Several readers have asked for more details on cooking on the boat, specifically the Omnia oven. Hopefully this post answers your questions. If not, feel free to send me your questions!
We do not have an oven on our boat; therefore, the omnia oven is how we cook breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, biscuits and casseroles. Our boat has CNG (compressed natural gas) for the 2 burner stove top. A CNG tank lasts us 1 month cooking 3 meals a day plus baking a loaf of bread (or biscuits or muffins) every day and a desert every other day. We knew that CNG was not available in the Bahamas so we talked to other cruisers, read blogs, and did a little research to decide how to cook on the boat for our family of 4 for the year. We decided on a Thunder Range, which runs on butane canisters. The butane canisters have been available in the grocery stores in the Bahamas and run $12.00 for a pack of 4.
Omnia Oven on top of our portable stove.
This is what the packs of butane look like when you buy them in the store.
Side view of Omnia oven with lid off.
View of the bottom ring of the oven. This goes on the bottom, below the ring that we cook food in.
One of our mainstay cakes is Cinnamon Supper Cake (recipe below). I grew up with this cake and never grow tired of it. It takes a minimal amount of ingredients and everyone loves it. I frequently make it for potlucks on the beach and there is never a crumb left. Yes, the recipe calls for Crisco (gasp-we have resorted to using Crisco) but you can use butter. We opted to go without refrigeration due to the high power it requires. Crisco requires no refrigeration and keeps once opened, probably for years. We do buy butter sometimes and do not refrigerate that either. We generally use butter up within 4 days.
Eggs go unrefrigerated as well on Truansea and we have not had any of them go bad, but we use them up in 4-6 days. You can do the float test with your eggs if you are concerned with them being bad. Bad eggs float when you put them in a cup of water. If you can buy unwashed eggs, they last much longer but we have not found locals that sell unwashed eggs.
We use powdered milk or box of milk if we have one open that needs to be used up. The Country Cream Nonfat powdered milk in the picture below we bought in Idaho. We have tried several different kinds and this is as good as it gets from our boys taste tests. The Parmalat box milk I have never seen in Idaho but we found in Florida grocery stores as well as in the Bahamas stores. It is usually located in the baking aisle by the flour. This box is 2%, which was the only kind I could find when provisioning. We are skim milk drinkers and have had skim box milk in the past, which we like much better than the 2%. If you can chill the box milk, it tastes considerably better than ’boat temperature warm’. If you buy milk in the Bahamas, you will pay $5.50 for a quart. If you decide to spring for it, open it and taste it before you leave the store. We bought it one time and it was sour. Other boaters have said they have gotten sour milk too but have learned to give it the taste test in the store.
Box milk, on the left, requires no refrigeration. Powdered milk, on the right, is another staple of ours.
Cinnamon Supper Cake
- 3/4 cup sugar
- ¼ cup shortening
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup flour
- 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
Add sugar to shortening, add egg and beat well. Add vanilla & milk. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Bake in greased Omnia oven on low to low/medium flame on gas stove or camp stove. Rotate the oven half way through cooking if needed. Cook for about 20-35 minutes depending on your flame height and how windy it is where you are cooking. When it is lightly brown around the edges, turn the stove off and let if finish cooking on the stove with its own retained heat. Remove from oven and spread top with butter. Mix powdered sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over cake.
Raw cake dough ready to cook.
Cake 1/2 way through baking.
This is the flame height that works for us. Not too high, closer to the lowest flame possible.
Finished cake before putting the topping on.
Cinnamon supper cake with topping in the pan.
Another one of our mainstays is Baking Powder Biscuits (recipe below). I grew up with this one as well and it requires just a few ingredients. Sometimes I put them on top of a chicken/sweet potato Omnia oven dish and bake the dish until the biscuits are lightly browned. I also make TVP in gravy for Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast. We also use TVP in our spaghetti, chili, sloppy joes and shepherds pie.
TVP – Textured Vegetable Protein is a great meat substitute.
Or I just make the biscuits alone to have with eggs and hash, to have with soup, or as bread with supper.
Baking Powder Biscuits
- 2 cups flour
- 1 T baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/3 cup Crisco
- ¾ cup milk
Mix dry ingredients, cut in Crisco with a fork and stir in milk just until dry ingredients are barely moistened. Put on lightly floured surface and fold over about 6 times (do not fold over much more). Pat to about ½ inch thick and cut with biscuit cutter or rim of a glass. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Cole making biscuits to put in Omnia.
Baking powder biscuits ready to bake.
Finished biscuits on the table.
Yesterday afternoon Logan made a strawberry cobbler in the Omnia to take to our boat neighbors. We had tea and cobbler with them while playing Shut The Box.
Shut the Box is one of our favorite boat games when guests come over.
This is what the actual game looks like.
Boat neighbors Bud & Eileen played Shut the Box with us as well as Clue (long night)!
A way we use up apples that are bruised, apples that end up not being good eating apples or over ripe bananas is in coffee cake. We also sometimes put some chocolate chips in them. All our chocolate chips melted in their bags in the boat and turned into big hunks of chocolate so we just shave off pieces with the knife and add them to cake or to fruit pancakes.
Quick Coffee Cake
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 3 T butter, margarine or Crisco melted and cooled (I just use it at room temperature and do not melt it)
- Apple cut into small chunks
- Chocolate shavings or chips
- ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup chopped nuts
- 1 T flour
- 1 T softened butter
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare topping; set aside. Lightly grease 8-inch square or round pan.
In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour milk into 1 cup measure; stir in egg and butter. Pour into dry ingredients and stir just until flour is moistened. If using apples, bananas or chocolate chips, fold in. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle cinnamon-nut topping evenly over batter. Bake 20-25 minutes.
If using a Omnia oven, bake on low flame height until done.
Apple coffee cake almost done.
I also put the omnia oven on the grill if I am making something else. I can cook 4 mini pizzas on the grill at a time. On a night when we had a guest for supper, I baked a batch of biscuits in the omnia while the last pizza was cooking to make full use of the grill.
Omnia oven on grill with a pizza.
Happy baking and eating!
Fair winds ~ Christine