Archive for January, 2011

I’m not in the habit of photographing what I’m eating in restaurants but this bouillabaisse was so good it said ‘blog me’.

Bouillabaisse – the fish soup of Marseilles – is one of those regional dishes that evolved from what was available and is now the subject of much debate as to what should or shouldn’t be in it. The bouillabaisse I ordered at the Bay of Many Coves Resort in Queen Charlotte Sound wouldn’t have passed the authenticity test – it included squid, scallops, prawns and green lipped mussels – but it was deliciously flavoured with stock made from fish bones and crustaceans and it was served with the requisite rouille: a mayonnaise type emulsion loaded with garlic and flecked with threads of saffron. The idea is to slather the rouille on pieces of toast which are then dunked in the soup. As you work your way down through the bowl, losing bits of toast and globs of rouille on the way, the soup gets messier and the flavour deepens. It’s a gloriously greedy way to eat. (more…)

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Bloggging Afloat

You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to maintain a blog in the middle of the Marlborough Sounds on a boat with no electricity and no Wifi.

It was my New Year’s resolution to organize myself blogwise. I still have no blog roll, no links to my published material and it takes me ages to position a photograph. Truth be told, I’m not even sure why I’m doing it but I am determined to get my head around the blog thing because I do like posting my thoughts about food.

With that in mind – and knowing I was going to spend a few weeks afloat – I bought an Ipad and a wireless keyboard. I’ve spent most of my time since then trying to work out how to use it. The biggest hurdle has been trying to get photos from my camera into my blog – it seems I need a connector thing. However, today I think I’ve made a breakthrough by emailing myself a photo taken on my mobile phone, picking it up on my ipad and then posting it into my blog. Hopefully, it’s positioned below.

Taken from the shore, this is our boat, Rongotai. A Jack Cox designed sedan with kauri hull and mahogany topsides, she was launched in 1939 and saw service as a naval patrol boat during the Second World War. Rongotai is reputedly the only civilian boat in NZ to have dropped a depth charge during the war – an explosive event that nearly sank her.

We bought Rongotai in 1992 and we’ve spent every summer (bar one) on her since then. Always in the Marlborough Sounds.

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We have finished the Christmas ham. Which not only means an end to the ubiquitous ham salad/sandwich lunch but it also means we must be about a week into our annual boating holiday. Having lost track of time, I’ve been measuring the days by ham.

I love the whole ham thing at Christmas. Despite the collective sigh of relief as we pick the last scraps from the end of the ham bag, it’s a family tradition I intend to keep up. The ritual starts  when I collect my pre-ordered whole-ham-on-the-bone from Bill, the Gipp St butcher. He sells Murellan pork (no sow stalls) and he prepares hundreds of hams every year. I also buy Harriet’s Glaze. It seems lazy not to make my own but Harriet’s a friend, a fabulous cook, and I’ve been hooked on her marmalade/star anise mix since she gave me some from the very first batch she produced.

Harriet left Wellington for Perth a few weeks ago. She sold her recipe to another caterer but she left me her Sabatier ham knife. I used it to carve this year’s ham, which was served warm from the oven with jersey bennies, slow roasted tomatoes, green salad and a dollop of garlicky mayonnaise. It’s always the same. Our warm glazed ham on Christmas Eve marks the start of the festive season.

On Boxing Day I attack it again, cutting it off the bone in two or three pieces so it can be more easily packed into the small chest fridge on our boat. (Our neighbour’s jack russell gets the bone, which is at least as big as the dog.)

And then it’s ham every day in the Marlborough Sounds: either sandwiches on the deck or sliced and served with new potato salad; shredded into a creamy pasta sauce or combined with gruyere and cream as a filling for French toasted sandwiches – croque monsieur in the cockpit for lunch.

And then it’s all over – another year, another ham. Bon appétit and Happy New Year.





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