Saturday, August 31, 2013

Smelly business

Before we left the boatyard last month, one of the the jobs that we had to do was to insert our paddle wheel. The paddle wheel goes through the bottom of the hull and as we
are moving along it is turned by the water, allowing our navigation system to tell us how fast we are going relative to the water. Unfortunately we couldn’t put it in while we were out of the water as the slings used to move the boat go right over it and would break it. What needed to happen was for us to pull out the existing stopper and replace it with the paddle wheel as quickly as possible to allow the least amount of water in as possible. The thought of this was terrifying to us! When water came in the other day when we had the engine realigned, it was a completely different story as that was a mere trickle in comparison and we had the reassurance of a professional that this was “normal.” It's still not that normal though!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Chickpea Salad

So two weeks ago at the library I was trying to be all super-bloggery and wrote out 5 blog posts in advance so that I could post via the phone without having to worry about internet or electricity usage. Well I completely forgot about them and spent the past week feeling bad about the fact that I hadn't posted. Epic fail!

Disappointingly, we are still waiting for parts. We were initially told that it would take four days for the engine mounts to come in from back order but the new estimate is for sometime next week and then will take a further 6-10 days to get to us. We are continuing to try and make the best of the situation and get things done. We are currently back in Brisbane for five days and have the fridge airing out while we are gone in the quest to eliminate as many odors from the boat that we can. A rogue cauliflower left the fridge and all of it's contents smelling rather fresh (not). The jobs of the past two days will be addressed in a separate post as that is real smelly business. Bryce's mum had a double knee replacement this past week and is doing great so it is nice that we are around to visit her in the hospital. While we are gone, someone (who shall remain nameless to avoid them getting unwanted calls or visitors) is taking advantage of our prime waterfront location and using it as a base from which to fish, kayak & relax.

As I was finishing making chickpea salad, I asked Bryce to try it to see if it was missing anything, his response was “tastes like it’s missing tuna.” The sign of an awesome meal is when it doesn’t taste like it’s missing meat! Thankfully once he actually had it in a sandwich he came around and admitted its deliciousness. I was really pleased with this as it was so easy and very satisfying. It took about 5 minutes to prepare and less time to clean up. We still haven’t gotten into a routine with washing dishes but the least amount of dishes created, and thus piled up on the sink, the better! I'm also on the lookout for great ideas for quick and easy recipes when we are at sea. This would be great on a sandwich with lettuce (which we unfortunately didn’t have) or even served without the bread as a salad.

Chickpea Salad

1 tin chickpeas, rinsed
3 tsp mayonnaise (vegan)
1 carrot, finely chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 tsp rosemary
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
crushed red chili, to taste
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Roughly mash chickpeas and combine with all other ingredients.
  2. Serve as desired and enjoy!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Beautiful Saturday morning!

Gorgeous morning for a walk out to the bar and tea on the beach! Wish you were here! :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our Library

The whole process has been a learning experience for both of us. Certain areas having a much greater learning curve than others! Before we bought Aquabat, we did alot of research and in the process began to build up our sailor's library! We have spent the day in the real library and when I walked in this morning, one of the books that we have in our home library caught my eye on the shelf. I went over to check it out and we are now going home with 14 books about various parts of life on the water that we haven't read before! In retrospect, probably not the best idea as we brought all of our electronics, we are on bike and I went grocery shopping as well! We will learn eventually!

We have many, many books on board for reference & leisure reading. The ones listed below are just the technical & sailing references that we depend on to function as a working vessel. The cookbooks are definitely for leisure reading as well and upon looking at this list feel as though we may have a few too many of them! But hey... we love food! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crispy Tofu & Coleslaw

So our current trend of one step forward, two steps back continues! We were so excited on Monday while we were having our engine re-aligned as it was the last piece of the puzzle before we could leave. Job finished, we turned on the engine only to have it sound worse than before we did the any work at all on it. In the process of straightening things up, one of our four engine mounts had died.

The engine mounts are basically rubber blocks that absorb the vibration of the engine. These are the same engine mounts that I spent all weekend cleaning. We have decided to replace all of the engine mounts at once as we don't really know what shape the other three are in. They had been installed incorrectly on the engine and this possibly led to some extra wear within them. We are looking at a 2-3 week wait for parts. The bigger concern for us is that during this time we are basically engineless, both for mobility & charging our batteries, so we need to be extra conservative with our energy use! I foresee lots of library time coming up.

We were both craving some “bad” comfort food the other night and as we had already visited the fish and chip shop once this week with some of our visitors, we had to make do with some “healthy” bad food. For everyone who is concerned that Bryce isn't getting enough meat, he had his version of bad food for lunch today with hot chicken, feta and sun dried tomatoes on fresh rolls. The tofu was quite yummy especially when dipped in sweet chili sauce. I can’t wait to make onion rings in the same way! (This is did not work! Will need to experiment further!) The following day, I had leftover coleslaw tossed with leftover crispy tofu and avocado and it was delicious!

In the past, I have not been a huge fan of cabbage but as cabbage is one of the vegetables that keeps for a long time without refrigeration I’m trying to branch out and experiment while it’s a choice, not a necessity. As long as you peel the leaves off the cabbage for use, instead of chopping into it, the cabbage will last for a long while. Potatoes are also on the long life list! The fries were nothing special, yet another thing we are experimenting with. In an effort to minimize oven time, we precooked the potato wedges in the pressure cooker with the intention of grilling them to get them crispy. Next time we will still precook them but try baking them instead. It seems as though they spent along time in the oven under the grill but with very unsatisfying results.

Crispy Tofu & Coleslaw

For coleslaw
Cabbage, roughly shredded/sliced
3 tsp mayonnaise (vegan)
1 carrot, shredded or finely chopped
3 green onions, sliced width wise
salt & pepper, to taste

  1. Toss all ingredients.
  2. Serve chilled.

For crispy tofu
1 package of tofu (500g), rinsed, pressed & cubed
olive oil
½ c cornmeal (polenta)
chili powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste

  1. Toss prepared tofu in olive oil.
  2. Combine cornmeal, chili powder, salt & pepper. In small batches, coat tofu in cornmeal mix.
  3. Place on greased baking tray. Bake for 40 min, turning halfway through.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gnocchi with creamy pesto

We've had a busy weekend. Bryce spent it servicing the jib furler and I spent the weekend sanding and scrubbing rust off of the engine mounts in preparation for today's job. Bryce is currently sitting crouched in the engine bay with the mechanic learning how to realigned the engine and drive train. The words I just heard from the mechanic, “Here comes the water, you’re starting to sink!” And I can slowly hear water trickling in the boat… Awesome! Never fear, we aren't really sinking but this is exactly why Bryce wanted someone else to do it and to teach him how to do this job! From what I understand in order to properly align everything the propeller shaft needs to be moved around a bit, this moves the seal on the shaft that keeps water out and is how the water gets in. Bryce will surely have a much better, more technical explanation once they are finished. 

We had Bryce’s parents up on Tuesday and took them for a last minute sail. We learned a valuable lesson that spur of the moment sails aren’t really the best thing when you have been living at anchor and absolutely nothing is stowed or secured. The following day, Bryce’s brother and his family came up and we went again for another sail. The kids seemed to have a great time. I handed Jack a book on Marine mammals and he went through it and selected the animals that we were going to look for when we were out in the ocean. Sadly, we did not see any Dugong or Blainville’s Beaked Whales but we may have a future marine biologist on our hands! 

With this recipe we have thankfully reached the end of the overripe avocados! I really didn’t want to waste them so very easily turned them into the base of a creamy pesto sauce. We love gnocchi. It’s great on cold nights and is really easy and quick to prepare.

Gnocchi with Pesto Cream Sauce

2 small way overripe avocados, mashed
2 tbsp pesto (homemade or store bought)
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp chili oil (can be substituted with olive oil and crushed red chili)
Gnocchi, prepared as per package instructions
  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients.
  2. Toss with cooked gnocchi.
  3. Serve on a bed of spinach or rocket and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Yesterday Bryce said, “I really want fruitcake. Can you make it?” I never had before but figured I could give it a try! With a little bit of this and a little bit of that using the ingredients that I had around this what I came up with and while this was great yesterday straight out of the oven, today it was even better!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The wind and it's noises

We had great intentions to watch the meteor shower that's been going on the last few days but unfortunately found out that prime viewing time is from 3-5am tomorrow morning... We probably won't make it! Even if we did, due north, where it is supposed to be happening, is looking straight into the bright lights of Mooloolaba, so there's no real chance of us seeing anything anyway. We had a little party instead, just the two of us, and played cards and drank some wine! Nothing really different from a normal night but the intention was there! That being said if we are up anyway come 3 am, we will give it a shot!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Avocado Fritters

Now, this is not so much a recipe that you should rush out and buy the ingredients for. After our issues with electricity a few weeks ago, I have found myself with a surplus of way overripe avocados. I’m talking completely brown and stringy but I didn’t want to throw them away.

Friday, August 9, 2013

I changed a lightbulb!

Things are looking up! The rain stopped, the wind picked up and we have been having beautiful winter days!
Great napping weather!
Bryce fixed the outboard. It turns out there was lots of gunk in the fuel system that needed to be cleaned out and he now knows how to fix it if it happens again!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Something else broke....

Just as we were starting to feel up about things, something else broke. As we went to turn on our anchor light last night, we found that it was dead! That's what we get for putting off that job. The anchor light is a all around white light at the top of the mast that is illuminated when it's dark so that we are visible.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Black bean soup

Spirits have been a bit down here on Aquabat. The icing on the cake was when we woke up yesterday morning and the ENTIRE boat was covered in bird poop! I didn’t take a picture as I was way too annoyed and by the time I saw the humour in the situation, had already cleaned it up. We are struggling with the enormity of everything we need to know and do.

Things just seem to keep breaking and costing money, time and energy to fix. We just can’t keep up. Thankfully we have some really great people on our side. The latest thing to go was our outboard motor for the dinghy. We had had some problems with it resulting from a crack in the fuel tank lid (our fault!) that we had to replace and we are hoping that it’s just some water in the fuel lines that is giving us grief. One of our local hotspots, Dolphin Marine, have been really great and they have just come to pick up Bryce and the outboard. They are going to service it while walking Bryce through the process. He will become a mechanic after all!

We are still putting all of our stuff away but thankfully it looks like it will all fit. We have loved discovering all of the stuff that we packed away and getting to actually use it. I can’t wait to play with some of my fun galley toys once this job is finished! Until then, the pressure cooker remains my solid friend for easy meal preparation. Last night we had a yummy black bean soup. Through sharing recipes, I have realised that for me, food is completely associated to wonderful (or sometimes, not so wonderful) memories. When I make something, I am reminded of the person who first introduced me to a food, someone who inspired it, a wonderful event where the food was had or an experience I had travelling. All of these memories influence and inspire what I cook. In honour of those memories, I have decided to share them. Black bean soup was first made for me many, many years ago by my lovely friend, Amanda. I loved it then and every now and them get a craving for it. She got me hooked.

Black bean soup

½ kilo dried black beans, soaked 4-12 hours, & rinsed
3 small onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 chilis, finely chopped
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp baking soda (apparently aids in the bean digestive process)
1 tbsp olive oil (apparently prevents foam from clogging the vent during cooking)
Salt, 2 tsp + to serve
1 bunch of coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped (stems included)
Lime wedges, to serve
avocado, diced, to serve
  1. Put everything in pressure cooker, except for the cilantro and lime wedges. Cover with water (with about 1 inch of water over). Cook for 12 minutes at 12 psi.
  2. Roughly mash your soup with a potato masher. Add chopped chilantro and mix.
  3. Serve lime wedges & salt and enjoy!
A few notes on this recipe…
I used black turtle beans instead of regular black beans, as that was the closest thing I could find. They may even be the same thing. Mine were dried but it would be just as easy, if not easier to use tinned if you like.

While I made my soup in the pressure cooker, it would just as great in a slow cooker or on the stovetop.

I normally loosely puree the soup with an immersion blender to get some creaminess, but no immersion blender here and it seemed like a lot of work to break out the manual blender (one of my new toys)!

We had our soup with hot cornbread straight out of the oven. It can also be served with tortillas or tortilla chips or would even be great on it’s own!