Wednesday, January 17, 2018

More on Boats, Bits and Pieces.

Having hunted high and low, I finally came across this picture which was sent to me a year or two back. It is our Thames Barge Iota now just disintegrating at Windsor apparently. I must say, she doesn't look much like the Iota I remember at all. We had a wheelhouse at the stern for a start.  It is impossible to read the name on the transom (back end) but I was definitely told it was her. Looking at this picture again, I am beginning to wonder. Whichever barge this is though, it is sad to see it so neglected.

Anyway, after Sunfish my father decided to buy a boat which was actually built as a yacht and he found one in, I think, South Africa. She was brought back to England and my parents moved on board with my three young cousins who were being cared for by my parents. We had lots of fun times on Pamara although by then I was living away from my family. My dad retired and took Pamara out to Malta where they lived for a few years taking trips here and yon. For some of their voyages I joined them some I was unable to. I was with them in 1969 when they went to Yugoslavia (as it was then called) and the day I left was the day they walked on the moon. John, first husband, and I caught a cab to the airport and the driver had the radio tuned into the landing. He figured we had a TV on board, we didn't. The broadcast was in English but with commentary in the local language so we had trouble figuring out what was going on. We saw it all when we got back to the UK. My father really never got to see any of it which was a shame as he would have been very interested. They left Malta and cruised the Med stopping at various ports in Italy and France. I joined them in Southern France. Finally ending up in Alicante, Spain where they eventually sold Pamara and bought a delightful house to live in outside the town. I loved that part of Spain.

One thing I neglected to tell you about Silver Sunfish, she was used for mine sweeping during the war. Obviously she survived.

Tuesday our Foot Nurse came and was a bit took aback I think to see Matt with his air cast boot. However, he took it off and she treated his feet and mine of course.

Matt finally got his Health Card in the mail too.

Oh, and did you you Tuesday January 16 was Dragon Day?

I am very fond of soups and broths with beans in them so here is one that appealed to me from Bon Appétit today. Great food for dragons.

Brothy Beans and Farro with Eggs and Mushrooms

Stirring a raw egg yolk into each bowl at the end adds silkiness, heft, and protein. But this dish is satisfying without it, too. The secret to delicious-tasting beans is infusing the cooking liquid with aromatics like onions and garlic, then seasoning it liberally at the end until it's just shy of salty

1 small onion, unpeeled, halved
1 medium carrot, peeled
4 garlic cloves, 1 smashed, 3 finely chopped
1 ½ cups dried gigante, runner, or lima beans, soaked overnight, drained
1 cup farro or spelt, soaked overnight, drained
Kosher salt
2 red Fresno chiles, seeds removed, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs finely chopped rosemary
8 oz maitake or shiitake mushrooms, torn into bite-size pieces
2 tsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
4 large egg yolks, room temperature

1. Bring onion, carrot, smashed garlic, beans, and 14 cups water to a boil in a medium pot, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are creamy but still intact, 70–90 minutes (time will vary depending on size and age of beans). Using a slotted spoon, transfer beans to a medium bowl; discard onion, carrot, and garlic.

2. Return broth in pot to a boil and add farro. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until grains are tender, 25–30 minutes. Remove from heat and return beans to pot; season generously with salt. Let sit 15 minutes to infuse beans and grains with flavor. (If you have the time, cook the beans and the grains a day ahead so they can really soak up the broth. If not, no worries—just keep going.)

3. Cook chopped garlic, chiles, and ? cup oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until garlic is golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in rosemary. Transfer chile-garlic oil to a small bowl; season with salt.

4. Wipe out skillet and heat remaining 3 Tbsp. oil over medium-high. Cook mushrooms, undisturbed, until browned underneath, about 2 minutes. Toss and continue to cook, tossing every so often, until mushrooms are browned and crisp in most spots, another 6–8 minutes. Splash vinegar over mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and give skillet a few shakes to combine.

5. Ladle stew into bowls and top each with some crisped mushrooms and an egg yolk (if using); drizzle with chile-garlic oil.

6. Break egg yolk and stir into soup just before eating to give it a more silky consistency.

7. Do Ahead: Stew (without mushrooms, egg yolks, and chile-garlic oil) can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill

Author: Andy Baraghani
Source: Bon Apppétit

Have a great day


  1. I was born in 1969. Me and the moon landing, both awesome events. LOL

    I think it would be fun to sail around on a houseboat. What a great way to see the world.

    I'm glad to hear Matt is healing.

    1. You are more awesome than the moon landing Liz. Not a houseboat, they never move anywhere. I enjoyed it a lot more when I was older, but not that much as a kid although I did like visiting the different countries.

      Slowly, thanks.

  2. I was also in Yugoslavia in 1969 but flew to Austria on July 2, then to London, then home on July 4. So I saw the moon landing here. Your tales of living on the boats are very interesting.

    1. Funny that, my previous commenter was born that year and you and I were travelling Denise!!! Have you ever seen the movie "The Dish" a lighthearted look at the Australian participation in the moon landings. One of my favourite movies.

    2. I have 2 copies of it Denise, one from iTunes and one on DVD. Not sure how that came about.

  3. I was living in London when they landed on the Moon but had been to Paris for the weekend and had no access to TV so had no idea what had happened. We got back to find my flatemates glued to the TV watching it. It looked like the beginning of something huge, the first step in conquering space and we were expecting people would be living on Mars in a few years - and then it all slowly fizzled out.

    1. How true Helen. I was very much the same expecting great things.

  4. I missed Dragon Day?
    Very cool on Matt's card.

    1. You surely did Ivy!! Yes, it was a relief too.

  5. You and your parents got to travel a lot, which is cool. Sorry that first boat is now just a wreck.

    1. We did Alex. Convenient taking your hotel with you. It is sad to see the barge like that.

  6. What an interesting life your parents had. It sounds wonderful. I love bean dishes also. Lots of soups for us in the winter.

    1. Yes, they did Susan. Bean dishes make such good meals don't they?

  7. I vaguely remember the 1969 moon walk. The ones after that stand out more in my mind. That must've been soooo cool for them to cruise around. You were lucky to have such adventurous parents. I wish mine had been.

    1. Well of course the '69 one was the very first. Before that they didn't know if it could be done JoJo. I guess it was my father who was adventurous, my mother kind of went along for the ride.