• Explore holidays, Part 1

    On a recent visit back to my native Australia I had plenty of time to explore my country, its bushtucker and our indigenous history. I call them “explore holidays”. The types of holidays where you are not just being a passive observer to the place you are visiting, but actively searching and learning.

    My explore holiday took me to Merimbula in NSW. The bushtucker opportunities were great. One of my favourite ways to gather food in the wild is while I am snorkelling.

    My first food gathered was abalone. I love gathering them as it’s quite a challenge and adventure. First you have to locate them among all of the sea weed and they are very good at finding small crevices to hide in. When they sense danger, they suction hard onto the rocks, making it very challenging at times to pry them from the rocks.

    During my explore holiday I was lucky to meet Steve, a local who dives for abalone and collects cockles commercially. He was kind enough to take me out onto the local lake to show me where he collects the cockles. His haul was 200kg! Steve and his friend Brian send them to the markets in Melbourne and Sydney. Brian is Aboriginal and Steve spoke with admiration about Brian’s fishing skills. He told me how he can spot ripples in the water and know how many fish are there and the type of fish.

    Steve found a large mud oyster in the lake that was as big as my hand (although my hands are quite small, it was big nonetheless!) You can it eat raw, although it’s very strong and some people prefer to cook it. After trying a small part raw, I decided to follow Steve’s recommendation for cooking it.

    I tried to steam it open, although that didn’t really help. So I pried it open with my oyster knife. The size of the meat was outstanding, measuring about two inches long. I coated it in a beaten egg, rolled it in bread crumbs and deep fried it. The oyster was in the hot oil for only a few seconds before it looked ready. It was absolutely delicious with a bit of squeezed lemon over the top.

    I also tried the rock oysters while I was there. A nearby section of beach exposes a lovely expansive sand bar. At low tide I took a stroll over the rocky sections and noticed hundreds of oysters clinging to the exposed rocks. The next day I took my oyster knife, gloves and some lemon to have fresh oysters off the rock while admiring my beautiful surroundings.

    See my next blog entry for the recipe for a simple yet delicious Italian mussel pasta sauce and hear more about my explore holiday.

    1 Comment

    • 1. Apr 15 2015 9:04AM by Wayne

      I went abalone driving with Wendy a few years back. It was a wonderful experience. :-)

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