I’ve been quite fortunate to grow up near some of the best beaches in the world. Heading down to the sand as a kid and digging in my feet in the hope to find pipis is a past time that conjures up some really great memories. It’s not something that I’ve really had a chance to do as much of over the last decade. But since a recent holiday to Byron Bay uncovered, I’d realised I hadn’t properly passed on this beautiful seashore foraging skill to my daughter.
I remember early on in my childhood being at Port Stephens with friends and family, making sandcastles, getting in the water for hours or having a dig with my brothers when we had the chance. Our incentive in finding pipis meant that were we successful in striking a payload we knew we were made me proud.
It was a blast getting her out there to find a few handfuls. We collected enough for a feed, and I gotta say, they were pretty fuckin delish-usss! So, with our 30-40 pipi haul, we made our way home to start prepping the little buggers. First things first though: You need to purge them of all the shit and grit inside them.
NB: For the following recipe, put aside a 2/3 Cup of the seawater to cook the Pipis in
PURGING the PIPI’S
Unless you’re Bear Grylls and enjoy eating shit sand, mud, and roadkill, you need to purge (cleanse) the pipis of all the crap inside them. It’s like giving them gastro, without it being contagious to you. I probably should have just said ‘detox them’.
- Make sure the container you are transporting home the pipi’s in, is big enough to hold twice as much seawater to pipis
- quickly clean pipi’s under cold tap water, cleaning any noticeable crap off if necessary
- sieve the saltwater to eliminate any grit and shit
- Place the pipi’s back into the saltwater and leave overnight
- the best place to get the saltwater is right near where you found your pipis
Pipis In Ocean Stock
This is a simple dish that takes advantage of using the ocean water the lived in
2/3 Cup of the seawater filtered through a napkin
Dash of white wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1. In a small to medium pot, bring the seawater to the boil
2. Gently place the pipis into the water and cook them for a few minutes,
3. Take out each pipi when their shells open and set them aside. When all pipis are out of pot turn heat
to medium-low and reduce liquid by half
4. You can choose to stop right here and devour the pipis as is on toast…no? ok continue
5. Start off by adding 60g of the butter, 1/2 tsp of the pepper, the dash of vinegar and lemon juice. Make sure
you taste your lemon first to judge its flavour. It may be too sour or bitter, so taste and go easy
6. Have a taste, liquid should be lightly lemony with a hint of vinegar. Should still be able to have the body
of the ocean in the flavour. A little tangy
7. Add sugar if desired
8. Place pipis back in warm broth and gently stir
9. Gently plate up and pour liquor over pipis and finely chopped tarragon
10. Serve with a wedge of lemon and warm crusty bread
Being half Maori, half English, half German, half Scottish and half Irish has assured me the culinary skill to be able to boil any meal of the day.
I enjoy the efficiency of flicking the switch on the stove and reheating over and over again my boil up pot, such a dream. My wife thinks it’s a fucking nightmare. But like all women that are 100% Australian Bushranger stock, you know the type, always on the run, never relaxed enough to appreciate the alluring aroma of a boil up pot that’s been sitting on the stove for a good week.
Maoris treat it with the same respect as a French baker would feed daily his 100-year-old culture starter for his sourdough bread. Continually topping up the ingredients here and there when needed, intensifying that wonderfully pungent master stock that my wife thinks smells like ‘camel piss’. Once again, I don’t hail from bushrangers, so who am I to argue what the scent of camel urine smells like.
Any Maori will tell you it’s soul food. The smell that fills the home is one that intoxicates the senses, evokes warmth, togetherness, family time even pants off alone time.
Me and the Koro
If there’s one thing I learned from my old boy was that, over the course of a boil up pots stint, it may see many different ingredients. It may start out with just bacon, watercress, potatoes and doughboys. By the time it’s run its course, I may have thrown in pork or beef sausages, pork or lamb chops, pork belly, speck, more bacon, cabbage, carrots, taro, cassava and a tonne of butter. On this lap, Watties tomato sauce is a must!
NB: I know that’s not Watties in the photo. I had just run out and couldn’t be fucked going down the street to get more. It was early days. Plus a bit of sugar-free stuff is good for the diabetics in the house.
Dad would go for days just reincarnating the same ingredients. Personally unlike conventional Maori-ism, after about day three, I split from the pack and heed the calling of my European roots, bringing in the big guns, indulging in kransky, knockwurst, rookwurst, bratwurst, even South African boerewors sausage. Big bold flavours, some adding a smokey edge to the broth. I will savor each bite with some sauerkraut, sweet Belgian mustard or German mustard.
Here I will usually throw in some carbs seeing as the doughboys disappeared a couple of days ago, by adding some gnocchi or German Spaetzle noodles if you could be fucked making them.
Look boilup may not be the healthiest dish on the planet, but if you lay off all the bread, doughboys, potatoes or noodles etc boilup itself can compliment a ketogenic diet, provided you consume a sensible amount and don’t be a dickhead and go overboard.
I myself, regardless if I return to vegan-ism again, will always love the smell and the memories that this one-pot dish provided throughout my life.
A huge pot
500g Potatoes washed and peeled
- Wash Watercress
- Place in pot with potatoes and bacon on top
- Fill with water 2/3 the way up the ingredients, add butter and a good pinch of salt
- Bring to the boil. As soon as boiling begins, reduce heat to low-medium and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.
- Add doughboys and cook for a further 15 minutes
2 Cups Self Raising flour
1. Place flour in a bowl add a good pinch of salt
2. Add enough water to bring flour together
3. Flour bench and turn mix out on it
4. Add more flour or water if needed
5. Knead dough until all comes together. Dont over work
6. Roll pieces into balls about 5cm across
7. Add to the top of ingredients cover with lid and cook until fluffy in the middle. About 15 minutes.
NB: When I could be bothered, I rub about 80g of cold butter into the flour before I add the water.
I sometimes swap out the water for lemonade, soda water or milk.