Category Archives: Sea Treasures

Gambas al Ajillo

It was a very long season. We left Spain in April. The trip took us to Sicily, Athens, the Greek Islands, Istanbul, South Turkey , Thessaloniki, the Sporades and the Ionian Islands of Greece, before crossing the Ionian Sea to Italy again.

After dropping off the guests in Olbia, we did not wait long and immediately left for Spain. It would be nearly three days passage before we would arrive in Palma de Mallorca.

Can you imagine the excitement?

Going back “ home “ to Spain again. It would take us almost 3 days to reach Palma…
Everyone was dreaming of sitting down somewhere for vino and tapas.

Ah tapas.. at the bodegon, meson, cerveceria.

Tapas either are of cosas de picar, pinchos and cazuelitas.
Cosas de picar are normally cheeses,ham and sausage, omelette, bunuelos (fritters) montaditos , empanadas, bocadillos and boquerones.
Then you have the pinchos, food served on toothpicks.

The last, cazuelas are main dish food but served on smaller plates like stuffed pepper, fideua
(noodles with seafood) and are normally cooked in earthenware cooking plates.

One of the of my favourite is gambas al ajillo. Sizzling shrimps with garlic

A very simple tapa but full of flavour. I have done this few times on the boat and it has not never failed . With my fusion way of cooking I add a wee bit of ginger … Sometimes chillies.

One of the best gambas ajillo I had was somewhere a wee far from the sea, well not so far away that the shrimp is not fresh anymore. It was perhaps the mountain air and the company that made it a lot different

I was in Palma de Mallorca and was told we were going for a drive up the mountains. I have been to Mallorca few times for work and once a long weekend many years back and we stayed in Valdemossa. This time it was catching up with yachting friends and with Stephen who is finally back in Europe after a short gig in Malaysia and Florida with his boat, my travel buddy is just an hour flight away from me.

It was a sunny but cold day, winter is creeping in. Deia is on the north west coast of Mallorca. The drive towards there takes you along the rugged coastlines of the island which is a very spectacular view, adding to the fact that the next day we flew over with a helicopter with Stephen piloting.

Approaching Deia from Palma will take you to some bends with towering mountains of Serra de Tramuntana.. I was half asleep I admit, the fresh mountain air and just to be away from my own cabin was just so relaxing. But as soon I noticed the lovely colours of the village ; ochre, olive green, blue, , my senses woke me up and at the same time I was eyeing places to eat.

We parked at the end of the village and walked back. I guessed from their pace they were so hungry and just wanted to find a place to have lunch. I mentioned to Stephen that as soon as we entered the village, I noticed an outdoor restaurant with a shade covered with grape vines.

While the two of them , Stephen and Andy, went through the menu of the restaurant,( Il Xeline) I made sure that if we have the calamari and the gambas ajillos and they could order what ever else they wanted to eat.

See I am not missing gambas con ajillos… they ordered pardon pepper, some spicy longanisa, potato tuna salad… it was a long lazy lunch while soaking up some autumn sun.

We rounded up the lunch with crème catalan and a brisk walk up the hill to the village’s ancient church where it offers a spectacular view of the valley with all the olive groves all the way to the sea where fishermen cast their nets.

Here is a simple recipe how to cook gambas con ajillos.

Olive oil
3 to 4 cloves of garlic minced
half teaspoon of pepper flakes
sweet paprika
500g shrimps, peeled and deveined.
2 tbsp sherry or white wine
salt . pepper
chopped parsley.

In a sauté pan or heavy frying pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic , paprika and red pepper flakes and sauté for about one minute or until they begin to brown

Raise the heat to high and add the shrimp,sherry or wine
Stir well, then sauté, stirring briskly until the shrimp turn pink around 3 mins
Remove from heat and transfer shrimp with oil and sauce to a warm plate or serve right from the pan. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Sprinkle with parsley.

the art of making “plateaux de fruits de mer”

I will never forget this place, the very first time I was in Antibes array of shelled food caught my eyes.
But that time I could not eat anything with shells but instead I had the most wonderful Sole Meuniere.

And since then I have always taken friends here for lunch or dinner. The outdoor dining at the pedestrian zone in Antibes is a very delightful place to idle time and enjoy those seafood while sipping chilled rose.

L’ Oursin has always been a part of the scenery of my day to day walk. I always have a peek what’s on the menu if I pass the place.
There are times I just pass by in hurry but I always take notice this man arranging the plates with the selection of shelled food.

By chance one day when I was not rushing he was preparing a plate, luckily I had my zoom lens so I was able to take photos while staying away from his work place and those waiters rushing to serve the clients.

Last week, I bought some oysters of course and enjoyed a friend’s company, great food are best shared with good friends.
L’Oursin
16, Rue R

a quest for organic eggs leads to an impromptu lunch… Holmsbu


I have been meaning to post this story five years back, yes as my diary and my file says April 29, 2005. But I never had the chance to do it.

But it does not mean its 5 years ago I have no memory of that day… It all started with a box of organic eggs which was bought at the organic store. It was marked which farm and through research we located the place. It was around one hour south of Oslo.

And so armed with a map, we journeyed down to the south. April in Norway is still cold but the ice starts melting and the landscape begins to bloom. It was a lovely drive seeing the boats around the fjords are slowly bobbing…

We did find the farm but it was close that day. So we checked on the map what is the nearest town in the area to walk around and from it I could see Holmsbu facing the fjord.

Heading towards there you pass a golf course and few nurseries selling selection of spring flowers ready for transplanting.

So I checked my guidebook what the place about but nothing. But really the spring air , the sea and the wonderful white houses do not need a guide. All you need is the sense of exploring new things.


Walking around Holmsbu passing some old houses, they have dates on the wall some dating back to 1700′s, the gardens are full of spring flowers, roses. We even saw many ladies some men too, prepping up their lovely gardens.

Towards the sea, you can see cabins and summer houses – a very typical Scandinavian summer houses. Basic and rustic. There is this little port and you can obviously see that fishing was then one of the main source of income. But its now mainly tourism. I found out though that there are still a few who fish commercially and sell their catch locally.

From the port I was just getting so hot and thirsty when I saw a small board sign for ice cream and drinks. We were cooling off when I noticed there is actually a menu (meny). With some basic norsk peppered with English, I asked the man if he was serving lunch.

The menu:

    Kremetfiskesuppe
    Marinert varmkort laks tilbehor
    Roffinert kreativ og velsmakend
    Renset Krabbe ir krabbesjell

    Rekesmorbrod egg og dressing

    Nyslekte fiskekraker slekte poteler

He showed me his fish soup and he said he can make a Sm

swordfish en papillote with herbs & vegetables

Cooking full time for the crew seems to be taxing. I need to keep a diary somehow what I have been cooking for the past days as not to repeat same food over and making sure that I am also with in the monetary budget.

Other than those responsibilities I also want to feed healthy food. Fresh and healthy above all tasty.
There are times I check magazines for ideas and dig archives of food bloggers I know. If only have the luxury of time and energy to write I could literally post so much on this blog what I have been cooking and experimenting on.

But alas, when I cook making sure they eat a hot meal, I do not have the time to plate nicely and take shots. We eat 12 noon here and 6pm I normally doing all the preparation by 9am and cook around 11. So they eat really fresh and food still sizzling.

When I saw the swordfish in the freezer, I had no idea what to make out of them. I thought of pan grilling but then I did not any mess in the galley. I spent my half day scrubbing work tops, oven and stove itself.

Most of my hours are spent scrubbing pots and keeping the galley spot free. Yes this means every end of the day all the surfaces are cleaned and floor scrubbed. There goes the joys of cooking for the crew…. as you see we at yachts do suffer from obsessive compulsive behaviour when it comes to cleanliness.

So I needed to think of something quick and healthy. My Captain loves it when I bake or do fish en papillote. This way of cooking never fails and every time I do it I make certain variations.

This time instead of actually putting the fish inside a foil or parchment paper, I placed them on a glass dish.


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fish market trogir, croatia

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impromptu lunch by the seaside … south of france

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Today I cooked one of the almost perfect risotto. I have been slowly emptying the boat’s fridges these days so I used whatever vegetables I could find. I chopped yellow pepper, courgettes and carrots and served lunch with steak and risotto ala primavera Shalimar’s recipe what ever she could find in the fridge.

The boys said its so creamy and asked whats the secret? What secret on arborrio? I joked to them that am feeling rested and just have the good vibe to cook.

Rested somehow that we have been working just 9 to 5pm unlike the days we would start 830 and finished 8pm on day trips or midnight or even past midnight when we were cruising.

The very day we had our first day off, I had a very slow lazy morning when my friend Nikos , a Greek chef working on one of the yachts owned by the Saud family called me that he was outside on the quay.

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He was passing time before his flight to Athens and the usual way of Greek greeting… pame ya cafe? In Greece everytime people go out we always say pame ya cafe? Lets go for coffee. This can mean anything not just coffee….it can be a lunch, a drive…. the verb pame means lets go!

Since it was almost mid day Nikos and I thought of pame ya cafe what so ever we could think of. I said to him that we better go away from Antibes away from the ports where we are both based. Well he said my wishes he is my Genie!!!

We drove along the sea and ended in Villeneuve Loubet. We can still see Antibes and the yachts from the distance but it was just great not to hear other people speaking English nor hear yacht talks… Nikos and I were babbling in Greek.

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L’aventure Restaurant _ Plage (beach restaurant) is so unpretensious.Its pretty much like a shack right on the beach with the entrance on the main road of route de mer.
Nikos said the owner goes fishing and its guaranteed the seafood is fresh.

I ordered calamaris ala provencale while Nikos had sardines au feu de Bois (if my french is right.. this meant grilled on wood fire). When the food came,the fusion of herbs on that calamari was just heavenly. It was stir fried with lots of garlic, tomato, onions and parsely in very hot pan, simple yet so delicious, the calamari was just so soft. To cook a very fresh squid it does not take that long to cook it otherwise they get rubbery!

Nikos sardines grilled with lots of garlic too, it was so fresh. Nikos knows my weakness of seafood, as I have spent few days with his family down in south of Greece where we spent time cooking and eating. The very Greek way of family gathering.

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Lunch was accompanied with a bottled of rose Chateau Sainte Croix and would I refuse a dessert?
I ordered tarte aux pommes and Nikos knowing my eating habits called for ala mode.
I was just more than happy to obliged, few hours later after the lunch Nikos called me from Athens just to tell me, how happy he is to have me as a friend!!!

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L’Aventure
Restaurant Plage
Specialites de Poissons et de Moules
Route du bord de Mer
06270 Villeneuve Loubet
South of France
+33 493 20 51 12

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Just after writing this post Nikos passed by and brought me oysters so I could feel sexy as he put it!!! Thats what friends are for indeed.

Captain Ben’s Spaghetti alla Vongole


Ben said we have been eating too much meat lately…. hmm and I said we are in Italy lets enjoy as much as we could the seafood after all when the family comes, we dont have the luxury to enjoy a decent quite meal let alone seafood or shell fish.
We are kosher well almost when the family around.

When we were in Santo Stefano, I bought 3 big bream which I placed inside the oven covered with tomato, courgettes, spring onions, parsley and garlic then slowly roasted in the oven.
we did not sit down together to eat, let alone take photogragh, the boat was heaving on high meter swells.

Other than the bream I also got some squids. I was thinking of frying it the way Stel did hers.. with almonds, but can’t find almonds, then I thought of saffron but we got no saffron. (Speaking of saffron my kitchen full of saffron brought by a friend from Baku, Azerbaijan)
Was thinking of adding curry on the flour, no curry either.


Naples… fisherman’s hut
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Le Oursin and life in Antibes


Other than not having my own “office” and my dsl connection… I miss my own kitchen very much. This life on a constant go, a life which I have been doing for past years.

Well I arrived here (South of France) on Tueday night. Since then,I have been so busy dashing from my one appointment to another. I was in even in San Remo, (Liguria) Italy for a day when the French trains were running irregularly due to constant strikes that seems to be the recent social climate here in France.
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Papilottes de loup de mer au fenouil et aux courgettes- IMBB23


Fillets of Sea Bass with Fennel & Courgettes, scented with Provencal Herbs, baked in Paper Parcel.

IMBB#23 this month theme is Vive Le France and is hosted by Cucina Testa Rosa
Specifically, it’s Vive la France Régionale avec un Verre du Vin!

When the theme came up I knew I would do Cuisine Provencal. What the south has a lot to offer? Lots of seafood and sun kissed vegetables.

In South of France, I have experienced haute cuisine…at Chateau de Eza and some fine establishments in Monaco, Cap Jean Ferrat, Villefranche Sur Mer, Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Biot and St Tropez.
But French food can be so terrific even in small brasserie where old men smoke and drink…
I have even sat down at little brasseries next the the marche and ate fantastic steak frites.

Few times I went to the charcuteries and bought cold meat, delicacies, bought fruits and sat on the rocks with my baguette.

I am not an expert on French cooking but I admit having spent the last 6 summers in Cote d Azur certainly is long enough to have a love affair with their food.

Having said that I have spent my time along the coast line it’s a natural I would choose fish.
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Salmon with Feta, Cashews & Sweet Chilli Sauce Crust

Salmon SAM-uhn, solomo.

Finally I found salmon, when? On a snowy day, when most Athenians have made excuses not to show up at work. When most people just stayed indoor. ITS SNOWING, even schools are close.
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