Festive scallops

At Christmas time, scallops always make their way into my Kitchen. I don’t get chance to eat them very often because of their cost so they become an indulgent treat at Christmas. 
  I have done many starter recipes with scallops so I thought I would share one of my festive ones with you. 

 Scallops are a great starter for Christmas Day or anytime really over the festive period as they are so quick to cook plus they only need a few ingredients alongside as you don’t want to overpower their sweet subtle taste. Personally I find if you buy large scallops, 3 can be ample for each person but thats your choice. 

  This recipe you will be able to knock up in 15 minutes to impress your guests.  A festive, seafood, showstopper that really is simple to do.

My Festive Scallops:

serves 4
  • 1 tbsp Rapeseed oil
  • a couple of knobs of unsalted butter
  • 12 Large scallops
  • 3 rashers of Smoked bacon trim most of the rind off but leave a little fat to give flavour
  • 150g frozen petit pois defrosted
  • 3 clementines segmented keep the rest for juice later.
  • small handful fresh mint chopped
  • a good splash of Prosecco or fruity sauvignon blanc
  • Chop your bacon into very small squares. Fry in a hot frying pan for a couple of minutes, just until starting to colour. Pop aside on a plate leaving the fat in the pan.
  • Pop some boiling water into a saucepan and empty in your peas. Boil for no more than 2 minutes as you want to keep their colour. Drain, add a knob of butter and your chopped mint, shake and cover with a lid. Set aside.
  • To cook the scallops, add a knob of butter and a splash of rapeseed oil to the frying pan and heat until hot but allowing not to burn. Place your scallops in the pan and cook for roughly 2 minutes, do not turn until caramelised on each side. Then do the other side.
  • Set your scallops aside onto a warm plate and then add your bacon back into the frying pan, deglaze with your wine and reduce down for about a minute. Add in your clementine segments and a little spritz of the juice. Once reduced to a syrup texture you are ready to plate up. 

*  Place pea mixture onto the plate, top with your scallops and pour over your bacon and clementine syrup.

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! 

Squid Ink Linguini with Crayfish for BBC Radio leicester’s Food Friday

After having a quick chat with Ben Jackson, whom I do Food friday with on BBC Radio Leicester, we decided that our listeners wanted dishes that they could pretty much cook along “Real time” with whilst listening to the programme.  It goes out at 4.40pm every friday which is a great time if you want a fairly early dinner.  Thus, then allowing you more time at your local for a quick vino or Pint! 

  A dish that sprung to my mind was a dish that I cook quite often for myself but I wanted a little twist on it.  I would normally cook this dish with “Normal” Spaghetti or linguini and use Prawns instead of crayfish.  Now of course, you could use any other seafood, I just felt that this added real colour and extra flavour as the Squid ink Linguini does have a subtle flavour that I LOVE and I feel we sometimes forget about Crayfish tails also but they have so much flavour in them. I came up with a great Ravioli dish once which I used Crayfish tails so I will share this with you soon. 

  By the way, I have had some comments on that the linguini does look a little strange, but trust me…If you love pasta and combining Seafood…you are going to LOVE IT!

Hear me and Ben Right Here!

Squid Ink Linguini with Crayfish Tails,Tomato,Chilli and Garlic:

(Serves 2)

–  Approximately 200 g of Squid ink ( Cuttlefish )Linguini or Spaghetti 
–  A 120 g Pack of Cooked and peeled Crayfish Tails ( About 3/4 of the pack is enough for 2 people)
–  A good “Glug” of Olive Oil
–  2 cloves of Garlic Finely Chopped
–  1/4  Red Chilli Finely Chopped
–  2 Sliced Spring Onions
–  Almost half of a little pot of Fish stock (I used a Knorr pot)
–  A good Splash of Dry White Wine ( I used Sauvignon Blanc) 
–  1 Tbsp of Tomato Puree
–  Approximately 10 Baby Plum Tomatoes chopped into 4
–  A pinch of  Caster Sugar 
–  Cracked Black Pepper
–  A Handful of chopped Fresh Basil and Fresh Flat leaf Parsley


*  Pop your Pasta into a boiling pan of Salted Water and cook for approximately 10-12 minutes or to packet instructions.

*  In a Frying/Saute Pan, Start to fry off the White ends of the Spring Onions and Chilli in Olive oil.

* Add the Garlic and fry for another minute. 

* Pop in then the White Wine and start to simmer, reducing only slightly.

*  Add the tomato Puree, Tomatoes, Pinch of sugar and cracked Black Pepper. Cook for another minute or 2.

* Add a little splash of water to the sauce. Taste…it may need a little more sugar to sweeten.

*  Put the rest of the Spring onions (Green parts) into the sauce.

*  Drain your Pasta keeping a little of the water and  place the pasta into the sauce. Add the Crayfish and coat all the ingredients around the pasta. 

*  Finally add your chopped herbs when the Crayfish are hot and Serve!