By now, dear reader, we wonder if you aren’t a little blogged out with all our travel adventures. So, as we make our way out of the Mediterranean and take a long break from boat life, we thought we would intersperse the travel blogs with a series of blogs exploring one of our favourite subjects, food, and give you a taste of what we’ve some eating around the Mediterranean.
As we entered the Mediterranean we wondered how our eating habits might change. As we moved through Portugal and Spain the menu on board started to adapt and we have added some firm new favourites in our menu plans. The availability of ingredients for our old and new favourite recipes has sometimes been challenging as we’ve been introduced to new places but one of the things we have enjoyed doing when we get somewhere new is discovering the markets and supermarkets and eating more local produce.
And we are definitely eating a much more Mediterranean diet. Onions, peppers, lettuce, olives, cucumbers and, of course, tomatoes are always to be found on board. We have by now exhausted all the possible recipes to use up courgettes and aubergines.
Oranges and lemons are also on our regular shopping list and we have ready access to more pomegranates, watermelons and figs than back home.
The things we haven’t been able to get so easily have surprised us. We found fresh mushrooms really hard to come by in Portugal. Fresh herbs and chillies have been hard to find everywhere other than the biggest of supermarkets. When we find things like tahini, coconut milk and red lentils we stock up.
Fish and seafood have been a constant in the markets, cafes and restaurants on our route so far. I made a decision before we left that, after many years of vegetarianism, I would think seriously about introducing fish into my diet.
Tuna night in Leixoes put those thoughts firmly to the back of my mind but, after months of living on the ocean and in such close proximity to those who fish it, I have been persuaded to give it a go.
With the exception perhaps of the tuna nets and big fish farms of the Spanish coast, it feels as though the fish that finds its way to the markets and restaurants is mostly caught by those fishermen in small, sometimes tiny, boats we wave at when we pass them on the water. So starting in Barbate with tiny fried fish, I have slowly moved on to calamari and cod and then a baptism of seafood with Fernando’s paella in Mallorca.
Stefan’s promise of filling Pintail full of fresh fish (**SPOILER ALERT**) took a long time coming but with a new rod bought in Blanes things are looking up on the self sufficiency front!
Just as I have started to eat a bit of fish, Stefan has noticed his meat consumption has significantly reduced – to the point where one day he asked “when did I last eat meat?” He genuinely couldn’t remember when it had been, it had been so long! This is nothing to do with any attempt on my part to lure him to vegetarianism. It has more to do with the logistics of keeping meat on the boat. Fresh meat only keeps a couple of days in the fridge. We haven’t switched the freezer on (instead we use it for dry food storage). Stefan’s carnivorous desires have not driven him to the delights of tinned meat so inevitably his meat eating days become fewer and further between and, despite himself, he has become a big fan of the humble lentil as a meat substitute!
When he gets the chance, though, he will make up for all those meat free days by enjoying a mixed grill, a souvlaki or a kebab.
So our eating habits have definitely changed, both by necessity as we have adjusted to living on the boat and by the availability of local produce as we move around.
In this periodic series of blog posts we will introduce you to how we shop, what we’re having for breakfast, lunch and dinner and our favourite foods from the Med.
Maybe even some of our favourite recipes…