Since we have lived on-board Matilda with limited stowage space and a limited cruising budget, we have reverted back to a more hands on approach to certain methods of cooking.
For example we bake our own bread, pizza dough's, rolls etc. We confidently mix up our own dressings and mayonnaise's for salads, seafood dishes, along with our own sauces and gravy's. We bake all our own slices, biscuits, cakes and muffins from scratch. So basically no pre mixes, satchels or bottles for us. Something else we enjoy making is chutneys, pickles, chilli sauces and preserves.
It's really quite simple and easy once you get the hang of it. We find the taste is so much nicer. The cost is very effective once you have all the supplies you need for each item, many of which have multiple uses.
Making your own yogurt has been made easier with the invention of yogurt makers. We use yogurt in many things: curry, beef stroganoff, bircher muesli, marinades and anything that requires sour cream which we use plain Greek yogurt for this.
Matilda also houses our brew kit. We brew our own beer and apple & pear ciders.
Buying in bulk when you see something on special is a must if you are cruising on a tight budget. We found it took about 1 year to have the budget even out. If you can, keep a list of what you need in your bag all the time just in case you see something on special and cant quite remember if you need it at the time.
Matilda does not have a freezer on board. We use a cryovac machine, which sucks all the air out of the package of food allowing it be stored in the fridge for a extended periods. It is operated via the inverter. We croyvac: red meat, chicken, pork, bacon, cold cuts, cheese, butter and believe it or not some spare parts (which don't need the fridge). We know of some cruisers who are very well organised and cryovac diced vegetable and fruits.
If your doing a long day sail another tip is to use a slow cooker or a thermal cooker. We own a Shuttle Chef. These units do not require power/gas to cook your food. You cook your ingredients in the pot/s for about 10 - 20 minutes depending on what your cooking (some take longer) and then put it in the thermos container and seal the lid. No peeking! Of course some dishes take longer than others but the beauty of the unit is that once you have arrived at your destination and the anchor is down. You simply open the unit and your dinner is ready. A marvelous invention.
Here are some of our favorite recipes. Some are home made and some are old recipes from long ago which we have given a new spin on:
Bruce's Famous Bread Recipe
Chilli - Sweet Sauce
Date Slice - No Bake!
Easy Fruit Slice
Quick and easy Tea Cake
Victualing is not always simple. Even though victualing is by definition 'to supply with food', I also include in my thoughts: cleaning products, glad wrap etc, toiletries and medical to a certain degree. Keeping track of it all can be stressful and a time consuming task, depending on your passage and duration away from the dock and the shops.
It is compounded due to the fact that we don't store everything in one location eg. in the pantry cupboard at home. We store our food, toiletries, etc all over the boat making the task of keeping track complex. And there is nothing more annoying than being at anchor, about to make one of your favorite meals and realize you are missing a main ingredient or running out of toilet paper when your miles, even days away from the nearest shop.
There are various ways of keeping track of your vessels supplies.
- Some people keep a book. They list every single item including how long each item lasts.
- Some people use an excel spreadsheet, similar to the idea above.
- There are quite a few apps available to keep track of your supplies
- The internet is full of good and interesting ideas on how to keep track of supplies
- Some people don't do any of this and know their supplies well, making a shopping list as things are used.