Saturday, November 21, 2020

English Whole wheat Boat Muffins

Making Whole Wheat English Muffins on the Boat

I really enjoy cooking on the boat, but I practice at home first. That practice includes using utensils that I have on the boat and avoiding those that are not.

Here's the recipe, it's a version of the King Arthur Baking English muffins but modified to cook aboard.

Makes 8 English Muffins. (Just double for 16, but that might be 4 separate bakes of 4 )

Time to bake:-

  • 1st Rising Time - Two hours
  • 2nd Rising Time 20 to 30 minutes
  • Baking time 21-25 minutes
  • Total time: about 2 1/2 Hours - but most of that is just watching, plenty of time to do something other busy on the boat.


  • 7/8ths Cups of warm milk (warm enough to melt butter)
  • 1&1/2 Tablespoons of  butter
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Granulated sugar (or cane sugar)
  • 1/2 of a large egg or 1 small egg -  lightly beaten
  • 1 Cup of KABC Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1//4 Cup of KABC Bread Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon  of yeast
Also need a tablespoon of Ground Cornmeal for the baking tray.

Kitchen Tools:

  • Mixing Bowl I use a 7 Quart Mixing bowl with Lid and a Spatula to mix the ingredients.
  • Spatula
  • 4 Cup measuring Cup
  • Hand whisk or Fork.
  • Cookie sheet that fits the oven.
  • Parchment Paper.
  • Kitchen slice (to flip the half baked muffins)
  • Oven that can get up to 350ºF

Making the Dough:

Add the egg to the measuring cup and lightly beat the eggs maybe 30 seconds.

Add the butter to the egg mix.
Add the warm milk to the mix and give it a good stir.

In the mixing bowl, add the Flours, Salt and Yeast.
Whisk to mix for about 30 seconds.

Pour the Egg, Milk, Butter mixture into the bowl containing the Flour, Salt and Yeast.

Now the difficult bit: Stir it up with the Spatula, this should take about 3 or 4 minutes, it'll be a sticky and about as stiff than peanut butter (creamy). Mixing it is just to ensure the flours are all combined and the yeast is generally distributed. 

 Once mixed, put a lid on the mixing bowl ( I really detest using plastic film, but if you have to !)

Let the dough rise for about 2 hours, it won't rise much, probably not double.

Preparing the Muffins:

Line the baking tray with Parchment Paper ( I don't have a small tray at home so I'm using a standard tray here, on the boat I would cook two batches on the small tray that fits the oven.)

Sprinkle some cornmeal on the paper.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.

Divide into 8 pieces

Roll each piece into a ball, then turn the outsides up into the bottom to form a smooth top to the ball.

Press the dough piece to form about a 3" diameter disk, it'll be about 1/4" or so thick.

Place the dough onto the paper with the cornmeal. Repeat for as many of the muffins as will fit your tray.

Cover the tray with either another piece of parchment paper or with a second tray inverted.

Let the dough rest for about 20 to 30 minutes, they won't rise up very much but they'll rest easy :)

While the doughs are resting on the tray, preheat the oven to 350ºF (My boat's oven can get up to 475º)

When the oven is up to temp and the 20 to 30 minutes rest time is over, Pop the tray in the oven.

Let them bake for about 7 to 8 minutes, then flip each muffin.

Let the 2nd side bake for 7 to 8 minutes, then flip again. This time one side (now the top) should be browned, Let them bake again for another 5 minutes. Time to pull them out.

The inside of the muffins should reach close to 200ºF if not leave them for another couple of minutes.

If using a small baking tray, then let the oven get back to temperature and bake the 2nd batch.

Let the muffins cool if you can, but no harm if you fork one or two apart while still hot and smother the nooks and crannies with butter or spread.

Keep them in the bread bin and toast them in the morning for breakfast, oh so good!

This batch turned out great, the whole wheat flavour is really nice and the nooks and crannies are not like crumpets, but they are just waiting for a tablespoon of butter or spread with, perhaps, some Peanut Butter and Plum jam.

I'll be baking these often, so easy and so delicious. 

See you on the water, I may have a few on board to share.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Thanksgiving Cruise 2020

Socially Distant Thanksgiving Cruise 2020

Sometimes planning works out, and others it just doesn't! 

Plan: Race with the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club's 'Mary Wells Coastal Race' from the start just North of Hillsboro Inlet down to Port Everglades (PE 1 Buoy). Race Start: 11:00. 

We departed the dock 20 minutes late at 8:20am. A couple of hundred yards down the canal, someone had left a line between their power boat and the dock on the opposite side of the canal - preparations for the anticipated arrival of Hurricane (it wasn't) ETA - LAST MONDAY! Argggg! Sorry for all of the expletives, but Come On! It wasn't even that much of a storm, just some high water as far as most of Fort Lauderdale was concerned - OK, so some places had flooding, but it goes with the territory during King Tides, not nice especially if you happen to live where it floods - but not here!  We were delayed by about another 15 minutes while I prepared to cut the line and then Peggy notices that there is a resident sitting on the patio beyond the boat. After a number of quite loud requests that they come and release the line or suffer it's demise by knife, the resident unties the line from the boat and I pull it in then toss it to the opposite shore. The way is clear.

As we left the New River and turned South towards 17th Street Causeway bridge, it was evident that the Spring High Tides were ebbing. At the 17th st. Bridge, the Fender Markers indicated that there was between 52 to 54' clearance close to the fenders. That's plenty for us if we're in the middle. There were several sailboats with much bigger sticks than ours holding position North of the bridge but they had left plenty of room for smaller traffic to pass. So we did. Peggy turned the helm over to me being a little reluctant to test the bridge height.

As we motored under the bridge Peggy noted that there was a very large ship leaving the Port directly ahead of us - we know better than to claim that we had right of way - we didn't - and it was a really big ship. So we just turned to Starboard and let it pass after which we followed it out of the Port. Then the rain came down, really heavy. - Peggy was not so keen on staying the course but I persevered, and we turned North setting a course for the Start North of HI.
With the course laid in, the GPS indicated that we would get there at 6 knots around 12:06--- 12:06 when the race started at 11:00 Grrrrr.

This plan was in the Failed Column.

With no chance of making the start time, I decided that we might as well just head back into Port and see if we could arrive early at The Bahia Mar Marina. 

We motored under 17th Street Causeway bridge, now about 10:30am, the clearance was up to 56' but the bridge was opening for a much larger sailboat outbound.  For some reason, she turned to port which meant that we needed to turn to port also rather than the normal passing Port Side to Port Side, but an early change of direction is the correct thing to do and we passed Starboard to Starboard without incident. Sure was a pretty vessel.

Once past the bridge we slowed down to delay our arrival at Bahia Mar, the confirmed on the radio that we were welcome to arrive early and that a dock hand would be waiting. 

We have docked at the Bahia Mar many times, some were near perfect and others were best forgotten. But one thing we have learned is that if the docking does not work out first try, there's no shame in pulling away and setting up for a 2nd or even 3rd attempt. Better safe than sorry. And the sorry would be if we hit any of the other boats in the marina.

Our first attempt seemed to be perfect, We stopped the boat with the stern about 10' into the slip and past the lines to the dock hands. Then the current took hold of the bow and forced us to pull away in order to keep clear of the other boats. The dock hands passed the lines back - nice, preventing them from getting caught in our prop, that would have been a sorry situation. We maneuvered away from the dock and headed out of the marina in order to turn and try again. The second attempt worked just fine. Accounting for the strong current we easily docked and had the boat tied up in quick order.

While we were getting ourselves sorted out with Shore Power and the extra lines that just makes things feel better, our buddy from Affection stopped by to let us know they were already in their slip. That made two of the club boats were tied up.

I set about cleaning our boat. The recent heavy rains due to ETA and that morning had left the boat a natural green color, it should be white! Out came the Simple Green and the Boat brushes. I was able to get the Port side of the top deck scrubbed down in about 2 hours. Peggy and I had a lunch break of Crackers and Humus and some Salt and Vinegar chips - Comfort food!

Sometime around 12pm ish, Michael and Brenda arrived with their crew of half a dozen or so aboard Imagine. Happy to help, I assisted in taking their lines. Now, with a crew that big, there are enough hands to have every fender and every line manned and a few crew able to sit around doing not a lot, but they do and Michael and Brenda are supervising from the helm.. Whereas, Peggy and I have to work the lines, prep the fenders and navigate the boat alongside. But then, their boat is much bigger than Eximius.

One of the club members had stopped at my house to collect one of the Tables we would need for our social. It was really out of Ethel's way to get the table, but club members tend to go out of their way to make things work. Ethel saved the day. So a big Thank You to Ethel. (Ethel is the Commodore of the Single Sailors Sailing club.) 

The plan was to hold the social on the large hard standing outside of the Captains Quarters, however, there was a really big wedding that occupied all of the area and the dock where the wedding was taking place. So we figured we would hold the social on B-Dock where there were now 3 of our club boats.

While this was going on, the other boats that took part in the Mary Wells Coastal Race were heading home back towards Hillsboro. It had been a really good race day, not too heavy wind and seas were pretty calm.

Gradually, club members started to arrive, socializing began while we were doing our best to keep socially distant. As hosts, we had brought a box of spare face masks, hand sanitizer and a tub of chlorox wipes (still in short supply) Our instructions to the guests were 'Bring your own Beverages, Bring your Own Food, Bring your own Desserts and Bring your own chairs' We really wanted to make this a safe event.

As cruising gifts, I had purchased several of these folding tables, figuring that they would be suitable for carrying on boats. 

They fold up to a neat and easily stowed package.

As the boats arrived, I passed out the gifts. That included one for our Commodore and Rear Commodore. 

With a couple left over I gave them to the members that came to the event by car.

By 17:30, the club members had arrived and setup their foods to share. Now, just a reminder, the instructions were BYOB, BYOF, BYOD and BYO Chair. And if anyone was bringing something to share, then it should be individual servings - not requiring utensils that would be handled by many and not require filling or stuffing - like Tortillas, or Salad bar.  So most, like myself, brought Desserts that were individually wrapped. More on that later.

The co-host  -  Jeff Keiser, had prepared a Thanksgiving Trivia, he had enough questions to match the number of mini-Whiskey bottles that I had left over from previous cruises. Many of the questions were about the Mayflower - I should have known the answers but only got one What is a Tun - It's a Barrel.

Jeff did a great job of entertaining us and helping us get the right answers, well, near enough answers.

We gave out all of the Whiskey.

It was soon time to have the Bake Contest. I had to laugh! I had spoken with Mirsa a week earlier suggesting that she not wrap here Chocolate cake in single use plastic but consider using Parchment paper instead. Well Mirsa went above and beyond. She had found a supply of bio degradable mini tubs to hold the Blueberry Reduction Cream Cheese Frosting and then wrapped each piece of delicious chocolate cake in a piece of Parchment paper secured with a neat piece of bio-degradable garden twine. The packages look terrific which matched the flavours. 

Jeff Keiser brought Bags of home made Cookie to the table - yes, bags each with one cookie. That will bring a smile to anyone that peaked inside of the bags to see what lay within. They were really good.

Bob had brought peeled shrimp on cocktail sticks, very tasty too. 

I had brought individual apple pies (think apple empanadas) but I had - oh the shame - wrapped them individually in sandwich zip lock baggies.   Quite correctly, Mirsa reminded me of our conversation about not using single use plastic. Oh the humility 😎

Suzi and Moon had not brought anything to share, so they were both selected as impartial judges.

After they had tasted each of the delights, they announced the winners.

4th Shrimp

3rd Bags of Cookie

2nd Chocolate cake with Blueberry Reduction Cream cheese frosting

1st - I'm really not humble about this - YES - My Individual Apple Pies Won 1st place.

There weren't any prizes, but it was fun.

After the bake contest, we had a line toss contest. Several members took a turn at tossing a line. I had a 50' 1/2" double braided line and they had to see who could toss the line the furthest. That was a simulation of passing a line ashore to the dock from your boat. 

1st I showed how the Royal Navy taught me, at age 15, to coil a rope for throwing then gave an example of how to throw the rope. After the demonstration, brazen members came forward to try their hand. Brenda beat everybody before her, the Judy threw and was even with Brenda, but Judy put a lot more energy into tossing the line, so much that Judy almost did a pirouette and landed quite painfully on the hard dock. Sore but still smiling, Judy limped back to her chair aided by Jeff and soon had a large bag of ice to help ease a very painful foot. 

Last to toss the line was Astrid. Astrid casts a longer shadow than Judy and consequently tossed the line at least a foot beyond Judy's attempt. Astrid earned the last bottle of Whiskey, Judy earned a piggy back ride thanks to Jeff, back to their boat for a Ibuprofen and some hubby care time.

After some armchair socializing, the party ended and folks picked up the remains of their foods, their chairs and cruising gifts. Commodore Dale and I discussed this year so far and plans for next year. It's not been an easy year. Normally the major work for the Commodore is done as Vice Commodore in preparation for their Commodore Year, then it pretty much happens like clockwork, but this has not been a normal year for anyone. The Covid Pandemic has clamped down upon many of the club features that we have taken for granted over the years. No raftups, not socials, limited cruising, and social distancing is the rule. Simply put, even if you feel safe in participating in club events, we must all practice healthy behaviour, social distancing, small groups and if you don't feel comfortable attending any of our events, that's just fine, better be safe than sorry. It's not just the senior generation either! Although the youngest of the population are mostly spared, if they get infected and carry the virus to their parents and then onto their senior friends and family, each would be heartbroken if someone were to succumb from the consequences.  So we totally respect the reluctance to participate, but oh we really do miss the love.

Sunday morning, Judy was feeling a bit better, foot wrapped in an Ace Bandage, Jeff & Judy were the first to leave the marina. Imagine's crew headed up the marina's swimming pool. I spent the afternoon scrubbing the other half of Eximus, it was really looking a whole lot better.

Monday morning we sorted out the boat, breakfasted on Cereal and Toast - frosted with some of Mirsa's Blueberry reductioncreame cheese and plenty of hot coffee. With everything tied down and provisions stowed for transport home, we were ready to depart. With perfect timing, Zack from the marina arrived and quickly completed a pump out, that would save us having to worry about using the pump out at Smokers Park.

Peggy did a great job of steering us away from the slip and turned us towards the exit from the Marina at 9:55am. We were along side our dock at 9:55, turned the boat around and unloaded everything we needed to the truck and headed home at 12:15. 

At home we quickly unloaded the truck, sorted through the mail, calmed the cat that had missed us, not really, and had a Yogurt and fruit dessert for lunch. 

Time for a shower!

See you on the water.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

New Camera Mount


 Camera Equipment on our boat.

With nine months of Pandemic semi isolation under our belt, we're trying to expand our world access and that means trying to get out on the boat more often. That means we'll have more chances to record video and take more sailing photographs.

Peggy has a nice Nikon D3100 SLR and takes great photos, I'm trying to encourage her to take more. I 
have an Olympus Camera, not as fancy but it takes good photos and videos. 3rd Camera (not including our phones and tablet) is an Akaso Brave 4 4K action camera with a load of accessories to enable securing it to the boat or boat hook (for under water hull inspections).

I've been looking for a 2nd action camera as, sometimes, it's good to have a camera looking aft as well as our normal camera looking forwards.

I'm guessing that my amazon searches were the cause that I received an offer from LSJX to review their bike mount for GoPro and Phones.

I ordered the Bike mount and it arrived the next day. Gotta love Amazon Prime!

Over the past couple of years, I've had several phone mounts and camera mounts. Most of them have failed within a month and I'm not a brutal user. When I saw that this mount was mostly plastic, my expectations dropped. However, upon receipt that changed. The segment that clamps to a tube (bike handlebar or boat rail/bimini tube etc.) is not a cheapo plastic, it's sturdy! To test it, I clamped it to my desk top, that worked solidly, clamped it to my workshop bench top which is pretty thin sheet steel, same again, solid! So the clamp stand up and looks like it will hold in place, however I'll still secure it with a wire tie as boats tend to vibrate when under power, especially a 3 pot diesel engine sailboat.

The mount can hold a phone and action camera at the same time. One very pleasant aspect of this mount is the thumb screw of the camera mount - look how long it is compared to a regular screw, so much easier to attach the camera. (The lower screw is from my camera mount. The, longer, screw comes with this bike mount.

More good news, the attachment is standard, so many of the existing accessories I have for my action camera fit which significantly expands the mounting options using this mount. 

Now for the phone attachment, the picture shows it clamping the sides of the phone, the rubber like bands really hold the phone in place and their position does not interfere with the phone side buttons. It's a bit of an effort to detach the phone once attached, but I see that as a plus. The phone attachment can be quickly released from the mount by just squeezing the two side pushes of the adapter, the good part about that is the phone with mount adapter also fits several of my action camera mount adapters. My existing camera mount does not have a suitable method of attaching a phone, so this is a big plus for this mount.

Just to show how wide this bike's clamp opens, here is the mount on the box in which it arrived.

The clamp closes up to almost nothing and has rubber inserts on both of the clamping surfaces. The adjusting screw (on the right in this pic) can be spun easily once pressure on the clamps is released making it very quick to open or close the clamp to fit different diameter tubes.

I'll definitely keep this mount and I'll give it a 5 star review on amazon.

See you on the water (and maybe you'll be in some of our photos.)


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

More cooking for on the boat

Pita Bread Bake

Ok, so I enjoy coking & baking, a recent hobby that has turned out to be really useful. There's a FB page for 'Cooking on Boats' that shows I'm not the only one. But, of course, I mostly cook at home with a healthy dose of wishful thinking - I could be baking on the boat!

Normally when we're out on Eximius, I do all of the cooking, just detest being idle. Bread baking on the boat is a big deal for me, and I typically bake more than one loaf so that I can share it with whomever is my boat neighbor.

Easy meals on the boat are always welcome, and Pita Bread is the basis for so many, funny that I've never baked Pita Bread before. Time to bake Pita Bread.

Because I can, first bakes are normally done at home, however, I do my best to consider what it would be like if baked on the boat. So I resist the Stand Mixer and lean towards hand mixing and kneading instead

Here's the recipe for these easy pita breads.

1&1/3rd Cups of Bread flour.
1 & 1/4 Teaspoons of yeast.
1 Teaspoon of Salt
5 oz of warm water
1 oz of EVO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 Tablespoon of sugar (or honey)

Making the Dough:
Mix Flour, Yeast, Salt in a mixing bowl (Stand mixer or regular large mixing bowl)

In a four cup measuring jug or medium sized saucepan, mix the Water, EVO and sugar/honey. I used very warm water (110ºF) to help the honey melt.

Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix for a couple of minutes (Dough hook slow stand mixer or using a spatula) until all of the dry flour is incorporated.

Mix on medium speed for about 8 minutes (total mixing 10 minuts) OR turn onto lightly floured surface and knead for 6 minutes using a scraper to pick the dough up between turns.

Now on a slightly floured surface, knead for a less than a minute to form into a round ball. Place dough in a lightly greased rising bowl (I use a bowl with a lid rather than cover with plastic wrap)

Let rise till about doubled in size, about an hour or more.

On a clean lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and deflate getting rid of most of the larger air bubbles. Cut the dough into 4 pieces, put 3 back in the bowl and cover.

**Shape the 1/4 dough into a ball then press down with your hand palm to form a disk. Then pick up the disk (it's probably about 2-3 inches diameter) and squeeze the edges towards the center with thumbs, do this until the dough is ball shaped again.

Now to form the Pita: Preheat the oven and pizza stone/Cast Iron plinth to 500ºF (or as close as you can get your boat oven to that temperature.) 

Have a sifter with flour handy and sprinkle flour onto the ball and surface. Press and roll the dough into about an 8" round, it will quite thin. Place onto a piece of parchment paper and cover with another. They need to rest for about 20 minutes

 Repeat from ** above for each of the quarters of dough.

Baking the Pita Bread: 

On the boat I can only cook one at a time, at home it's the same because my pizza stone is not big enough for 2.

 Using a well floured pizza peel or large scraper, slide a piece of dough onto the stone/plinth. Bake for about 1 minute, they should start to inflate. As soon as they begin to inflate, turn them over and bake for a total of about 3 minutes, they might turn a golden brown if the oven is hot enough, don't leave them in too long, they'll become crusty - guess how I know!

They are done! Put the baked pita onto a cooling surface, let the oven get back up to tempreature, about 2 or 3 minutes and then bake the next dough, same process.

Storing the Pita Bread:

This recipe is for 4 pita breads and Peggy & I typically eat half of one for lunch. I store the remainder in a zip lock baggy. They survive for 3 or 4 days in the fridge.

Stuffing the Pita Bread:

If all went well, I hope it did, then cut a Pita Bread (along it's diameter) and it should easily shape into a pocket, I use a table spoon to open the pocket almost to the outer edge of the Pita Bread.

If I'm preparing a salad pocket, I'll spread some dressing over the insides of the open pocket, if preparing a fruit pocket (unusual I know, but it works) then I'll spread some yogurt over the insides. 

Stuffing the pocket with just about anything that is not too wet. For salad I'll use whatever I have:- Some mixed salad, some carrots, onion, chopped pickles and some cheese and some lunch meat. I'll make a pile of it all and mix it up, then scoop in enough to fill the pockets. If I'm making a fruit pocket, do the same with chopped, thawed frozen fruit or fresh fruit and scoop that into each pocket.

Make ahead:

The wet dressing/yogurt will make the Pita Bread soggy, so I don't fill them for a later meal, but I will prepare the filling with some dressing/yogurt in a zip lock baggy, or, much preferred, in a locking snack box and then fill the pockets with the mixture when it's time to serve

Hope you enjoy them. Let me know of any variations or questons.


See you on the Water.