Our Galley

Our Galley
Cooking on a boat should be fun. It is slightly, no, a lot different to cooking in your stable kitchen. Not always is the sea all turquoise water and postcard calm. Pots and pans love to skim off benches, the oven, if not secured correctly, loves to open by itself and throw your latest creation across the galley floor. Living onboard is so much simpler and easier with little imagination and a relaxed approach. This will get the best out of your galley and you. I just love cooking seafood that we catch and fresh produce we gather onboard "Our Dreamtime" during our travels. You will find my recipes easy to follow and they won't take a lot of time to prepare in your galley afloat or kitchen ashore. It’s all about leaving time to enjoy life! I used to mix all my own herbs and spices but no longer. Now my secret to quick and tasty gourmet meals is the YIAH range (Your Inspiration at Home). These are all-natural seasonings, spices, salts and other items inspired by ethnic regions and custom blended to make cooking fast, simple and healthy. Take a look at the YIAH page below for details. I hope you enjoy Our Galley.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

What would we do without Onions?




Can you imagine cooking without onions? Onions are members of the family that also includes garlic and chives, they are simply indispensable, adding sweet and earthy flavour to many cooked dishes and contributing a spicy accent when served raw. But even if you use them almost every time you cook, onions can still be confusing. With so many varieties available in most markets, it can be hard to know which kind of onion to select for your dish.

Because they last so long in storage once they've been harvested they are a great ingredient to provision your boat. It is also a good reason why onions are such an integral part of so many cuisines the world over. In saying this though they are not common in the Pacific Islands so if you are intending on sailing these areas in sure you carry dehydrated or freezes onion. 


Common onion varieties that I LOVE to use:


SCALLIONS
One of the most versatile onions around, scallions are long and thin. Sweet and mild with hardly any bite to them, they can be used raw or cooked and fit right in to any number of dishes. Scallions provide a gentle onion flavour. They are crunchy and juicy at the same time. The dark green tops have a bit more bite to them, best used as an topper as you would fresh chives or parsley. The white sections should be firm and bright, without any moisture or sliminess, and the tops should be sturdy. Don't store fresh scallions in a plastic bags: their high moisture content will quickly lead to rot. We wrap them in paper towel put them reusable veggie bags in a crisper container in the fridge. If your scallions still have roots, trim them slightly, stick 'em in a glass jar you've filled with a couple centimetres of water, they will continue to shoot. Along with garlic and ginger, scallions are indispensable to Stir-fries and salads.


SPRING ONIONS
Though spring onions look like scallions in appearance and flavor, they're actually just very young storage onions that are pulled out of the ground at an early, when they're still mild in flavour.  Just like scallions in appearance, white bottoms and dark green tops, but with a bulb at the bottom, instead of completely straight. They are still mild in flavour, but have just a little bit more spiciness to them when eaten raw. When cooked, they're tender and sweet. We store by rolling spring onions in paper towel, secured with a rubber band, and store in a crisper container, in the fridge. They will also continue to grow in a little water in a glass jar. Grilled spring onions are lovely, charred yet sweet, tender but crisp. Lightly oil the onions including tops,  grill over charcoal until soft, and serve with dipping sauce. Spring onions also take wonderfully to pickling, try them spooned over hot dogs as an alternative to sauerkraut.

RAMPS


Ramps are wild spring leeks that have a pungent garlic-onion flavor in their base, which softens and becomes mild in the leaves. Kind of look like scallions, but with large, broad, flat bright-green leaves up top. The slender white bottom sections often have a dash of bright purple or magenta joining them to the leaves. A cross between garlic and onions, with a pronounced funk. The edible tops are notably milder and sweeter than the bulbs at the bottom. Their bottom sections should be firm, never slimy, and the tops should be bright without any wilting. Ramps don't store super well, but will keep in the refrigerator for a few days in reusable vegetable bags. Cook them on the BBQ Pickle them,  Put  in your Chorizo Quesadilla, Add to frittatas. Make ramps into soup with fresh asparagus, Cook up as a risotto and makes a great herb butter.



YELLOW ONIONS


Yellow Onions are undoubtedly the worlds most common, nearly 90 percent of onions grown are yellow. Their deep but not-too-strong flavor makes them endlessly versatile in cooking.  Ranging in size from golf ball to softball, with light yellow flesh and golden, papery skin. Quite strong in taste when raw, deeply sweet when cooked. Yellow onions are available year-round: in summer they taste sweeter, with their sharpness intensifying through the winter months. Look for firm, unbruised onions that are heavy for their size. If you plan on using your bulb onions within a few weeks, they can be stored at cool room temperatures in a dark place: an open basket or a bamboo steamer in a cooler part of the galley works. If you plan on storing them longer, wrap them individually in paper towels or place them in a breathable basket in a dark cool place. Cut or peeled onions can be stored, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for only a few days before they go mushy. You can cut a freeze onions which will last for months. Yellow onions are ideal for long-cooking in soups, stews and braises, and of course are sticky and delicious when caramelised.
WHITE ONIONS
Is there a difference between white and yellow onions? The white onions are somewhat sweeter and cleaner in flavor, but don't store quite as well as yellow onions do. Ranging in size from tennis ball to softball, with white flesh and bright white, papery skin. Milder in flavour than yellow onions, white onions can be eaten raw. White onions are available year-round and taste the same throughout the seasons. Look for firm, unbruised onions that are heavy for their size. Bulb onions should be stored in a dark, cool, dry location. Because of their crisp texture and mild flavour, white onions are great raw slivered in salads, thinly sliced on your favourite sandwich, or scattered over a pizza. Popular in Latin American cuisines, white onions are a great addition to  heuvos rancheros , refried beans, and Cuban Picadillo . Feel free to sub them for yellow onions in cooked dishes, too.


RED ONIONS
Though they can be spicy, red onions (sometimes called Spanish Onion) are great for eating raw, bringing crunchiness and brightness to a variety of dishes. Ranging in size from golf ball to tennis ball with bright maroon flesh and dark red, papery skin. Strong and spicy when raw, but sweeter, when cooked. Red onions are available year-round: in summer, when they haven't been in storage long, they taste sweeter, with their sharpness developing through the winter months. Look for firm, unbruised onions that are heavy for their size. Bulb onions should be stored in a dark, cool, dry location; see advice for yellow onions. Red onions take extraordinarily well to pickling, whether they're destined for topping tacos and pizza, and try them in a salad with cherry tomatoes and capsicum. We also love red onion jam as a burger topping or spread on crackers.





SHALLOTS
Where would we be without shallots? They're often seen in French cuisine, where they're featured in classic sauces such as Mignonette. They're also absolutely necessary  to Asian dishes. They are often crisp fried or ground into curry pastes. Shallots are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Western shallots, the kind you're most likely to encounter in a supermarket, are small, slender and lighter in colour than red onions, with pinkish-orangey papery skin and light purple flesh. In an Asian market, you might find Asian shallots, which are very small and deep dark purple. Mild in flavour than red onions, but more assertive than yellow, with a hint of garlic flavour. Available year-round, shallots' flavour intensifies throughout their winter storage. Look for firm, compact shallots with shiny, unblemished skin. Kept dry and stored in a cool, dark area of the galley, like the bilge, shallots will keep for several months. Thinly sliced and fried golden for topping Thai curried noodles, congee, or devil eggs; minced into basic vinegars for added crunch and flavour. We love them roasted under any meats.

PEARL ONIONS
Tiny and sweet, pearl onions come in yellow, red, and white varieties, with the latter being the most common. These babies look just like regular onions but are about the size of a almond. They are milder and sweeter than large bulb onions.  Pearl onions are sold year-round, usually in small mesh bags—they're not easy to find loose, and can be difficult to find altogether, so frozen, pre-peeled bags of pearl onions are an appealing option. If buying fresh, store as you would large bulb onions. The biggest problem using fresh pearl onions is peeling them: to do so quickly and easily, blanch them, then slip off the skins with your fingers. After that, simply glaze them, cream them in a bubbly gratin, or pickle them. They're lovely roasted in Balsamic, too.

CIPPOLINI
Cippolini are little disc-shaped yellow onions, which might remind some people of visitors from outer space, were once reserved for the world of gourmet stores and fancy restaurants, but nowadays are pretty widely available in large supermarkets. Slightly larger than pearl onions, with a squat disc shape and pale yellow skin and are extra sweet. Cippolini are sold year-round, sometimes in mesh bags. Store in a cool, dark place. Because of their high sugar content, cippolini take wonderfully to caramelising or roasted all on their own.

LEEKS
Leeks look a lot like scallions, but in fact they're a totally different plant. Larger in size than their spring counterparts, leeks' white portions are tender and sweet, but their dark green tops are woody and best reserved for flavouring stocks. They are mild, with a pronounced sweetness. Because they're so fibrous, leeks aren't eaten raw. Leeks have been bred to survive the winter months, and are in season from late autumn to early spring. Leeks can be pretty gritty and sandy: be sure to wash carefully before cooking. If you need to store them, trim off a portion of the dark green tops, wrap in paper towel placed in a reusable veggie bag and store in the fridge for up to two and a half weeks. Leeks melt into wonderful softness when cooked. One of the most appealing ways to cook them is braised in olive oil, then dressed with a lemony vinaigrette. Leek Soup  is an economical winter warmer, and in any Stirfry is delicious. When caramelised they are lovely under BBQed fish.


One of my favourite ways to cook onions is by Caramelising them. 


Most people say it is difficult. It's not a difficult process it's more that you need time. 

Caramelising onions, by slowly cooking them in a little olive oil until they are richly browned, is a wonderful way to pull flavour out of the simplest of ingredients. Onions are naturally sweet; and as caramel comes from the simple cooking of sugar, when you slowly cook onions over an extended period of time, the natural sugars in the onions caramelise, making the result intensely and wonderfully flavourful.

Few things will enhance the flavour of your dish quite like caramelised onions. You can use onions prepared this way on top of steak, or for onion soup, tarts, pizza, or a simple onion dip. Or you can do what I did with this batch, eat it straight up. These tender, candy-sweet, yet savoury delights, turn anything from a burger to a bowl of fresh pasta into something instantly, delicious. Caramelising onions in your galley is easy to do. All you need is a few onions, butter, a pan, and some time.

What are your favorite dishes to make that use caramelised onions? Please let us know in the comments.

 Here is our way of cooking Caramelised Onions ..... Enjoy!


You can't rush true caramelized onions. Turn up the heat and they burn. Add brown sugar or balsamic too early, and they may look like caramelised onions, but they'll lack that deeply caramelised, savoury flavour.

The only way is to grab your biggest pan, set a burner to medium heat, and let those amazing alliums cook slooooow. At this temperature, the sugars in trapped inside the onion layers caramelise steadily, never burning but growing ever more golden and delicious.

Don't feel that you have to hover by the stove. Once the onions are going, check on them every 5 or 10 minutes to give them a stir and see how things are coming along. Scrape up the sticky residue that builds up on the bottom of the pan and stir it into the onions. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep them cooking at a steady pace, but avoid burning. Let your nose and your tastebuds be your judge .....  when you can't resist eating them straight out of the pan, they're done.

I usually cook 3 or 4 big onions at once, which takes about an hour. You can shave off some time by cooking just 1 or 2 onions, but I figure the more the merrier: if I have the time, I might as well make enough to last for a while. Caramelised onions will keep just fine in the fridge for around a week, but they also freeze beautifully. Freeze them in little portion-sized patties so you can grab what you need for a sauce or a sandwich topping when you need it.

The Onions
Any onion will caramelize, so don't be shy about experimenting. Yellow onions tend caramelise the most readily and be the most versatile in dishes. Red onions are fun for their deep purple color and are great on pizzas and salads. 

The Skillet
I highly recommend using a stainless steel or cast iron skillet when caramelizing onions.  Part of what makes these onions so special is the sticky residue that builds up on the bottom of the pan .... scraping this up and stirring it into the onions gives them an even richer flavour ....  and this won't form in a nonstick skillet.

The sticky Residue
Let's talk about that! As the onions cook and release steam, some of their sugars get transferred to the bottom of the pan. It looks like the pot is burning, but don't worry! It's not! This sticky glaze will quickly dissolve with a little liquid. At the beginning of cooking, the steam from the onions as you stir is enough to scrape up the fond; as they become more dry and caramelized, you can deglaze the pan with a little water, broth, wine, or balsamic vinegar.





Using Caramelized Onions

So you've made caramelized onions — now what? What you have in your skillet is the makings for some very tasty dishes! Pile a spoonful of caramelized onions on slices of baguette for a quick appetizer. Stir a scoop into soups, stir-fries, casseroles, pasta sauces, or braised dishes. They can go on top of pizza, layered onto burgers and sandwiches, or added to salads. I have trouble thinking of any dish that couldn't use some caramelized onions!

Do you regularly caramelise onions? What are your favourite ways to use them?



Extra Provisioning ..... Here are the alternatives to fresh onions?


Dried Onions, Onion Powder and Frozen Onions are always an alternative, especially if provisioning is running low and you need to keep fresh onion for those dishes requiring it. There are many brands of dried and powdered onion on the market but of course you can always make your own. Here is a great site that lists three ways of drying onions. Drying Onions 

Onions store well if frozen. They are not suitable for fresh uses such as salads, but are great if you are cooking them. We slice ours and cryovac prior to freezing.




Tuesday, 23 May 2017

I LOVE Garlic .....



Like onions I can't live without Garlic. Lucky for us on boats its long lasting can be kept in many different forms and brings great taste to the most ordinary ingredient. 

Garlics close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, Chive and Chinese onion. With a history of several thousand years of human consumption and use, garlic is native to the region between the Mediterranean and China, and has long been a common seasoning worldwide. It was known to Ancient Egyptians! and has been used both as a food flavoring and as a traditional medicine.

Slaves building the pyramids were given garlic to give them strength. The first workers strike then occurred when, to save money, they removed the garlic from their slaves diet. And a garlic clove in past times was worn around the neck to ward off evil.

During World War I soldiers depended on garlic for its antiseptic properties, they used the garlic juice on swabs of sterile sphagnum moss. It was said that this prevented gangrene and sepsis when in the trenches.

Garlic is one of the most popular herbs and spices for many reasons, one is the flavour it adds to dishes and the other is the myriad of health benefits it offers. It's the superstar ingredient that gives us a nutritional punch and adds wonderful flavour to many recipes. Cultivated for the distinct flavour of its bulb, it’s high in vitamins B6 and C, and contains several minerals including magnesium, potassium and calcium.

The entire “head” is called a garlic bulb, while each segment is called a clove. There are about 10-20 cloves in a single bulb, give or take. As garlic is available year round, there isn’t a distinct season when it looks its best. When provisioning, choose plump, firm bulbs with tight cloves. Bulbs that appear drier, where the skin easily falls off, are likely old. If you slice open your garlic clove and notice that there is a green stem inside, this indicates that your garlic is sprouting and past its prime.

Some find this green stem to be bitter and pungent, but it’s still okay to use the clove — simply remove the green stem prior to cooking. In the spring and summer months, you can look for locally grown garlic at your farmers’ market. This variety is usually much firmer and tends to be slightly milder in flavour. As garlic gets older it does get a sharper and spicier flavour. The best way to tell if your garlic is no longer good is to look at it. If there are brown spots and the clove goes soft this means that it has started to rot so it is best not to consume.

Raw garlic has a very strong, pungent and heated taste.  While cooked Garlic has a strong, spicy flavour that mellows and sweetens considerably with heat. While cooking softens the flavour, roasting gives garlic a well-balanced, delicate, nutty flavour.

When a garlic bulb is whole it has very little aroma. When a cloves is cut, bruised or chopped, it releases sugars and oils giving out the pungent, spicy and mellow smell it is known for it can also make for a sticky exterior, and this sometimes makes it difficult to work with. If you don’t like handling garlic, a garlic press is an excellent solution; they’re a little more work to clean, but they quickly produce evenly minced garlic.


Garlic is used in all cuisines across the world. It's ideal in stir fries, curries, soups and sauces and pairs perfectly with onions, tomatoes, chilli, ginger, basil, turmeric, beans, chicken, pork and seafood. Our Galley is never without garlic. Practically every dish we make has a clove or two chopped up and thrown in. That means it's crucial we store it right so it will be in peak condition when it's time to use it.

Storage


Garlic can actually keep well for months; the key is to store it the right way. There are three important things to keep in mind when it comes to proper storage.

Keep the head whole. Leaving the entire head (aka the bulb) of garlic whole and not breaking it apart is the best way to store fresh garlic. If kept this way, under the right conditions, the head will stay fresh for a few months. Garlic's life span begins to decrease once you break apart the head and take out the individual cloves. A broken head will keep for about three to 10 days, so make it a point to use it up first before breaking open a new head.

Think dry and dark. Light and moisture are garlic's worst enemies, as they both cause mold to grow. Instead, store garlic at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has plenty of air circulation, like in a wire-mesh basket or open paper bag in a dry bilge or deep pantry. Avoid the fridge. When stored in a cold environment, like the refrigerator, garlic will begin to sprout in no more than a few days.

How to Store Peeled Garlic 

If you've peeled or chopped too much garlic for a recipe, it's OK to stick it in the fridge. Keep it sealed in an airtight container to prevent raw garlic smells wafting through the fridge, and try to use it up as soon as possible, within a day or so, to prevent sprouting and loss of flavour.

If you're completely overrun with garlic and are worried it might go bad before you can get through it all, look to other means of preservation. Roasted Garlic is extremely easy to make and keeps well refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen for up to three months. Roasted garlic makes just about anything better, from hummus to salad dressing to a thick slice of crusty bread. See recipe below .....

Or there's garlic confit, which is garlic cloves that have been preserved in oil. The confit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, and frozen is ice cubes with will last for months. Both the cloves and the infused oil can be used in pasta dishes, sandwiches, sauces, soups, and much more. See recipe below....

So what is all the fuss about Black Garlic?

Sure, it might look like garlic gone bad, but really it’s an ingredient we’re seeing our top chefs using across the country. Black garlic is made when heads of regular ol’ garlic are aged under specialised conditions until the cloves turn inky black and develop a sticky date-like texture. And the taste? Out of this world. Sweet, earthy, minus the allium’s characteristic heat.

How to Use Black Garlic

You can purchase black garlic in two ways. Boxed in the fresh produce area of supermarkets or powdered located in the spice isle. Use the boxed cloves as you would roasted garlic: Purée them with oil, then smear the paste on crostini, incorporate it into dressings, or rub it onto chicken or fish before roasting. Powdered, it’s like umami fairy dust: Sprinkle it on anything that wants some earthiness and depth.


Here are a couple of recipe ideas for black garlic

  • Spiced Cauliflower with Avocado and Black Garlic. Sprinkle the avo with the powdered black garlic.
  • Cream of Mushroom Soup with Black Garlic Sherry Panna Cotta. Incorporate the garlic coves into the making of the Panna Cotta.
  • Skirt Steak Rubbed with Black Garlic.
  • Smoked Potatoes with Black Garlic Vinaigrette. You can buy or make your own vinaigrette. See recipe below.
  • Burnt Leeks with Black Garlic Vinaigrette.


A couple of quick recipe ideas for garlic.


Roast. Roasting garlic is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy it. This process mellows the pungency of the bulb and releases the sugars, giving it a rich caramel flavour. Garlic can also be roasted whole. 

To do so, 
  • slice off the top of the head of garlic and drizzle it with olive oil. 
  • Season with salt and pepper and wrap with foil. 
  • Bake at 250 for approximately 40 min. 
  • Once the roasted garlic has cooled, simply squeeze the bottom of the head of garlic and the roasted cloves will pop out.


Eat it raw. Many people are afraid of raw garlic due to the fact it’s often overdone in recipes. However, with the right balance of acidity and seasonings, the addition of raw garlic can be fragrant and pleasant. To much can leave you with garlic breath so sometimes little is more.

Garlic confit. Its my secret ingredient, one of my all-time favorite tricks to give any dish extra depth. This method produces tender and sweet cloves, along with a by-product of delicious oil. It's fantastic to have on hand in the Galley. 

  • Peel the cloves from 2 heads (or more) of garlic. 
  • Place the cloves in a small saucepan and pour in enough olive oil to cover them, 1/2 to 3/4 cup for 2 heads. 
  • Over medium heat bring the oil to just a hint of a simmer, then reduce the heat to as low as it can go. You want to poach the garlic, not simmer it. 
  • Cook for about 45 minutes, until the garlic is soft and tender, but not falling apart. 
  • Transfer the garlic with a slotted spoon to a clean jar and pour the oil in to cover the cloves. Cool the mixture to room temperature. 
  • Cover the jar tightly and keep refrigerated for several weeks, or freeze for several months. (Keep the cloves covered in oil and be careful about using a clean spoon to dip into the jar). As a variation, add rosemary and/or thyme to the saucepan along with the garlic to cook. 
  • It is important to keep refrigerated.


Black Garlic Vinaigrette
  • 5 cloves black garlic, 
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, 
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 
  • 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. 

To make vinaigrette, 
  • put all of the ingredients except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process the ingredients until the black garlic has been completely incorporated with the rest of the ingredients. 
  • With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil, blending until the dressing has thickened.


Extra Provisioning Requirements


If we are unable to provision enough fresh garlic there are always other options such as dried and powdered garlic. The garlic bulbs that you buy in stores are generally dried whole, using a process called “curing.” They can also be further dried into slices or a fine powder. Here is a good site that provides information on how to dry garlic. Drying Garlic


There are several ways that you can successfully store dried garlic.

  • Freeze the slices or pieces in an airtight container. They will last for 1 year. Grind the pieces in an old coffee grinder before you use them.
  • Store pieces of dried garlic in an airtight container in your galley. You can keep dried garlic at room temperature for several months, as long as it is out of direct sunlight and high heat.
  • Grind the garlic pieces immediately after they have cooled. Use your old coffee grinder. Then, strain through a fine mesh sieve to separate the powder from the small pieces. Store them for 2 months for use in recipes that call for garlic powder. 


Medicinal benefits for eating garlic. 


  • Garlic Can Combat Sickness, Including the Common Cold
  • The Active Compounds in Garlic Can Reduce Blood Pressure
  • Garlic Improves Cholesterol Levels, Which May Lower The Risk of Heart Disease
  • Garlic Contains Antioxidants That May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
  • Garlic May Help You Live Longer
  • Athletic Performance Can be Improved With Garlic Supplementation
  • Eating Garlic Can Help Detoxify Heavy Metals in the Body
  • Garlic May Improve Bone Health


More information about the health benefits of garlic can be sourced here


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A Cruiser's Guide to Farmers' Markets


 Markets in the traditional form are a gathering of food artisans and crop growers at a set time and place where they offer their produce for sale. Traditional markets have existed since the birth of civilisation and still occur right around the world to this very day. These markets reflect their local culture and economy. Their size ranges from a few road side stalls to city blocks. In many places they are often the beating heart of the community and a daily activity.



Karen provisioning in the market at Alore in eastern Indonesia.




In Australia, the modern farmer’s market is not all that removed from the medieval village market day. Yes you now may be able to wave a piece of plastic over a machine to pay for your goods these days rather than handing over copper coins but much remains the same.


Brisbane's Manly Harbour Farmers Markets were a favourite of ours during our time in East Coast Marina.

They are typically held at outdoors on set days and farmers still stand at tables under temporary marquees selling seasonal fruits, vegetables and meats straight from the field or paddock. Today's format will see these traditional elements plus you’ll usually now find prepared foods and beverages along with a mix of clothing, art, craft and original unique items reflecting the region. Like the minstrels of medieval times that frequented markets, there is often also a line up of local entertainment to enjoy. Weekend markets are the most common, although some markets are held monthly rather than weekly. 

Like most Australians, in our BC (Before Cruising) life, a trip to a farmers’ market was far more about recreation rather than obtaining food. Yes, we’d impulse buy a few things that tickled our fancy but the main grocery shopping had already been done on the weekly bag drag around a sterile supermarket in the suburbs.

That all changed when we sailed through South East Asia where we found traditional markets were almost exclusively our sole source of fresh food. Coming from the world of highly sanitised, pre packaged, everything at a one stop supermarket, it takes a while to come to grips with the whole Asian food market experience. 

In this polar opposite world you wander from stall to stall down crowded open air laneways picking the freshest and best looking examples of what is available and bargain the price down to something you’re willing to pay. Sometimes the range is good, other times you can only choose from fifty stalls all selling water spinach, chillies, green bananas and not much else. Fortunately in most places we were able to stock up with a good selection of fresh provisions. 

 
Asian markets can be a culture shock after being accustomed to the sterile world of western supermarkets
The first time we experienced the open air fish and meat market we couldn’t believe anyone would buy the stuff. Before long though, we came to realise that the food we ate in every little restaurant we patronised through the islands had come from a market just like that and we hadn’t died yet. So buy the fish with the clearest eyes and freshest smell, the seller of the freshest fish usually has the best squid too. Feel and smell the prawns. You can tell which ones are fresh and which were caught days ago. When it comes to meat, your best friend is your nose. It doesn’t lie about any state of decay. 

Following this practice we cruised for almost three years before suffering a bout of food poisoning, and believe it or not, Karen picked that up at a five star restaurant in Sicily we went to as a special treat to celebrate our visiting friends 20th Anniversary. We have never been sick from market food - yet.


We were huge fans of open markets during our time in the Mediterranean.

We learned that it doesn’t matter whether your sailing in Asia, the Mediterranean or the Australian coast, local markets are THE best place to get the best food. As cruisers there is nothing better than arriving into port to find a colourful bustling market selling fresh farm produce, flowers, breads, artisan products, meat, fish, poultry, plants, organics and food related objects. Whether artisan-made or freshly sourced from the earth, paddock or dairy, enjoying the freshest local produce while supporting the local community, allows us as cruisers to replenish provisioning and soak up the local community vibe. 


We have found when cruising in remote areas that the markets are much more of the traditional style. In some villages and towns the fruit and veg market is held in the morning while a separate seafood and meat market occurs in the afternoon at a different location.  As a result, provisioning in these remote areas can sometimes be a long process. A host of other events are often tied into these market days as this is when most people come to town.

While Australian farmers markets are more of a recreational pursuit for most people they are fantastic for cruisers provisioning a boat. They’re also a great place to find out what is happening in the region you are visiting. Stall holders are normally quite willing to pass on information about the things to see and do in their area.

Buying direct from local growers means that you’re purchasing your food from the experts, and you have the opportunity to ask questions about how different foods are grown and how best to prepare them. This is a wonderful way to be introduced to foods we would be unlikely to find in supermarkets. I remember the first time I was introduced to “Chocolate Pudding Fruit” or Black Sapote. It was at a local market in North Queensland, still to this day I have never seen it in a supermarket, but this wonderful fruit is on the top of my provisioning list as soon as we enter tropical waters. The stall holder was knowledgeable on how to prepare this delicious fruit that I otherwise would probably have walked right by.

Buy up big on your fresh produce as the fruit and vegetables comes direct from the field or orchard to you and will not have been held for who knows how long in cold storage.  Market produce will last much, much longer on the boat than the supermarket version.

Many cruisers are also practising artists onboard. Whether it be visual, craft or author, markets can also provide the opportunity to sell and promote your wares as you travel. With forward planning you can ensure timely arrival in port to participate and sell your wares. 

Along Australia’s east coast the scheduling of these markets is quite regular providing many opportunities for cruisers making the winter trek north to enjoy the tropical sunshine.  

We have produced an ebook which will be available soon FREE on Amazon that lists all of markets we know of along the coast in NSW, Qld and the NT.

We also have produced it as a pdf document which you can save or print. Just click on the link to open it. We hope you enjoy it and would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.
CRUISERS GUIDE TO FARMERS MARKETS - Australia

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