Thai Inspired Crab Noodle Soup

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Having just returned from my parent’s home in beautiful Pembrokeshire, my freezer is now stocked with a plethora of home-caught crustaceans courtesy of my fisherman father. He put the boat to sea for the season while we were there, and P and I were on board for the first lobster pot pull up! Here she is enjoying the ride.

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I decided to dress one of the edible crabs as well as a spider crab to use some of the white meat in this humble yet incredibly satisfying crab noodle soup.

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Firstly, dress the crabs. If you’re unsure how to do this Delia’s step by step photographic instructions will guide you through it. The most important thing to remember is don’t eat the gills, or dead man’s fingers as they’re more commonly known. Although not actually poisonous, they’re very tough and hard to digest.

Once you have a bowl of nice white flakes of meat in front of you you’re ready to proceed with the soup.

Firstly, I boiled the shells in a pan of water for a good hour to give me a nice light stock.

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I drained the boiling stock, through a sieve and into a jug which had a bundle of flat rice noodles in it. The reason for soaking the noodles in stock rather than plain water is because, in my opinion, it allows them to absorb extra flavour as they soften.

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While the noodles were soaking I fried off some finely minced lemongrass, galangal, garlic and shallots in a little coconut oil.

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Once softened I added a couple of minced Thai chillis (don’t go overboard as you don’t want to drown out sweet and subtle flavour of the crab).  Once the noodles were soft, I fished them out of the stock and put them in a bowl before pouring the stock into the pan. At this point I added a tablespoon each of fish sauce, rice wine vinegar and light soy sauce, some lime leaves, a small chunk of rock sugar and about 100ml coconut milk. Simmer to allow the flavours to get to know each other before seasoning further with lime juice, salt and pepper. For extra protein I threw in a handful of frozen prawns (fresh would be best in this instance, but unfortunately I only had cooked in) and some of the crab meat.

Once I’d ladelled the broth over the noodles, Thai basil, chopped coriander, spring onions and a sprinkling of red chilli finished it off nicely. Delicious! Even our 5 year old enjoyed it!

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Four ways with Wild Garlic

Over the Easter weekend some friends and I went to a nearby beauty spot for a picnic and a paddle in the river. As the kids were happily splashing about a couple of us snuck off to do a spot of foraging for wild garlic. We certainly weren’t disappointed…

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It was there in abundance. We gathered some up and discussed potential recipes on the way back to the others.

Simple Garlic Butter
Once home I made some garlic butter to keep in the freezer simply by softening 500g salted butter in the Kitchen Aid, and adding in a large amount of finely chopped wild garlic. On greaseproof paper, I moulded it into a loose sausage shape, rolled it up in the paper and froze. That way I can slice off a knob as and when I need it (to make slicing easier dip the knife in boiling water to heat it up). So far I’ve used it in twice baked sweet potatoes, as a base for flatbread pizzas and simply on toast! Delicious!

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Smokey Bacon and wilted Wild garlic
On Sunday, I used some of the remaining garlic as a side dish for our Sunday roast by dry frying some smoked Streaky bacon, then adding in a couple of large handfuls of roughly chopped garlic.  It wilts down the same way spinach does so use more than you think you need. Season with cracked black pepper, but go easy on the salt as the bacon is often seasoning enough. I didn’t manage to get a pic I’m afraid.  Needless to say, the guests loved it, as did I.

Wild Garlic Pesto

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My friend Sam, has a superb recipe for pesto, which is simply delicious on pasta, in gnocchi, on bruschetta, drizzled on salads, pretty much on anything really. Be sure to have a gander at her new blog Me and My Second Self, you won’t be disappointed!

Wild Garlic and Asian Aromatics infused Coconut Oil
As you’ve probably gathered by now, I love Thai, Vietnamese and Asian style food in general and thought it’d be great to have a jar packed full of Asian flavours on my counter, ready to be dipped into any time without the hassle of having to chop everything from scratch.

I buy my coconut oil from Mother Nature’s Goodies on ebay

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I very gently melted in a bain marie until it was pretty much all liquid.

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While it was melting, I gathered the other ingredients: galangal, minced ginger, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, chillis and of course fresh wild garlic.

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Chop all the ingredients except the lime leaves, very finely and place in a sterilised jar.

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Pour over the melted coconut oil, seal and leave to set.

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The flavours will infuse and intensify and it makes a great base for any Asian style recipe.

Enjoy, let me know if you try any of these recipes and be sure to check out Sam’s blog.

Asian inspired moules

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Firstly, sorry I haven’t had a chance to post lately. It has been a whirlwind of a year so far, and we seem to have been even more hectic than usual! Exciting times though! Anyhow, I’m back and have another cobbled together recipe to share with you.

With it being the eve of the hubby’s 34th birthday, as well as a Saturday night, I wanted to make something I know he’d love and something we don’t eat every week.  Rustic and comforting, yet aromatic and spicy, these Asian inspired moules were perfect.

Firstly, remove the beards from the mussels by giving them a sharp tug. If you don’t know what the beard is I’ve posted a photo here:
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Discard any mussels which are open. If they’re open it means they’re dead and risk being off, so chuck them. This one was open:
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The de-bearding is the only time consuming part of this recipe I promise. Eventually you’ll be left with a bowl of clean mussels:
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Now, gather together one or two chillis, a few cloves of garlic, fresh ginger, an onion, fresh coriander, 7 or 8 kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, salt and freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice to taste (I would’ve used lemongrass too, but didn’t have any in).
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Slice the onion and soften in coconut oil (if you don’t have coconut, just use a tasteless oil such as vegetable or groundnut). I use coconut oil not only because it adds to the Asian flavour of this dish, but because of its amazing health benefits too. Once the onions are softened,  add the chopped garlic, ginger and chilli. Once they have cooked out a bit add the coconut milk and throw in the lime leaves. Leave to simmer for a few minutes to let the flavours infuse.
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Taste and season accordingly. At this stage mine needed a twist of black pepper, a good pinch of salt and about a desert spoon of lemon juice. Bring back to a simmer, add the mussels and put a lid on. Let them steam for about 4 minutes until they’ve opened.
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Divide into bowls and throw over a handful of chopped coriander.
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Serve with crusty bread to mop up those delicious juices! If you come across any closed moules once they’ve been steamed, don’t try to open them, just discard, as with the open ones when you were prepping them.
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