In the sea between the Nicoletta

Here I am, at the first post and just back from a delightful week aboard La Bum: the Croatian coast and Luigi’s hospitality always up to the most demanding expectations and absolutely priceless sailing companions – Cristiano, Marco and Pascal, little more than a century in total of excellent company and great nautical enthusiasm. I really enjoyed a princess cruise on the first boarding on our commander’s new lady… .how to reciprocate? Of course, as a good Romagnola, the answer is only one … with food! Once I have become familiar with the on-board kitchen and related storage, here I am in the kitchen, to fund the experiences of my over 40 years of sailing and piñatas across all the seas of the world. And since we are on the subject, I want to take advantage of it to share a little Italian-style culinary digressions with the whole beautiful international group of La Bum. You will not want me if the recipe book is a bit full-bodied, I really hope for some interesting ideas for all the volunteers who will take turns in the pleasant task of tickling the crew’s palates.

Nowadays we only talk about cooking, unquestionably at a much, much more refined level than what can be obtained in a somewhat wild environment like that of our adventures. Certainly an oceanic or Mediterranean navigation that is does not seem a particularly Gourmand context…. Yet, take away everything but not the good food !!

A little hint of the galley, my cross and my delight: certainly while sailing among the islands of the Mediterranean, a phenomenal abundance of raw materials just a stone’s throw away (or rather less than a day of navigation) allows you to indulge yourself in highly effective preparations , however, luckily we left behind the water in the barrels and the biscuits with traditional worms, even very far from the more traditional routes.
Flour, sugar, milk and eggs are found everywhere and surely, juggling fresh supplies with imagination and with the rich canned goods that you can find in the inevitable minimarket, it is very easy and also fun to delight the rest of the crew with some unrepeatable harmony of saporini.

All the following culinary suggestions have been successfully tested from Tromso to Australia, passing through Croatia and Greenland, using what is available and limiting transport from Italy to Parmesan, some yeast for bread and for cakes (a I fancy this because yeast is found everywhere, but I have made an eye on Italian products and I am happy with it) and a few bags of jelly for desserts (see chapters on desserts to come)

It is useless to go around it, he does not take the bread out of an Italian’s mouth, so let’s start with the first of the musts.

Bread and Pasta Pizza:
500 gr flour 00 (or better 0 Manitoba), or 350 gr flour 00 and 150 of semolina
310ml warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon of abundant salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of freeze-dried brewer’s yeast
A tablespoon of powdered milk (if there is none, it doesn’t matter)

Mix all the ingredients well until the dough becomes elastic and let it rise in a warm place in a large bowl covered with cling film until doubled in volume.

For the pizza or focaccia, roll out the rested dough on an oiled baking tray (otherwise it’s like rolling out a rubber ball) and season to taste after the first leavened dough, for the bread re-knead and make loaves, make a few cuts and put back to rise for an hour.
Bake in a hot and medium oven. Usually boat ovens squeeze underneath and leave raw inside, La Bum is no exception, consider carefully before deciding how to regulate it. If it’s too violent I keep it dachshund and bake halfway up with a pan underneath.

Then there is the quick method of French-style baking… I don’t say it because “faffine”, but it was taught to me by a French friend who works on boats and is a wizard of optimization.
The rapid system provides a double dose of yeast and about half a liter of water. You knead the dough well in a bowl until the sticky mass becomes sticky elastic (give it in and you will understand), try to take it off your hands and let it rise for an hour (which is usually enough to double the volume).
Work the dough on a very floured surface gently and with your fingertips trying to give it a slightly spherical shape, transfer it to a loaf pan and let it rest in the oven for another half hour. Cook over medium high heat until golden brown.
The advantage of the French version is that in a couple of hours you will get a beautiful, elegant and fragrant loaf that is easy to cut and transform into a nice tray of sandwiches or French toast for a rich breakfast.


The eppiauar (the purists forgive but we like to write how we eat …) is sacred everywhere, maybe we would like to deprive ourselves of it? The real drawback is the drinks, only beer is always available and at relatively acceptable prices, but some stock of sparkling wine or a bottle of rum regularly arrive on the wings of the crew changes to brighten the magical evenings of a lonely harbor.

If there is barely a moment between the dropping of the anchor and the disappearance of the sun below the horizon (in Svalbaard there is no hurry because there is all night available for over three months, but from our parts you have just 4 or 5 minutes of sky of fire which is really a shame to get lost) do not give up to make yourself some cuddles, so many peanuts and chips last long enough even in the galley (just do not open the bag).

By way of inspiration, my most popular:

Nice snacks:
Stuffed crepes cut into rolls, small toasts with lettuce tomato and crispy bacon or with Milano salami (or Hungarian or American or New Zealand …) mayonnaise and boiled egg or scrambled eggs with cheese and salad, strips or cubes of chicken marinated with lime oil, paprika salt pepper and sesame passed to the pan and strung on a toothpick.

The pinzimonio is wonderful with an anchovy sauce dissolved in hot oil with a clove of dressed garlic. If you want a touch of class, just add a little (a little) vinegar (better simil balsamic) and a little oregano to the cauda bath.

Tzasiki is made with finely chopped garlic yogurt (a garlic press is an excellent tool even on a boat) and chopped cucumber, pepper and a drizzle of oil.
Guacamole is just as easy and satisfying: crushed avocado, lime, chopped onion, diced tomato, chilli powder (or two drops of Tabasco), salt and a little oil (very little).
Or chopped spring onion, lime, tomato, parsley and chilli. With raw vegetables (celery is the top) two chips or toasted croutons are all delicious sauces, super-fast to prepare and absolutely perfect for a glittering sunset of special effects. after the bath in the evening.

And finally we are at the point, that is the substance of our Italian attitude … whether we face a hungry group of sailors after a tiring shift or simply enjoy each other’s company by taking advantage of a convivial break between one shift and another or at the end day while the sky above us overflows with stars.

But even before addressing any topic relating to first courses, let’s take stock of the second, indispensable, must of any object sailing with at least one Emilian on board:

Parmesan …. (we don’t want to be snooty, even if it’s not a 36-month-old Reggiana red cow but a good Po Valley one can also be satisfied) …. There is no customs in the world (not even the most mangy) that has the courage to prohibit a nice piece of parmesan in a vacuum package. None of us ever travels without it, it is the comfort food par excellence, long lasting and easy to store if we neglect the fact that consumption is very important, so it disappears at the speed of light.

Ciò premesso:

Risotto alla qualunque:
Infinite sono le possibilità, ma si parte sempre e comunque con una bella cipolla tagliata e soffritta nel burro (o olio, ma non ho ancora trovato nessun posto la mondo dove non ci sia un burro edibile). Un pugno abbondante di riso per persona è una dose ragionevole, ma il risotto trova sempre clienti entusiasti anche ripassato il giorno dopo. Tostato il riso basta metterci il condimento (piselli, fagioli, zucca, patate, zucchine, funghi etc oppure un bel niente liscio, tanto il risotto alla parmigiana ha sempre il suo bel perchè.), e si comincia ad aggiungere acqua poco per volta aggiustando di brodo granulare (o dado) man mano (io di solito parto con due cucchiaini di granulare o due cubetti di dado per 500 gr di riso e poi aggiungo in funzione di quanto voglio salare). Quando il riso è praticamente cotto, ma ancora un po’ al dente (lo sticky rice non va proprio) si lascia asciugare leggermente (non troppo altrimenti mappazza) e si aggiunge una bella noce di burro e un bel po’ di parmigiano. Un’attimo per la mantecatura all’onda e via.
(NB: naturalmente il riso dovrebbe essere carnaroli, vialone o almeno arborio, ma abbiamo ottenuto risultati accettabilissimi dall’Islanda al Messico con quello che abbiamo trovato). Con la zucca e i ceci una tritatina di rosmarino alla fine sta benissimo (il mio è secco, ma ne ho rubato qualche rametto a Raiatea che ha profumato tutta la cucina). Con i gamberi e le zucchine sta bene anche una gremolata (buccia di limone e prezzemolo – attenti al coriandolo, sembra prezzemolo ma non a tutti piace perché ha un’odore molto penetrante). Patate e fagioli rossi chiamano una spolverata di peperoncino….etc.etc.

Altra variante fantastica è il riso rosso: tostato semplicemente nel burro, si aggiunge una scatola di pomodoro, un po’ di sale e un po’ di zucchero.
Man mano che asciuga un’altro po’ d’acqua e una bel ciuffone di basilico (prego di non sorridere, ho scovato forme di basilico assolutamente passabili in polinesia e ne ho coltivata una versione “artica” di provenienza norvegese nella dinette del Best). A fine cottura una noce di burro e un bel po’ di parmigiano.

Inutile ricordare che Il riso avanzato diventa supplì, frittelle o sartù, ma se avete progetti fatene davvero un bel po’, perché è difficilissimo farlo avanzare!!

Pasta da navigazione dura:
Io cucino in barca da tempo immemorabile e una pignatta d’acqua bollente su una cucina basculante non è mai simpatica, certamente all’ancora in rada una bella carbonara fa tutti felici, ma l’onda vivace costringe anche il più purista degli chef a prendere in considerazione tecniche alternative, dimentichiamo dunque l’abbondante acqua salata, senza rinunciare al piacere del maccherone.
Cominciamo col preparare un bel sughetto di pomodoro o verdura liquidino e saporito in una pentola abbastanza alta da non rischiare esondazioni e ben fissata al piano cottura, poi ci si cuoce direttamente la pasta(spaghetti spezzati, pennette, farfalle o tortiglioni) aggiungendo l’acqua un po’ per volta in modo tale da evitare la pignatta piena sul fuoco. Poi un bel po’ di parmigiano e il gioco è fatto. La pasta risottata è anche un meraviglioso svuota frigo….croste di formaggio, avanzi di bacon, un po’ di pollo avanzato o la classica scatoletta di tonno, il fuoco di un peperoncino messicano e la fantasia del cuoco regalano risultati eccellenti. Unica accortezza, occhio con l’acqua perché tutto è concesso fuorchè una pasta scotta.

If, on the other hand, the navigation is quiet, you can dedicate yourself to the timeless: pasta and beans, pasta and chickpeas and pasta with broad beans. Dry legumes are fine too, but I usually use canned food. The procedure is always the same: we start with the inevitable sautéed (even only onion … the blessed onion that the whole world knows and appreciates) then legumes, and tomato + basil (if any) for the beans, only nut water and rosemary for the chickpeas, a little chilli pepper with broad beans..etc. a nice handful of broken pasta (a box of dry Barilla lasagna cut into irregular pieces becomes a wonderful alternative to maltagliati) and a bit of liquid and salt. A nice sprinkling of pepper, a drizzle of oil and maybe a few slices of toast. Excellent even at room temperature. Also try the chickpea and shrimp pasta which is very good (just roll the chickpeas with oil, chilli and garlic and add a little water from cooking the pasta – which is sautéed with the chickpeas by adding the raw shrimps that are cooked in a moment)

The recycled pasta
The salad of pasta and leftover cheese and salami is the equivalent of the minestrone at the end of the cruise, but more fun. Three meals a day lead to hoarding a series of small leftovers: tails of cooked ham, a few slices of bacon, pieces of various cheeses, two boiled chips, a wurstel, half a spring onion, a few gherkins … .. if you really don’t want a rice salad you can always cut everything into cubes with some diced tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, oil, salt, a clove of crushed garlic (if you like) and a nice sprinkling of pepper and surprise the crew with a triumph of creativity and cold pasta . The pasta can also be cooked with a bag of saffron or a spoonful of curry, it should be seasoned hot and served cold or ambient.

And recycled pasta
Hee, hee …. this is actually difficult to prepare due to the almost impossibility of finding the raw material: the advanced pasta … .. never advances, make a lot of it if you then want to enjoy the wonder of a Neapolitan spaghetti omelette or a baked macaroni pie.
You must have been really abundant lick your mustache.
No doubt: long pasta becomes an exceptional omelette even in the oven. An egg and a half each, a little milk, parmesan and diced cheese for the spaghetti with tomato, meat or vegetables, grated lemon peel, ginger or curry in the case of pasta with fish, but also a box of peas, which in an omelette look great and go well with everything.
For the omelette, mix the pasta well with the beaten eggs, season with salt and pour into the already hot pan. Scramble it a little as soon as it is poured so the egg begins to heat up and then let it make a nice scented crust before trying the turnaround (with the lid on if you don’t feel like jumping) and caramelize the B side too. high enough it will be succulent inside and golden brown outside, with a fresh salad and a slice of bread you have solved a meal for true navigators and hungry friends.

That’s it, I would say that for a first episode of digressions on the emotions of the cook on board I can settle for it. It will be my responsibility to complete the menu in the next episode with some mention of the missing courses. Last but not least, in fact, also because a dessert on the boat is really a fantastic resource, going up to the cockpit at 3 am for the command with a slice of apple pie manages to make up early acceptable even to the most recalcitrant and less prone to sloths. magic of night sailing.

(keep it going)