This month’s Galley Essentials was written by Fi while she was cruising Australia. When Fi joined us on a South Pacific sailing expedition, we caught a glimpse of her talents as an Irish dancer but she did not let on that she was also an accomplished cheesemaker. It has been fun for us to learn about that endeavor while also following her sailing adventures.

– Amanda

Back in early 2016, my husband Adrian and I formulated a five-year plan that would result in us exiting the corporate rat race to sail the world. Part of the plan included a year cruising Australia on Addictive, our Australian designed and built 30-foot Jarkan 925, just to make sure we’re really committed to the lifestyle. So here we find ourselves, anchored in a remote creek in Queensland admiring the rugged vistas in front of us, trying not to scratch our legs from the sandfly bites, and feeling grateful for how far we’ve come and the experiences we’ve had in our beautiful homeland.

But this journey is not without sacrifice. I had to abandon my beloved gardening, as well as a lot of my cheesemaking passion. I love cheese and cheesemaking, so much so that when I was a landlubber, I relished learning everything I could about how to make cheese, serve cheese, cook with cheese, and eat cheese. Living on our sailboat with limited space means that I can’t make cheese — or can I?

We don’t have the fridge space for gallons of fresh milk, nor the proper temperature for aging cheese, not to mention storage for the plethora of possible cultures and additives. However, I found it possible to make a range of “fresh” cheeses aboard.

Note: making these cheeses generates a lot of “waste” whey. Whey can be used in place of milk in some recipes and it’s great for protein shakes. Our dog loves it, or we freeze it in ice cubes to add to dishes later.


Ricotta is such a versatile “cheese”, though technically it is made from the leftover whey from cheesemaking. Sweet or savory, it can be used in cheesecakes; baked in muffin tins with a bit of egg, bacon, and veggies mixed in; it goes in desserts with fruit; or in my case, I use it regularly in fritters.

1 quart powdered or fresh milk

3 tablespoons white vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

Colander lined with cheesecloth

In a saucepan heat milk to around 195° – 200° Fahrenheit or until you see just a little movement in the liquid, being careful not to boil it over. Once milk reaches this point, turn off the heat and add vinegar. Give the liquid three stirs, then stop. You’ll see the milk start to curdle. Leave milk to separate into the curds and whey for 30-45 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the curds into the cheesecloth lined colander to drain off further whey. Let it sit for another 15-20 minutes, or until the whey has mostly stopped draining. Gently fold salt through the ricotta (although this step isn’t necessary and is just for personal taste). Remove ricotta from the cheesecloth and store in a container in the fridge for up to a week. This will make about 7 ounces.


I serve these with some smoked salmon, tomato chutney and salad. They’re also great for breakfast with scrambled eggs.

1½ cups blanched spinach or 1 large zucchini grated

7 ounces freshly made ricotta

1 scallion or shallot – finely chopped

1 or 2 eggs – whisked

½ to 1 cup plain flour or tapioca starch

Salt and pepper

Oil for frying


Chili powder to your taste

1-2 cloves crushed garlic, or to your taste

Add spinach to a bowl, or if using zucchini, squeeze out as much liquid as possible using a paper or kitchen towel. Add ricotta, scallions, optional ingredients, and egg. Mix together then slowly add some flour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep adding flour and mixing until you can make dough-like balls that don’t fall apart. Heat some oil in a frying pan. Form golf ball sized portions and add to pan. After a few minutes, flatten the balls slightly with a spatula. Once brown, turn over and cook the other side. Serves 2 with leftovers.


Paneer is a traditional Indian cheese and is great in curries to add a bit of protein. By itself, it is a little tasteless but it does an excellent job of absorbing other flavors. It can also be used to make sweet dishes.

2 quarts powdered or fresh milk

½ cup lemon juice

Colander lined with cheesecloth

2 plates or bowls and a heavy book (for reasons that will become clear)

In a saucepan, heat milk up to just about boiling, milk should be around 195° – 200° Fahrenheit and just showing some movement, being careful it doesn’t boil over. Turn off the heat; while stirring milk, add the lemon juice. Once added, give two to three further stirs then stop, you’ll see the milk curdling. Leave the curds and whey to separate for about 30-40 minutes. Pour both the curds and whey into lined colander. You can choose to wash the curds a little under the tap, to remove the lemon flavor. Gather the cheese cloth together to form a ball and squeeze out more of the whey using your hands. Place the ball between two plates. Set a book on top and let sit for one hour. Remove paneer from cheesecloth and place in the fridge to set before cutting it into cubes.


9 oz paneer – cubed

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

1 onion – finely chopped

Knob of ginger – grated

Coconut oil

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ head of garlic – crushed

1 zucchini – chopped

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

15oz can crushed tomatoes

½ teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper

2 cups spinach

In a bowl, combine spices, except chili, and gently coat paneer. In a pan, sauté paneer in coconut oil until crispy. Remove paneer from pan. In the same pan, sauté onion, ginger, and chili in more oil. Add garlic, zucchini and half the stock; cook for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper, then remaining stock; simmer for 10 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 1 minute. Serve on basmati rice, topped with spiced paneer, yogurt, and coriander. Serves 2.


Add some firm white fish at the end when the curry is simmering.
Add preserved lemon to the yogurt.