Supporting our UK fish/shellfish, our Fishermen & The Crabstock Festival

For some time now I have been chatting with Andy Hunting who runs the Blog Andy’s Kitchen about the Provenance of Fish in our Country, supporting our Local fishermen and the exportation of our fish and shellfish going to such countries such as Spain and France. 

  I remember a year or two ago, I went to one of my local markets to buy some scallops for a special occasion.  Being from one of my Local markets, I assumed that they were from the UK. After doing a lovely recipe with them, myself and my partner tucked in and to our shock, they had no taste what so ever.  The next day the market was open I told them I wasn’t happy with the quality and to my horror, found out not only had they been previously frozen, but also shipped in from the USA!

  This is a subject that I am very passionate about so Andy asked me to do some recipe development work of Fresh Uk Fish and shellfish which would also include the involvement of the Crabstock festival. I shall come to that in a moment. 

   Now I Love all fish and seafood, I can eat it all the time, especially seafood so of course I was thoroughly pleased when Andy mentioned that I would be receiving a box of fish and possibly seafood/shellfish literally a day after they had been caught off our shores. I wouldn’t know what I was getting until it arrived. 
 The box was wrapped up all securely, so like a box in a box and inside was some ice packs to keep the contents fresh. I couldn’t believe the selection, here is what was inside my box:

Brown Crab ( Cock )

Spider Crab

Selection of Fish including Flat fish such as Sole and Plaice. Sea bass and Eel

  Immediately you can see how Fresh the fish is just by looking at it. 

   So first thing was to Kill and cook the Live Brown crab I had. In the Freezer he went first. 
For a Brown crab like mine which was a Cock ( Male ) I normally go by 1kg to 8-10 mins cooking time. You don’t want to over cook the crab as it needs to cool down afterwards. Once cooked and cooled down, he was prepped. 

Next job was the best bit, picking out all the meat. It is pretty much impossible to not nibble on a bit whilst doing this. Always make sure you get into ALL of the claws, including the smaller ones as that has the sweeter meat in. Now you don’t have to have fancy tools to do this. I used a Corn on the cob end holder, a thin chopstick and the thin end of a teaspoon! 

Just look at all that meat in one claw!

 Last part of using up all the crab is to then make some lovely Shellfish stock. Firstly I roast off the shells in an oven at 180c for about 15 minutes in a roasting tin turning them half way through.
  Here is what I put in my shellfish stock:


(All ingredients chopped into chunky pieces)

–  2 Carrots 
–  1 stick of Celery 
–  Half a leek
–  1 onion ( skins left on )
–  1 garlic clove bashed
–  Fennel bulb trimmings
–  1 tbsp tomato puree
–  good splash of white wine
–  some peppercorns about 10
–  1 bay leaf
–  Handful of flat leaf parsley


*  Sweat vegetables off in a Large sauce/stock pan until starting to colour, add in the Roasted Shells.

*  Cover with water, bring up to the boil and then simmer between 30 minutes – 1 hour taking off the skim on the top of the water.

*  Pass through a fine sieve and then if you are going to turn into a sauce you can then put back on the heat and reduce it down to intensify the flavour, thickness and colour.

I will be posting the different recipes what I have created from this lovely box of fish and selection of Crab over different write ups so you have that all to come.
  In the meantime, tomorrow ( July 25th 2015 ) I am off to support the Crabstock Festival in Northampton which is where the Coast comes inland and meets the Countryside. It is on all weekend and it is a chance where people can go to support our UK fishermen and be aware of eating Fish and shellfish sustainably from our shores and not shipped in from abroad.  There will be lots on including Chef demonstrations, different stalls, live music etc and it’s only £2 per adult per day! If you need more info you can go to the website here:

 If you like fish and seafood and feel strongly about this as much as I do then please come along to support it.

Recipes To be Continued… Watch this space!