Crab and spring onion macaroni

Crab and spring onion macaroni is a decadent twist on the classic macaroni cheese which begs to be cooked and savoured. I have used brown and white crab meat and I find this gives much more flavour compared to only using white so do look out for both. A hint of fresh red chilli would also be delicious in this recipe if you want to spice things up a bit but go easy as you don’t want to overpower the delicate crab. Compared to my usual macaroni cheese, this uses a small amount of good quality parmesan cheese so keep it simple. I have included panko as a topping mixed with parmesan which gives an added texture and crunch.

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Ingredients- serves 2
30g unsalted butter
30g plain flour
200ml milk
200ml double cream
40g parmesan
100g crab meat- half brown, half white
3-4 spring onions- shredded
200g macaroni
20g panko breadcrumbs (optional)

1. Start by preheating the oven to 200c/ 180 fan whilst you cook the pasta as per packet instructions; drain well and set aside. To get going with the sauce take a medium saucepan and melt the butter and flour together to form the base of the sauce. Gradually pour in the milk and cream and keep stirring so it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan; bring to a simmer and cook until thickened.

2. Remove the sauce from the heat and add half of the parmesan cheese as well as the crab meat. Stir well to combine before popping in the shredded spring onion. Add the cooked macaroni into the sauce and ensure that each piece is well coated in the sauce. Place in an ovenproof dish before topping with the remaining parmesan and panko breadcrumbs, if you’re using them.

3. Bake for 30 minutes until the topping is golden and bubbling and serve right away with a side salad if you like.

Indulgent crab and spring onion macaroni- a sumptuous twist on a comfort food favourite!

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Crab, king prawn and rocket spaghetti

As I’m writing this I’m sitting with the heating cranked up and considering reaching for a blanket to try and warm up so such a light pasta recipe may sound a little strange for a winter’s day. It’s simple really, I love seafood and sometimes these cravings have to be indulged regardless of the season!

Crab pasta recipes usually use white meat however I have chosen to use half white and half brown meat as this really ramps up the flavour. The addition of baby plum tomatoes are also lovely if you like. The sweetness of the crab and prawn pair perfectly with the gentle heat from the chilli and kick of acidity from the lemon so read on and get twirling that spaghetti!

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Ingredients- serves 2
200g spaghetti
Glug of olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves- finely sliced or crushed
1 red chilli- deseeded and chopped
60ml dry white wine
2 tbsp low fat crème fraiche
200g raw king prawns- deveined
200g crab meat- white or white and brown meat
50g rocket
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

1. Start by bringing a large pan of water to the boil; cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions and drain when it is perfectly al dente. Drain well.

2. Whilst the spaghetti cooks, get going on the sauce as it won’t take long. I can’t stand pasta that is drained and then stands around for ages, slowly clumping into a wonderful mess so avoid! Take a large frying pan and add a glug of oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic and red chilli and cook for a couple of minutes until softening. Add the white wine and reduce the amount by half before lowering the heat. In goes the crème fraiche and simmer for a minute or two.

3. Pop the deveined raw prawns into the pan and cook for a further minute before adding the crab meat and rocket. Simmer until the prawns are a gorgeous blush pink and the sauce is warmed through. Season to taste. If the sauce looks a little dry then add a splash of the water from the pasta pan in to loosen it slightly. I try not to add extra crème fraiche as this tends to make it even thicker and a bit claggy. When the pasta is ready, add it to the pan with sauce and toss to coat each strand of spaghetti well and finish with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice to really make the flavours sing. Serve immediately.

Prawn, crab and tofu pad thai

Pad thai is a classic street food dish that can be tweaked and adapted to please even the most fussy of eaters. As long as it is packed with delicious noodles and flavours then the world is your oyster- or crab and prawn in this instance. I have also added tofu in for extra texture- if you don’t routinely use it then do give it a go! You may well be surprised. I have chosen a firm tofu here which I think is the best way to introduce yourself to the bean curd world. The key to a perfect pad thai is in the preparation. Once the you start, it happens relatively quickly so you really do need to prep everything beforehand.

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Ingredients- serves 2 hungry people
2 large eggs
4 spring onions cut on the diagonal
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp tamarind paste dissolved in 30ml boiling water
2 tbsp palm sugar
125g firm tofu cut into 2cm cubes
30g grated ginger
2 red chillies finely chopped
1 banana shallot finely sliced
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
150g raw king prawns deveined and roughly chopped
100g rice noodles
100g white crabmeat
75g beansprouts
10 chives cut into 3 cm lengths
50g peanuts roughly chopped
Small handful of Thai basil and coriander finely chopped

1. Beat the eggs lightly and add a tablespoon of the fish sauce before setting aside ready for later. Read the instructions for your rice noodles at this stage as some need soaking for longer than others. Prepare according to instructions all ready for later.

2. Take the tamarind water and add the palm sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons of fish sauce. Stir well to ensure the sugar dissolves; if you find it has not fully dissolved you can add a splash of boiling water to help things along.

3. Place a large wok over a medium/ high heat and add 2 tsp of vegetable or groundnut oil. Add the tofu cubes, in a couple of batches if needed so as to not overcrowd the pan, and fry off until golden all over. Set aside to blot of kitchen paper.

4. Next you need to cook the garlic, chillies, ginger, shallots and spring onion until softening. You could also add a piece of finely sliced lemongrass at this stage of you like.

5. Pop in the prawns and the tamarind water to the wok and cook for a few seconds to make sure the prawns are coated. Add the noodles back into the wok and cook for a minute or so, again ensuring the strands are coated in the tamarind. Next into the wok goes the crab, bean sprouts, chive, basil, coriander and tofu. Toss gently to heat through. At this stage I then pushed the noodle mixture to one side in the wok and added the beaten eggs. Beat them in the wok until it begins to scramble and then you can mix it all the way through the rest of the noodles so the egg is well dispersed. Heat until the noodles are warm, the tofu is reheated and the prawns are a delicate blush pink.

Divide between 2 bowls and serve with a garnish of chopped peanut and you can add some roasted chilli flakes for an extra bit of spice or some extra chives if you like.

Prawn, crab and tofu pad thai- a satisfyingly savoury dish that will leave you wanting more!

Seared scallop, king prawn and crab linguine

This scallop, prawn and crab linguine is a celebration of seafood. I have paired it with the lightness of creme fraiche, the tang of lemon and the freshness of parsley to lift the dish to dizzy heights. A hint of red chilli also works well here if you like to add an extra layer of flavour. The sauce should lightly coat each strand of pasta; if you find it is a bit too thick then add a splash of the pasta water to loosen it slightly.

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Ingredients- serves 4
300g linguine
Knob of unsalted butter
300g raw king prawns- peeled and deveined
300g scallops- cleaned
Pot of white crab meat
1 clove of garlic
1 small red chilli- deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
100ml white wine
2-3 tbsp creme fraiche (I used light creme fraiche)
Lemon
Handful of fresh flatleaf parsley- finely chopped

1. Start off by boiling a large pan of water and cook the linguine according to the packet instructions; drain when al dente. As the pasta starts off then get going on the sauce as this is relatively quick.

2. Take a nonstick frying pan and heat the knob of butter over a medium heat. Sear the scallops for approximately 3 minutes on each side until golden, remove from the pan and set aside. Cover with foil. The scallops I used were large and I then cut them across so give two discs so it was easier to toss through the pasta.

3. Add a glug of oil to the pan and fry off the garlic and chilli (if using) for a minute or two. Pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half. Lower the heat and add the creme fraiche, a good squeeze of lemon juice and the prawn and crab. Simmer until the prawns are cooked through and a beautiful blush pink. Just before this, add the scallops back into the pan. Before serving sprinkle through some parsley and toss the scallop sauce through the pasta.

Seared scallop, prawn and crab linguine- simple, fresh and decadent!