended up using a crate as my bucket to steep the elderflowers and lemons in a sugar syrup. The aroma is sweetening the apartment that we are living in !  It makes for a pleasant smell as we arrive home late in the evenings before I prepare dinner for the crew. 

One of the crew tried last years cordial and was pleasantly surprised after his first sip, not realising that the cordial was going to be so fragrant and sweet. He is Australian so what more can I say, beer is his preferred beverage, but he did note that my comment earlier on the elderflower cordial,  that it would go well with a shot of vodka, slice of lemon with soda water and ice. I can imagine that will become a favoured drink this summer onboard. Meanwhile the new elderflowers are going to be steeped for 48 hrs at least here in the apartment

Elderflower Cordial

20 heads of elderflowers, only no leaves   

Elderflower cordial in the making 2011

1.8kg of sugar, preferably caster sugar

1.2 litre of water

2 lemons, zest pared and then the lemons sliced

75g citric acid

Having picked the elderflowers, make sure you shake off all the bugs or old flowers. I also rinse them if they are picked from the road sides.

Place the flowers in a large container, whilst you gently dissolve the sugar in warm water. Allow the water to cool.

Par the zest of the lemons and place with the elderflowers, and then slice the lemons and again place them into the elderflowers before the cooled sugar syrup is poured over the flowers and lemons, stirring the mixture well. Cover with a cloth and stir when passing.

I add the citric acid towards the end of the period that the elderflowers are left in the sugar syrup which can be anything from 24 – 48 hrs. The longer the better in my view to get as much of the delicious aroma of the elderflowers to infuse into the syrup.

Strain well, removing all the flowers and bottle. You must store in the fridge, so I use 500ml water bottles to store my elderflower cordial which I then freeze and use when I am running low on the batch always kept in the fridge. 

My supply tends to go quickly so I do now make a lot and have the bottles hidden in the freezers as I also use it for ice creams or cakes, biscuits or icing adding an unusual but fragrant flavour.

Dilute with cool sparkling water and enjoy !

Am in my element of watching mother nature change the countryside with warming up the air and encouraging the trees to come into bloom, the flowers to slowly open, the grass to grow again in a vibrant green. It is one of the most spectacular times of year to watch things grow again after hibernating. Europe in bloom.. well southern Europe where the weather has enabled us to sit outside again and enjoy lunches, drinks, and dinner in the sun as the days get longer, and warmer.

Driving or walking each day to the shipyard I am in awe at the wisteria  in full bloom in the small villages we are living in Lerici and San Terenzo. It is covering terraces, falling over roof tops, fences climbing up walls and the colour is just vibrant lilac. A colour that just oozes spring. The elderflowers are out in bloom now, so I have to pick this weekend otherwise I will not get my cordial made for the summer season. I have all the other ingredients and just have to hike around Portofino to find great elderflowers away from the roads, so they are not so polluted. The wild garlic, wild roses, lilies…. are just wonderful at this time of year so there is an abundance of colour all around with positive energy flowing all around, certainly gives me a bounce in my step after a long winter !

The artichokes in the markets with their pointed, thorned leaves from Sardinia are in abundance, the asparagus, purple and green are being bunched up to be sold, the oranges still on the trees are still selling well, together with the spring fruits, the strawberries, the loquats which have just come into season here from southern Italy. The fava beans are just in their element and the number of times I just buy a handful and just eat them instantly much to the amusement of crew who just do not get the thrill out of the crunch as I do as I bite into a fresh fava bean fresh from the pod. However they do all enjoy the dip that I make out of them once they have been cooked. 

I had a kilo of fresh peas the other day which I happily podded and then blanched, roughly blended and stirred in some greek yogurt, mint, parsley, chopped spring onions and seasoned. Making it with frozen baby peas is just as good, and of course can be made at anytime of the year. You can always change the flavours with the herbs you use, or even change it to a spiced curry dip. Such a vibrant colour as well 

writing and eating tomatoes and fresh fava beans

Cherry tomatoes so sweet they are like candy are in the shops and markets again. I have been buying them in my normal manner, ( in abundance ) and have some with me all the time so I can snack on them. The crew have just come in from a long day onboard to find me writing with a large pile of cherry tomatoes next to me which I am just slowly devouring, with podded fava beans waiting to be blanched before I make the dip!  I think Spring is one of my favourite times with all the fresh flavours after a long cold, wet winter… which I of course was able to intersperse with a trip to Australia and then 10 days in the Caribbean so I should not complain.

Saudade April 28th 2011

Having just heard that the boat is to be re-sprayed I plunge into annoyance as I was so looking forward to her being taken out of the shed on Monday with the mast being stepped on Friday and then being splashed the following week so I could get back into my galley… but my dreams have been somewhat shattered. There is to be more cooking in the apartment, but I will just have to make the most of it and continue on !  Make the good out of an annoying situation so move on and work on with what I have at the moment….Nothing new in the world I live in !  So I guess there will be a bit of work going on the boat next week with the having to be re sanded and then re sprayed…. 

Cherry Pickers will be on their way next week as the scaffolding is down....

 But it does mean I will be able to hunt around for food stuffs for the season so a couple of visits to Viareggio are in order as are the trips up to Genova to the Asian shop to stock up on Asian ingredients, which can be hard to find in Italy where Italian food comes first and foremost ! Not that I am complaining …. 

ok off to boil up the fava beans to make the dip before I venture out to go and see La Traviata being performed in the small village of Lerici where we have been living this winter. The crew have decided to come along as well, so a cultured evening which will be interesting after a quick bite in a local Pizzeria. 

Tomorrow will be an early rise to hike and pick elderflowers and having checked the weather we are on for a great day …. scissors and bags in hand off I will trek.

Gustavia Port, St Barth's March 2011

It is hard to believe we were all gallivanting around St Barth’s partaking in the Bucket Regatta last week and now we are all back to our normal lives whether it is onboard yachts, in offices, waiting for the next regatta to start, or just chilling out before the next job starts. Our departure is always quite odd for the regular crew an experience I go through every regatta having been on such an energetic high during the regatta I then have to keep on top of it all as we generally have guests arriving and go cruising but for me flying back to Italy is to rejoin Saudade and get ready for our season in the Mediterranean where we shall race in 3 regattas and cruise the rest of the time, having a break mid summer to recuperate for a couple of weeks.

I have come back to amazing Spring weather where the trees, and flowers are coming out into their element. The markets are full of delicious fruits and vegetables that are just right. A time for me to find new recipes to try, or to at least experiment with…. I cannot wait to get back to the market in La Spezia. One day this coming week I will go in there and stock up for a few meals for the crew who are now complete with my Stewardess arriving back this weekend to start onboard again… Little does she realise what is ahead of her ! Oh well she will find out tomorrow when she gets onboard for the first time in 4 mths!

Walking this morning I noticed several trees just coming into leaf making me excited for the elderflower /sambucca tree to come into flower so I can make up my elderflower syrup, which was devoured last year by the crew and then more once we had discovered that it worked well with a dash of vodka in it as a refreshing drink with soda water, ice and mint.

The Bucket was an interesting experience for me as a chef as the owners of the yacht were not only Kosher but also on the raw food diet, one which I would like to apply to myself as I eat so much raw food, but in no real form or diet. I just love fresh crispy vegetables, fruits straight from the plants. At the markets now there are fava beans, or fresh peas both of which I munch on immediately I have bought them not giving them a chance to get to a pot of water !

I learnt quite a lot from the chef onboard the yacht about the raw food diet and am going to start sprouting again, which I am sure the engineer will have fits about as I place several bags of sprouting beans, peas, seeds in his area ! As for now the dried beans, peas, fenugreek and more are soaking in water softening before their new leave of life into sprouting. It is a diet I am very interested in as I eat so much raw food to start with but I have not attempted to go with. The health benefits are enormous and have many people realising and learning that all the prepared foods that they eat are really not helping them out except feeding them and giving them the energy to go through the next few hours. With the raw foods you are not cooking anything at a higher temperature than 40 degrees, so you learn to enjoy the tastes of fruits, and vegetables in their raw state whether they are just cut up or blended, dehydrated you are enjoying them at their best nutritional state.

But as for now I will experiment with what I can in the space of the apartments we have that we are living in whilst the boat is on the hard, but within 3 weeks my fingers are crossed we shall be back in the water, and hopefully the mast and boom on, sails in place and we can start our summer season

Spring appeared again in Italy last weekend just as I flew out to join another yacht for the St Barth’s Bucket 2011 in St Martin…. Yeh to the winter sun of the Caribbean and to lots of chaos and enjoyment at a big boat regatta. As SAUDADE is in the shed being painted  I have flown out to join another 44m yacht which, Lady B. She is brand new and run by friends of mine, so I was fortunate enough to be on the crew list and to join the fun and games of this event. It is the 25th anniversary of the Bucket Regattas this year so the turn out of yachts is incrediable with some of the largest around such as Maltese Falcon and Mirabella V being the biggest of the fleet.  There are several classes this year for the speed machines, the dames and the grand dames

Joining as race crew was something I have been wanting to do for ages as I am normally the regular chef onboard and have the race crew fly in to join us. So the tables were turned and in I flew, only to really help out and do some deck work, but as per my character I cannot just sit around and have ended up cooking ashore and doing sandwiches for race crew, and helping the chef out should he need some for all the extra guests we have onboard for racing… which can get up to 26 ! We are like bumble bees around honey in our yellow shirts onboard the boat !

Days are manic, up at 5 but today my body decided that 4 am would be better so I had a chance to get in some yoga which my body is crying out for as from 5 am onwards I am go, go, go, so now having had just that extra hour I can sit and watch the sunrise over our pool at the villa overlooking the surf rolling into the beaches down below us. We have 5 villas ashore, all scattered rather a long way away from one another which has made an interesting feat for our first night when Sonia, the yachts fill in chef and now my partner in crime, had to drive the boys and their bags all over the place to get them settled in after we had sailed from SXM….but hey she got them all settled and then we arrived at our villa and wow.. the four of us settled in far too quickly only to leap up early and disappear from a place we would all like to be able to spend a day at !!! but no we are here to race so send our days looking up at the island as we race around her which is just as much fun !

It is back to sandwich making but at least I am not up to 75 a day for this regatta as there are fewer of us onboard, so I am only having to make 40 and with the others in the villa we have a great production line going cutting, filling, rolling and sealing for the day and then we charge down to the harbour of Gustavia which is filled with incrediable super yachts of all sorts of sizes above 30m, some new some old, some modern classics some super racers. It is a real mix of talent not only in looks but speed !

Days just fly by with me not even realising that the lunch hour has passed, as the adrenaline flows, runners are trimmed in, we are on a heel so legs over the side, now on a reach prepping up the spinnaker for the downwind leg, trimming the sheets, and finally the sandwiches appear for the crew whilst the guests have been having gourmet wraps or snacks… the fruit on sticks is devoured by all, ages and sizes ! My mind is racing with ideas for our summer season and regatta days as I have plenty to prepare for and heaps of new ideas I want to try out not only on the crew but guests as well. The recipes flow from friends, books, magazines and of course the internet which we all depend on these days especially as we travel around so much in our lives living onboard the boats.

The mix of crew onboard is great, some I know from other yachts, others I have not seen for 16 years, others not as long. Familiar faces always help make the transition really easy for us and when you work onboard these boats it is easy to slip into the role  you have been assigned by the captain or deck leaders. We have professional racers who race around the world solo or in what is now the Volvo but back in their day was the Whitbread ! others who work and race on other Super yachts and others who prostitute themselves out to several boats during the season as race crew as they do as many regattas as they can fit into the Mediterranean summer and then they shoot of in other directions around the world doing other regattas depending on the time of year. We have all had to come together to form a team and race the boat for the owner so he can show off his new boat and race around St Barth ! Always an interesting period as characters come out in times of stress but we have leaders who undertake the role of sailing the boat to the best of her abilities with us handling all the equipment under their commands ! There has been no shouting, no angry voices but firm and to the point with plenty of laughter under way !  We had two bad training days as we ripped two sails, one of which we fortunately were able to fix back in St Martin where two of our crew went over with it and spent 7 hrs sewing up the rather large rip… but yesterday she flew again with no problems and we wooled her up and she sits waiting for us this morning on the foredeck to be hoisted later on today.

Time to get on … need to get down into Gustavia the port of St Bart’s where there are plenty of yachts on the dock also vying for bread and fresh supplies in the supermarket before another day of fun in the sun….


Watching the seasons change is great as I watch via the foods that are available or are disappearing off the shelves in the markets. But now with Spring in the air the first strawberries were spotted this morning in Lerici, in the Golfo dei Poeti, where Byron and Shelley spent time writing. But it is not only the strawberries it is the fava beans, the young spinach the subtle change of the fruits and vegetables as the next few weeks go on will really make Spring burst through in my mind.

Carnival will start soon as well, and being that we are so close to Viareggio we are off to have lots of fun over several weekends of parades down there with friends and family who are flying in.

But now it is back to food, settling into what is available in the market stalls today in Lerici…. favas ready to make a fava dip or spread for Bruschetta.. which can easily be made with frozen fava if you cannot get fresh ones. The young artichokes from Sardegna, oh delicious with spiny thorns on the tops of their leaves showing their prehistoric thistle ancestry, but delicious peeled to expose the heart that can be shaved raw tossed with shaved parmesan, olive oil and salt, or roasted in the oven with garlic, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil, or stuffed with baccalo and served with a rich tomato sauce. The more I think the more ideas come to mind as to what to do with this wonderful vegetable. I had a very tasty frittata di carciofi yesterday for my lunch which is an artichoke frittata, bought at one of the many gastronomy shops where you can buy prepared food to take away. In fact the more you look into these shops the more you find, stuffed courgettes, prepared capsicums, roasted artichokes, scallopini, marinated anchovies, olive, mackerel, all sorts of prepared vegetables, polenta with sugo al fungi… Many people buy here and it is of course a better way to eat than the frozen meals you can buy in supermarkets, or greasy fast foods you can buy.

But going back to the fresh veggies today… where to start, well the young cauliflowers that are coming to an end are delicious mashed with pecorino and black olives, adding some chives, parsley and chilli, and served as a side to lamb fillets, or steaks, or made into small cakes and pan-fried. The baby spinach steamed and eaten with olive oil or made into ricotta and spinach lasagne, or a spinach, ricotta, parmesan hot dip for toast. Fava beans tossed with pancetta for a basic pasta sauce, mashed with yogurt, mint, lemon juice and olive oil as a dip or spread. Fava beans fresh with Pecorino, sheep’s cheese.

There is one stall in this small market in Lerici which we is enjoyed by all, that is the meat loving side of the crew which is generally all of them except me! A pink stall with rotary chickens, roasted pork, the large porchettas, roasted turkey breasts, spatchook chicken, fries, fried arancini, fried prawns and more fried items that are not high on my list as tasty morsels but to some they are ! I was told of this stall before moving here and now find myself every Saturday going down buying a roasted chicken or piece of pork ready for warm chicken or pork sandwiches or salads. Today with light drizzle the line to the pink truck was the largest I had seen in a while ! You can see the large rotary spits going around at the back of the truck with the ovens still heated from roasting the pork, turkey and chicken fillets… everyone buying up their roasted meats ready to be enjoyed for lunch as ours were. The truck is quite a sight which I to share… so if you are every in Italy and you spot this truck remember open up your wallet and buy a tasty roasted chicken !

Lerici market's famous roasted chicken stall

 

It is a bit crude in its colouring but it does mean there is no chance you are going to miss this tasty stall ! I almost feel sorry for the other stall holders as they watch the crowds huddle around the wonderfully smelling chicken stall !

 

 

 

Having not written for a while I realise that there is a bit of catching up to do like adding recipes I promised to do last year and also to fill in what has been going on with the boat whilst she is out of the water… yes a season not on the water which you can imagine could be down time but it is proving to be just as busy if not more than if we were cruising and racing… but that will come in another publication as I am off to buy some Parmesan, pecorino and other tasty morsels that I can find in La Spezia this afternoon..

Wonderful sunny Sunday morning encouraged us to get out and go hiking around Portofino, my favourite port in Italy …. Seriously expensive with designer stores in such a small place but amazingly beautiful. The area around it also is amazing the buildings are all beautifully painted in pastels, and also they paint in the facades so that there is a 3D effect when in fact it is still just plastered walls. I love the area and every time just get a buzz from being there regardless of the weather it is wonderful with amazing plants and trees, beautiful gardens such a photogenic area if you have never been there before.

Wandering around Santa Margherita there was a small Sunday market on with nick nacks but the local frutta e verdura shop had the most amazing pumpkins and some local porcini mushrooms and black truffles for sale… yes the mushroom season is in so tomorrow I am off to buy some at the market.

Fruit and Vegetable stall Santa Margherita

This stall was selling wonderful produce and was attracting a lot of attention with their oversized pumpkins.. it almost felt like we were back in America where they have the largest pumpkin competitions !

They had fresh chestnuts, olives and other delicious things that I cannot wait to play with together with a few different varieties of mushrooms

Walking along the waterfront to Portofino is always great as you can watch the small regattas that take place off Rapallo and Santa Margherita, or the swimmers, divers etc all enjoying the small areas of beaches that are available to them. The small port of Portofino was filled with tourists as it always is and so you are forever walking slowly behind the crowds to get up to the church or castle to look down on the port which is so very famous around the world.

Portofino


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