This recipe comes from a time in Langkawi, Malaysia, when we visited a nearby island to smoke some fish. Deciding that a big bowl of mussels and some crusty bread would be the perfect thing to accompany our crisp white wine, we sailed to Pulau Singar Besar. There, there is a small shelter with a table and a fireplace. We lit a fire to cook on, and as our fish smoked away, I cooked up the yummy mussels.
We love these days, cooking on the fire, the beach to ourselves, wine and entertaining ourselves with a game of cards. Yes, some days, you do feel you are in paradise.
2 Tbs olive oil
6 Large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2-3 large chillies, sliced
1 1/2 cups of white wine
2 cups of fish stock
1 cup of small grape tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper to taste
1kg of New Zealand green-lip mussels
6-8 spring onion, finely sliced
1/2 cup basil leaves, finely shredded
Wash the mussels, scrub the shell and remove the bearding if still present. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the garlic and chilli, cook for a couple of minutes. Add the wine and simmer to reduce a little. Then add the fish stock. At this stage, I add a few of the tomatoes to allow that to help flavour the broth and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for five minutes.
Add the mussels cover and cook for about three minutes.
Add the spring onions and tomatoes, toss well to incorporate, cover and cook for a couple of minutes.
Then add the basil, toss well, cover and cook for another minute or two.
Divide mussel and tomatoes between two large bowls, pour over the broth and serve with crusty bread. Yummo!
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Goolwa cockles otherwise known as pipis are bivalve molluscs, similar in their two shelled structure to a clam, or mussel. A popular place to gather pipis is Goolwa Beach in South Australia. They are not only, and exclusively, at this beach, but on a nice summer day, Goolwa beach will often be busy with swimmers, surfers and people gathering cockles. Some people use them as bait but many others are now cooking them and making delicious meals of steamed cockles in white wine and garlic, rich marinara sauces or, like me, putting them in a creamy seafood chowder for that little touch of something different.
We are currently visiting family and friends in Adelaide, South Australia, and really, what is more Australian, more South Australian and more Goolwanian than a day at the beach gathering cockles…. not much. Dwayne, myself and two of our boys were joined by friend’s Sarah and Phil May, and their children plus other friends and family.
While I found it difficult to get in the cold water like the rest of them, surfing and boogie boarding, I did manage to get in deep enough to start hunting for cockles. Collecting the cockles is really very simple. You simply dig your feet into the sand and as the water washes around your feet and the wave ebbs, the sand is washed away and your feet sink deeper into the sand. When you feel the cockles beneath your feet and bend down to scoop them up. Put the cockles into a bucket or esky (i.e. chilly bin, cooler, icebox). The cockles then need to be encouraged to purge or spit out all their sand. The purging occurs when the cockles are kept in the bucket or an esky with fresh clean seawater for at least 24 hours. This is easy if you are near a beach and can replenish and freshen the seawater regularly.
So once my cockles were purged I set about making a creamy seafood chowder which I then served in a toasted bread roll bowl. Yummo!
This is what you will need…
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 large leek, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup plain flour
4 cups fish stock
500g white fish, chopped into cubes
400g prawns, peeled
1kg Goolwa cockles
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and cracked black pepper
4-6 bread rolls
And this is what I did…
To make a bread roll serving bowl I sliced the top off each bread roll and set it aside to use as the lid. Then I dug out the inner soft bread and baked the rolls, and their lids, in a moderate oven until they are hard & crispy (about 10-15 minutes).
For the chowder…
I heated the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Added the bacon and cooked over low heat for about 5 minutes. I then added onion, carrot, celery, potato and cooked for 5 minutes or until softened (do not brown).
Next, I added the flour and cooked for one minute. Then I gradually added the fish stock and cooked while stirring for about five minutes or until mixture boiled and thickened. I let it simmer over low heat for another five minutes uncovered while I stirred occasionally.
I then added the seafood and simmered again while stirring occasionally. I added the cream and simmered for another 5 minutes without letting it boil. I then seasoned with salt and cracked pepper and tossed in a handful of chopped parsley.
I ladled the soup between the toasted rolls and served immediately.
Note: I have made this recipe with fish and lobster that we caught while camping at Canunda National Park, and I have used fish, scallops and squid that we caught at Stansbury while anchored there. At home, I have used a marinara mix or a mix of prawns, fish, scallops and mussels. Any mix of seafood is great in this chowder.
Another yummy oyster feed made with oysters plucked from the rocks in QLD.
Bloody Mary Oyster Shots
I popped a fresh oyster into each shot glass and added about half a shot of vodka to each glass. Then I added tomato juice and a couple of dashes of tabasco sauce.
Salt and Pepper Oysters with a Tomato Caper Salsa
For the salsa
I mixed finely chopped tomato and capers and refrigerated it until needed.
For the oysters
I mixed a small amount of cornflour with freshly ground salt and black pepper. I lightly coated the oysters and deep fried them for 1 – 2 minutes.
I put the oysters in ceramic Chinese soup spoons and topped each oyster with the salsa.
Grilled Oysters with Mirin, Soy and Chilli
For the mirin and soy dressing
I mixed one tablespoon of mirin with one tablespoon of soy.
To cook and serve
I put an oyster in each shell (I use odd shells I have collected) and added a bit of the dressing and topped each oyster with a couple of slices of chilli. Then I grilled the oysters for 1 – 2 minutes.
I made these oysters for Dwayne after collecting a few oysters on an island in the Great Barrier Reef. Once again as mentioned in a previous blog I use odd shells that I have collected to grill the oysters in as it is not easy to get oysters on the half-shell when collecting them off the rocks!
For these oysters I sauté a little finely diced garlic, then add some white wine and simmered to reduce. I remove the pan from the heat and add some cream.
I place an oyster in each shell and pour a little of the garlic cream sauce over, then I top each with a slice of camembert cheese.
Cook them under the grill until the cheese melts and starts to brown.
With oysters we collected on Forbes Island I made oysters Kilpatrick. You will notice that the oysters are not grilled in the oyster shell. When collecting oysters off the rocks we take them out of the shell, so I have collected a few odd shells to enable me to do my favourite grilled oyster recipes.
For my Kilpatrick oysters I fried up some diced bacon in a small saucepan to crisp it a bit. I remove it from the heat and then add Worcestershire sauce and a bit of tomato sauce.
I place an oyster into each shell, add some of the sauce and the bacon, then grill it for a couple of minutes.
On our first day in Island Head Creek QLD, we discovered some huge oysters. Dwayne thought all his Christmases had come at once and like a little boy eager to try out his new truck he just had to go oyster harvesting!
Later that day, tucked away in Island Head Creek on a rainy day with nothing better to do, I decided to do some cooking. Once I had my Beef Cheek Pie Filling on the simmer and a piece of marlin curing in a gin mix, I decided I’d do some beer battered marlin and oysters for lunch. Yummo!
I made a simple beer batter with plain flour and beer. Cleaned the oysters and cut two marlin fillets into thick fingers. Coated the fish and oysters with the batter and deep fried for a few minutes.
I served the beer battered marlin and oysters with several dipping sauces. Sweet chilli, soy, kecap manis, cocktail sauce and a sauce of mayo, lime and capers. Delicious!
Tempura Oysters are my favourite. Even more so when we have plucked the oyster fresh from the rocks ourselves! While in Broken Bay, North of Sydney NSW we had the opportunity to treat ourselves to fresh oysters a few times.
This particular day I decided to do tempura oysters three ways; dressed with soy & mirin, wasabi mayo and chilli ginger mirin.
I made a simple tempura batter with plain flour, powdered egg and soda water. Deep fried the battered oyster for one to two minutes and then dress them with the sauce. Simple, easy and delicious!