Tending yeasty gardens

It took a while but I’m well into cruising mode now with long spells at sea without access to supermarkets and I’m extending my repertoire of home grown products.  A herb garden you think? Umm no… I now have a garden of yeast to tend daily, woo hoo! I have pots of yoghurt, a barrel of fermenting beer,  a ginger beer bug and to-die-for yummy bread dough all on the go at once.

The yoghurt is the least demanding, just a few tablespoons of active yoghurt with reconstituted milk powder and pop it into the EasyYo thermos for 8 hours or so.  Ta – da, fresh pot of pro-biotic goodness ready for the fridge.  Lots of recipes that call for cream, milk or even water can use yoghurt and I’m really keen to try making fresh cheeses suitable for hot climates.

We have a brewing kit aboard so there is a batch of Amber Ale now in the fermenter bubbling away – that’s the little yeasts turning sugar to alcohol. In a few days when they’ve finished the job I’ll bottle the beer, store it as cool as possible in the bilge and start a batch of Dark Ale in the fermenter. Theory says the beer is ready 3 weeks after bottling and the flavour gets better both with time and low temperatures.  As we are impatient when thirsty and on a boat in the tropics it rarely makes it to the better stage. Note to self, hide bottled beer in bottom of really inconvenient locker..

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The ginger beer bug is way cool. It’s grated ginger, sugar, yeast and water all mixed together to do their stuff.  After only a day in this heat there’s lots of frothy bubbly activity and each day I ‘feed’ it with more grated ginger and sugar to keep the living ginger yeasty alive and happy.  Why? To turn this into fizzy drink treats. We don’t have a soda stream and carting a months worth of coke/lemonade etc to the boat is heavy. It’s super easy, strain off the yeasty liquid and add it to a few litres of extra-sweetened fruit juice or ginger tea (simply grated ginger steeped in hot water, cooled drained and sweetened) for ginger ale and bottle it.  Make it sweeter than you think as the yeast eats the sugar to create the fizzzzz, the longer you leave it to drink, the drier it gets.  I’m still experimenting, some batches are awesome and some, well… aren’t.

And finally the bread. A wholesome boat-baked loaf is a real treat for us here in Malaysia and I use the ‘Famous New York Times no-knead’ recipe where the yeast does all the work of kneading and flavour adding.  All I need to do is mix flour salt yeast and water in a bowl with a spoon for 2 minutes and leave the bowl on the counter overnight or over the day to let it bubble and grow tasty. I also fold/flour/rest in the bowl before turning into a tin to bake – its a one bowl no mess affair on Tiki. The resulting bread is like a rustic air-pocketed chewy sourdough with a crispy crust, sooo good.

There’s quite a few more foods and drinks derived from yeasts and fermenting I’d love to try just as soon as boat space allows. Please let me know if you have any boat – friendly in tropical climate suggestions!

Photo credit: Tne gorgeous bread picture is from a food blog which I love http://www.theculinarychronicles.com  Mine turns out just the same (honest!) but I’m without a camera until we reach the next big city.

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Tiki – what’s in a name?

We have attended a few naming ceremonies and heard of superstitions surrounding the changing of a boat name.  In our case we bought our Young Sun 43 already named Tiki and saw no reason at all to change it, actually we embraced it and who wouldn’t?  Tiki or a Tiki hut conjures up images of turquoise waters, white sands, palm trees, tropical flowers and plenty of rum drenched cocktails complete with umbrella sticks.  Mai Tai anyone? Oh yeah…

On a more spiritual side (no pun intended) Tiki is revered and honoured with magnificent carvings, statues, masks and ornaments throughout Polynesia and the Pacific.  I was fairly ignorant of this and after lots of on line searching for a definitive meaning, settled on something between God and Creator.  This may not be accurate but it is my take any hoot.

In Maori there are many Tiki progenitors – one each for the birds, fish, mankind and even the kumara.  Yes, kumara as in sweet potato. Being a nature & plant and food loving freak I’m very cool indeed with this side to our Tiki name meaning.

We were so lucky to be able to meet the original owners who (over lots of rum, lime and sugar-based cocktails!) told us they named Tiki from the 1960’s TV series “Adventures in Paradise”.  Three seasons and over 90 episodes took viewers aboard the 85’ schooner ‘Tiki’ with Captain Troy – a Korean War vet cruising the South Pacific looking for various ways to make ends meet in order to finance the live-aboard sailing dream.  Paul and Gise had acquired her in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989 and demasted her ketch rig. After re-rigging her as a sloop they named her Tiki and proceeded with their own adventure in paradise, working as delivery skippers and cruising the Pacific for 8 years.

Well that sealed it, she really was meant to be ours – original name and all.

 

Do you have a story to tell about the name of your boat?  We’d love to hear it!

an aside…

The beautiful carvings or lucky charms often worn as neck pendants are called Hei Tiki.

Kon-Tiki was a raft built in 1947 by Norwegian Thor Hayerdahl for an amazing 100 day journey across over 3,700 nautical miles of the Pacific.  

Contiki is a tour operator for 18-35 year olds with the great motto #NOREGRETS.

New chapter for saltygardener and Tiki

Hiya! it’s no secret I’ve been awol a few years from posting here and so many wonderful journeys and events happened in that time.  Neil has captured some fantastic anchorages and bits of Tiki’s ongoing refurbishment on our site at SY Tiki – Adventures on a Young Sun 43 Both sites need updating and overhauling and it’s on the nice job list for me now I have the time.

A quick summary is we journeyed up and down East Australia spending 2011 between Queensland’s coral coast down to Sydney and all of 2012 on Sydney Harbour.  2013 started in Tasmania for a haul out and refit before cruising to Pittwater, getting married (yippee!) and then north again to Brisbane where we stayed until May 2014.

The adventure continues as our route takes us further north and over the top of Australia to Darwin and into Indonesia. Let’s see how I go this time with the updates… I’m more consistent with Twitter – @saltygardener or Instagram – @saltygardener if you’d like to follow me.

Wishing you fair winds and rich soils.

Waiting for weather windows

Doesn’t matter if we are at sea cruising or in a safe anchorage for the next round of renovations, everything depends on the weather.  It decides safe from scary at sea, and possible to marginal on most of the job list.

We had such big plans for this summer in Sydney Harbour.  Hard work coupled with an injection of funds from newly found work were going to bring the boat to a new level of wow.  What we didn’t account for was the wettest summer imaginable.  It is disheartening to clean back, sand and prime an area only to wait an eternity for a 2-3 day dry spell.  It just hasn’t happened.  Neither have many of the well-intended jobs.

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Disheartened yes, but not discouraged.  It has to stop sometime and we’ve remained positive.  For example we have progressed immensely on the matter of stopping the leaks, the decks look scrubbed clean and we get to keep the tanks filled with yummy rainwater ;0)

 

Tiki picture showcase

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Tiki showcase, a set on Flickr.

Everyone has been asking for some more Tiki Pics so here she is – enjoy!

Catching and preparing crabs

Cooked Mudcrab
A really impressive first catch, cooked in salted water with a little sugar for 10-12 mins.

I’ve been on the hunt for crabs ever since we arrived in Australia as they are right at the top of my list of favourite sea foods.  It all started with family fishing trips to the Swan River and Mandurah Estuary as a child. I have wonderful memories of a massive copper pot of freshly scooped Blue Manners boiling on a campfire – newspaper laid out on the foldout table with bread buttered and white pepper and vinegar at the ready for the gourmets amongst us.  We’d stuff the warm crab meat sandwich to bursting and the buttery juices would run down my hands with each delightful bite – heaven.

All grown up and living on the other side of the world in London they were not so easy to catch – I’m no contender for the “Deadliest Catch” series that’s for sure.   I resolved to them being caught and prepared for me, which tended to leave me somewhat disappointed.  When I first met my partner and planned to move onboard a boat for a large part of the summer I straight away called home and asked mum if she would bring me over a couple of drop net pots on her next visit.  Strange thing to ask for I guess, but she didn’t even blink.  They arrived as priority in her luggage (what a great mum!) and I couldn’t wait to get crabbing again.

Sailing Brittany in northern France each summer and learning from the locals I would head ashore on the low tide to set my pots near rock and hope for a selection of small rock crabs.  They never yielded much meat but really added that essential oomph to any stock or our staple seafood bouillabaisse.  The divine brown and spider crabs which could be purchased cooked or live from the  fishmongers were brought up from a depth that my simple pots could never reach and so became a regular treat for us when dining out.

Keep an eye on these masterful houdinis as they can easily escape many containers.  Encountering this one walking around the foredeck was an interesting experience.

Which is why I am so excited to have the larger crabs back on my catch list here in Eastern Australia.  Whilst we are in northern climes with mangrove-fringed shores it is the mudcrab I’m after as they will not be around as we head south.  My first beauty crawled into the pot I had thrown off the back of the boat just yesterday and the cooked version of him is starring in this blog header – gorgeous isn’t he?  The hardest part is deciding how to cook them – an online search for recipes returns a huge list.  Not only was he the first “muddie” I’d ever caught, it was the first caught crab in such a long time for me that he got the royal treatment.  Half was consumed warm and unadorned and was eye-rollingly delicious.  The other half was chilled overnight in the fridge and meat was extracted to be served tossed through spaghettini with olive oil, lemon juice and a few chilli flakes.

Male Blue Swimmer crab caught using a tin of sardines for bait

The same pot and bait caught a couple of blue swimmers today which are currently going zzzz in the freezer.  Until I get used to the fact that they are here in my life again with abundance I will be treasuring these guys steamed naturally, buttering the bread in anticipation, a little vinegar and black pepper at the ready.

I can’t wait to try our luck at catching a few spanner crabs, or Moreton Bay bugs as we head south to explore the coast towards Sydney.  Whatever we catch I’m very glad to say that crab is back on the menu!

Young Sun 43 – our version

I came across a good review of Young Sun 43 yachts by TalkoftheDock. My SY Tiki was a ketch rigged centre cockpit, twin cabin version of the Young Sun 43 built for a US owner. She survived a de-masting in Hurricane Hugo Sept 1989 and is now cutter rigged and with some ballast removed weighs a mere 20 tonnes – a lot lighter that the original specs. Her revamped rig was designed so she sailed like a dream in the lightest of winds (view the superb results of our light wind Parachute trials) She also has a refurbished Perkins 4.236 engine located under the centre cockpit and accessed between the galley and workstations.

When researching her history it was difficult to sort through all the conflicting posts of information and the review has certainly shed some light and helped clarify a few things.

A lovely Young Sun 43 pilothouse cutter

The first Young Suns were designed by Ron Amy, built in 1978 in Taiwan and sold into both the US and Australian markets under different names. It was available as either a center cockpit cutter or pilothouse cutter and there were four interior layouts available. The little sister was the popular Perry designed Young Sun 35.

In the US market the design morphed into similar versions built at the Formosa Boat Builders yard. She had at least three cousins – the Formosa 44, Spindrift 43 and later, a Hampton 43 that was built in China.

via Young Sun 43 Review.

Sea blogs from a wannabe self-sufficient gardener on a nomadic journey aboard a sailboat

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