Lanzarote to Grenada, the last word on food

Stravaig'n the Blue
Thu 4 Feb 2021 14:25
It's day 27 and we're still anchored out in the quarantine area awaiting the PCR test results that will allow us to go ashore and do some food shopping. Time then to take a look back at how things went in the kitchen on the crossing.

I should start by admitting that I didn't always follow my carefully worked out list and, unlike the previous crossing, we quite often ate off-menu! The weather had a lot to do with it - it was fairly wild and windy to begin with but we didn't fancy eating the hot soups, and richer, meat-based meals I'd planned for the cooler weather. We were also concerned about the gas. Allan wasn't keen to have to change a gas bottle in those rough conditions because the gas locker is down at sea level at the back of the boat on the transom platform and in following seas is constantly (and dangerously) awash. We also ate less than I anticipated and the smaller portions meant we didn't use fresh ingredients as quickly as I'd thought we would. And because the fresh food kept so well we didn't need to resort to the store cupboard staples and frozen vegetables.

So, 52 meals, in a strangely even mix: 18 vegetarian, 17 with fish or prawns, and 17 that included meat. We had raw food for 35 meals: a mix of classic and contemporary salads and slaws, as well as plenty of creative rainbow combos - using whatever looked like it needed to be eaten. We had a lot of meals just once: there was the first night noodle soup, a fresh-caught fish in potato and sweetcorn chowder, black bean fajitas, a light Thai chicken soup and a prawn curry, meatballs in tomato sauce with an intriguing and strangely delicious invention - pan-fried turnip chips, and edamame tagliatelle (which cooks really quickly in not a lot of water) with the 4ps: prawns, peas, pesto and Parmesan. We had two meals on toast: pate, and then scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, and just one other egg dish, a courgette frittata.

Boat-made falafel were popular - we had them three times  - and another favourite, grated raw cauliflower, was made into herby tabbouleh with pomegranate three times and into a spicy kedgeree twice. There were only three or four meals with ready-cooked rice, quinoa, grains and black beluga lentils (and these started to slot in towards the end when we were running out of fresh salad stuff), and three using roasted vegetables - the mega squash eventually getting the chop on day 24!

We did eat a lot of courgettes. I bought six, but they were big brutes, and on day 10 I used one that was looking a bit pale in an emergency ratatouille that also used up some getting-slightly-soft red onions and a few of the big had-been-green tomatoes. We had them griddled too in thick slices to eat with with some of the roasted butternut squash, and cut into fine noodles for a raw version of Pad Thai, but mainly they were thickly grated or finely sliced into salads (with fennel or mushrooms, or cucumber, tomatoes and melon). 

Proving (to me at least) that if you buy really fresh ingredients they keep longer, we ate the last avocado (which had started hard as a bullet but was getting quite ripe) on day 18 along with the last few leaves of lettuce and chicory. The fresh parsley stayed fresh, and we ate the last of it in a salad with the final few tomatoes as we arrived here on day 22. The local red peppers I bought in the supermarket in Arrecife lasted astonishingly well - we ate the last one yesterday! Despite all that eating, we still have a couple of potatoes in the cupboard along with a few red onions, and there is still half a cucumber, eight red chillies, fresh ginger an garlic, chunks of red and green cabbage, two more carrots and three beetroots all still in fine condition!

Alongside all the salads and slaws there was plenty protein - almost all of it bought in vacuum packs. There was a variety of cheeses: feta, gorgonzola, grilled goat cheese and halloumi, goat cheese log, a couple of local Canarian cheeses (an aged goat, cow and sheep one, and some queso fresco, which is tangy, comes in a tub and is a bit like solid cottage cheese).

I only cooked meat a few times, pork mince and chicken for stir-frys and some chorizo sausages to go with that emergency ratatouille. But we did have all sorts of vac-packed meats: deliciously sweet little chicken breast ballotines, a moist and tender whole roast chicken that I kept as a treat for the last few days. We also had sliced roast pork and ham, Spanish cured meats and Ibérico chorizo. I'm happy we haven't had to resort to the back-up plan - a can of corned beef - but Allan is ever hopeful that it will get on to the menu one day.

On the fish front we had canned tuna, mackerel and sardines, along with three packs of smoked salmon (with scrambled eggs, in kedgeree and two different salads). From the freezer, I used two lots of raw prawns pan-fried one day and another time made into a Thai curry. Fresh salmon fillets were poached for lunch one day and pan-fried for supper on another. Not sure why, but we still haven't eaten the two packs of boquerones - those tangy, lightly pickled anchovies that the Spanish love - they're still lurking in the fridge. Perhaps they got side swiped to make way for freshly caught fish. We managed to snag a smallish rainbow runner, which we haven't had before but was delicious, meaty and moist - a cross between tuna and mackerel - pan-fried the day it was caught and the rest added to a chowder. We caught two big mahi mahi, and still have 16 fillets in the freezer, the other four pieces eaten with salad and tabbouleh were fresh and fantastic.

Along the way, I made four litres of yogurt. I wondered in the rough seas if it would set as usual, and it did. The yogurt simply ignored the fact it was being swirled and sloshed around in its (well-secured) cosy vacuum flask. The sprouting jar was kept going full-time, with rose radish sprouts, chickpeas and beans, snow peas, and lentils. I baked some bread (ok, not from scratch), in the interests of gas preservation, we had part-baked mini baguettes. Allan's the bread eater and he also had walnut bread on four or five days fresh from the freezer, some vac-packed gluten free sliced seeded bread that was better toasted, and one of those back-up plans that proved to be quite tasty - thin and crunchy wholemeal toasts.

That's it, this blog has taken me two days to write, and we've had our negative test results so we are off into the marina and wondering what the shops and markets in Saint George's have to offer.

All is well.