Archive | September, 2013

Crab. And my spicy crab spaghetti

30 Sep


There are around 4,500 different kinds of crab around the world, but brown crab is the most commonly available around the coasts of northern Europe and can weigh up to 3kg.
Crab is cheaper and just as tasty as lobster, it’s also full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help build muscle, protect against heart disease and support the immune system

BROWN CRABS, have a delectable sweet flesh, and are prized by food lovers. Scottish ones, perhaps the most sought after, score top marks for their flavour, which owes much to them feeding in cold, unpolluted waters.

BLUE CRAB – although recently introduced to the Mediterranean, it is actually native to the Eastern side of North America, especially around the coast of Maryland.

SOFT-SHELL CRAB is blue crab in its moulted state – a much sought after delicacy. Blue crab sheds and re-grows its shell in just over 24-hours.

SPIDER CRAB – a northern European species, particularly popular in France.

SNOW CRAB – inhabits the deep cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s usually canned and processed rather than sold fresh.

White Meat
White crab meat comes from the claws and legs of the crab and while predominantly white in colour it does have a naturally occurring red/brown tinge throughout. White crab is very low in fat and particularly high in protein, it has a delicate, sweet flavour, a sweet aroma and a naturally flaky texture. White crab meat is versatile and while it is consumed largely in sandwiches, it can be used in pastas, risottos, and salads as well as a canape topping.


Brown Meat
Brown Meat is from the body of the crab. It has a higher natural fat content, but is also extremely high in Omega-3. 100g of Brown Crab contains 2/3 of the 3g weekly recommended intake of Omega 3. Brown crab meat has an even pate like texture and a rich full flavour. The colour and texture of the brown meat vary throughout the year as the crabs physiology changes.

Cooking fresh crab .
Ingredients .
1 bulb of fennel chopped
1 tsp pepper corns
2 bay leaves
Salt, enough so the water tastes like the ocean

1,Pour 5 litres of water into a large saucepan and add around 5 tablespoons of sea salt, the fennel, bay leaves and peppercorns, bring to the boil


Grasp the live crab by the back legs and drop it into the water headfirst. For a more humane method, as you grasp the crab by the legs, stroke the top of its head until it falls asleep and then slowly drop it into the boiling water.
Bring the water back to the boil and only then start timing.
You should cook large crabs (about 1kg) for around 15 – 20 minutes, whilst smaller crabs will only need around 8 – 10 minutes.
Once the water has started to boil again, reduce the heat and simmer for the required time. The crab’s shell should turn a bright orange when done.
When the crabs are done, immerse them for a few seconds in cold water so that cooking stops and they do not overcook.



Picking for the crabmeat or undressing the crab .

Place the crab on its back onto a large chopping board and snap off the tail flap, legs and claws. With a fresh crab this should be very easy.

Pull the head shell away from the body of the crab
On the body part you will see the ‘dead man’s fingers’ a dozen or so (off-white spongy gills) which must be removed and thrown away.
With a crab pick or a teaspoon handle ( a crochet needle is also a fantastic tool for this ) pick out all the white meat from all the nooks and crannies from within the crabs body trying not to break off any bone as you go , this is time consuming but you’ll be rewarded with the sweetest tasting meat




Inside the shell remove the stomach sac, hard membranes, mouth parts and throwaway.
Using a teaspoon scoop out the brown meat, place in a small bowl and mash gently with a fork. This is fantastic in sauces and has such a rich flavour.


My spicy crab and squid ink spaghetti

If you have the crab ready to use this only takes 15 mins start to finish!
Serves 4

Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 red chilli (de seed for less heat) chopped, chilli and crab a match made in heaven!!!
700g of your undressed crab, white and brown meat kept separate
100ml white wine
zest and juice of lemon
500g squid ink spaghetti ( regular spaghetti can also be used if you can’t find the squid ink variety)
handful parsley copped
handful basil chopped
Salt and pepper to season





1.Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta.
2.Pass the brown crabmeat through a sieve so it’s nice and creamy


3.In a large pestle and mortar pulverise the peeled garlic cloves with the salt, so that it makes a smooth paste. Then add the chopped and seeded chilli and crush again.

3.Tip in the crab brown. Zest the lemon into the mortar and then add the juice. Using a fork, beat well to mix, you are ready to cook your pasta, cook according to packet instructions.




4. 5 mins before the pasta is ready heat some oil in a pan or wok on a medium temperature, add the sauce once it starts to cook simmer add the wine and simmer for a further 2 mins (don’t let it boil)

5.Drain the pasta and tip into the wok or pan with the sauce, Immediately add white crab meat, chopped parsley, torn basil and toss to mix all together, season to taste and toss again .








6.serve direct in hot dishes , or if you want that 70s retro look serve in the shells ( thoroughly cleaned out of course) a cold glass of Pinot Grigio will go perfect to wash everything down!😉

For more info don’t hesitate to mail or call
: 0031 (0)642297107


Curry night with a Saag aloo & Rogan Josh

23 Sep

Autumn had officially arrived and the cold nights have started! So how about something spicy to warm you up.
Today I have two recipes, yes two delicious recipes!
Saag Aloo & Rogan Josh


Saag – meaning spinach, and Aloo – meaning potato, this classic north Indian side dish can be a great way to get the goodness of spinach into people (which lets face it, isn’t always easy). Not only does it contain healthy spinach, but this mildly spiced dish is truly delicious and tastes great alongside your favourite curry.

Rogan Josh is a ‘real curry’. Hearty, rich and flavoursome, with a medium spiciness, it is one of my most favourite indian curries. The dish originated from the Kashmir region of India, and like many Indian dishes there are many different variations. Our version uses a special blend of cardamom, garam masala and coriander with other spices and of course fresh tomatoes blended into a puree, to create a deliciously tasty, rich and aromatic dish.

Serves 4/6

Saag aloo
A great dish for vegetarians


• 4 large potatoes, cut into 2 cm pieces
• 1 onion, sliced
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• ½ tsp each: cumin, crushed coriander seeds, turmeric, chili powder and fenugreek



• 2 green chilies, sliced
• 4 inch fresh ginger, grated
• 2 cloves garlic, grated
• 600g of spinach
• Juice of ½ lemon
• naan bread




Perpetration method.

1, Cook the potato until just tender.
2,Fry the sliced onions gently in the oil, add the spices and chilli and cook for 2-3 minutes.
3, Stir in the ginger and garlic.





  • 4, Drain the potatoes and let them steam dry for 1 minute.
    5, Add to the onion mixture and stir fry all golden brown. Add any extra oil.
    6, Mix half the spinach. Allow to shrink and add the rest. Let everything simmer for 8-10 minutes.
    7, Add the lemon juice and serve




    Rogan josh

    Serves 4/6
    • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 7 black peppercorns, left whole
    • 3 black cardamom pods, left whole
    • 5 green cardamom pods, left whole
    • 4 cloves, left whole
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 piece of mace
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 750g neck of lamb or mutton, bone intact, cut into pieces
    • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
    • 2cm/¾in piece ginger, peeled and cut in half
    • 2 tsp ground coriander
    • 2 tsp ground cumin
    • ½ tsp red chilli powder
    • 2 tsp ground fennel seeds
    • 1½ tsp garam masala
    • salt, to taste
    • 2 tomatoes, blended to a pulp in a food processor
    • 3 tbsp plain yoghurt, stirred
    • handful chopped fresh coriander, leaves and stalks



    Preparation method
    1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the black peppercorns, black and green cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon and mace and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the spices are sizzling and fragrant.
    2. Add the chopped onion and fry for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until golden-brown.
    3. Add the lamb pieces and fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring continually, until golden-brown all over.
    4. Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend the garlic cloves and ginger with one tablespoon of water to a fine paste.
    5. Add the garlic and ginger paste to the lamb mixture, stir well to combine, then reduce the heat and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly.
    6. Stir in the powdered coriander, cumin, red chilli powder, fennel seeds, garam masala, salt, tomato pulp and yoghurt, cover the pan with a lid, then reduce the heat to a low heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the sauce has almost completely dried out.







    7. Add 2-3 tablespoons of boiling water to the sauce, stir well and simmer for a further 7-8 minutes, stirring continually and adding splashes of water as necessary, until the volume of liquid has reduced and the sauce has thickened.
    8. Add enough boiling water to almost cover the lamb, bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer or 8-10 minutes, or until the lamb is cooked through.
    9. Stir in the chopped coriander just before serving.



    10. Im serving this with basmati rice cooked in coconut milk ,Saag Aloo, naan bread and mango chutney


    Still don’t fancy making it yourself ! I could come and cook it for you
    For more info don’t hesitate to mail or call : 0031 (0)642297107


    22 Sep

    Ok for a while now I’ve been baking tarts! This tart is so easy and delicious.
    No need to make your own pastry just buy ready made, no hassle and no mess!!!
    This tart can be made within 45 mins ( well that is if your good at chopping 🔪) a quick, easy and tasty dish for any occasion.
    Serves 4

    1 sheet of puff pastry (I love Dufour brand)
    2 small red onions thinly sliced
    1 banana shallot
    150g mixed olives black and green de seeded roughly chopped
    200/300g mix of cheddar and parmesan cheese grated
    4 sprigs fresh rosemary
    salt and pepper
    2 tablespoons olive oil



    1.Preheat oven to 200c
    2.Place the sheet of puff pastry on a baking tray covered with parchment paper.

    3 score the pastry 1.5cm from the edge all around the pastry
    4. Scatter within the scored edges with onion, cheese, olives and rosemary.
    5. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.




    6. Bake until golden, 18-20 minutes. (be sure to check often to make sure it’s not overdone) 7. Serve with a tasty green salad and a delicious glass of rose or white wine! Chablis grand Cru could be an option


    Still don’t fancy making it yourself ! I could come and cook it for you
    For more info don’t hesitate to mail or call : 0031 (0)642297107


    Spiced Fig and Plum Tarte Tatin

    16 Sep

    Spiced Fig and Plum Tarte Tatin

    It’s autumn again and this gives us more wonderful fruit, apples, pears, plums and delicious ripe plump figs. So what to with all that extra fruit? Well I’ve a really tasty desert for every one with a sweet tooth ” my spiced fig tarte Tatin ”

    Now what is a ” Tarte Tatin ” ?
    Tarte Tatin is a famous French upside-down apple tart (actually a sweet upside-down cake , apples are the traditional filling but other fruits can be used) made by covering the bottom of a shallow baking dish with butter and sugar, then apples and finally a pastry crust. While baking, the sugar and butter create a delicious caramel that becomes the topping when the tart is inverted onto a serving plate.

    There is one rule for eating Tarte Tatin, which is scrupulously observed. It must be served warm, so the cream melts on contact. To the French, a room temperature Tarte Tatin isn’t worth the pan it was baked in.

    My Tarte Tatin is made with figs, plums, nuts and spices which is a delicious twist on the original!
    Here are a few fun facts and trivia about figs .

    Although dried figs are available throughout the year, there is nothing like the unique taste and texture of fresh figs. They are lusciously sweet with a texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds. Figsare available from June through September

    Fig trees have no blossoms on their branches. The blossom is inside of the fruit! Many tiny flowers produce the crunchy little edible seeds that give figs their unique texture.

    Figs are harvested according to nature’s clock, fully ripened and partially dried on the tree.

    Many believe it was figs that were actually the fruit in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, not apples.

    The early Olympic athletes used figs as a training food. Figs were also presented as laurels to the winners, becoming the first Olympic “medal.

    In Roman times figs were considered to be restorative. They were believed to increase the strength of young people, to maintain the elderly in better health and to make them look younger with fewer wrinkles

    The fig tree is a symbol of abundance, fertility and sweetness.

    Eating one half cup of figs has as much calcium as drinking one-half cup of milk.


    500g block puff pastry
    plain flour, for dusting
    200g golden caster sugar
    100 g unsalted mixed chopped nuts
    2 tsp ground allspice
    80g butter
    4 star anise
    10 figs, halved
    3 plums pitted and halved


    1, Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface to about a 3mm thickness.

    2, Place the pan that you’ll use – about 24cm – on top and cut round it with a sharp knife to make a pastry circle, Sprinkle the circle with a little of the sugar and put it into the fridge.

    3, Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Put the remaining sugar and butter in a pan. Bring to the boil slowly, but do not stir it. When it begins to go a dark amber colour, add the star anise, allspice and cook for 1 minute more, then take from the heat



    4, Put the figs and plums in with the stem pointing towards the centre to make a wheel pattern sprinkle over half of the nuts and cook over a low heat for 5 mins


    5, Put the pastry lid on the top and tuck the pastry in as though you were tucking in some sheets. Put on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden, puffed and cooked through.


    6′ Take out of the oven and leave the tart to stand for 10 mins, then invert it carefully onto a serving dish, sprinkle over the remaining nuts and serve with crème fraîche or ice cream😋.


    If you’re still nervous about trying this dish I can cook it for you !🍴🔪
    For mor info don’t hesitate to mail or call: 0031 (0)642297107

    Sea bass with sautéed porcini, wild mushrooms, sage, crispy Serrano ham and Truffle

    15 Sep

    Sea bass with sautéed porcini, wild mushrooms, sage, crispy Serrano ham and Truffle

    I’ve not been posting for a while due to me stupidly breaking my hand and wrist, god what a pillock !
    Whilst being handicapped it gave me time to study my cookbooks and devise new recipes .
    For a while now I’ve been posting fish dishes and today’s recipe is another delicious sea bass dish using autumn flavours, with freshly picked wild mushrooms, porcini mushrooms and because I’m decadent fresh black autumn truffle!!!
    I love mushrooms 🍄 and at this time of year there’s an abundance of varieties and my definite favourite is the porcini , full of earthy meaty flavour, an italian delicacy .

    Porcini (Boletus edulis) are considered by some to be one of the most delicious mushrooms, so it’s no surprise its scientific name means “Superior Mushroom.”
    The name porcini means “piglets” in Italian. They’re also known as the king bolete, cèpe (in French), Steinpilz (the “stone mushroom” in German), and a host of other fun names from all over the world. The Latin name is Boletus Edulis

    You can find porcini mushrooms on the ground in hardwood forests near pine, chestnut, hemlock, and spruce. They fruit in the summer to fall. But be careful , I wouldn’t advise anyone to go out foraging unless you know what your looking for!!!

    Serves 4

    H6 tbsp olive oil
    1 banana shallot, finely chopped
    1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    200g/7oz mixed wild mushrooms, chopped
    200g fresh porcini
    12 fresh sage leaves

    300ml/11fl oz fish stock
    75g Serrano ham, chopped (reserve 4 whole slices)
    4 x 175g sea bass fillets( wild line caught is my preference) , skin on and scored to prevent curling.

    1x 10/20g autumn truffle (0ptional)

    Preparation method

    1, Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a wok, add the shallot and garlic, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
    2, Add the chopped mushrooms and four of the sage leaves and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring well. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    3, Add the fish stock and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook until most of the stock has evaporated. Stir in the chopped Serrano ham.

    4, Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and fry the remaining sage leaves and slices of ham for 1-2 minutes, or until just crisp. Remove the sage leaves and ham from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.


    5, Add the sea bass fillets, skin-side down to the same frying pan and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. Carefully turn the fillets over and fry for a further 1-2 minutes, or until the sea bass is cooked through.



    6, To serve, spoon the mushroom mixture onto serving plates, sit a sea bass fillet on top of each pile of mushrooms. Top with the crispy sage, one slice of Serrano ham and if your decadent like me shaved truffle slices😜


    If you’re still nervous about trying this dish I can come and cook it for you !🍴🔪
    For mor info don’t hesitate to mail or call: 0031 (0)642297107


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