A Cornish Escape

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We have just had a fantastic week in Cornwall, beaches, long walks across clifftops to pubs, cycles along the Camel trail with the kids. We come back filled with ideas of moving (this is not unusual). So the decision is we shall sell up and buy a fantastic house with land where I can grow micro salads and sell them to all the restaurants and deli’s and Mr K can run an Art Gallery, the kids can go to the beach every day after school and learn to surf – sounds perfect eh. Then thump, back to reality. After a week of lovely sleep I make the fatal error of checking my work emails on a Friday night and I haven’t slept well since. It wasn’t that there was anything particularly dramatic in the emails, it was the sheer volume of them and realizing that actually, I will have to deal with them, but for now I will try to forget (as I kept saying to myself when I’m tossing and turning all night). Apparently I really irritatingly tap my foot when I’m awake in the night. I do try lots of relaxation techniques, imagining the sinking into the mattress type stuff, and the sheep counting too but I find that I end up dressing the sheep up or trying to make them jump over the fence in a gymnastics fashion which IS NOT condusive to getting to sleep.

So to take me away from all of that Mr K made me a delicious crab risotto with the leftover spider crab we brought back with us, we got this is Port Isaac (the place where Doc Martin is filmed, see below), a lovely little village – he loves spider crab and this only cost £1 (seriously £1), apparently it’s claws were quite small so we wouldn’t get much meat out of it and as people in the UK don’t like them so the fisherman told us (too spiky or something), but they are sweet and a I love picking it over, as do the children and Mr K’s Nanny Devon just would have sat with my kids adoringly helping them pick it over too if she were still alive. I know this is similar to Singing Aida that I posted a while ago but had to share it with you as the crab is so delicate and sweet it is just so special.

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Oh, I weighed myself when I got back and whoops, those large glasses of wine had an effect as my scales says 6 ½ lbs on (nooooo). Luckily, after some real best behaviour over the next few days when I stepped on the SW scales it was only 1 ½ on which I thankfully lost, plus another pound this week – back on track!

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Spider Crab Risotto with Grey Mullet – Serves 2 – 2 syns per serving

  • 3 shallots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • small glass white wine
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 litre Shellfish stock (can use fish stock)
  • 1 spider crab, picked over and brown meat also removed and used
  • 2 fillets grey mullet
  • Samphire

Gently fry shallots and garlic until soft but not coloured

Add risotto rice and keep stirring but leave it on the heat until it is ‘singing Aida’ (what a great description)- this takes longer than you think, be brave but do not let it burn.

Add the saffron to the wine and leave for a couple of minutes to infuse then take wine and stir into rice until it has evaporated and turn down to a simmer, then start adding warm stock ladle by ladle, only adding another one when the last one has been soaked up by the rice. Mr K insists that you should only stir this clockwise (something to do with not breaking down the rice) but I have to say I have never done this, just be kind to it.

Keep doing the above for a good 20 minutes until all of the stock is used and the rice has a ‘slight bite’. If you have used all of the stock and the rice is still not cooked you can then add water.

Lightly brush fillets of fish with some olive oil, then season and place skin side down in a frying pan, when slightly crisp turn these only to slightly cook the top side without letting the fish dry out (this should only take 3-4 skin side and a further minute flesh side).

Add the samphire to a pan of water and blanch for couple of minutes until tender.

Here is a really good tip. Once the risotto is cooked turn off the heat, add the crab meat and a little more water so that when you run a spoon across the pan the risotto falls back to make a flat surface, basically so it is not too dry. Put a lid on and leave for 5 minutes – this relaxes the risotto and all of the flavours merge to make a lovely, creamy risotto.

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