The contents of our freezer on board are now really on the last legs. About one third of a head of cabbage, the last scraps of the last fenugreek sprouts, mixed with a few leftover mung bean sprouts from a previous harvest, three or four portions of frozen fish and a half portion of frozen chicken breasts.
In the pantry there remains some rice, chicken stock and three dried shitake mushrooms. From the the refrigerator I dug out the last half cup of white wine, all the way from Robertson in the Western Cape. There was also the last of the green masala paste I brought from home.
You guessed it. On my last turn to cook on this voyage, I made a chicken risotto. To the ingredients outlined above, I added a small dried Jamaican chili I obtained from a small grocery on St Maarten.
250 g deboned chicken breasts, cubed
1 dessert spoon green masala paste
1 onion, chopped
3 dried shitake mushrooms, redydrated in ½ cup hot water and chopped
1 dessertspoon chicken stock powder
½ cup white wine
1 dried Jamaica chili pepper, finely chopped
1 cup finely sliced cabbage ( as for coleslaw)
1 cup fresh sprouts, I used a mix of fenugreek and mung bean sprouts because that's what was left over in the refrigerator.
½ cup milk. I did not have cream, so I used milk.
2-3 cups hot water
dollop of cooking oil
300 ml uncooked rice. I used long grain rice obtained from the grocer in St Maarten. This one has more starch than the South African version.
Marinate thye chicken cubes in the msala paste for thirty minutes. Fry the chicken and mushrooms in a lightly oiled frying pan or wok. The chicken must start to stick to the wok. Remove from the wok and keep it warm.
Add the chopped onion and chili to the wok and fry until the onion goes brown, then add the fresh cabbage and sprouts. Stir fry this until the vegetables go soft, then add the dry rice. Stir fry the rice until it starts to pick up a colour, then add some water. Keep on frying the rice until the water has been soaked up. Then add in sequence the chicken stock dissolved in some water, then the wine, then water as required. Keep on stirring the dish to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the wok and burns.
Keep stirring and adding water as required. When the rice is almost done, add the chicken and mushroom back to the dish and simmer until done. Add the milk towards the end and stir it through properly. Add more water if required.
We sat around the oat today, cleaning up messes and planning the rest of the spit & polish work. We want to have the boat as clean as possible before we get alongside at Fort Lauderdale. This will alleviate our task in the marina. We shall then be doing the bulk of the work here at sea, where there is a breeze or two to cool you down. As opposed to the oppressive, sweltereing heat of a basically inlnd marina. Our destination marina is about two odd miles inland, so there won't be any sea breeze to cool you in your labours
The various schemes that we think up not to do work in a hot marina are quite hilarious. Overtly, all these schemes are aimed at not to have to work in the marina. But underlying to all of this is a desire not to work at all and have a decent weekend before the final handover and the flight back home.
As the situation stands at present, we are about three hundred odd nautical miles from our final destination. This should take about three days. But we are getting almost hysterical about this planning. We have misjudged the sailing conditions by a wide margin for the last four or five days. We had counter currents and a lack wind, resulting in some anxious calculations on fuel reserves. We went so far as to dip both the diesel tanks, as both fuel gauges have now stuck in the three quarter full position. Never to reset again. Your mind does strange things to you when things like these happen. There is a roller-coaster of emotions going through your head.
These accentuate the feeling that we have had enough of these weird failures. We need to get some psychological rest. It is not nice to sit in fear of the next breakage, even if you are resourceful. And this on a brand new boat.
At least the wind is playing along and for the third day in a row we are sailing at over six knots average. This goes a long way in soothing the nerves, let alone eating away at the miles remaining. Hopefully we shall have currents with us after passing through the Bahama Channel, which will work like a slingshot to end our voyage.
We are now just fifty miles away from entering the Bahama Channel, so here's to the hope that there is no more counter currents and that we have fair winds for the rest of our voyage.
Authored by Johan Zietsman
Last updated on 2012-12-12