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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Puy lentils with roasted veggies and goat’s cheese

This is the epitome of simple, rustic, midweek veggie dinner ideas. Packed with goodness, your body will smile at the thought of this delicious yet virtuous meal.

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Firstly chop up whatever veg you fancy and put in a roasting tray. I used onions, garlic, courgette, carrot, baby sweetcorn, peppers, butternut squash, leek and tomatoes. I like to use a peeler to get really thin curls of courgette and carrot.

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Season well with sea salt and black pepper, then splash in a generous glug of oil of your choice (I used olive on this occasion, but coconut works well too). Bake for about 45 mins in a hot oven turning regular.

Whilst the veggies are working their magic in the oven it’s time to get the lentils on. I use a small mug for three of us, and the lentils I use don’t need soaking, merely just rinsing under the tap.

Fry off some onion and garlic in olive oil until softened, adding in some fresh herbs halfway through. I used rosemary, thyme and a bay leaf. Once softened add the lentils and stir allowing them to absorb some of the flavours from the onion/garlic and herbs. Using the same mug you used to measure the lentils pour in half to a whole mug of red or white wine and let the alcohol cook off for a couple of minutes.

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Finally add in two to two and a half mugs of stock of your choice, season and reduce the meat to a simmer.  Stir regularly and cook for about 30 minutes, or until they’re at a texture you’re happy with. Puy lentils are renowned for naturally having more of an al dente texture then a lot of other varieties, so they won’t turn mushy.

Once the veggies and lentils are done to your liking, pour the pot of lentils into the tray of veggies abse mix well, allowing the lentils to absorb even more flavour. Serve in wide bowls (pasta bowls are perfect) and sprinkle with goat’s cheese. 

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