Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Recipe corner: Crab and rocket spaghetti

I can never be entirely sure whether or not I like crab.  Sometimes, I just find it a little bit cloying. D, however, is a huge fan, and is never happier than when he is dismembering large crustaceans.  Still, I was very taken with this recipe which is based pretty closely on Felicity Cloake's version.  I love how all the flavours marry together.  It is incredibly quick and simple to do and tastes very luxurious for the points.  Incidentally, we have tried it both with and without the finishing touches of butter and Parmesan and preferred the dish with - they add an additional savoury note not to mention a velvety texture.  They do bump the points up a bit though, so feel free to eschew them if you're feeling extra virtuous.


150g spaghetti
1 large courgette

Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
Tsp dried chilli flakes
Tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
75g brown crabmeat
120g (one tin) white crabmeat, drained
Large handful of rocket leaves
Zest and juice of half a lemon
10g butter
15g Parmesan cheese

Serves 2, 14 pro points per portion

Using a spiraliser or a mandolin or a potato peeler, reduce the courgette to thin ribbons.  Place the ribbons in the bottom of a colander (you will drain the pasta on top of it and the boiling water will take the raw edge off the vegetable).

Put the spaghetti on to cook in well salted water.

Put the oil into a large pan (large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked) and add the garlic, chilli and fennel seeds to the cold oil.  Set over a gentle heat and cook until the garlic is soft but not starting to colour - allowing it to come up to temperature in the oil should help prevent it catching.  Stir through the lemon zest and juice and the brown crab meat.

Once the pasta is cooked, reserve a mug full of cooking water and then drain and add the pasta and courgette to the brown crabmeat, along with the white meat and the rocket.  Toss well, adding a splash of pasta water to emulsify.  Finally, toss through the butter and the Parmesan.

Monday, 18 May 2015

MPM: 18th May 2015

Happy Monday all!  Meal planning this week was a bit of a last minute affair and mainly borrows from our seemingly bottomless freezer.  Feeling a bit uninspired at the moment which means my food choices tend to go a little beige.  I've got book group on Tuesday and not sure what is happening on Saturday, but elsewhere...

Pork chops with creamy mustard sauce
Open sandwiches of roast lamb and wasabi peas
Pea and ham soup (I think this is the third week on the trot that this poor soup has been on the meal plan - perhaps this will be the week that it finally gets eaten!!)
Meatball lasagne (inspired by Peridot)
Some sort of roast

Let's see how well I can stick to that, shall we?  More meal planning fun over at Mrs M's.

Monday, 11 May 2015

MPM: 11th May 2015

I think my cat fancies herself as a blogger.  There she was, curled up asleep in her radiator bed, and the second I opened my laptop she was up and positioning herself between me and the keyboard.  Which is extremely sweet, but it is making it very difficult to type this (it should be noted that I am far too wet to actually move the cat, who rules the household with a rod of purr.)

Anyway, meal planning Monday and the week is pretty much sketched out.  We're abroad on Wednesday night, seeing Stewart Lee perform in Harrogate and D is out on Friday night and, in recompense, was muttering about springing for an Indian takeaway on Saturday - a rare treat, but a welcome one.  Elsewhere...

Chilli crab and rocket spaghetti
Bacon, egg and asparagus salad (made this a couple of weeks ago but am now trying out a slightly different version - it's a delicious combo!)
Pea and ham soup
Some sort of roast dinner...?

Hmmm, not a vintage week, but it'll do for now.  As ever, head over to Mrs M's for more meal planning fun.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Recipe corner: coronation rice salad

So, we bought a barbecue.  A beautiful, kettle style, Weber jobby.  We bought a barbecue, and the weather promptly took a dramatic turn for the worse.  I'm not saying that we were directly responsible for the pervading dampness of the Bank Holiday weekend but...

We bought a barbecue and decided that the first thing that we were going to cook on it was a simple, spatchcocked chicken adorned with nothing more than a slick of oil and a flurry of salt and pepper.  And, to accompany it, I decided to try and recreate the Waitrose coronation rice salad of which we are both so fond.

Now not to diss our beloved Waitrose, but I think that my version is WAY better - more kick, more texture and less drowned in dressing.  Every barbecue, even the slightly soggy ones, needs a couple of decent sides and this is better than decent.  Along with some watercress salad and crusty bread, it was all that our beautiful chicken needed to ensure that our inaugural barbecue was a tasty one.


100g basmati / wild rice mix
Large onion, finely chopped
2 tsp vegetable oil
Tbsp curry powder
Tsp chilli flakes
Tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp tumeric
50g raisins

For the dressing:
Tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp half fat creme fraiche
Tbsp mango chutney
Tsp vegetable oil
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Handful of fresh chopped chives and / or mint

Serves 4 (as a side), 6 pro points per portion

Cook the rice according to packet instructions until al dente.  You want to ensure that it retains some bite which will lend the salad texture.

Gently heat 2 tsp of oil and then add the onion and cook off over a low heat so that it softens without colouring.  After about five minutes, add the spices and the raisins and continue to cook until the onions are meltingly soft and the spice mix has lost its harsh rawness - another five minutes or so.

While onion and rice are cooking, combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl and season enthusiastically.

Now add the cooked rice to the onion pan and combine well. Cook for a further couple of minutes, stirring regularly to ensure that the mix is well amalgamated then remove from the hat and allow to cool slightly before combining with the creamy dressing.  Check the seasoning, adding more lemon or salt as necessary.

To have this at its best, allow to sit for at least an hour before serving.  It is relatively forgiving and can be made in advance, but don't serve cold from the fridge - always let it come up to room temperature first.  Your barbecue will thank you for it.