Feeding the Inner Sailor

Even the simplest galley can produce great food, like these cinnamon buns…

A well-fed crew is a happy crew, we say aboard Eleuthera Soleil, our 24ʹ twin-keel British Snapdragon. Robert and I both love to cook. Our galley is utterly simple: a Dickinson diesel stove with an oven, and a stainless steel Lagoustina pressure cooker.

We cook as often as possible out in our canvas-enclosed cockpit, on our two-burner Origo alcohol stove, to minimize condensation. When we’re stovetop baking on the Origo, we use a Mountain Equipment Co-Op stainless steel Outback Oven, with a heat diffuser over the flame. If it’s windy, we wrap a foil wind guard around the Outback Oven. This works great for everything from bread to biscuits, pizza to pita, cinnamon buns and cake–and we get to enjoy the view while we’re cooking.

Robert is the master baker on our boat. For serious bread-baking, he fires up the Dickinson oven and creates a perfect alchemy of earth, air and fire, turning out delicious loaves of delicately crisp-crusted, hot, fresh bread, which we slather with butter and cheese and homemade veggie paté, and attack like wolves. Fresh-baked bread is one of life’s great pleasures, afloat or ashore. And did I mention Robert’s cinnamon buns? (See recipe below.)

Our Cold Locker

Of course, on a boat and especially a small one, keeping food cold is a challenge. Robert came up with a wonderful and simple solution. We emptied the settee locker. Robert cut sections of insulation to size and duct-taped it to the fibreglass inside the locker so every surface was insulated. We also insulated the inside of the settee lid. (He used the type of home-improvement insulation which consists of silver-foil exterior layers, with five or so alternating layers of foil and plastic bubbles sandwiched inside.)

Next, he put a board on the locker floor. Then he eased in our hard-sided portable cooler, which fit beautifully. To further insulate the cooler from the hull wall, I stow extra toilet paper and paper towels wedged in beside the cooler but easily accessible. It gets them out of the way and they serve two purposes, like many things on our small boat. Now our blocks of ice last forever!

We place an insulated silver foil hot/cold food bag inside a plastic rectangular bucket in the cooler, put two blocks of ice inside the bag, and tuck the food in around the ice, inside and outside the bag. It’s easy to empty any melt water out of the bucket, and the cooler itself stays dry. And there is just enough room between the cooler and the edge of the locker to keep the wine cold!

Robert’s Cinnamon Buns

We love these culinary classics! The tantalizing aroma of fresh-baked cinnamon buns wafting across the water sets a sailor’s soul to singing―morning, noon and night. Who can resist? And why bother? These cinnamon buns are not only mouth-wateringly delicious―they’re good for you, too, and easy to whip up. There’s no mess and no cleanup because everything is blended in a large Ziploc bag. And your boat will smell like heaven. Treat your crew. Enjoy, nibble happily and gaze across your anchorage, licking your fingers in satisfied contentment. Life is good.

⅔ cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 cups flour
1 package active dry yeast (instant)
2 Tbsp oil
¼ tsp salt

Blend dry ingredients in a large Ziploc bag. Add oil and warm water. Once blended, knead dough through bag for about five minutes. If the dough is sticky, add more flour. Remove dough from Ziploc and stretch it into a greased pan. Let rise for five to 15 minutes in a warm place, until it doubles in size. Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface (we use a roll-up plastic cutting board). Then stretch it into a long rectangle. Cover with streusel mix. Roll up. Slice into 4-6 rolls and arrange in pan. Bake for approximately 25 minutes in a medium-hot oven. (For stovetop baking on our two-burner Origo alcohol stove, we use our Outback Oven, lined with parchment paper. Works great!)

Streusel Filling  

This tasty filling can be made up toseveral days in advance and kept cool until you are ready to enjoy a fresh-baked treat. In another ziploc bag or in a bowl, mix all ingredients.

2 Tbsp flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup raisins
2 heaping tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter or oil
¼ cup chopped nuts―optional

Master baker Robert Kelly at work in Eleuthera Soleil’s tiny galley.

Story & photos by Sally Cole

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