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The Naked Atlantic Chef

It’s a sunny morning and the wind’s down to 16 knots, weh hey! Still on the nose ‘though so we’re still ploughing into it. I’ve removed my thermal top as it’s getting warmer too, up to 15 degrees according to the forecast, although it would appear that there’s a cold front going through tomorrow and the temperature will plunge back to 8 degrees.

Boring day yesterday, the birds all disappeared. I’m not sure if this was because Mike was questioning whether they really are Fulmars and giving me some tips on recognition or whether there was some other reason, but whatever I’ve seen no wildlife for 24 hours now. We spent yesterday in fairly strong winds from the West so beating into it all day, I tacked just before lunch so that the fridge was facing down hill and I could open it to get out cheese, ham and tomatoes without swearing too much. I also took the precaution of removing the mince for dinner in the late afternoon before tacking back onto starboard.

Lydia thinks I should be writing a cookery book of mid Atlantic Recipes but I’m not sure it would have wide appeal. Here’s a recipe from last night:

Penne Bolognese. Remove your mince base (which you will have thoughtfully prepared in advance when making too much mince for the Shephards Pie), from the fridge, this is best done on the port tack. Decant it into the pressure cooker. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes. Take a saucepan from the sink, wipe it down with a bit of kitchen paper to remove excess porridge. Add sea water, about a cup full. Start to boil it. Decide that the pan is really too small, so decant it into a bigger one. Spill some hot water onto your foot (optional). Whilst the water is heating up again open the ‘dry goods’ locker and find that the pasta is right at the back take out oats and cous cous tupperware boxes. Put them on the cushion whilst removing pasta. Retrieve the cous cous and oats from across the cabin where they have been thrown by the boat’s motion. Re stow. When the water is boiling open penne pasta tupperware box, wonder what would be a good measure, decide that a couple of handfuls is probably about right. Add one handful, as the boat leaps over a wave, watch as the lid from the saucepan sails past the chopping board against which you thought you had wedged it securely, onto the deck, curse a little, find that you can’t keep your balance yourself, slide across the boat spilling about 30 pieces of pasta as you go, curse a bit more. Regain your composure, wonder if the pasta mixed with dust, water, hair etc would still be OK. Decide probably not, add another handful to the sauce pan, stir, put the lid back on. Clean up the pasta, chuck out of the hatch. Heat up the sauce in the pressure cooker. When pasta is done, drain, add a few spoonfuls of sauce. Take a spoon, wedge yourself into the chart table, balance the downhill half of a pan on a book to keep it more level. Hold on and eat.

From what I can tell the other boats have instant meals, tins, packets and so on, I prefer to cook as much as possible because, as I enjoy food, the cooking is part of the fun. I’ve kept the fridge running so far all the way and it hasn’t been that difficult to keep the batteries topped up. I reckon I’ll get through most of this week on the remains of the bolognese sauce, a packet of polish sausages with a long shelf life and two packets, one of mince one of sausages that I put in the freezer compartment of the fridge. After that it’ll be tins, fish if I can catch any, and salami which I’ve got in the forepeak and should keep for ages. I’ve enough onions, potatos, cabbage, neaps and butternut to keep me going too.

I had scrambled eggs and bacon on toast this morning in celebration of it’s being Sunday and that the weather is relatively benign. I’ve only had coffee a few times since we left, I find if it’s at all rough I just don’t feel like it, and it’s the same with alcohol, I’m happier with a nice cup of tea. Speaking of which I do enjoy nice tea, currently I’m on Lapsang souchong from Booths, a Northern kind of up market marks and sparks, Cathy introduced me to their teas and they are both really good and not at all expensive. I prefer leaf tea to bags but am happy drinking anything.

If it settles down some more I may have a wash and a shave too, I’ve decided that I don’t like my protobeard, it’s too straggly and a bit grey so may shave it off, so a photo may be attached as previously intimated. I think you’ll all agree it looks more Andy Murrray than Captain Bird’s Eye’ so not worth saving.

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