Wednesday, January 17, 2018

More on Boats, Bits and Pieces.

Having hunted high and low, I finally came across this picture which was sent to me a year or two back. It is our Thames Barge Iota now just disintegrating at Windsor apparently. I must say, she doesn't look much like the Iota I remember at all. We had a wheelhouse at the stern for a start.  It is impossible to read the name on the transom (back end) but I was definitely told it was her. Looking at this picture again, I am beginning to wonder. Whichever barge this is though, it is sad to see it so neglected.

Anyway, after Sunfish my father decided to buy a boat which was actually built as a yacht and he found one in, I think, South Africa. She was brought back to England and my parents moved on board with my three young cousins who were being cared for by my parents. We had lots of fun times on Pamara although by then I was living away from my family. My dad retired and took Pamara out to Malta where they lived for a few years taking trips here and yon. For some of their voyages I joined them some I was unable to. I was with them in 1969 when they went to Yugoslavia (as it was then called) and the day I left was the day they walked on the moon. John, first husband, and I caught a cab to the airport and the driver had the radio tuned into the landing. He figured we had a TV on board, we didn't. The broadcast was in English but with commentary in the local language so we had trouble figuring out what was going on. We saw it all when we got back to the UK. My father really never got to see any of it which was a shame as he would have been very interested. They left Malta and cruised the Med stopping at various ports in Italy and France. I joined them in Southern France. Finally ending up in Alicante, Spain where they eventually sold Pamara and bought a delightful house to live in outside the town. I loved that part of Spain.

One thing I neglected to tell you about Silver Sunfish, she was used for mine sweeping during the war. Obviously she survived.

Tuesday our Foot Nurse came and was a bit took aback I think to see Matt with his air cast boot. However, he took it off and she treated his feet and mine of course.

Matt finally got his Health Card in the mail too.

Oh, and did you you Tuesday January 16 was Dragon Day?

I am very fond of soups and broths with beans in them so here is one that appealed to me from Bon Appétit today. Great food for dragons.

Brothy Beans and Farro with Eggs and Mushrooms

Stirring a raw egg yolk into each bowl at the end adds silkiness, heft, and protein. But this dish is satisfying without it, too. The secret to delicious-tasting beans is infusing the cooking liquid with aromatics like onions and garlic, then seasoning it liberally at the end until it's just shy of salty

1 small onion, unpeeled, halved
1 medium carrot, peeled
4 garlic cloves, 1 smashed, 3 finely chopped
1 ½ cups dried gigante, runner, or lima beans, soaked overnight, drained
1 cup farro or spelt, soaked overnight, drained
Kosher salt
2 red Fresno chiles, seeds removed, finely chopped
? cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs finely chopped rosemary
8 oz maitake or shiitake mushrooms, torn into bite-size pieces
2 tsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
4 large egg yolks, room temperature

1. Bring onion, carrot, smashed garlic, beans, and 14 cups water to a boil in a medium pot, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are creamy but still intact, 70–90 minutes (time will vary depending on size and age of beans). Using a slotted spoon, transfer beans to a medium bowl; discard onion, carrot, and garlic.

2. Return broth in pot to a boil and add farro. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until grains are tender, 25–30 minutes. Remove from heat and return beans to pot; season generously with salt. Let sit 15 minutes to infuse beans and grains with flavor. (If you have the time, cook the beans and the grains a day ahead so they can really soak up the broth. If not, no worries—just keep going.)

3. Cook chopped garlic, chiles, and ? cup oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until garlic is golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in rosemary. Transfer chile-garlic oil to a small bowl; season with salt.

4. Wipe out skillet and heat remaining 3 Tbsp. oil over medium-high. Cook mushrooms, undisturbed, until browned underneath, about 2 minutes. Toss and continue to cook, tossing every so often, until mushrooms are browned and crisp in most spots, another 6–8 minutes. Splash vinegar over mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and give skillet a few shakes to combine.

5. Ladle stew into bowls and top each with some crisped mushrooms and an egg yolk (if using); drizzle with chile-garlic oil.

6. Break egg yolk and stir into soup just before eating to give it a more silky consistency.

7. Do Ahead: Stew (without mushrooms, egg yolks, and chile-garlic oil) can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill

Author: Andy Baraghani
Source: Bon Apppétit

Have a great day

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Invalid, The Next Boat,

By the way, Matt is getting around a bit more now and helping me more so I am not feeling as frazzled. He sees the fracture clinic doc on the 23rd and I wouldn't be surprised if he says Matt can dispense with the air cast - generally referred to as the boot - sometimes not that politely. His physiotherapist has been 3 times and is not coming again until after we have been to the clinic. She has given him a bunch of exercises and told him to walk around the apartment and along the corridor. He is pretty good about walking, not so good at doing the exercises. Over the weekend I did them as well. They are extremely simple but intended to strengthen the leg muscles.

I was asked how long I had lived on the Thames Barge I wrote about yesterday, but I couldn't honestly remember. I know my dad sold it and bought the MFV shown in the picture. The Silver Sunfish. This vessel was a lot hardier than the Thames Barge and could be taken anywhere. Mind you as I have said in the past, they row across the Atlantic. She was a little shorter than the barge which was about 85 ft. long and I think Sunfish was closer to 80 ft.  It's a long time ago now so don't hold me to it. With Sunfish we went further north to Denmark and Norway. Travelling through the Keil Canal where we were met by my German penfriend of the time. Don't think she liked me as I never heard from her again. I always remember her saying how terrified she was hearing Hitler's voice on the radio. WWII was very close at that time. I remember we had a young man crewing for us (on another trip) who spoke German. We dropped into German ports amongst others and he was almost in tears because a young German was telling him about the brutality of the Russians to the German POWs. My father's remarks indicated that it was probably in retaliation for the way the Germans had treated the Russians during the war.

With the Sunfish, Ostend, Belgium became a regular port of call, my parents belonged to the yacht club there and I had all kinds of friends there. We would go dancing and partying particularly at the Kursaal which was more or less what we would call a casino. Because my name is Josephine, I was known as the La Petite Impératrice (Little Empress). At least a couple of my parent's Belgian friends were at my first wedding. We also got gifts from other countries from people we had met during international race meetings in Ostend. Now, many years later I wonder what happened to some of these people. Before my father sold this boat for another, I had gone to live in London in a two room flat with shared bathroom. Bit of a change.

I have no doubt that many of you have an Instant Pot or even a pressure cooker. I have neither but this could be made in a regular pan although it would, of course, take somewhat longer.

Colombian-Style Red Beans

Get these spicy South American beans on the dinner table in an hour, no soaking required. The red beans come out tender without falling apart, swimming in a spicy sauce flecked with chorizo and tomatoes. Serve with pan-fried plantains and rice for a simple and satisfying meal. You can find
achiote paste in the international aisle of some grocery stores or at Hispanic grocery stores.

1 Tbs canola oil
2 oz fresh Mexican chorizo, casings removed
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 Tbsp.)
3 plum tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 tsp achiote paste
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
1/2 lbs dried red kidney beans (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro

1. Program a 6-quart programmable electric pressure cooker to Sauté on Normal heat. Add oil to cooker, and heat until warm. Add chorizo; cook, stirring occasionally to crumble, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, achiote paste, cumin, and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down, about 5 minutes. Stir in stock and beans.

2. Close and lock lid of cooker; turn pressure release valve to sealing position. Program cooker to cook on Manual on High Pressure for 45 minutes. Turn pressure valve to the venting position to quickly release pressure (steam) from cooker until float valve drops. Carefully remove lid. Divide beans between 8 small bowls; garnish with cilantro.

Servings: 8

Source: Cooking Light

Have a great day