Our Galley

Our Galley
Cooking on a boat should be fun. It is slightly, no, a lot different to cooking in your stable kitchen. Not always is the sea all turquoise water and postcard calm. Pots and pans love to skim off benches, the oven, if not secured correctly, loves to open by itself and throw your latest creation across the galley floor. Living onboard is so much simpler and easier with little imagination and a relaxed approach. This will get the best out of your galley and you. I just love cooking seafood that we catch and fresh produce we gather onboard "Our Dreamtime" during our travels. You will find my recipes easy to follow and they won't take a lot of time to prepare in your galley afloat or kitchen ashore. It’s all about leaving time to enjoy life! I used to mix all my own herbs and spices but no longer. Now my secret to quick and tasty gourmet meals is the YIAH range (Your Inspiration at Home). These are all-natural seasonings, spices, salts and other items inspired by ethnic regions and custom blended to make cooking fast, simple and healthy. Take a look at the YIAH page below for details. I hope you enjoy Our Galley.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Greeks Love of Bread ....

The Greeks love of bread ensures the neighborhood bakery is still the focal point of daily life. They still have that old world charm of wrapping that fresh warm loaf of bread in wax paper. It is so much of their daily life that rarely do you find packaged bead in supermarkets, the expectation is that bread is bought and eaten fresh daily from the baker.  I made the mistake of asking one supermarket owner "ópou eínai to psomí?" Where is the bread? He just simply pointed down the road "foúrnos!" Bakery!

Rob waiting impatiently whilst I make my daily selection. 
You should have ordered a coffee Rob!

Getting into the habit of always having bread on the table takes some getting used to. Bread, psomi, is the staple of Greek meals on which everything else is piled onto. Taverna's don't ask if you want bread they just plonk it on the table, if you consume that portion they will just keep serving it. Some of our clients were quite miffed on their first Taverna outing to find they were charged for the bread saying "We never asked for it!" Why would you not have bread! and why would you not eat this amazing bread! The amazing soft yellow texture and the chewy crusts are of the typical Greek everyday loaf, the horiatiko. 

In my opinion when you have this amazing fresh bread available why is it Greeks choose to eat Barley Rusks. Though one of the healthiest Greek foods and of high nutritional value, a rusk is a hard, twice-baked, dehydrated bread. The Ancient Greek name for "paximadi" rusks was "dipyritis artos". This twice baked technique was used prior to the use of preservatives and was a clever way to keep bread edible for long periods and has been a staple in Greece kitchens since antiquity. Historically they were made with barley flour, however today most people add a little wheat flour to lighten the flavour and texture of their paximadia. They are purchased by the kilo at the local bakery and used daily in a variety of ways. This is one Greek bread I could leave on the shelf. 

However Greeks do use Rusks in many effective ways. One which I could use in our Galley would be Dakos Salad. Dakos known as koukouvagia, is originally from Crete consisting of  slices of oil soaked barley rusk topped with chopped  tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese, and flavoured with herbs such as dried oregano, olives a modern twist would be to add rocket, capers and peppers. If you haven't tried Dakos Salad its worth a try at home, the key to a good Dakos is all in using good quality tomatoes and bread because these two ingredients are heart and soul of this salad. If you cannot find sweet and ripe tomatoes, I suggest wait until you get some. 

Try Our Galley's Recipe at the bottom of the page.

Dakos Salad has a place in our Galley

On every street corner you will find Kritsinia (bread sticks) they are served all over Greece as a snack for all ages, they are a small bread stick covered in sesame seeds also used as an edible teething ring for small babies, as are the loops of sesame covered koulouria.

But it's not just bread the Greek bakeries do so well. Greek pastries and cakes are made with an abundance of honey, nuts, fruits, and cream. 

Their most recognised pastry is the Baklava a rich, sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. There are so many different versions of this in all shapes and sizes. You buy them in boxes, that's right not just one piece but in quantity!

You buy by the kilo and the box is chosen for your purchase.

Galaktoboureko is a favourite Greek dessert of semolina custard in filo. It is made in a pan, with filo layered on top and underneath and cut into square portions, or rolled into individual servings. It is served or coated with a clear, sweet syrup. I found it to be very close to our vanilla slice but a thousand times better.

Bougatsa is a Greek breakfast pastry consisting of either semolina custard, cheese, or minced meat filling between layers of fillo. A generous dusting of cinnamon and icing sugar adds only a few extra calories first thing in the morning.

Melomakarona (walnut syrup biscuits) these are the classic Greek biscuits Indulge in the orange, cinnamon and walnut flavours with every bite! 

Greeks have a food for nearly every occasion. It’s widely understood that Kourabiedes are the ultimate cookie to have around for all of life’s happy celebrations! Buttery and rich, these cookies should be a staple at every holiday and special occasion, and every moment in between!

The melomakarono is an egg-shaped Greek dessert made mainly from flour, olive oil, and honey. Along with the kourabies it is a traditional dessert prepared primarily during the Christmas holiday season.

A special gift given to us celebrate our Wedding Anniversary
from Hans, Andrea and Tessa

Greeks have a food for every occasion,
without food there is no celebration.

Anyone for cookies?

Until I traveled to Greece I though Australia was the land of pies .... Greece could probably take that title .... there are so many different types of pies, with countless variations from region to region. Probably the best known outside Greece are Spinach Pie (Spanakopita) and Cheese Pie (Tiropita), but there are many other delicious pies. Here a couple of my favourites that I indulged in mainly for breakfast as a trip to the bakery never seemed complete without picking up one or two other scrumptious looking treats.

Greek Cheese Roll (Tirobooreki) It has two cheeses anthotiro and feta - ricotta could be a substitute for the anthotiro if you can't get it where you live. 

Greek Courgette (Zucchini) Pie (Kolokithopita) A light and tasty pie. This can be eaten hot or cold. You can save it in the fridge and have it as a light lunch with some salad.

Spinach Pie

How did we resist all of these temptations.... Well we didn't  ...... This is Greece so when in Greece!

Our Galley's Dakos Salad Recipe  

6 large red ripe room temp tomatoes, cut into 1cm dice 
½ red onion, peeled and cut into 0.5cm dice
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tbsp good olive oil, plus 1 tbsp extra 
Salt and black pepper 
70g feta, roughly crumbled 
40g black olives, pitted and halved
30g capers, whole or very roughly chopped 
150g Rusks
5g chopped oregano, to serve
Rocket leaves for serving

Put the tomatoes, onion, vinegar, two tablespoons of oil in a bowl, add a third of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, stir gently and set aside.

Spread out a layer of Rocket, on a large platter topping with rusks then spoon the tomato mixture on top. Sprinkle over the feta, olives and capers, and top with oregano and the remaining olive oil. 
Leave to sit for five minutes before serving.

Subscribe to our blog to continue the Greek Food Discovery with us as we taste test the amazing samples of food throughout the Peloponnese Region.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Greek Food Discovery ....

Rob and I have just returned from three months of Greek food indulgence. Never have we enjoyed a country's culinary experience so much; a cuisine that has been enticing foreigners and natives alike for many years. 

Greece is blessed with copious amounts of fresh natural products that promote wellbeing, maintain good health and lends heaps of flavour to countless dishes. The aforementioned, olive oil and wheat, as well as fruits, vegetables, honey, and fish are the pillars of the Greek cuisine. 

The emphasis is on fresh food ingredients such as this haul of octopus.
Todays catch and the tastiest, freshest salad. Served at Margaret's Taverna Plaka.

The ancient Greek diet and cuisine, forerunner of the Roman food culture, have given rise to much of European cuisine today. Moreover, for the Greeks, from ancient times right up to the present. Certain foods are a means of satisfaction or a source of pleasure and some are laden with symbolism or used for medicinal purposes. Further, often the name of the dish incorporates the ancient method of preparation and/or the original cooking vessel.

Although Greece has diverse geography and climate, many cooking methods are universal across different regions. Greek cooking methods are usually fairly simple and straightforward. Many recipes and methods have been handed down through hundreds of generations. Though Greek cuisine has evolved immensely over the history of the country itself, there are still many traditional dishes in usage today. It's highly likely that Homer’s heroes would feel at home at a Greek Easter, they would recognise the traditional dishes using lemons, potatoes or tomatoes, and much more. 

Preparing a feast of stuffed peppers at Michalis' Taverna in Ermioni

Greeks approach food with a combination of seriousness and nostalgia. They don’t eat to live but rather live to eat, and a meal is always a social occasion which invites the original meaning of friendship.

Tavernas are the place to really experience a Greek meal. Just remember that eating in Greece is never rushed, there is no belief in eating and running' or that you have had 'enough' to eat. In Greece, a lunch or dinner can last for hours. They take their time, engage in discussions, and spend time with family. Lunch or dinner can last for hours, and the more food and people gathered at the table the better. 

Who couldn't be inspired by this Taverna's setting in beautiful Ermionni.

Michalis Taverna in Ermionni was one of our homes away from home.
Many great meals were eaten and friendships formed over long Greek Feasts.

The meal can take form in many different courses normally cold dishes first followed by fish prior to meat all dishes shared between guests, or as a Meze. Meze has its roots in antiquity, the word and usage came to Greece from Turkey. A meze is not a meal course like an appetiser but rather multiple small dishes shared. They can be hot or cold, spicy or savoury, often salty, that is served, as a separate eating experience. Your order may well not come out in the sequence in which you ordered, this is the Greek way ...

Salads, Entrees and Vegetables will come out in any given order.

The one thing that I was so impressed with was the freshness of the produce. There is a simplicity to Greek food that no other culture can replicate. Simple, good, fresh ingredients combined with Greece's liquid gold (Olive Oil) that makes unbelievable food. The emphasis on authentic raw ingredients, unadulterated and grown locally ..... simple dishes, cooked slowly and without fussy sauces, seasoned with herbs and olive oil rather than exotic spices, with love and imagination...... 

Fresh, flavour filled produce is the key to creating mouth watering dishes

Michalis preparing two of the dishes he serves in his Greek Feast.
The Pork Parcel at left is a favourite.

Subscribe to our blog to continue the Greek Food Discovery with us as we taste test the amazing samples of food throughout the Peloponnese Region.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

How good are Chickpeas onboard?

Originally cultivated in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans are loved around the globe, with a permanent spot in practically everyone’s pantry, not only vegetarians. They are featured prominently in Italian, Greek, Indian, Middle Eastern, Spanish and Portuguese cuisine. Yet chickpeas somehow still get relegated to the side dish territory, unceremoniously puréed into yet another bowl of hummus. 

Fresh Chickpeas being Harvested. Normally 2 seeds per Pod.
Though the most common type of chickpea appears round and beige, other varieties include colours such as black, green, and red. Like other legumes such as beans, peas and lentils, chickpeas are prized for their high protein and fiber content. This is great for us when fresh protein on the boat is low. 

On Our Dreamtime we tend to bulk up our meals with chickpeas, whether it be in a slow cooked stew or roasted there is always place for chickpeas. Having the convenience of them available in canned and dried forms allows us to store them onboard for long periods of time. 

Hummus is the Arabic word for chickpeas, which are often cooked and ground into a paste and mixed with tahini (sesame seed paste), this is the most commonly known use for chickpeas in Australia and it is used as a dip. But chickpeas are so much more. We have been amazed at the way the humble Chickpea is used all over the world. Such diverse cuisines using one simple ingredient to make amazing different taste sensations. 

How are Chickpeas used around the globe.
  • Mature dried chickpeas can be ground into flour, ground and shaped into balls and fried as falafel. This is commonly used in Syria and Lebanon.
  • Chickpea flour is known as gram flour or besan in South Asia and used frequently in Asian cooking.
  • In Portugal, they are one of the main ingredients in rancho, eaten with pasta and meat, including Portuguese sausages, or with rice. 
  • In Spain, they are used cold in tapas and salads, as well as in cocido madrileño. 
  • In Italy, chickpeas are eaten with pasta or in soup. In southern Italy, chickpea flour is made into a batter for panella, a sort of crepe.
  • In Egypt, chickpeas are used as a topping for kushari.
  • In the Philippines, chickpeas preserved in syrup are eaten as sweets and in desserts such as halo-halo. 
  • And just for fun some varieties of chickpeas can be popped and eaten like popcorn.
  • The chickpea-derived liquid can be used as an egg white replacement to make meringue.

How to cook them.

Fresh picked Chickpeas are usually rapidly boiled for 10 minutes and then simmered for a longer periods until soft. Dried chickpeas need a long cooking time (1–2 hours) but will easily fall apart when cooked longer. If soaked for 12–24 hours before use, cooking time can be shortened by around 30 minutes. Chickpeas can also be cooked in the pressure cooker, sous vide or slow cooked in a ShuttleChef.  Canned Chickpeas are the easiest to prepare used straight from the tin, rinsed you can roast, steam, add them to a salad or any dish.

Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, providing rich content protein, dietary fibre, folate, iron and phosphorus, thiamin, vitamin B6, and zink. They have been associated with a number of possible health benefits for medical conditions. Diabetes, Bone Health, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Inflammation, Cancer and Heart Health.

Rustic Chickpea Salad recipe in Our Galley's Salad Ebook Recipe Ebooks

Bored to death by the idea of tossing that can of chickpeas into your salad for the umpteenth time? It's time to up the game. If you've got a can of chickpeas, you've got the makings for a fast, plant-based meal that satisfies. Check out some of the ways we use chickpeas on Our Galley Vegetarian page ... Vegetarian Recipes

Chickpea Truffles
Checkout this great page for inspiration 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Old Fashioned Family Recipes ... 

Perfect Hair, Perfect Starched Apron ... not in my Galley

What are your favourite childhood memories from the kitchen. Mine funnily enough is sitting on a high stool in my grandparents kitchen drinking sweet tea out of a proper chinaware tea cup called "my lady cup" and devouring what ever sweet treat was fresh out of the oven. 

Both my Grandmothers were good cooks. But let's face it they had to be. There was no ducking out to the Cheese Cake Shop to pick up a New York Baked Cheese Cake. Good home cooking was part of everyday life. It's so good to see the kitchen becoming the hub of the family once again. Both of my daughters love to cook and my daughter in law makes a wicked Frangipani Pie. Exploding with flavour, layers of pineapple, coconut cream and meringue, one mouthful and you are in heaven.  

So recently my mum and I have been going through some old family "stuff" and in it we have found some recipes from generations back. I loved the fact that most are hand written, typed or collected from newspapers into a variety of notebooks, address books and scrapbooks. 

Many of these old fashioned recipes have been in our family 60 to 70 years or more. The old fashioned Apple Bake recipe came from my grandmother, who got it from someone who served it at a school picnic in the early 1950's. I have decided to make these "Ol' Favourites" and share them, hoping to pass on some of the passion these fabulous home cooks had. 

Some of these were created by the cook and some are clippings from newspapers. All have delightful stories behind them. Most of them are on scraps of paper handwritten, I can see my Grandmother asking "Oh Joy you must give me that Meatloaf recipe, here I have pen and paper". The original is in my Nanna's recipe book as a newspaper clipping, a copy is written in my mothers and the corresponding is a scrap of paper in my Grandma's very distinctive writing. 

I selected those featured for their taste and time tested quality of the old fashioned recipes. I've tried to choose from different decades 40' 50' 60' and 70's. First because they are delicious and, secondly, they stir treasured memories. 

Most of us will agree many of our fondest memories involve our loved ones gathering, cooking, eating and enjoying food. Old recipes involved a lot of creativity back in the day, using simple ingredients as many things common today weren't available then. Many foods hadn't been introduced to Australia yet. European immigration was just starting to happen and our cultural menu was still largely based on English recipes. My mum jokes the only curry she ever knew was Keens Curry Powder.
You will discover that many of these will take you back in time, to fond memories.
Who can't remember Grandma, with an apron tied around her waist, beads of sweat on her face from the hot stove, and skirting around the kitchen tasting and testing this and that to ensure her family had a perfect meal? 

Where were those Thermomixs, food processors, rice cookers, microwaves? The old fashioned whisk, beaters and saucepans did a fine job. Or was it the great cooks using them that made it work.

Then there were the desserts. Oh my! Delectable puddings and cobblers, luscious frosted cakes, and always rainbow coloured jellies setting in the fridge.

It's small wonder back in those days so many kitchens were called "The Family Room".

A couple of my favourites I have found so far.

1950 .... Apple Bake  - this hand written recipe is in my late grandmothers hand writing. Just the simple fact that she had taken the time to write (very nicely) had me running to the galley to make it. Such a simple one dish dessert. Made in no time at all and I can also see it made with any stone fruit that happens to be in season. A modern twist on this is tossing the apples in a mix of Maple Bourbon Balsamic Vinegar and brown sugar.

1960 ..... How about the old fashioned Cheese Ball Recipe. Bursting with flavour but with such simple ingredient, this recipe has long been an entertainer's must have. I can remember it being served just as described "on a bed of lettuce leaves surrounded by jatz". We now have all sorts of cheese balls but this one takes me back to the Tupperware party days.

1940 .... Sybil's ANZAC slice I'm sure was enjoyed at the Holland Park Bowling Club ladies days. I remember my grandmother always taking a plate to add to the combined table for morning teas. This is a great recipe that we can add a few modern twists to. How about some lemon myrtle or a sweet Dukkah combined or sprinkled over the top. 

1950 .... When I saw this next recipe I knew it would be especially popular in our family. My aunts Ginger Fudge.... I love the added "Nice with Coffee"

1970 .... My Mum's famous "Rice Meatloaf with Apricot Topping" sounds kind of interesting. Love the line "to give the loaf a surprise". I actually found this recipe as the newspaper version pasted in my Nanna's recipe book, hand written into my mum's and then the hand written version below in my Grandma's collection. As meat was an expensive ingredient then, padding out the recipe with rice insured more mouths were feed. It is a very tasty meal and many variations could be made. Just make sure you put in "The Surprise".

Whether the recipe needs it or not, all of these recipes can be made with a modern twist. I'd love to hear about your favourite old family recipes. But all of this has me thinking of how in a few generations time our grandchildren will be reading our recipes. Will they be lost in cyber space forever.

My Favourite Recipe of all Time!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Catching and Cooking Crab.

Whether it is mud crab or blue swimmers you are catching, you are in for a culinary delight once you have bagged and cooked them. In our opinion there is nothing quite like fresh crab! On "Our Dreamtime" we love catching crab and will at any anchorage try to find a suitable spot to drop our pots. Not always successful but we do pride ourselves on regularly having a good feed of crab.

Mud crabs are certainly one of Australia’s most tasty crabs and while they are found in the northern part of the country, those taking a cruise to the north, should at some point go on a crabbing mission. If your not sure ask someone in the anchorage your staying in. You just might find a crabber willing to take you along and show you some tips.

Like all of the tastiest seafood’s available, it is always a mission to clean, cook and eat them. But at the end of the day, if you’re willing to go through the rigmarole of doing so, you’ll be pleasantly happy with a belly full of yummy crab.

Mud Crabs can be found along the entire Queensland coast in sheltered estuaries, tidal flats and rivers lined with mangroves. They also inhabit tropical to warm temperate waters from Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia to the Bega River in New South Wales.

Photo: Qld Fisheries
As a marine and estuarine animal they're usually found in shallow water, but berried females occur well offshore. They favour a soft muddy bottom, often below tide level.
The colour of Mud Crabs varies, from dark olive-brown to greenish-blue and blue-black. Patterns of lighter coloured dots cover their walking legs.

Officially, Mud Crabs are 'omnivorous' scavengers. But they're also cannibalistic, eating other crabs as well as barnacles, bivalves and dead fish.

There are a variety of crab traps, in different shapes and sizes, including round, square, pyramid, collapsible and net types. Dillys and hooks have been banned for catching Mud Crabs.  We use the traditional round collapsible type. They are easy to store on deck in a purpose made canvas bag.

Crab pots are available from most fishing supplies outlets. Almost every pot is now made of string mesh. Which crab pot you choose is up to you and your budget. The cheap rectangular pots are as good as any, but you must check and repair them constantly, as the old crab will either walk out, or chew his way out. 

Crabs like fresh bait, so some crabbers will change bait twice a day. Fresh fish or frames and heads are excellent, in particular whole mullet (score the flesh down the the bone). Chicken carcass or necks, and kangaroo meat and bones are also good but the secret is: it has to be FRESH.

A mud crab has two very big and strong claws. They are so strong in fact that they can crush your finger, hand or foot should it grab you. Instantly you’ll be in excruciating pain and it is best to break off the top or bottom pincer to release the grip. Should you pull the entire arm off; the grip will still be in place. When ever your catching mud crabs, always be careful you really don’t want to be caught out with one of these nasty critters holding onto your finger.

Rob searching for the right spot
Where you put the pot is the most important part of the mud crab hunt. During heavy rain, or 'the wet' in the tropics, the rivers are high and fresh and crabs, like most other fish, can not survive in fresh-water, so they move out along the shallow coastal flats. That's where you put your pots at that time of the year.

But during the dry as the salt water intrudes way up the rivers and creeks you follow this salt water intrusion.

Also drop your pots in very small creeks and deep gutters as crabs use these as highways into the mangroves.

Queensland law states you are allowed four pots per person, (we carry only four pots and find this is enough) and 10 male crabs PER PERSON IN POSSESSION. It is NOT 10 crabs per day. (it's illegal to take female crabs in Queensland). Minimum 'take' size on male mud crabs is 15cm. For up to date information  https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/fisheries

Female Mud Crab NO TAKE

Download the PDF that Qld Fisheries have supplied here

Cleaning and Cooking MUD Crab.

Cooked mud crab are a wonderful Orange/red colour

So now that you have caught them you need to clean them. If you wish to clean them prior to cooking follow the following steps. You can always clean them after cooking. If you prefer this method jump to the cooking steps.

Cleaning Muddy’s is quite easy, if they are still alive try to pin down using a solid item such as a small piece of timber or other item. 

  1. Pin them up against something solid like the back of a bait board to keep the claws away from your fingers.
  2. With a firm grip, pull the tail up and with your thumbs under the tail push forward separating the shell from the carapace.
  3. Keep pushing forward to remove the shell from the carapace.
  4. With both hands, grab either side of the crab holding tight the claws and fold the crab in half downwards to break the underside. 
  5. Place on the edge of something sharp and break the body in half.
  6. Once the crab is in two, clean the inside removing the gills and organs.
  7. After the crab is cleaned it is ready to be cooked and eaten.

Cooking Mud Crabs

Wash the mud crabs thoroughly. If you haven't cleaned the crabs as above because the idea of this is to scary or to inhumane. Place live green mud crabs into ICE SLURRY for 35 Minutes in a container or bin, or in the freezer for 35 minutes. They go to sleep, and die.
  1. Bring pot with a good handful of salt to the boil.
  2. Place Mud crabs in pot.
  3. Bring to BOIL again and then cook for 22 minutes.
  4. In another container or bin add another 3 handfuls of salt to the ice slurry
  5. Once cooked, place mud crabs into this and when cool, clean them in the slurry water. This way the FLAVOUR with salt stays within the mud crab. 
  6. With a firm grip, pull the tail up and with your thumbs under the tail push forward separating the shell from the carapace. 
  7. With both hands, grab either side of the crab holding tight the claws and fold the crab in half downwards to break the underside. 
  8. Once the crab is in two, clean the inside removing the gills and organs.

Eating Mud Crab.

Mud crabs are very delicious. If you haven’t caught mud crabs before, I suggest you get some pots and give it a go, one taste and you’ll want more. Its also a great way to meet new friends, sharing a fresh catch of crab with others in the anchorage is fantastic. Below are a few ways we love to eat crab.

Sharing crab catch with International cruisers. Bundaberg Qld.

A catch of crab in Bundaberg
Just on freshly baked bread.

With a lovely cool crisp white.
You can find our favourite recipes on the Seafood Page of Our Galley ... Crab Recipes and in our Ebook Our Galley - Sensational Seafood

Blue Swimmers 

Blue Swimmer Crabs (sand crabs) are highly sought after crabs both commercially and recreationally in the coastal waters around Western Australia, Queensland New South Wales and Victoria. They are much sweeter in taste compared to mud crabs, but many people find them fiddly to shell. Karen is our master sheller onboard so the crabs are cooked and shelled in no time.

Crabbing is a lot of fun!
Also known as Blue Manna Crabs, these crustaceans have 2 long front claws, 3 sets of smaller legs and a rear set of paddlers. They swim and scuttle sideways and are very quick movers along the seabed and as swimmers.

Male and female Blue Swimmer Crabs are distinguishably different in appearance. The males have a blue shell, longer claws and on the underside of the body their flap is long and narrow. Females have a brown/green shell and a much broader and rounded underside flap than the males. When a female has eggs, the flap will hold a sponge-like cluster of yellow eggs. Female and undersized crabs must be returned to the water immediately in all states. 

Measuring a Blue Swimmer Crab correctly is very important and should not be taken lightly as hefty fines can be imposed on those caught with any undersized crabs in possession. You are required to be in possession of an approved gauge which is available at local tackle shops, each state varies in size. Measure the crab horizontally across the widest part of its top shell (carapace), along the widest protruding rear spikes. If each spike touches the gauge you have yourself a sized and legal crab. Note measuring procedures differ in NSW, crabs are measured vertically from the notch central to the eyes at the front across to the centre of the rear of the carapace.

Male and female Blue Swimmer Crabs are distinguishably different in appearance. The males have a blue shell, longer claws and on the underside of the body their flap is long and narrow. Females have a brown/green shell and a much broader and rounded underside flap than the males. When a female has eggs, the flap will hold a sponge-like cluster of yellow eggs. “Berried” females and undersized crabs must be returned to the water immediately in all states.

Sand crabs are a great fun catch for youngsters, be aware they can still give a nasty bite. 

Size & Bag Limits / State Fisheries

In Western Australia, the minimum legal size limit is 127mm across the carapace (back shell), personal daily bag limit is 10 crabs and the boat limit is 20 crabs. (Take note that 2 licenced fishermen are required on the vessel to catch the boat limit of 20 crabs). A recreational fishing licence is required for all crabbing methods in WA and the legal apparatus is 1 hand-held blunt wire hook per person, 1 wire scoop net per person or 10 drop nets per person or boat. Further information can be obtained from www.fish.wa.gov.au/

In Queensland, the minimum legal size limit is 115mm across the carapace and there are no personal daily bag limits or boat limits. A recreational fishing licence is not required in QLD and the legal apparatus is 4 crab pots or dillies (or combination) per person or boat. All females, “berried” or not, must be returned to the water immediately. Further information can be obtained from www.daf.qld.gov.au/fisheries

In New South Wales, the minimum legal size limit is 60mm across the carapace and the personal daily bag limit is 20 crabs. A recreational fishing licence is required in NSW and the legal apparatus is 1 wire scoop net per person or 1crab trap per person. Further information can be obtained from http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing

In South Australia, the minimum legal size limit is 110mm across the carapace, personal daily bag limit is 40 crabs and the boat limit is 120 crabs. A recreational fishing licence is not required in SA and the legal apparatus is 1 crab rake per person or 3 drop nets per person. Further information can be obtained from http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing

Crab pots varies substantially in each state. Some states allow certain pots and others prohibit them. Nets, pots, dillies and traps differ in required dimensions and features. Floats, ropes, weights and name tagged apparatus also need to be taken into consideration. So check local fishing guidelines prior to placing your pots in the water. Large fines can be applied. We use the same pots for swimmers as we do for mud crabs.

Scooping for blue swimmer crabs is very popular in shallow estuaries. Fishermen can walk in the water with a wire scoop net attached to a long handle and when you see a crab start to scuttle, do your best to scoop it up in the net. Catching them sideways is easiest, but they can be very quick so you need to be too. No bait is required, just your focus and quick hand and eye coordination. 

State recreational fishing rules and regulations are subject to change. Season closures and licences can be enforced, size and bag limits can change, as can permitted and prohibited fishing apparatus. It all has to do with protecting breeding stocks in the applicable areas. Ensure you keep up to date with current fisheries regulations and research online (links above) prior to fishing in unfamiliar territory.

Cooking and Eating Swimmer Crabs

These delicious Blue Swimmer Crabs are your reward for all the effort, which is fun in itself. 

  1. Boil a large pot of boiling water, add a handful of rock salt or sea salt.
  2. Place as many crabs as you can fit in the pot and boil until they start to float. 
  3. Cooking usually takes about 8 minutes for a legal sized crab a little longer if you are lucky enough to bag a larger swimmer.

Cleaning the cooked crabs is the messy part. 

  1. When they have cooled down pull the underside flap right back and continue pulling it around to remove the shell from its back. 
  2. Break the shell-less body in half and remove the bodily organs and fluids and then rinse the meat thoroughly. 


Fresh Sand crab Omelette is an all time favourite on Our Dreamtime.

Singapore Chilli Crab

Swimmer Crab recipes can be found on Our Galley - Seafood Page or in our Ebook Our Galley - Sensational Seafood