Sunday, January 26, 2014

Family foraging

We do not get to the ocean nearly enough.  But when we get there we make the most of it rain, hail or shine.   We recently escaped to South Australia for a few days to visit family before the school year starts again.

After a relaxing wander through the beautiful Willunga Farmers Market it was time to get down to the serious business of foraging for cockles or pippis.  We are cockling novices but we had two experts leading the charge so we followed them with great enthusiasm.



It wasn't long before we were digging around in the soft sand at Middleton filling our buckets with these shelled creatures.  The water was mild and families, surfers and walkers were all enjoying the beach.  The cockles were sorted and counted as we discussed some different ways to cook our catch. 


Afterwards, the Hotel Elliot seemed the perfect place for a cold beer and lunch as we savoured the quickly diminishing holiday moments.


We purged our catch firstly in bran and then in salt water.  After seeking some advice from Christina we probably could have skipped the bran and gone straight for the salt water.   This is valuable knowledge for next time. 



The chef of the house cooked the cockles in an Asian style loosely based on this recipe.  A generous handful of fresh Thai basil stirred through at the end lifted this simple dish.

So, now we have been cockling.  Foraging for food as a family proved to be a perfect day out.


Do you eat cockles or use them for fish bait?

Do you call them pippis?

Are you savouring the final moments of the school holidays?  

31 comments:

  1. sounds like a lovely family holiday jane..the children must have loved being at the beach especially because you live so far away from the ocean..even though i come from south australia i've never collected cockles..unfortunately it wasn't something that my family ever did..i'd love to now though..when does school go back for your children? now that my children are grown the only way i know school has returned is when the traffic becomes unbearable again! x

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    1. Thanks Jane, having spent quite a bit of time in SA over my lifetime I had not been cockling either, up until now. Our children go back in the 1st week of February, good luck with the traffic! x

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  2. I call them pippis, and I can't imagine wasting something so delicious as fish bait! :) Sounds glorious Jane, so glad to hear you're having a good break! xxx

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    1. Thanks Celia, I agree. But, I know many people in SA use them for bait and bait only. What a waste!? x

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  3. Are they small clams? I'm not a seafood fan, but looks like you guys had fun.

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    1. Thanks Katie, yes they are small clams. The collecting was just as much fun as the eating!

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  4. Well done, Jane... a lovely recipe, great foraging... and how I miss taking my little ones to the seaside... it was ALWAYS so good for their/our souls xoxox

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    1. Thanks Lizzy. I agree...the seaside is invigorating and refreshing for everyone, young and old x

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  5. I haven't ever eaten pippis before. When we lived on the coast I found it fascinating watching the pippis move around though and burry themselves in the sand with their unusual 'foot' that they would poke from their shells.
    x

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    1. Thanks Zara, they are funny little creatures aren't they?

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  6. We call them pippis - I wouldn't have known them by the name cockles if you hadn't had a picture there :-)
    I've never eaten them, or collected them. We lived on the coast when I was a child and we used to get away to private parts on the bush beaches a lot. Once we went oystering but I didn't eat any as I don't like them :-)

    Sarah x

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    1. Thanks Sarah, I bet those bush beaches of your childhood were beautiful!

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  7. I love foraging by the seaside. We went cockling in the rockpools of Wales this year and enjoyed scoffing our haul later. Asian style sounds fantastic though - will try this next time.

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    1. Thanks Andrea, the rockpools of Wales sound so wild and exotic to me!

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  8. We call them pippies and we use to find them with our feet. I don't really have a love for them but as kids it was always fun to find them come up through the sand. Glad you got to the ocean before school starts again

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    1. I think the catching is just as fun as the eating Lizzie!

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  9. I never knew you could eat these - how do they taste?

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    1. Hello Jacana, the best way I can describe it is like a tiny mussel, but perhaps not as rich/strong...and more like the ocean!

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  10. We call them pippies! I've never eaten them though :)

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    1. I wonder why or how these creatures have two names? Thanks for calling in!

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  11. what lovely pics! i especially love the grey-coloured sand.
    this is my way of saying hello to you without touching the whole shellfish conversation, as i don't like shellfish ... :-)

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    1. Thanks anyway e! I understand, I am not crazy about shellfish and only eat it in small quantities!

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  12. What fun. I've been digging for pippies once or twice and "someone" always cooked them into a delish meal. I didn't know that pippies and cockles are the same thing...I learnt something new today!

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    1. Thanks Mel. I think they are the same thing...perhaps there are technical differences?! Perhaps this blogger needs to do more research!

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  13. What a treasure trove. Love the sandy arm shot. Not a cockle or pipi eater … tend to go for mussels when i'm at the fish market. How do they rate, in comparison? Must give them a try.

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    1. Thanks Rachel. They are not as rich/strong as mussels and taste more like the ocean! The actual piece of meat is tiny.

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  14. I love the photos and the story to go with them. I haven't eaten 'pippis'. Yes have used them for bait, twisting our feet deep into the sand on the beach to find them. Jx

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    1. Thanks for calling in Jane, lovely to meet you!

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  15. we eat them occasionally but mainly use them as bait, watch that you stitch to size restrictions because will give you hefty fines and protroll regularly along that stretch. You could go blackberry picking on the way home!

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    1. Thanks Monique...we live a long way from Middleton and unfortunately I don't think this will ever be a regular outing for us! But, if we go again we will be vigilant!

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Hello and welcome. I will try to reply to all comments eventually because I love the conversation! Jane