Spaghettini with Just a Handful of Pipis

Pipi has been one of the favourite ingredients in many cuisines. Both their juice and meat add a touch of magic your dishes. Cooked together with a bit of garlic, chilli and wine, I’m in haven. You have it with your favourite carbs, no matter it’s bread, pasta or rice.

Pipis with spaghettini
The amount of Pipis needed is just what you can hold in both hands. Let’s not eat them all!

Pipis are often found in intertidal zone, in plain English, that’s the shallow water section at our beaches. They aren’t often available in markets, not alive anyway. Many people therefore catch their own.

Pipis are protected and illegal to catch in The Port Phillip Bay. It is permitted in other part of the Victorian coastal waters, in a recreational manner, and with your hands and feet only.

The Cottage Chef loves pipis like many of you, but we also want to promote a responsible way of catching them. They are important part to our food chain and marine life. Let’s protect them so our oceans remain habitable and enjoyable for many generations to come.

So in this blog we demonstrated how a little quantity caught from the ocean beaches of the peninsula, can make a great dish for two.

Find your favourite beach, not in any national parks or environmental sensitive areas of course; there are many ocean beaches within 30-45 mins drive of our cottages. Pardon us as we won’t mention nor promote a particular spot here to avoid it becoming a troubled hotspot.

All you need is just whatever you can hold with your bare hands. You don’t need a bucket, esky, nothing. Catch them, put them in a bag, put some sea water from the same beach. When you’re back at the cottage, put them in a bowl and insert a metal spoon or fork. Our cottages are well equipped with cutleries and kitchen tools. Leave them in the room overnight, the pipis will spit the sand out onto the bottom of the bowl, rather than in your mouth!

Chardonnay Fresh Dill
Don’t forget your favourite white wine, I would pair with a light oak Chardonnay from the Mornington Peninsula, and fresh dill of course!


live pipis in the shell, cleaned

2 tablespoons olive oil

half onion, finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

100 ml dry white wine

pinch of sugar

250 g spaghettini or other long, thin pasta

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill and parsley

dash of lemon juice


  1. Tip the pipis into a large saucepan, heat over medium heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 5 minutes. Discard any that have not opened. Strain the liquid into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide shallow saucepan or deep frying pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Pour the wine into the pan and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes. Add the sugar and the cooking juices from the pipis. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook at a steady simmer, and allow the sauce to thicken. Place a large saucepan of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
  3. Add the pipis to the sauce and gently heat through. Cook the pasta for 4–5 minutes, or until al dente, drain and return to the pan. Stir the fresh dill and parsley into the sauce, season and pour over the pasta. Toss together and serve in large warm bowls.

Tip: add a few pieces of chilli to spice it up!


Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil


Bruschetta Tomato Basil Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil Green Olive at Red Hill
Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil made with the cold pressed extra virgin olive oil from The Green Olive at Red Hill

The Mornington Peninsula has long been known as our food bowl. Although some of their produce could be found in good Melbourne stores, visiting the farms, meeting the farmers could be a great trip and certainly an experience to share.

Over fifteen years Greg and Sue O’Donoghue have been cultivating their farm in Red Hill. They established a vineyard; built a farm kitchen and store; launched farm classes, tours and tastings; created their own farm brand of food, cordials and wines, which is now known as the Green Olive at Red Hill.

Green Olive at Red Hill Sunny Day Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Enjoy a sunny day in the outdoor seating area of The Green Olive at Red Hill. Photo credit:

During my wine tasting tour in the Red Hill and Main Ridge region, I always make Green Olive my last stop. Imagine a sunny day, 3pm in the afternoon, after a great meal and lots of tasting nearby, stopover and relax at their vineyard; soak in the sun, enjoy a great cup of coffee and a piece of dessert, kids have fun jumping on their trampoline, perfect!

Green Olive at Red Hill Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The Green Olive at Red Hill Shop, great food, coffee, tea, produce and wine.

Last but not least, get their cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Here is a simple recipe with this olive oil which you can prepare at our cottage, after visiting the vineyard.

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
Make 8 pieces as appetiser

2 ripe small tomatoes, seeded
1 garlic clove
1 tbs of extra olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
8 basil leaves, tear into small pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Baguette French bread
Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil for drizzle

1. Preheat oven to 180c
2. Dice the seeded tomatoes into small cubes, mix with 1 tbs of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, salt and pepper to taste
3. Slice the Baguette on diagonal making 1.5cm thick slices, sprinkle with dash of sea salt, drizzle with olive oil
4. Toast the baguette slices about 6 mins or until lightly brown, while it is still hot, rub one side of each slice with garlic
5. Top the baguette slice with tomato mixture, lightly drizzle each slice with olive oil. Serve while still warm.

I would pair this dish with a local pinot or rosé.

Thanks for reading!


Catch the Fresh Seafood Truck When You Can

Prawns swim 3 times in their lives, first in the sea, second in olive oil, third in wine.

Whether the above sounds cruel or appetite raising, is personal.

But first thing first, it’s critical to find fresh ones, and not letting them go to waste. Fortunately there is someone catching and selling them to us.

Fresh Seafood from peninsula fresh seafood

Photo credits (Peninsula Fresh Seafood Website)

They aren’t the “fresh food people” who shamelessly put up the fresh signs for days. They only sell you seasonal catches when they’re available. When they don’t catch any, they don’t open for business. I’m talking about the Peninsula Fresh Seafood. They park their truck on Safety Beach foreshore few days a week. When you are sun bathing, they’re filleting their proud local catches at the car park. Make sure you call ahead to avoid disappointment.


Peninsula Fresh Seafood truck at Safety Beach

Photo credits (Peninsula Fresh Seafood Website)

Alright, let’s move onto the recipe. Relaxation at our cottages is your priority, hence it is our principle to only introduce easy dishes using local ingredients. How about wine tasting after a late brunch, pick up a locally pressed and bottled olive oil, and of course some fresh seafood, prepare a simple dish and relax in our private courtyard.

Gamberetti all’Olio e Limone – Poached Prawns with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice.

Time to prepare 15 mins (For 6 servings)

600g prawns

1 tbs lemon juice to taste

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil (there are good ones available for tasting and sales at wineries)

Black pepper and salt (available at our cottages)

1. Boil a pot of water, add the prawns in their shells and cook for 1 minute

2. Drain the prawns and shell

3. Put the prawns in a shallow bowl and while they are still warm, add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and allow to rest at room temperature for about an hour. Serve with good crusty bread to help wipe the plate clean of its delicious juices

Wine pairing? I’d say a Rose or Riesling. If you use olive oil with a hint of basil, try a good Pinot Gris from the peninsula.

Note : The dish tastes better without chilled