About Me

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Back in the 80s, I wrote a book called "Voyaging on a Small Income", which was published and sold astonishingly well. It’s become almost a “classic” and is probably why you’ve found this site! I’ve been living aboard and sailing since the 70s. Nine different boats have been home, sometimes for several months, sometimes for many years. I love the way of life, the small footprint and being close to Nature. I’m a great fan of junk rig and having extensive experience with both gaff and bermudian rig, I wouldn’t have any other sail on my boat. It’s ideal as a voyaging rig, but also perfect for the coastal sailing that I now do. I’d rather stay in New Zealand, not having to keep saying goodbye to friends, than go voyaging, these days. Between 2015 and 2021, I built the 26ft "FanShi", the boat I now call home. For the last 45 years or so, my diet of choice has been vegetarian and is now almost vegan. I love cooking and particularly enjoy having only myself to please. I am combining all these interests (apart, perhaps, from junk rig!) in this blog. I hope you enjoy it. I also have other blogs: www.anniehill.blogspot.com and http://fanshiwanderingandwondering.wordpress.com

07 May 2023

Coconut bread rolls

These coconut dinner rolls are freely adapted from a recipe by Richa Hingle; freely adapted, because the ingredients have been altered to make fewer rolls and to bear in mind that while on boats we can carry all sorts of wonderful dried herbs and spices, we generally can’t just pop along to the local farmers’ market and buy fresh. These rolls, therefore, can be made on board, with the usual ingredients that (curry-loving) sailors have in their lockers.
Unlike most of the rolls that I make, these are soft and fluffy (well, relatively speaking), due to the inclusion of coconut milk and, I suspect, the addition of baking powder. I gave them a double rising (but only about 20 – 30 minutes each time), starting them before the rest of the meal, when I soaked the chickpeas for the curry I had with them, and then making them into little rolls that could rise while I got said curry underway. They’re supposed to be topped with a delicious tempering, but I felt that was a step too far! The turmeric makes them come out an attractive shade of yellow.

Makes 6 small rolls


1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tbsp (coconut) oil
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp baking powder
small green chilli finely chopped
1 tbsp shredded coconut
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ginger, minced or paste
1/2 tbsp hemp seeds or sesame seeds

  • Warm the coconut milk (see Note) then add the oil. If you’re using coconut oil, wait for it to melt and stir it in.
  • Add 1/2 the flour and the yeast and mix everything well.
  • Now add salt, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne baking powder, chilli, coconut, onion powder, ginger and seeds. Mix thoroughly so that everything is evenly distributed.
  • Add the rest of the flour and mix again. Now you will need to start using your hands. Add a little more flour if the mixture is too sticky, but remember that this is a nice, soft dough so you just want to add sufficient that it no longer sticks to your fingers.
  • Cover the dough and let it rise for about half an hour.
  • Once the dough has risen, turn it onto a board and gently work it into a ball, flouring the board if necessary.
  • Divide the dough into half a dozen evenly-sized pieces and then place them in a greased frying pan.
  • Cover the frying pan with a lid and let the rolls rise for another quarter of an hour or so.
  • Light the cooker, put on the flame tamer and then place the frying pan on the heat. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Take the lid off and gently press one of the rolls. If it’s firm, turn them all over and brown the other side for about 5 minutes. It it’s still soft, cook for another 5 minutes and try again.
  • Serve warm with dal or curry.

Alternative cooking in an oven
  • When you have divided the dough into 6 balls, grease a 230 mm/9 in pie dish really well, or line it with parchment, then place the rolls in the pie dish.
  • Brush the top with some warm water.
  • Cover the dish it with a tea-towel and let it rise in a warm place, for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven at this time to Moderate.
  • When the oven is the right temperature, bake the rolls for 25 minutes.
  • Take the rolls out of the oven, and let them sit in the pie dish for a few minutes, before shaking them out.
  • You could use a different milk if you wanted to, but then they wouldn’t taste so deliciously of coconut!
  • If you ever use white flour, in this case the rolls would probably be an even prettier yellow colour.
  • If you’re cooking for other people, who you feel might find this sort of ‛hot’ roll a step too far, leave out the chilli and cayenne.

  • I use coconut powder for the milk. You can bring this to perfect temperature in the usual way of boiling half of the water and adding it to the rest before mixing in the powder. This will stop it killing the yeast from being too hot, when you add it to the flour.

02 April 2023

Melba Toast

Wafer thin slices of toast go well with many dips and pâtés.  In fact, this recipe isn’t pukka Melba toast, but works well.
Serves 4
 10 very thin slices of bread
  • Put the toaster over a medium flame and cook individual pieces of bread until they are crisp. You will almost certainly need to use tongs for this, because they get very hot.
  • Preheat the oven to Moderate.  Spread as much bread as you can fit, onto a lightly greased baking sheet. 
  • Put this in the oven and after 2 or 3 minutes, turn the bread over. Watch it carefully during the next few minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn and take it out as soon as it’s crisp. It may tend to curl up, but this doesn’t really matter.
  • After greasing the sheet, rub a cut garlic clove over it. Repeat between batches, if needs be.

Aubergine and sesame pâté (Baba ganoush)

This is a delicious Middle-eastern creation, which I love. The aubergine and sesame seeds seem to be made for each other. Interestingly, both these foods are among the first crops ever to have been cultivated.
Occasionally, you can find jars of aubergine in brine and if you drain it well, it can be used for this pâté if fresh ones are unobtainable.
Serves 4 for a starter
1 medium aubergine
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried, minced garlic
 salt and pepper
 olive oil
 sesame seeds
  • Chop off the stalk and cook the aubergine. The quickest way to cook it is on your toaster, but if you have an oven, you can put it in that for 20 minutes or so. If you have neither oven nor toaster, put it in a dry frying pan over a low heat turning it occasionally. 
  • When it’s completely cooked, you should easily be able to stick a toothpick into it. Don’t be impatient – the recipe won’t work if the aubergine is underdone and it doesn't matter if the skin chars a little – just scrape that bit off: it adds a delicious, smoky flavour.
  • Let the aubergine cool and then dice it very finely, using a large knife. Scrape it into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Blend all the ingredients together with a broad-bladed knife or a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the pâté to a suitably-sized serving dish and smooth it down. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Leave it for a few hours before eating, so that all the flavours can combine. 
  •  Add 1/2 tsp gound cumin.
  • Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne. 

Mock Caviar

I may have mentioned that aubergines are one of my favourite vegetables and this recipe makes the most of their unique flavour. Russian in origin, it’s usually popular, although very conservative eaters find its taste and texture too unusual for comfort. The secret of success is to ensure that the aubergine skin is thoroughly charred – this is what gives it its distinctive, smokey taste.

Serves 4 as a starter
1 medium aubergine – about 250 g (8 oz)
1/2 tsp dried, minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

  • Char the aubergine over a hot flame. The easiest way to do this is on your toaster, if you have one, using kitchen tongs to reposition it until all the skin is blistered and black. Lacking a toaster, you can hold it in your tongs or on the end of a fork or put it under the grill. At the end, the aubergine should be cooked through. If it isn’t (test with a toothpick) lower the heat and cook it a little longer
  • Once it’s ready, cut the aubergine in half and carefully scrape the flesh away from the skin (which you don’t use), put it into a bowl and mix it to a purée with a broad-bladed knife or fork.
  • Now add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend thoroughly.
  • Scrape into a crockery bowl and serve when it’s thoroughly cooled.

Avocado and cheese pâté

I invented this on the spur of the moment one evening in Trinidad. We had invited some friends round for drinks and I wanted fairly substantial nibbles, so that no-one would need to cook more than a light meal after they left. I had a ripe avocado on board, but none of the other ingredients for Guacamole, which would have been my normal choice. However, this recipe worked so well that I reckoned it was worth adding to the repertoire!

Serves 4 for a starter

1 large, ripe avocado pear
at least 1/2 cup finely grated cheese
 1/4 tsp of hot sauce 
1 tbsp lime juice 
salt and pepper
  • Cut the avocado pear in two, remove the stone and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
  • Add the grated cheese. A 1/2 cup is sufficient if the cheese is full-flavoured; add more if it’s very mild.
  • Blend the avocado and cheese together with a broad-bladed knife, and add the hot sauce – use less if you don’t like your food too spicy.
  • Blend in the lime juice and season the mixture. The result should be a soft pâté, almost like a dip.


  • Use lemon juice, if no lime is available.

Avocado and garlic pâté

This always seems to go down well because most people love both avocados and garlic. I use dried, minced garlic here, rather than chopping or crushing fresh cloves. It permeates the pâté better and even garlic addicts don’t always enjoy crunching on a piece of raw garlic.

Serves 4 for a starter
1 ripe avocado
at least 1/2 tsp dried minced garlic 
thick yoghurt 
salt and pepper
  • Cut the avocado in half and scoop out the flesh.
  • Add the garlic and mix well, mashing the avocado.
  • Now add the yoghurt: it’s hard to say how much, because it all depends on the size of your avocado – and its stone! However, you want to add sufficient to make a good, thick paste.
  • Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Taste and add more garlic if you think it can take it. 
  • Serve with bread or crackers.


  • Add some chilli flakes or hot sauce for a bit of zing
  • Use mayonnaise instead of yoghurt
  • Cheat and buy some ready-made aïoli to mix with the avocado!