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Cruising Recipes

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Sue doing dishes in her compact galley
Sue doing dishes in her compact galley

Food Prep in a Galley

We have about 8 square feet to stand in (that's like 2 ft x 4 ft, or .8 sq m) and about 12 square feet of cooking/food prep surface in my lovely little galley. My most common utensils are a Teflon spatula, garlic press, paring knife, wooden spoon, and spaghetti lifter. I work out of 1 frying pan, 2 sauce pans, 1 spaghetti cooker, 1 pressure cooker, 1 tea pot, 2 bread pans, 1 cookie tray and 1 large and 1 small Pyrex baking dish. All of this lets me cook for up to 10 or 12 people when we have friends over.

Dishes are done in a double sink and drained either outside the window in the cockpit (Jon hates this) or on top of one corner of my working space.  The family rule is: kids can either cook or do dishes, and they usually choose to cook! The tricky part is that most of my counter opens up to reveal either fridge or storage space beneath. The dishes and food get moved around a lot!


Amanda made homemade bagels for Jon's birthday.
Amanda's homemade
bagels for Jon's birthday

Some of these recipes (see the links below) were developed by Amanda, Chris and Sue, others were converted recipes from friends at home, and some we got from other cruisers. In any case, please be wary of times and cooking temperatures as Ocelot's oven has two temperatures: "on," and "off." Oh, we can spin the dial, but the propane flame never varies much.  As with other recipes coming from other parts of the world, the flour amounts may need to be altered because we use local flour that may be denser, wetter, lighter, more finely or more coarsely ground than what you're used to. Also, living on a boat and having access to only those things we'd provisioned or can find on the islands means we get pretty creative with ingredients (especially vegetable choices and seasonings). Our advice: Have fun. Experiment. Enjoy. That's what cooking is all about!

Although we rarely use recipes onboard for anything but baking, and we make up many of our own, we do have several recipe books on board:

  • Joy of Cooking by Rombauer & Becker. This is an old edition, but still a classic for good recipes. It has good tables for substituting measures, and also good information on cooking just about anything.
  • Favorite Recipes II compiled by Sunset Books. We don't use this very often, but it's got good ideas for every occasion.
  • The Essential Galley Companion by Amanda Swan-Neal. Published by a cruiser for cruisers. It's got information on provisioning, storage, life in the galley and cooking aboard, as well as many recipes supplied by cruisers that are specially adapted for sailing provisions.
  • Several Southeast Asian cookbooks, picked up in situ: Sri Lankan, Malaysian and Thai cooking. These are used mostly for ideas on ways to combine spices to make curries, use of coconut milk, and generally ways to vary our own Asian inventions!

Be sure to check out our multi-purpose bread recipes which we have adapted and changed based on whatever we have at the time that will go nicely into a loaf of bread. To make navigation easier, Amanda has created a sort of Table of Contents for those of you who have a specific recipe in mind. Or, if you're in a more explorative mood, just go down each page - you will note the dessert page is the longest. 


Easy 18-hour bread
Bread sticks
Banana bread
Raisin-nut bread
Pizza dough
7-grain bread
Fake-it bread
Refrigerator bread


Rum punch
Tropical popcorn


Pancake mix
Berry muffins
Chocolate chip scones
Cinnamon rolls


Herb-cheese bread
Basil-tomato bread


Poisson Cru
Indo Olah-Olah
Indo Curry
Indo Chicken Satay
Indo Cap-Cay
Indo Pelecing Kankung
Malaysian Stir-fry
Ocelot's Enchi-Lasagna
Ocelot's Burri-Lasagna
Meat pies
Landcrab stew
Pumpkin soup


Hello Dollies
Dessert Pizza
Chocolat ŕ Trois
Almond Roca
Pumpkin Cloud Cups
Apple Cake
Chocolate Birthday Cake
Pineapple Crisp
Chocolate Shortbread
Key-lime Cheesecake Pie
Coconut Flan
Pecan Pie Bars


Sunset with a squall and Trade Wind clouds, off Raiatea.
Sundowner time off Raiatea, French Polynesia

When evening comes to the tropics it comes suddenly, usually about 6 PM. Before that happens we're often situated happily in the cockpit of Ocelot, or on another boat, ready to see a green flash sunset if the western horizon is clear. Some say a run punch helps one see the green flash more clearly, but since the kids have seen it as well, we know the rum idea is just an excuse!

Ocelot Rum Punch

Jon and I became rum punch experts when we ran a day charter boat in St. Martin, in the Caribbean from 1984 to 1985 (our 5th to our 6th wedding anniversary!). Each day we served drinks to the passengers on the all-day lunch and snorkel trip, being sure there was plenty of punch for the return sail to port in the late afternoon. Sometimes there was punch left over at the end of the day....

The classic Caribbean rum-punch follows the rhyme: 1 sour, 2 sweet, 3 strong, 4 weak.  What this means is:

The St. Martin version: In a large jug, mix 1 large can orange juice, 1 large can pineapple juice, juice of 1 lime. Rum to taste.

The Ocelot version where we don't always have cans of juice available is a little more complicated, and never the same twice.

In a 1-liter jug mix:

Pour into 4 glasses and grate a touch of fresh nutmeg on the top of each glass. Cheers!

Tropical Popcorn

I first heard about this in the 1980's, but can't remember the origin. It continues to be yummy, if not a bit rich! It's great as a sundowner snack with drinks on the aft deck. Made with coconut, but with the surprising taste of popcorn! This was a big hit with fellow cruisers in Chagos, a group of uninhabited, but well-coconut-ed, islands in the Indian Ocean!

Crack a fresh coconut (being careful not to spill the water on your clothes or deck, as it stains brown). Pry the coconut meat out of the shell with a dull knife, then cut into popcorn-size pieces.

In a saucepan or skillet heat light olive or vegetable oil.  Sauté the coconut until light brown.  Salt to taste.  Serve immediately.

Cruising Recipes: Up | Bread | Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner | Dessert

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