I have wanted to try chilli mud crab ever since my dad raved about how amazing it is.
I’ve seen it cooked on TV – and apparently it’s normal and quite traditional for the sauce to consist in-part – of tomato sauce.
I really like hot food – but not so hot that you can’t taste the flavours. The heat in this recipe is absolutely perfect. In saying that, if you aren’t a fan of a bit of heat – this isn’t one for you.
Some great tips on how to prepare the crab include:
- Pop the live crab in the freezer for 20 minutes to ensure it is “asleep” before cooking in boiling water
- Removing the claws, the top part of the shell and get rid of the very creepy-looking “dead man’s fingers”.
- Remove the brown meat – but don’t be tempted to wash it under water. It ruins the flavour. Just clean it up as best as you can.
- I think the most vital part of the crab is the claws – that’s where most of the yummy white flesh is. Make sure you crack the claws with the back of a heavy knife – but not so much that it cracks into little pieces. Just enough to let the flavours of the sauce in.
So, once you have made all your preparations – you’re ready to cook
My family have always been a great lover of garlic prawns – my mum always used to cook them in a garlicy, buttery cream sauce.
I have made them this way for years and I still love them like this to this day.
However, I have also tried lots of others too – and due to my love for chilli – this version is one of my favourites:
Garlic and chilli prawns
1 1/2 tbs olive oil
4 clove garlic, crushed
2 red chillis, de-seeded and finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, de-seeded and finely chopped
24 individual raw/green prawns (use the largest variety you can find) – remove shells
100ml of chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
6 tbs of ricotta cheese
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chillies and a pinch or two of salt and cook, stirring for 1 minute, but don’t let the garlic burn.
Add the prawns and cook for 1 minute each side, or until golden. Remove garlic, chilli and prawns from pan and set aside.
Place pan back over medium-high heat and add tomatoes, stock and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until sauce has reduced. Add prawns back to pan and toss well to coat.
To serve, spinkle with the ricotta cheese.
You can serve this alone, for a starter, or make it more substancial by adding your favourite pasta in at the end.
My mum had a long chat to me about relationships a few months ago – and she gave some some wonderful advice.
She told me that too often people get bogged down with life and the everyday mundane things – and forget to nuture their relationships. This idea really hit me because it’s something I am paranoid about.
Mum also told me something else extremely valuable. That you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do something nice together. It can be as simple as lighting some candles and watching a movie. It can be making sandwhiches from leftovers and driving to a nice spot for a picnic. It could even be going for a walk. But, my favourite idea has been cooking a lovely meal, lighting some candles, turning off the TV and sitting down together. To be honest, we do this most nights. But, “date night” is different. We get a little bit dressed up, we crack open a bottle of wine – and I try to make something simple, yet special.
The reality of it is that even if you wanted to put in the effort and cook three courses – chances are it would cost you less than going to a decent restaurant. But, over the past few weeks I have cooked one course, and maybe brought a block of chocolate or some popcorn to have as our dessert. Obviously on date night, I don’t want to be slaving in the kitchen. Matt pitches in too, and it’s been really wonderful and something we both look forward to.
What can I say? Sometimes a mother’s wisdom is priceless!
So, here’s a great recipe we had a few weeks ago – and it involved mussels. It’s certainly the best seafood not only for taste, but at $5 a kilo – this meal sure didn’t break the budget!
Do you have some kind of “date night” with your nearest and dearest? What kind of ideas have you come up with to make it a special time for you as a couple?
Mussels in white wine, chilli and tomatoes
- 1 kilo of fresh mussels, washed and beards removed
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 3 rashers of bacon, cut into strips
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 1 red chilli, finely sliced (or you can add more, if you like it really hot)
- 1 cup of white wine
- 200gm of chopped tomatoes (half a can)
- 1 handful of basil, roughly torn, or parsley, if you don’t have basil
Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large, heavy-based pan.
Cook the bacon, until it’s getting slightly crisp – then add the onion, garlic and chilli and season with salt and pepper. Cook over a medium heat until onion is soft.
Turn up the heat and add the wine, allowing it to simmer briskly for a minute or two.
Add the canned tomatoes and once they start to simmer. Add the mussels.
Cover and cook for a minute or two, or until the mussels have opened (it doesn’t take long – and this is how you tell they are ready). Add the fresh basil and serve.
Important: As you serve the dish into bowls, ensure that you discard any unopened mussels. If they are closed, then they are no good.
If you are cooking this as a main course, toss through some freshly cooked pasta at the end. If not, just serve mussels as they are, with some fresh sourdough bread to mop up all those awesome juices.
Don’t forget to tell us what you do to enjoy the company of your partner in the comments section below. And, if you don’t do anything regularly, maybe now is the time to start! No matter how busy your life is – I don’t think there is anything more important than making sure your other half is happy and showing them that you love them 🙂
Speaking of happiness – it was Matty’s birthday on Tuesday. He’s had a hard week with exams – the first of which was on his birthday – but he had a great day starting with brekky and pressies 🙂 Coffee was a top priority!
And then there was family dinner and cake! Chocolate ripple, lovingly made by Matt’s mum. YUM!!! Our neices and nephews were there to help out with the candles too 🙂
So, this song is for Matty – because it’s one of his favourites. Happy birthday!! XO
And despite the post on romantic dinners at home – we’re heading out for dinner tonight to celerbate the end of exams and to enjoy some time together. Can’t wait!
I have a firm belief that low GI is the way to go – and so I am quite often drawn to recipes that use different beans and lentils and things like that.
This prawn and chickpea stew was really lovely. The chickpeas made it hearty and filling while the prawns gave it a light freshness. Great combination and with a short ingredient list and quick cooking time – ideal midweek. As long as you buy your prawns already peeled. I mean who wants to stand over the sink doing that in the middle of the week anyway! Not me! 🙂
Prawn and Chickpea Stew
500gms of peeled, raw prawns
1 onion – finely chopped (red preferably, but it doesn’t matter)
1 x 400gm can of chopped tomatoes
1tsp of sweet paprika
1 x 400gm can of chickpeas – drained
In a large, heavy-based pan fry the onion gently in some olive oil, over a medium heat, until soft. About 3 minutes.
Turn up the heat and add the prawns and paprika. Stir and fry for about two minutes and then add the tomatoes and chickpeas. Bring to the boil and simmer until the prawns turn pink and are cooked through. This should only take a few more minutes.
Serve on a bed of cous cous and a scattering of fresh coriander, if you have it on hand.
As for a song to groove to – I love Kings of Leon’s Beachside, from their latest album – Come Around Sundown. This song is so easy to listen to – it makes you feel like you’re on holidays by the beach – so, why not whip up this Prawn and Chickpea Stew – sit back with a glass of wine and relax to this awesome tune 🙂
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