A yabbie dinner

I haven’t yet said anything about our yabbie dinner last week.

A few weeks ago, when Laura was still here, I showed our wwoofers how to fish for yabbies using a string and a lump of meat. Yabbies are freshwater crustaceans who live in farm dams.

Our efforts were wildly unsuccessful, so I bought a couple of “opera house” yabbie traps. Last week, wwoofers Pat and Nicky used these on our various dams and caught about 12 yabbies over several days. Twelve yabbies is really not much of a feed. Apparently if you have freshwater tortoises, as we do, they eat most of the yabbies.

As it happened, Allison and I were driving home from work when we bumped into our neighbour Shayne. Shayne and his son Samuel had collected several buckets of yabbies from one dam and were going to restock another of their dams. We told them about Pat and Nicky’s efforts, and they immediately donated half a bucket of yabbies.

Allison left the bucket next to the boys’ yabbies, and soon we got a reaction. “Where did you get them?” Allison explained that she’d taken a string and meat down to our dam, and pulled them all in within a few minutes. Pat was very sceptical, and insisted that we’d got them at the Woolworths supermarket or some such. Allison replied (truthfully enough) that you really can’t buy yabbies.

So we boiled the yabbies and pulled out their meat. All I can say is that this is a great deal of effort for little return.

I cooked some pasta, and folded in the yabbies, some quartered cherry tomatoes and some basil and chives all from our garden, some olive oil, some red balsamic vinegar, some salt and pepper. The consensus was that this was delicious.

We were away last weekend at the beach (hot and sticky!) as Pat and Nicky left. Their last action was in collecting a box of 100 silver perch (Silverwater Native Fish, no website, $132) which were delivered to the “Big Merino” in Goulburn. They put the fingerlings into our empty dams, and a few into the creek. Silver perch are a locally native fish, and good eating.

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