Tag Archives: Coral Bay

Rabbit Cacciatore Mmmmmmm

Stock yards and windmill are beeing gradually swallowed up by the dune

Stock yards and windmill are beeing gradually swallowed up by the dune


I must be starting to sound like the proverbial broken record, with it still being too windy for us to get out and fish. To add insult to injury, it’s now raining as well. Not pouring, but just drizzling enough to make the sand stick like glue to your shoes every time you step outside! I hope the weather improves before we leave here Sunday and head back to Carnarvon.

Spangled Emperor and Chips

Spangled Emperor and Chips

Sunday we managed to slip out for an hours fishing before the wind got up really high and sent us racing back in. Our bravery, in less than pleasant conditions, was rewarded with three spangled emperor. Russ filleted, vacuum packed the two biggest, and kept the smaller one for our dinner Monday night. Sunday night, we had a red meat night enjoying a bone-in rib eye roast with all the trimmings.

Monday, with rain threatening we packed a picnic lunch, a fishing rod for Russ and the camera for me and took a drive down the coastal road. It’s about a 130k round trip through Cardabia and Ningaloo stations along a narrow corrugated, sandy road, then back to Coral Bay along 50 or so ks of bitumen. The coast itself is accessible via narrower and sandier tracks along the way and makes for pretty spots to view the reef and dunes. We didn’t see any whales this year, but I think we are a month or so earlier than last year. Russ caught a couple of cod at our lunch spot and a very angry Undulating Moray Eel. We had a small shark and turtle hang around checking us out most of the time we were there.

Our annual visit to my favourite sand dune

Our annual visit to my favourite sand dune

It’s interesting to watch the dunes move and swallow up the road and paddocks each year that we visit. The road is totally rerouted now in one spot and stock yards in another are disappearing fast.

Russ went off fishing, I walked home from the boat ramp

Russ went off fishing, I walked home from the boat ramp

Today (Tuesday) Russ decided to have an early lunch and brave the water (salt and rain). I’d showered just before lunch so didn’t fancy putting my super smelly fishing clothes on. Instead, I went with him to the boat ramp then walked the couple of ks home along tha sand track above the reef. I’d taken my camera to try and get some photos of the dark clouds looming over the reef.
Sunshine breaking through the rain clouds

Sunshine breaking through the rain clouds

Dinner was rabbit from the farm at New Norcia. They’d shot and kept us 5 last time we visited in exchange for some fish fillets. It’s a good swap although I miss them living on Jib Jib where they raised wild piglets in the shearing shed and gave us wild pig meat as well. They often give us lamb shanks too if they don’t feed them to the dogs!!!!

Tonight’s dish of Rabbit Cacciatore is from the site Hunt Catch Cook Click on the link to check out this one and some other great game recipes. I’ve made and blogged Rabbit Cacciatore before, but love trying other recipes. I cooked most of two rabbits tonight (the shooters tend to blow away the front legs lol) with plans to make risotto with the leftovers tomorrow.

Rabbit Cacciatore finished dish

Rabbit Cacciatore finished dish


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Too Windy to Fish (AGAIN)

Tomato SaffronRice  Fish Soup

Tomato Saffron Rice Fish Soup

When it’s this windy it’s not nice to snorkel (little wavelets down your snorkel), not nice to swim (little wavelets again), and not even nice to walk (sandblasting of body!), so we had a really quiet day in-Russ doing Sudoku for a lot of the day, me trying to nut out my camera. We treated ourselves to a Saturday lunch of pies from the bakery right over the road-beef, cheese and bacon, and rosemary lamb and veg, but otherwise did nothing. After yesterday, walking 4ks to the Shark Sanctuary and back, mostly through, up or down sand, then a couple of hours fishing, I was quite happy to have a slow day.

Walking to the shark sanctuary 5

Walking to the shark sanctuary 5

I caught a nice little Spangled Emperor (46cm) yesterday when we ventured out for a couple of hours in another not so perfect day. I’d made fish stock the day before so was desperate to catch a big enough fish to make soup. How lucky was I to catch our only emperor otherwise I was taking some out of the freezer!

We often have a Tunisian Fish Soup but I wanted to make something else for a change. I found a recipe using clams and prawns, so subbed our fish, adding in a couple of other ingredients while I was at it.

Tomato, Rice, Saffron Fish Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 60g prosciutto, finely sliced (or could use bacon)
  • 1x420g can whole tomatoes, drained of juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • pinch of saffron
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (I used smoked)
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups stock (I used home made fish)
  • Whole fish fillets (enough for two)
  • chopped fresh coriander
Tomato SaffronRice  Fish Soup

Tomato Saffron Rice Fish Soup

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onion, garlic and prosiutto and cook until well softened.
  2. Add the drained tomatoes, ( I scissor them up in the pan) and wine and cook until all the liquid is gone, add in the saffron, cumin and paprika and cook a minute or two,
  3. Toss the rice in and toss around until well mixed then add the lemon juice, bay leaves and stock. Cook about 12 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  4. Add the fillets of fish-thinner ones a minute or so before the thicker ones. Cook for around 3 or 4 minutes (remember they’ll cook on after you turn the heat off).Break each fillet into two or three pieces, serve in deep bowls scattered with the coriander and with crusty bread and butter!

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The School Run

Maud's Landing

Maud’s Landing


Running short of my blood pressure medication was one thing we didn’t take into account as we happily booked an extra week here in Coral Bay. It’s not a big deal-I can cross the road, hand my prescription to someone in the dive shop and have the pills the next day. But, rather than do that, we decided to drive the 152ks each way (so a total of 304ks) into Exmouth, do some shopping, have some lunch, get the pills and come home.

A long way to shop you say? Well, spare a thought for the kids of Coral Bay whose parents choose to work here long term. School starters are home schooled until they reach year three, then they travel the 152ks to and from school every day until they reach the end of year 7 and go off to boarding school.

I have a fair tolerance to boring landscapes, but even I find this particular trip mind-numbing for all but about the last 25ks when you start to see glimpses of the Gulf of Exmouth on one side and the Cape Ranges National Park on the other. But tell that to a kid who does it 5 days a week 42 weeks a year.

I saw the bus arrive home one afternoon and that got me wondering about the poor lady driver. At least the kids could sleep to and from school but (hopefully) not her. And what did she do with the 6 or 7 hours in Exmouth (hardly a town you could wander around window shopping for more than 30 minutes).

A meeting with the skipper of the Eco Tours boat on the jetty the other day answered that question. The bus driver-who just happens to be his mum! has a job cleaning at a resort in Exmouth that she does while the kids are at school, then it’s back in the bus and off home until they all do it, all again tomorrow.

The skipper of the boat said he and his wife didn’t think they’d stay around to have to see their kids go off to school on the bus. Good move I say.

We didn’t have to sit in school and listen to a teacher-we shopped for groceries, had a nice counter lunch, I got a new fishing rod and most importantly we got the pills. I fell asleep on the way home.

Last night we went to Maud’s Landing (one of our favourite spots) for a sunset drink. It’s lovely watching the beach fisherpeople and the kids playing as the sun goes down. I’ve included a few photos.

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Rye Bread

Rye Bread a Bit Over-browned But it'll be OK

Rye Bread a Bit Over-browned But it’ll be OK

Most of you that have ever had a drink and nibbles with us, will have eaten the little “toasties” Russ likes to make out of stale, leftover bread. The bread has to be good though, or the toasties wind up like this non-Catholic imagines communion wafers to be.

Coral Bay bakery right across the road here sells a pretty decent multi-grain loaf that is great for sandwiches, but when it’s dried out Melba toast style, it just dissolves into nothing on your tongue when eaten.

With a rotten cold, and it being too windy for fishing, I decided today would be as good as any to make some decent bread so Russ can restock our toasties store. I’ve made this rye bread loaf before and found it to be super easy and give good results. I don’t own a bread maker, so I just knead breads by hand-and really enjoy doing it. I kneaded one handed this morning while I talked on the phone to son Mick. That’s how easy this bread is!

Rye Bread

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
Rye Bread Second Rise

Rye Bread Second Rise

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients together, knead for 7-10 minutes, by hand or machine. Your dough should be smooth and a bit sticky,as that is the nature of rye bread dough.
  2. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth or lightly oiled (I use cooking spray) cling film. Let rise until doubled, about an hour, maybe longer depending on the room temperature
  3. Gently knock down, and shape as you like-either free form or in a bread tin. I bake it free form, on a biscuit tray lined with baking (NOT greaseproof) paper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190c, and let the bread rise until it is almost doubled.
  5. Slash with a sharp razor or a serrated knife.
  6. Spritz with water and place in the oven.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the pan for even browning and bake for 15 minutes more. Tap the bottom of the bread-it should sound hollow. If it doesn’t pop it back in for a couple of minutes more until it does
Rye Bread a Bit Over-browned But it'll be OK

Rye Bread a Bit Over-browned But it’ll be OK

Deja Vu

Gums at Chinaman's Pool

Gums at Chinaman’s Pool

On April 20th 2013, we left home intending to be back by November 2013 (for my son Mick’s 30th birthday). We flew home and then came back to Perth as by then, we’d let our house to our good friends and former neighbours Ben and Tomoko. They are living in our house until their new one is built, so we have agreed to keep travelling until it is. It doesn’t look like that’ll be any time soon, so for now, we are up north of Perth for 11 weeks, and after that, we fly to the UK for 10 weeks. In October 2014, we’ll finally head to Victoria, basing ourselves at son Daniels’ place and continue to travel.

Today, and for the next 4 weeks, we are in Coral Bay. It’s a bit of Deja Vu isn’t it?! It certainly is for us as we’ve been this way so often now.

We left Perth on Wednesday morning after saying goodbye to Leah and Cosmo and our home base for the past 8 months, and to Deb and Harry (who will more than likely have forgotten us when we see him again in 11 weeks). Todd and Blair were at work so we’d said our goodbyes to them!

Wednesday night was spent in Port Dennison at the Big 4 caravan Park we’ve often stayed at, then Thursday, we had a big drive (for us) to Carnarvon where we spent two nights.

We’d given ourselves a full day in Carnarvon so we could pull everything out of the cupboards, drawers and from under bed and seats so we could take stock of it all, then shop. I told Russ I was going to be much more sensible this time around at the plantations as I always come away with WAY too much fresh produce then have to work hard to use it all while it is still fresh. It’s actually quite stressful.

Capsicums, Bananas and a Few Mangoes

Capsicums, Bananas and a Few Mangoes

Anyway, it was a good plan but it didn’t happen! The minute we saw all those wonderful fresh goodies, we went nuts. Big fat glossy eggplants (yes please), crisp zuccs (of course) capsicums (they were growing in the paddock beside the shop), the first of the tomatoes (4 bags if I can’t have a box), bananas, limes, green papaya, snake beans, herbs, a whole pumpkin, corn, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, rocket……… and once again, the problem of using them all at their best.

Green Papaya Salad and Garlic Prawns

Green Papaya Salad and Garlic Prawns

The day we bought all the fresh veg, Russ cooked us a leg of lamb and roast veg, Last night, I made us a fantastic (even the cook says so) green papaya salad topped with garlic prawns, tonight I’m making my most favourite Carnarvon dish-ratatouille to have along side a pot roast of beef that’s simmering gently on the stove outside. That’s about 1/4 of the fruit and veg gone!

In Carnarvon, we also found time to finally go visit the Space Museum (home to the big satellite dish that dominates the landscape) and Chinaman’s Pool on the Gascoyne river. I’s a really pretty spot and it’s the first time I’ve seen water flowing on the surface of the river (it flows under the sand for most of the year). The Space Museum was an odd collection of objects and photos and an awful lot of written information. I came away know Buzz Aldren visited Carnarvon and the dish, and that the Carnarvon site monitored the health of astronauts during the Apollo missions.

The Dish

The Dish

It’s nice to see that repairs to the huge floods in 2010 are almost complete-Service (gas) stations) have been built, roads repaired, plantation fencing and topsoil replaced and levee banks and channels made to stop future flooding (they hope).

Yesterday we drove the last 240ks to Coral Bay. As I was driving here, I hit a wedge tail eagle. I slowed right down when I first saw him feasting on a dead roo, and started blasting on my horn. The greedy bugger just stayed on his meal until I was about 50 metres away. By then I was doing about 20kph and he flew off to my left. THEN he veered back to my right and slammed into my side of the windscreen. I’m so glad our chipped windscreen didn’t break. He flew off a bit wonkily, so I drove off a bit wonkily, both of us a bit stunned and relieved it was over I reckon

Most of you that have followed this and my other blog know that Coral Bay is one of my favourite places in Australia. The caravan park is huge, it’s often crowded, we bathe in salty bore water and have to carry in drinking water, but the bakery is great, so’s happy hour at the pub (the view from the pub is pretty nice too), the winter weather is fantastic, and when we get out on the water fishing all the bad things are forgotten and forgiven.

We had intended to stay here for 3 weeks but arrived, walked into the office, looked at each other and asked to extend a week more. So now we have 4 glorious weeks here to fish, snorkel and swim.

A Happy Man Making Up His Boat Trailer

A Happy Man Making Up His Boat Trailer

Today we went fishing for the first time in 5 months, and I’m pleased to report (gloat) I caught the first fish-a pretty small flounder which is a first in itself-we’ve never caught one here. We caught heaps of just undersized spangled emperor, a few Charlie Court cod and four really good sized golden trevally which are just the thing for smoking and pickling. I have already pickled my share, just waiting for Russ to smoke his. We had a pretty big shark (not one I’d like to meet snorkelling) circle the boat today, saw a couple of dolphins and caught a huge variety of other fish. It was so good to be back doing what we both enjoy so much.

The weather for the next week looks like more of the same as we had today (around 28c with very little wind) so I imagine it will be a week of fishing and finding ways to use all our fresh veg for us.

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Squid

Spiced and Salted Squid with Wasabi Mayonnaise

Spiced and Salted Squid with Wasabi Mayonnaise

Much excitement at our place with the capture of three squid today. We did catch a small one the other day but these ones are big.

We don’t actively target squid, but will sometimes drop a jig over the side of the boat if we think we’re over likely squid territory and today we were. The first one I caught managed to get his revenge by covering me and the boat in ink, but I wised up after that and held the other two in the landing net until they’d finished squirting ink. It’s dreadful stuff and will stain the fishing clothes I was wearing today forever-like a badge of squidding honour.

Our squid jigs are attached to bits of flotation noodle (like nanas use at aerobics). At one stage I wasn’t taking any notice of mine and it suddenly went overboard. It was so funny to see three big squid attacking it at the surface rather than the jig but I caught one after we retrieved it from them. I’d say if you were a very keen squidder, there were heaps of them out there today but three is enough for us.

One squid will be used tonight for our entrée of spiced squid and wasabi mayonnaise, the other two will go into the freezer to be eaten at a later date and all their wings, heads and tentacles go into the bait bucket.

We also caught a few fish, but will freeze them and have a poached chicken and papaya salad for our mains tonight.  It was lovely. out there today, we saw heaps of turtles (maybe a dozen) two sharks (one I wouldn’t want to swim with ) and dolphins  as we fished.

Salted and Spiced Squid Rings with Wasabi Mayonnaise
Salt and Spice Mix

  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ¼ cup rock salt

Wasabi Mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Coles low fat whole egg)
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste (or to taste)
  • fresh squid rings
  • ¼ cup rice flour
Spiced and Salted Squid with Wasabi Mayonnaise

Spiced and Salted Squid with Wasabi Mayonnaise

Salt and Spice Mix

  1. Place the chilli flakes, cumin, fennel, coriander seeds and peppercorns in a small food processor or mortar and pestle. Grind until coarsely broken up.
  2. Add the salt and continue to grind until the salt and spices are finely ground.  That was too much for my little blender so I finished the mix with my mortar and pestle.
  3. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Wasabi Mayonnaise

  1. Mix the ingredients together and refrigerate until you serve the squid.

Squid 

  1. Toss the squid rings in the rice flour.
  2. Heat enough oil in a wok or deep pan to deep fry the squid rings a few at a time, cooking for about 2 minutes until golden and just cooked. Drain on absorbent paper.
  3. Sprinkle over the salt and spice mix and serve with Wasabi Mayonnaise.

Whales in the bay!

Some sort of coastal plant

Some sort of coastal plant

After a couple of days spent not fishing, we went back out today and caught ourselves a few red throat emperors, a Charlie Court cod, and two trevally (more fish to pickle)  so dinner tonight was Greek Style Fish my way. After checking out quite a few recipes and finding none of them quite “right” I decided to come up with my own version based on all of them. Apologies to any Greeks who might be reading this.

Opposite the Northern Passage Coral Bay

Opposite the Northern Passage Coral Bay

The last two days were spent very quietly. As it basically rained all of Friday, we spent the day in the van playing computer games or reading. Yesterday was sunny but too windy to fish, so we did our laundry (well Russ did our laundry) then headed down the coast road for some 4WDing and photos. We got as far as the Bateman Sanctuary Zone where we spent a really nice hour or so taking lots of photos. We’ve never been there before as the gate in has always been locked but it wasn’t this time. The views from the sand dunes over the reef were stunning and we were excited to see 4 groups of whales at play in the bay in front of us.

Our neighbours (with the three small boys Arty, Alby and Orson) spent two nights away in Exmouth to escape the rain. They are good kids but rise earlier than we do so we made the best of their absence and slept in both morning. It was bliss.

Greek Style Fish

  • 400g fish fillets  (we used red throat emperor)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 400g can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped (I prefer to chop my own)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup pitted, chopped kalamata  olives
  • Salt and pepper to taste (remember the olives and feta are salty so go easy)
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Lemon wedges to serve
Greek Style Fish

Greek Style Fish

Method

  1. Heat oven to 190c
  2. Spray a baking dish with oil, add the fish fillets and cook around 10 minutes (all this depends on how big your fillets are. You want them almost cooked but not done to death!)
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook a minute more.
  4. Add the tomatoes, wine, basil, oregano, cinnamon and sugar and cook over a medium high heat until reduced a little.
  5. Add the parsley, olives and salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon this mix over the fish in the baking dish then sprinkle over the crumbled feta. Bake for about 10 minutes more or until the feta has browned a bit and the fish flakes easily.
  7. Serve with rice or pasta (we had ours with risoni ), lemon wedges and a green salad.

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