Sunday, 16 September 2012

3rd Leg Day 7: Persisting Doldrums And Puri


Puri is the collective name for bread fried in oil. You can make bread in several ways. With or without leavening. Then bake it in the oven, over the coals, fry it in a dry pan, light oil or deep oil. All come out slightly different, depending on the leavening, the flour, the yeast and the cooking method.

Vetkoek, the South African version of the bread, is made with yeast, cake flour, salt and water.

We used white bread flour, brown bread flour salt, water and instant yeast. This is part of our last legs dishes aboard. We have five odd days left on this voyage. We may make another batch of these breads using sourdough, and the rest of the flour, which includes rye. But that is for another day.


1½ cup white bread flour

1½ cup brown bread flour

½ packet instant yeast (5ml or 1 teaspoon)

½ -1 cup lukewarm water

1 teaspoon salt

Dollop of cooking oil


Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly, then add the water a little at a time while mixing. The dough needs to have the consistency of normal bread dough. When it has, turn it out on a floured kneading board and knead for ten to twenty minutes. Wet the hands with a small amount of oil and pat the dough ball on the outside to cover it with oil against drying. Then cover and leave to rise for an hour or two until the dough has doubled in volume.

Knead the dough back to the original volume, then roll it out into a sausage shape of around 60-80 mm (2½-3 inches). Cut 20mm (¾ inch) slices off this sausage and roll them out on the kneading board to about 3-4 mm (Just under a ¼ inch) thick. Fry them one at a time in a little oil. Turn them over after a minute or two. They may puff up, it is normal. Put them out on a paper towel to drain. Let them cool, then dig in.

We made this to go with some mince dish that Dawid wants to pprepare for dinner. At present the breads are sitting pretty in a bowl and we are sitting here salivating, wanting to dig in. I had a sample, which tasted delicious. A low GI vetkoek, complete with a dollop of smooth apricot jam.

Our doldrums are continuing in respect of the lack of wind. All of us now had our fill of reading, watching movies and playing cards and backgammon. The weather is not assisting either. The overnight low is now 30ºC (86ºF). The humidity has risen to over 75%, which makes for very high levels of discomfort. I took a bucket salt water shower this morning around 10h00. The relief was like heaven, but of short duration. Perhaps I shall do it after dinner as well. The sea water is tepid, like lukewarm tea.came out,

We had a visit from a red helicopter this morning. They circled us once, then flew back where they came from. We think it is the Coaast Guard people from Great Inagua. A comfoting feeling to see them around. Then there won't be pirates. And a sure sign that civilisation is near.

It is so hot that we all are seeking shelter the sun outside, as the saloon is now like a sauna. Especially after frying the vetkoek.

It is in fact so hot and humid that I feel like I am losing my blog stories. I have never felt like this before.

Except for the time we hiked the Fish River Canyon in the south of Namibia. Where the day temperature in winter goes to somewhere in the middle forties and there isn't any shade at all. You dry out like biltong and your tongue sticks to your palate, in spite of having water close by. It's just that you dry out so fast. At least the evenings were tolerable and we had to make a fire every night against the coolness of the river.

Or perhaps the time when I lived in Nigeria, in the Niger River delta. Right in the middle of the swamps. Where the temperature goes only to 35ºC, but the humidity is over 90% most of the time. You sit soaked in your own sweat. Ther I learnt to wear loose fitting clothes, it helps to cool you. Also, you don't chafe as badly as with tight fitting clothes.

But here on the boat I hardly wear anything, just swimming trunks. So I don't chafe. I also don't move about that much. And here is no place to hide from the het or the humidity. The cabins get sweltering hot from the sun baking down on them all day. Not even the open hatches help with cooling. The engines actually help to heat up the cabins.

I have a good understanding now of how the seafarers of old felt in these climes. Especially when they were becalmed. Not something to laugh about.

We are now about six hundred nautical miles away from our destination. Hopefully we get wind, in which case we shall be arriving in Fort Lauderdale sometime early Friday morning. The weather forecast is for wind from Wednesday (next tomorrow in Nigerian dialect) onwards. We shall then be in the Bahamas Channel and be sailing with the Gulf Stream. This should give us a slingshot heave on our way.

I suspect that we shall after our arrival experience real Everglades weather, not the relative coolness of the open ocean. If the “skeeters don't get get you, then the 'gators will”, as the song goes. Perhaps we shall also partake of some Southern Comfort and relax before the final spit & polish for hand over of the boat.

And then, just before sunset, we hooked a fish. To the great delight of Dawid, who has craved for sushi for the whole voyage. Had our heads spinning with stories about how good it is and how delicious fresh Tuna is. The fish was a small Bonito, one of the Tuna family. Dawid's dream come true.

So he landed the fish, we coached him on dressing the fish, then left himto his own designs. The skipper and I had a quiet moment on the trampoline watching the sunset. An hour later we went to look for Dawid and found him gaily soldiering on, cutting up his fish. He vwanted to cut the fish into steaks, but found out halfway through his efforts, that it may have been easier to cut out the fillets and ditch the rest of the fish.

Whatever the case, he and I had some sashimi, complete with soy sauce and wasabi. Great stuff.

This blog also linked to Yeastspotting!

Authored by Johan Zietsman
Last updated on 2012-12-12

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