Saturday, January 05, 2013

Hazelnut Cardamom Shortbread

Under winter canvas in the back basin near Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod, MA.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Wind/seas: Calm, cold - winter! Brrr!

Back at the beginning of this month - perhaps like many of you - I had visions of all the baking I was going to do for Christmas. It really isn't unusual for me to have come up with several kinds of cookies, perhaps some biscotti, a cake or two and even chocolate dipped toffee in time for the holidays. 

Alas, this year it just didn't happen. Time took a flying leap and headlong dive somewhere along the line and suddenly it was two days before Christmas and I hadn't baked a thing. 
I mean, n o t h i n g.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mini Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Mocha Frosting

Hanging at the dock near Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod, MA.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Wind/Seas: calm

Nothing special going on today, so, when I discovered some very brown bananas hiding in the bottom of the fridge, I decided to make cupcakes. How can you go wrong with these little yummies? The answer is - you just can't. The flavor combination of banana, cardamom, mocha and hazelnut is really quite wonderful.

Eating just one of these is not something I've mastered. Lucky for me, my waistline, and that of my husband, we live at a marina staffed by some very helpful, attentive and caring people. Therefore, I always have someone to bake for and to share with. Sharing what I create in my little galley is the best part of baking.

If you don't normally have ground cardamom on hand, I say, go and buy some (yes, it's expensive) - not only to use in this recipe, but also so you'll have the opportunity to bake other wonderful sweets that call for this spice this holiday season. I use it often and will be posting more baking adventures that involve cardamom over the next month or so.

Personally, I think cardamom is the key ingredient in this otherwise quite simple banana cake recipe, which is a paired down version of the recipe posted in an earlier entry. Nutella/mocha frosting doesn't hurt, either!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Hurricane Sandy - Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

Riding out Hurricane Sandy near Buzzards Bay on Cape Cod, MA
Monday, October 29, 2012
Winds: NE-SE 45-65 knots
Seas: Unsettled, bumpy

The hatches have been battened and the sails removed. Wind generator and solar panel, both dismantled and taken down. Dock lines have been doubled, chafe gear employed and fenders placed strategically. Foul weather jackets, farmer johns and boots are at hand for forays into the storm, if need be.

In preparation for the storm, we recently moved Raven from our mooring out on the harbor to a slip in the basin located behind the marina. It's pretty cozy back here. We're well protected on all sides: a hill and trees to slow the wind as it barrels in from the northeast, large boat sheds to block the gusts from the southeast and a big power boat to take the brunt of the wind shifts as the hurricane progresses on its path.

The winds push Raven around making things feel rather like we're out sailing. Normally, when we're at the mooring or in a slip, I hardly notice the movement of the boat. Nothing like 50 knot gusts to remind me that we are not seated on solid ground! I know - how could I possibly forget? Anyway.

This was definitely a day to make something yummy. I am rarely in doubt about baking, however what to bake is not always immediately apparent.  But then it came to me - when in doubt, make cupcakes!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cardamom Cake

Sailing under spinnaker from Lunenburg to Shelburne, Nova Scotia
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Winds: N-NW 7 - 13 knots
Seas: Moderate

Spinnaker sailing is a lovely thing, because, not only does it get you where you're going in a rather elegant manner, it reminds you that, without that sail? - you'd be motoring. Having to run the engine is never fun when wind is available, the sun is shining and life is good!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Marjakukko - Finnish mixed berry cobbler!

Motoring from Pushthrough to Francoise, Newfoundland
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Winds: None
Seas: Calm

Pushthrough is an abandoned outport located near Jervis Harbor, where we anchored for a couple of days. It's one of our favorite spots. Peaceful and beautiful. There are always a couple of loons in the vicinity diving for fish and calling to one another, their voices echoing across the water.   We often see bald eagles here, too, along with osprey and ravens. It's not too bad, you know?

There used to be somewhere around 2,000 outports dotting the rocky outcrops of Newfoundland. An outport is a settlement that was established at the height of the cod industry when salted cod was a staple. The only way to get to or from these places was by boat. Now, the remaining few have ferry service and a helipad for emergencies. There are no roads, no access by land. 

Pushthrough has little left to indicate that, at its peak, some 235 people once inhabited the village. The houses, fishing stages, and boardwalks were constructed of wood. In a place like Newfoundland, wooden structures don't stand much of a chance against the elements - especially when the ocean is, truly, at your doorstep. The residents of Pushthrough were resettled around 1967 and all government services (ferry, electricity, telephone, public school) were terminated.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Jamaican Spice Bun

At anchor in the Northeast Arm of La Poile Bay, Newfoundland while a gale howls outside.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Winds: Gale force
Weather: Foggy, rainy, chilly

After a day spent in the lovely abandoned town of Grand Bruit yesterday, we pushed on to this spot in high winds and crazy seas. We definitely needed to be in a sheltered place when this gale arrived.

No baking underway this time, I’m afraid, as the waves were pretty big, pushing Raven around and making for a rather, shall we say, unsteady situation below decks. I spent my time pretty much just holding on and trying not to slide from one side of the cockpit to the other.

I’ve wanted to bake Spice Bun for a while now. It’s a Jamaican sweet bread that is an integral part of the Easter celebration there – usually paired with cheese, from what I read. This bread is incredibly simple to make. I’ve had a photocopy of a recipe – probably cut from the Jamaica Gleaner  – that was passed along by a friend. It’s been tucked away in my recipe folder for years and I have not gotten around to baking it until now.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Banana Cake

Motoring in the Bras D’Or Lakes on the way to St. Peter’s Marina.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Winds: Light
Seas: Calm
Weather: Sunny, warm

Knowing we’d have some cruising friends onboard for dinner in the evening, I baked a banana cake for dessert. It’s a recipe I’ve made many, many times before, almost always with a variation or two. I usually include about a ½ cup of toasted, chopped pecans, but I didn’t have any on hand this time around.

Nonetheless, the cake was well received and everyone enjoyed seconds. Our guests put up little resistance when I offered to send some home with them. Sharing is truly the best part of baking! 

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

Sailing on Fortune Bay, Newfoundland

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Winds: SW 15-20 knots
Beam reach
Boat Speed: 7-9 knots
Degree of heeling: 0° - 15°
Seas: 4 – 5 feet
Weather: Foggy/hazy

So, we left the island of Miquelon this morning after a brief foray on land. Sadly, it was too foggy to warrant staying longer and perhaps renting a car to tour the area, thus we decided to do a bit of provisioning and then venture forth to Fortune, Newfoundland, leaving behind the land of fantastic cheeses, baguettes, duck confit, various patés and excellent wine. *le sigh*

With a lovely, albeit squirrely sail underway, I went below to make a loaf of whole wheat oatmeal bread. The boat was heeled to port (we were on a starboard tack) and the galley is on the starboard side. It’s shaped like an L with the counter and sink area running athwart ships, on the long side of the L, as it were, and the stove/oven along the starboard side.

Physically staying put in the galley under these circumstances requires a bit of leaning into the corner of the counter and a good pair of grippy-bottomed shoes! Bare feet work, too, but definitely not just socks.