Cooking Revisited

The reactions on the cooking blog ‘Cook fast, or cook slow, cook new style’ learned that there is more. Here they come: the closing lids, the half power, the Eco stove and the Solar Oven.

First of all: well closing lids

This basic of all basics was not mentioned in the last blog., sorry!

It is important that your lids close well. The cooking is not even effective with bad lids, because the top of your food will not be well cooked whilst the food on the bottom is already well done.

Half the power, 45% less

Do you always kick your pedal down till the floor while driving? No? Why do we do it with cooking then? Stop cooking on maximum power. You save a lot.


(left) The temperature meter just over the lit shows a near 80 degrees C, and  (right) when  cooking on 50% the temperature heater shows 40 degrees. Both measured within half a minute with cold water in the pan.

The temperature gives the indication that much of the heat just flows away into your kitchen or galley, unused. If you measure the used gas, you can save 45%.

So use the gas you need and cook half power.

Insulation box or eco stove

Someone mailed us this beautiful and easy alternative for the hay box. It is not cheap, but it is good stuff. A typical Dutch invention and it is called (translated) the Eco-stove. Check

The Eco stove works basically as the haybox, with insulation. But this is a flexible, movable and good looking version.

Check the solar cooker

You can also cook without gas at all. Check the link:

Here Karen bakes a cake, but the Solar Cooker also works with vegetables, meat, just as an oven.

A Merry and (de)lightful Christmas!

Christmas, the midwinter fest, when the light brings the faith for the future.

Good wishes and enlighten the future times with led.

You got your Christmas tree? You still have the old-fashioned string of light bulbs? Or did you put LED lights in it? Here 4 reasons on a row to do so and 1 reason to choose for the light bulb.

“It is the economy, stupid”, said Bill to Hillary while running for president, and he won. Led consumes four times less (or lesser) than the light bulb. It saves on the long run.

The Fun reason. You can buy such LED string with an extra little box. With the buttons on this box you can make it all flashy,  colors running the string. Here in the Caribbean, they love it! (and to accentuate that, they turn up the volume of their music a bit more).

LED works longer. A light bulb makes 2000 hours, a good LED light works 50.000 to 100.000 hours. Let us count only 15.000 hours for the LED string that you once bought for a very special price. So each 7th of December you tangle this bargain around your tree with so much pleasure, every time excited that it still works when you put the plug in. Well, this LED string will most probably still function when you are too old to tangle it around your tree anyhow. A little legacy.

Fourth reason is about the real legacy your led brings. You do less damage to the future generations. Because you spend less energy, so CO2. And, you create less environmentally hazardous garbage. It gives more change to the future of your children and grandchildren.

Let us finally save the honor of the light bulb. The bulb’s price is cheaper. Especially these days, because the salesmen knows that people will buy led for sure, so they want to get rid of their last stock. Tell him that you know that and enlighten your years with led.

Cook fast, cook slow, cook new style now

Everybody in Europe is seriously economizing the energy bill. Some refuse to turn on the heater.
Funny thing is, that on the other hand we keep on cooking ‘old style’, so abundantly using energy like it is still as cheap as the last decades. That way your energy flies away through the kitchens vent pipe.

Just try out the next tips now, and you cook your Christmas meal just as easy in the new style. You will use at least half the energy and the taste of your food is better.

Cook fast …

If you cook in the pressure cooker, you can cook in a tiny bit of water. Simply because (close to) nothing of the just heated water evaporates. So, with that little water it cooks in the wink of an eye.

And, because cooking is just like politics, when things are under pressure, they are faster done. Good. Compared to the old style heating in a pan, it saves you half the energy. And all vegetable juice and taste, did not get the chance to evaporate and leave the kitchen through the vent. It is still in the food you eat, so that is what you want for Christmas.

OK, that’s the first 50% of energy save. Later more.

a pressure cooker has a one years pay back time these days

…or cook slow…

Remember the Slow Cooker? In the seventies it became trendy, and again in the nineties. Originally it is used for stews and old fashioned soups..The latter cookers were equipped with pretty good insulation. This works great.

Indeed, stews and many soups, and many  ‘forgotten vegetables’ just need time. Not heat, nevertheless we try it.

So why not cooking that way!  With lower temperatures you don’t lose much heat if your slow cooker is well insulated.

Newer slow cook models are great in the ways you can programme it. Your meal is ready when you arrive at home.  Still, the insulation could improve, but that will grow when the energy prices go up.

..or cook fast and slow.

Why not take best of both worlds? So, the fast (high pressure) and slow (insulated) cooking. Just put  your rice, potatoes, whatever, in a pressure cooker, with the tiny bit of water. It will cook quickly. Normally it has to cook on low fire for another 10 or 15 minutes, depending on the food. That would cost you another 30%. Don’t do that, but take the pressure cooker from the fire and put it in a well insulated box.

Our grandmothers (or grand-grandmothers) called that a ‘hay box’. An enormous box, and only one pan could fit in it.  Nowadays the insulation is 3 times better than hay, so the box is the size of a drawer.

The temperature in the pressure cooker will lower slowly. So it will be ready in a longer time, mostly 2 or 3 times longer. But, this saves you energy time, as well as a place on your furnace. And on board of a ship, it saves you a risk of a hot mess, because one pan is secured in the safe place of the hay box.

The modern version of the hay box, on board ‘Ya’

Cooking historically

The ‘old style cooking’ is historically grown, The stove was a central place to heat the room for the big household of 6 or 10, or sometimes 15 members. A water kettle was on it, in case you wanted to make tea or coffee. The stove was extra fueled for the evening meal and the evening.

Then later, the families became smaller. Meanwhile we got bigger houses, with a separate heating, and a dedicated gas stove for the meals. In that time, many housewifes started working. So these meals should be made quickly. And the energy did not cost much then. So, the best gas stove was the fastest. Some vegetables could be cooked ready in a fast way, and the other not. The latter ones we started calling them ‘forgotten vegetables.

When you cook new style, you can also enrich your kitchen with these reborn vegetables.

For the warm-hearted sailor on cold, cold water.

The warm-hearted sailor sails as long the water is liquid enough.

But then, at Saturday night, you are on anchor somewhere, or in a harbour.  The sun lowers and then sets, and, oh man, that is cold, cold, cold.  Your yacht is built for summers, there is zip insulation and you start shivering.

You think: “The first thing I do this winter is installing a big big diesel stove.”

Not yet! That is Step 4! That would be most expensive choice, and lots of work and money and the worst for the environment!

Here are the four steps to keep yourself warm in your cabin.

Body reflex first – insulation

The best heating for the human body is the body itself. It spreads and distributes fully automatically and is extremely efficient. So do nothing. If the body loses too much heat, we have an excellent reflex and we prevent further loss with a sweater, a sleeping bag, as long as it insulates.

Conduction second – the jug

A jug is a nice solution. It is a very effective heat source, because it gives off the heat directly where you want it.

The jug is therefore an economical source of heat. If a liter of boiling water goes into it, that is about 100 Watt-hours of heat. The jug is then so hot that you need a towel as insulation to ensure that you don’t burn your feet. It easily warms your feet all evening, and in the sleeping bag all night too.

It is often more pleasant if it heats a larger area of the body, for example the entire back. Big portable water bags are often on board on seagoing yachts, as a spare or for a life raft situation. If you fill this with warm water, you have a better seat heating than in a Mercedez-Benz.

Radiation third – Infrared

The smallest emitter is the infrared lamp. Such a lamp is used en masse in chicken farms to hatch eggs and are very affordable. They are also available in a beautiful semi-medical version.

The lamps fit into a standard lamp socket. They are for sale from 60 to 250 Watt. You need a 230 volt connection and, of course, sufficient electricity. The port delivers that very well, and it is also possible with a larger battery pack. Between 300 Wh and 1.5 kWh is needed for an evening.

Mounted under the fixed cabin table, the infrared lamp works well to warm the feet and legs. Then a 150 Watt lamp is more than sufficient, and a dimmer is recommended. It can also be simple and take 2 lamps of 75 or 100 Watt, and you serve more feet. In any case, keep a distance of 20 cm.

If the area to be irradiated becomes larger, for example a row of legs of a race team, then a radiant heater is a solution. Keep the radiant heater small, for example 400 Watt. It continuously irradiates the same surface, where the heat builds up steadily. A piece of plastic that has become hot will suddenly catch fire in the long run. That can also be a sailing suit. In any case, start with a meter of beam distance and then look further.

The radiant heater is equipped with a tip-over protection, but it is still hot if it falls over. So when it’s on, keep an eye on it.

Conduction at 4 – at last the stove

A stove has to heat the entire room and takes a lot of energy to do so. A small diesel heater or electric blower heater already requires 1500 watts. This can amount to an entire central heating system with a boiler of 7 kilowatts or more.

A heater heats the air past it. That air flows up and along the ceiling, while the cold air comes along the floor and is warmed up along the stove. This is how the air flows around the room. Heating via an air flow is also called convection.

This is also possible with a stove that is concealed, for example in the storage box. Air is blown from the cabin past the stove via a ventilation duct, and this air, warmed up, enters the cabin again.

The air of the entire room is heated. It costs so much energy because the warm air cools down again along the cold roof, walls and floor.

In addition, the warm air escapes through cracks or through the cabin entrance.


Let the stove be your last resort. The ‘solution’ of the stove has grown historically, when large famiies lived in a small space and you had to cook in the same room anyway. The last decades we could continue with this solution because of the cheap and endless flow of fuels we had. But these days the fuel is expensive, and it will be much more expensive. And just don’t do it, to contribute to just such a good environment for your children, as you enjoy now.

Christmas morning on ‘Ya’. This yacht is fully insulated, and then you don’t need a stove even when it freezes.

Can we buy local food in Rotterdam?

We prefer to buy fruit and vegetables from local farmers. Can we do this in the big city of Rotterdam? Well, Rotterdam is bursting with green initiatives, so the answer is yes, we can! 

Wendy takes out the groceries we ordered

“Rechtstreex” brings local demand and supply together, using internet and clever logistics. 

Map showing the ‘Rechstreex’ pick-up points in Rotterdam and The Hague

Once a week you order and a few days later you can pick up your groceries. 

Sign showing customers to the ‘Rechtstreex’ pick-up point; opened only once a week
The ‘Rechtstreex’ shop does not look like a shop – and that is correct, it’s a pick-up point. Of course you get your groceries fossil free: by bike!
Wendy is proud of the boxes filled with fruit and vegetables from nearby farmers, waiting for their customers to come pick them up
The fruit and vegetables are excellent

When you buy something, you can see exactly from which farm it comes. In their newsletter, ‘Rechtstreex’ tells the stories of the companies and the people behind the fruit and vegetables. This way, you get a better understanding of what it takes to grow your food.

Furthermore, the food comes from nearby, it is superfresh, from the season, and you buy it for a fair price. You know what the best part is? ‘Rechtstreex’ buys from farmers who contribute to a healthy and sustainable world. 

Time to keep it warm

It is getting colder. Here some tips and tricks to keep yourself warm.

We all know the extra coat, vest, and the sheep’s wool slippers on your feet. Now here are some tips that are not that well known.
Like radiation, ventilation with cold air, and preventing heat loss through the chimney.. Check it out and save heat, CO2 and money, and take care for the Polar bear.


Breeding farms use 50 or 75 Watt infra red lamps to breed chickens, because with radiation it is easy and effective to make something really warm. And it is nonsense to heat up the whole space with convection if only the eggs should be warmed.

So you have cold feet? Or where ever you feel chilly, you can do the same and put such a lamp at your feet (or whereever you feel chilly) and in a well insulated house you don’t have to use your central heating. The lamp costs about 10 Euro so pay back time is some days.

Large scale chicken breeding with infra red bulbs…..
…and such a bulb fits in every regular fitting at home

Ventilation, fresh dry air!

Heating the air is easy. But heating waterdamp, costs much energy.  People exhale lots of water damp, filling the air with it. So when you are a day at home, ventilate every day. Ventilate with the outside air, because cold air is not humid, it doesnot have much water in it. So especially on a cold winter day, it is extra economic to open your windows for 5 or 10 minutes a day, and exchange all the humid air for fresh dry air.

Open your windows once a day, unless there is a bear outside 😉

Start at the top

Heat is like large organizations. If you really need improvement, start at the top. At the top of your house you will find the warmest air. So close the doors down, but also close the doors to the rooms of the next floor. Especially be aware that the attic is well closed.

And if you start insulating, then start with your roof.

Close the chimney of your open fire place

Warm air goes up. If you have a fire place and you don’t use it, make sure you close it. There are ‘chimney balloons’ you can put in your chimney hole over your fire place. You blow it up until there is no air ‘leaking’ along  the balloon.

The old fashioned chimney can draw a lot of heat (source:

Decentralize your heating

Many houses have central heating. It means that your complete house will be heated if the living room (with the thermostat) gets colder.

Decentralize your heating system by closing all convectors in the various rooms. Your plumber or heating technician can sophisticate this system by installing thermostat valves on every convector in the house, and some added technology. If you use these convectors only when you need the heat there, it can save you very much money.

Turn this thermostat valve to 0 in every room except for the room where you are, and you save big money.

want to learn more: Low Tech Magazine;

Hitting three birds with one stone

The story of Everett and Ariana last week reads like a fairy tale:

“We bought an electricity meter, with an app showing the kWh use on our phones display.  Every day we plug in a piece of equipment in our household. Then we read out the kWh that this equipment consumes in a day.”

Ariana continued: “This is three birds with one stone:

  1. We save a lot of money
  2. With this CO2 reduction, we really contribute to the future of our children
  3. And, we feel better, because the energy mostly comes from doubtful countries, like Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and so on.”

Last Tuesday Everett plugged in his speaker/amplifier surround sound system he installed about 20 years ago. Seldom he uses it, but it is always on standby. Everett discovered that just the standby mode costs him about 500 kWh per year, so about 300 Euro.

Thursday Ariana figured out the drying machine. This is by far the biggest consumer and she knew that. So she uses the ECO button. She discovered that the thing still eats about 320 kWh per year. Now they are thinking of a little roof just outside the laundry room, to let the laundry dry on a line, on the air.. The drying is slower, but your cloths feel fresher, and it is better for your cloths. 

Plus, the earlier mentioned three birds you hit with this single stone.

This measuring, we do it already on board since the Ya started sailing. We saw all guests getting aware of the consumption of the equipment, of themselves. They started becoming ecofriendly from the inside out. Why don’t you do the same?

On ‘Ya’ the electricity meter is positioned on a central place, like a clock.

Putins fear delivers -like all fears- enormous disadvantages. Like the disadvantage of a high energy bill. But, as the reknown Dutch football player, football coach and philosopher Mr. Johan Cruyff always said: “In every disadvantage there is an advantage.” It this case there are even three.

Hit them.

Time for a change: fossilfree in The Netherlands

In South America, fruit, vegetables and snacks like empanadas are sold on the street; in The Netherlands, you hardly ever see this. Time for a change! Saskia’s “Loos” brings a variety of healthy organic nuts, coffee, beans and candy to the street. Saskia sells these products from a fossil free cart, without plastic wrappings or bags.

How does it work?

You can bring your own pot or bag, take the amount you want and you pay. Saskia keeps the cart and the dispensers clean; the customers are responsible for keeping their own pots clean. If you don’t have pots or bags that you can use, you can buy them with Saskia.

Is the businesscase feasible?

“Loos” started some months ago with nothing but a brilliant idea, the energy and investments of the founders and small loans of family and friends. Volonteers built the cart and until now, all work has been on a voluntary basis. Saskia is very excited about the price they just won: 60.000,- Euro, which allows them to pay themselves their first salaries.

Why is this article on a Dutch initiative, you are in Panama?

Inge found “Loos” because she is on shore-leave to meet with family and friends and also to see how she can contribute to a more sustainable world in The Netherlands.

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Butterflies all around us

In Suriname we visited an amazing museum: a butterfly-farm. A what? Well, it’s a museum with an overwhelming collection of butterflies, but its main source of income is selling butterfly dolls. We were allowed to walk trough the gardens, and this enabled us to see the butterflies from nearby. In our trips we saw many of these beautiful creatures again, but never as close as in Suriname. Enjoy!

Golden butterfly dolls
The blue butterflies never sit still…
….but the brown ones even let themselves get caught to show their ‘eyes’.
Amazing concentration when sipping nectar…
…and this one on board of Ya showed that the colour of her eyes matches our cushions.

Comments? Want to sail with us? Let us know at!

Ode to the Parasailor

Ode to the Parasailor in image, and spoken

Shall I compare you to a summer’s day?
You are more temperate in the early winds of May
In July calms you are willing I dare say
On all the seas and streams I stray
Before our mast you’re here you stay

First you play the hard to get
Yes, you make a sailor sweat
With your four sheets and halyard fetched
Without a twist or tangle yet
I know once that’s done, you are all set

Your hoist is long, a pillar from a pile
Of ultralight cloth every inch worthwhile
The sock shuffles up, in a gentle style
The wing widens out into its full profile
Making the sail fill in a breathtaking while
Then my wife at the helm shows a beam wide smile

Your sheets get tension when you fill the sky
On your trim you are such an easy guy
No luff neither leeway – all seas to defy
The helmsman stands with a twinkle in the eye:
“You make our yacht sail as light as a fly”

You bring her to speeds we never expect
Even in light winds, you see what you get
Spinaker, gennaker, code zero
They broach and tangle and twist, oh hell no
When breezes pick up from steady to fresh
Your wing valve saves us from a broach and a crash

Mile after mile we are making right now
Sailing the seas with you over our bows
Enjoying you comp’ny day after day
We stay fossil fuel free so easy this way
The Autoprop generates hundreds of Watts
We ‘ll arrive at the harbour with the batteries topped

O You Parasailor are so very alright
We dare set and sail you even throughout the night
Because your design is so smart and profound
We sail you shorthanded the world around
Making our course so easy at the helm
Crossing the ocean, my ship is my realm


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