In Nelson’s Wake Page 2

In Nelson’s Wake

Part 2: After the sticky date pudding with warm caramel sauce and raspberries, it was all we could manage to stagger up top to admire the stars.

By Alan Harper — October 2004


Photo: Anna Clopet
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But with a chef as experienced as Janine Lee, you have the right to expect a decent cup of tea. After four years’ training in her native Melbourne—culinary capital not just of Australia, but probably of the whole Southern Hemisphere—she worked front-of-house and in restaurant management before setting off to travel the world in the footsteps of so many Antipodeans before her.

Lee’s eclectic Melbourne training shows through in almost everything she produces. One lunchtime, on the shaded boat deck, she followed up the roasted wild mushroom soup with a witty and delicious “sandcastle” salad of lettuce, tomato, bacon, onion, cucumber, and crab—capped with minced boiled egg, its yellow yolk surrounded by white. We’d already whetted our appetites with fresh breads and a choice of oils: one of pepper, basil, and garlic, and another with sundried tomato. For flavor and texture, it was the perfect light, onboard lunch.

In the evenings she can get serious. A formal dinner that night began with Thai fishball appetizers with a spicy apricot and rosemary sauce, perfectly complemented by a bottle of 1999 Latour Léognan. This was quickly followed by shrimp with a chili sauce, the seafood coated with light, wispy shreds of batter, Greek-style. The main course was beef: a carefully assembled tower containing spinach, beef, portobello mushroom, red onion jam, and another layer of beef, all topped with a light parmesan crust. It was magnificent. After the sticky date pudding with warm caramel sauce and raspberries, it was all we could manage to stagger up top to admire the stars.

We were still at sea. The northerly breeze had burnished the atmosphere to crystal clarity. In the deep blackness, the Milky Way looked like it had been applied with a thick brush, and so many stars filled every patch of sky that the constellations were barely discernible. In quartering seas of five to six feet, Daybreak plunged through the night at her steady 12 knots, stabilizers ironing out the roll. By now, my overfed brain calculated, we were about midway between Cape St. Vincent and Cape Trafalgar. These waters, dark and empty, are as significant to British history as the battlefields of Hastings or Waterloo. They mark both the beginning and the end of Admiral Nelson’s brief, fiery career as a hero.

Next page > Part 3: At 6:30 the next morning I was up and dressed and peering through binoculars in the direction of Cape Trafalgar, 30 miles distant. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

This article originally appeared in the September 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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