Saturday, 27 August 2011

Cooking underground

Yes, we're still in Ponta Delgada.
We've been busy with both boat maintenance and having fun. First, the fun.
Marco and Marcia prepared a cozido for us. This is a traditional dish of mixed meats and veg, cooked in a large pot buried in hot ground next to thermal springs. The pot is buried for 6 hours' cooking time. It's also traditional to eat until you feel as if you'll burst. Some cozido recipes include less savoury ingredients such as pig's ears and chicken feet, but ours was all high quality deliciousness: chorizo, morcela (blood sausage), pork, chicken, another sausage, yam, sweet potato, potato, cabbage and carrot. Yum!

The burial ground. Numbered sticks indicate individual pots.
Marco with the disinterred booty.
Heading for the picnic spot, next to Lagoa das Furnas. 
Captivating aromas were already reaching us at this point.
Avast! The cozido. Ingredients are built up in layers.
That's cabbage on top.
The head chef dishes up.
Tuck in! There was an incredible amount of food.
Enough for 10 at least and only 4 of us to do our best.
Afterwards, groaning over drum-like bellies, we headed into the village, where Marcia's aunt and friends gather nightly next to a hot spring that provides an endless source of boiling water for making coffee. We brewed up a cup, enjoyed, then took the cup across the road to the hot dishwashing spring, then along to the sparkling mineral water spring a few yards further along. Amazing.

The coffee-making spring is just down the stairs.
And the work.
It's also been a good time for boat maintenance, with plenty of warm dry weather.
First up, the companionway seat. On the way here from England, I had given some thought to the problem of sitting comfortably in the companionway. It's the best spot for keeping watch, particularly in inclement weather, but it's a bit hard on the posterior, being unforgiving and narrow. By the time we reached the Azores, I had a design in mind. Our good friend Joao had already offered to help with any small carpentry projects so I went to him with the plan.
It so happened that Joao had some lovely timber in stock, having harvested some cedar trees on his property. The trees had been milled into plank form and were already well seasoned, so it was easy for Joao to cut the pieces I needed for the seat. I made the final fitting adjustments on the boat and epoxied it all together.

Every clamp on board.
Add three coats of varnish and a comfy seat is the result.
What else..? We were given a second spinnaker pole, which we wanted for our trade wind rig, giving us the option of flying twin headsails. It was a bit long so had to be cut to size. A second ring and car is being fabricated for the track on the mast.
All the winches on board have also been stripped down, cleaned and serviced. It's the first time I've done a full service on the Lewmar sheet winches. I didn't dare before as they had to be taken right off in order to fully disassemble the mechanism. It was a big job, taking two full days, including special adaptation of a flat head screwdriver to fit the huge screws holding the winch to the boat. I knew the winches were old, but wasn't sure if they were original to the boat. If I interpret the mark on the base correctly, they were made in 1973, so not original. Beautifully made, though design improvements since have eliminated the need to take the winch off the boat to service it.

How many moving parts?
A note from the Quartermaster:
We have now used pretty much every tool on board - even the ones I didn't know what they were for (centre punch set??). I'd like to apologise to the Skipper for any Lidl/Aldi tool purchases I may have opposed at the time.

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