My chef job on Mareva was to cook and take care of the galley. Of course I helped with everything, but the galley was the one area of the boat where Nemo wouldn’t set foot. I did the cooking. I did the washing up. I did watches, helped sail, and clean. He handled engines, mechanics, and major boat repairs. That was the agreement.
Nemo loved food and needed variety in food. It was the spice of life, and a diverse menu was imperative in his opinion. Everything from Asian to Mexican; Thai to Italian he loved it all, and encouraged creativity in the kitchen. The only limit was my imagination. This was my kind of boat.
Still, Nemo was about as Australian as one can get, and needed meat at almost every meal. As a pescatarian I did not have much experience cooking meat, but I did learn. From eye steak to lamb chops, and of course fish, I got an enormous amount of practice honing my meat-cooking abilities. Still, as much as I liked to cook, making two separate meals almost every time was a bit wearing. By the time we reached Cairns I was ready to cook marina-style: with fresh food, and maybe even a few meals without meat.
The first week we were in Cairns was wonderful. Every second shop was a tour agency in the luxurious backpacker’s paradise. Unfortunately I couldn’t connect to any free wifi in our berth at the end of the finger, but just go a few blocks into town and there was free internet from any number of the local tour agencies. The showers were hot, clean, and everything I had been missing on our passage up and having access to fresh and frozen food was fantastic.
The first week was a rush of boat-cleaning, provisioning, and getting visas to Papua New Guinea. I reveled in the access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and specialty foods. Sure, freshly caught fish was delicious, but I wanted something different: Brie, oyster mushroom puff pastries with wine reduction and a side of lemon garlic asparagus.
4 sheets puff pastry
½ round brie cheese
Oyster mushrooms (coarsely chopped)
1 cloves garlic
½ onion (chopped)
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt (to taste)
Cracked pepper (to taste)
1. Put puff pastry sheets out to thaw 1 hour before preparation.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F
3. Sautee garlic, onion, thyme, salt and pepper over medium heat until onions translucent.
4. Add oyster mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are cooked through.
5. Cut thawed puff pastry sheets into quarters. Place cubes of brie on each pastry square.
6. Spoon onion/mushroom mixture on each square.
7. Pinch closed and place on tin foil covering baking sheet.
1 c red wine
¼ c butter
Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
1 T honey
1 T flour
Sautee onion and thyme in butter until the onion is translucent.
Add wine and honey (if using sweeter wine honey is not necessary) and cook over low heat.
Add flour or cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
Lemon garlic asparagus
½ lb fresh asparagus chopped into 2-inch sections
1/8 c Butter
Steam asparagus for 3-4 minutes so that still slightly crunchy.
Sautee garlic in butter and add lemon.
Pour mixture over asparagus and mix together.