Moreton Bay bug and prawn spaghetti

moreton bay bugs, prawns, past
It’s heating up.

As we charge our way through a cracking spring like a boatload of rampaging white men through any indigenous tribe they came across, we have nothing but the glory of summer in full flight, wings spread and soaring high above like some kind of really big bird (not big bird though because I am positive that big yellow bastard can’t fly), to look forward to. That is, if you live among us in the southern hemisphere. For those of you who live in the northern hemisphere it shall be getting colder because of the hand of mother nature and the world wide effect known as “opposite day”… or possibly opposite season… or perhaps it even has a more technical term that people who wear glasses might know. Alas, I do not wear glasses (although I am meant to), so that information is beyond my grasp.

But anyway, this isn’t a story about the climate on the coast of eastern Australia (I think I may have mentioned it as a prelude to needing a fresh seafood dinner but… meh), this is a story about bugs.

Not the thousands of bugs that that some how find themselves swimming together in the Olympic regulation insect pool that is my bathroom sink every morning, possibly negating the fact that they had never taken swimming lessons. And not the ferocious bugs that were the sworn enemy of Earth’s troops on Klendathu. No, I am talking about the damn well sexy tasting bug that is know to us as Thenus Orientalis, the Slipper Lobster or, in Australia, the Moreton Bay Bug (probably due to our love of just, well, making other peoples things our own out here. Like what we did with Russell Crowe).

I bet you’re wondering how I came to have bugs in my possession, or possibly how to get rid of your excess ear hair. Well, gather ‘round, for all shall be revealed in my following ramblings.

Dr Chris (my dear Jennee’s DNA test proven father) is staying with us at the moment as Jennee is away and quite frankly, those boys of ours need 24hr supervision. Now, Dr Chris is a lover of seafood, and by seafood I mean food he can see… and reach out and grab… and send on a Contiki tour of his belly. So Dr Chris crossed my palm with enough gold for me to pay a little visit to our local fish monger and return home with some of King Neptune’s finest fare. With which I made this pasta…

I’ve got nothing for the excess ear hair PS.

Awesome looking little offers, aren't they
Awesome looking little effers, aren’t they

Nom noms
Nom noms
More nom noms
More nom noms
No waiting for nom noms
No waiting for nom noms
Done with nom noms
Done with nom noms


1kg fresh prawns, peeled, deveined and generally just made to look a lot more edible
3x 250g Moreton Bay bugs, cut in half between the eyes and poo poo removed
1x 500g pack dried spaghetti or, if you want to get all renegade about this shit, what ever pasta you’d like
200g good, smoky bacon*
4 tomatoes, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 long red chilli, chopped
A splash of white plonk if you have some
Olive oil
A knob of butter
Salt and pepper. Always with the salt and pepper
Lemon wedges (don’t think you can omit the lemon wedge ok? That final squeeze of fresh lemon juice really makes this dish sing) and some of the baby rocket from Jennee’s garden, to serve

• Start by getting some oil hot in a large pan
• Add the bugs and bacon and a little seasoning to get the party started. Turn the bugs every minute or so
• After 4 or so minutes the bugs should be just about cooked (they will turn an orangey-red colour and the flesh will firm up. Check by pulling a bit out of the tail if you’re unsure – you don’t want to over cook these puppies at the price you pay for them) and remove from pan
• Add prawns, chilli and garlic and sauté for a further two minutes or until prawns are just about cooked
• Return bugs back to the little party in the pan, as well as tomato and a splash of white plonk, if using
• Add pasta and a knob of butter, just to guild the lily a little, and heat through for one minute
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary, and get that shit on the table plenty pronto, garnished with some baby rocket and a pile of fresh lemon wedges

*I got my bacon from Mr Greg Cromwell around the corner from me at Cromwell Farms. He breeds old school pigs like Berkshire, and lets them run around in fields like pigs should. Then he kills them and gets another nice gentleman to cure and smoke his bacon (no, that is not a euphemism you dirty little gutter snipe) and every now and then has a pop-up shop at his farm so regular people, just like you, can go along and try his wares and try to get out without his daughters selling you something. If you’re ever in the Northern Rivers you should look him up because he has the good shit. Right here is a good start.

And just in case you’re wondering, I paid for my bacon.

Stuffed zucchini flowers with cherry tomato and herb salsa… fresh from the garden I might add

On the plate. Looking tasty... but you can see that for yourself, yeah?
On the plate, looking tasty… but you can see that for yourself, yeah?

Our garden is being particularly nice to us at the moment. Not nice like helping out with the washing, or dropping the kids at school, or watering our pet carnies, but nice in a way that only a garden can; by producing an abundance of fresh vegetables that we get to use in our meals every day of the week. And what we can’t use now we will pickle or preserve for the impending apocalypse (I’m sure I will offer a recipe or two for those pickles and preserves later), but today… today, using my brand new “Vegetable Pick-o-matic 2013” aka. My hand (known for many other purposes I might add… none of which shall be shared with you today. But I’m sure you can guess… Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink), I have harvested a heap of baby zucchini with their flowers, a load of cherry tomatoes and a handful of fresh herbs. Times are tough when you’re going to be eating fried zucchini flowers stuffed with olive and feta mousse with cherry tomato and herb salsa. Very tough indeed…

A sink full of zucchini and tomatoes
A sink full of zucchini and tomatoes. Yeah, there’s some cucumber in there too. Nice spotto smarty pants
Now I've moved them into bowls
Now I’ve moved them into bowls
Crumbed zucchini flowers
Crumbed zucchini flowers
Fry my pretties...
Fry my pretties…
I said fry…
Fry, fry, fry...
Fry, fry, fry…
Making its way to my belly
Making its way to my belly

STUFFED ZUCCHINI FLOWERS (for a light supper… A light supper? Who the fuck do I think I am?)

15 or so baby zucchini with flower attached

½ cup of feta

½ cup of ricotta

½ cup of pitted black olives, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped

1 anchovy if you’re game, roughly chopped

2 egg yolks

flour, eggwash and polenta to coat (I’m using polenta because Jennee is gluten intolerant. Use breadcrumbs if you want)

  • Blitz everything, except the zucchini flowers and the flour etc douche bag, to form a puree
  • Remove the stamen (little bud looking thing inside the flowers) from the flowers
  • Stuff flowers with mousse
  • Dust flowers with flour, then egg, then polenta (or breadcrumbs if your dearest isn’t gluten intolerant)
  • Shallow fry in med-hot oil, turning every half minute or so, until golden brown
  • Eat with cherry tomato salsa (recipe follows), chickpea or cannellini bean puree or soft polenta, and some other things if you’re really hungry


2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (or whole if you’re feeling lazy, or even if you are lazy)

½ red onion, bruniose

1 cup of mixed fresh herbs (Parsley, mint and basil is good… trust me), chopped

1 tablespoons each balsamic vinegar and olive oil, straight from the bottle is fine

salt and pepper

  • Mix it all together and shake it all about. Do the hokey pokey and you… turn… it… maybe just mix it together and serve it with the zucchini flowers…
The beetroots are next...
The beetroots are next…