Thursday, 12 June 2014

Merryn's Menu: Slow Cooked Turkey and Bean Soup - my unique creat...

Merryn's Menu: Slow Cooked Turkey and Bean Soup - my unique creat...: Slow Cooked Turkey and Bean Soup On Sunday I purchased some gorgeous pork spare ribs.  Hubby commented how he adores the pork spare rib...

Merryn's Menu: Chilli Blue Swimmer Crabs cooked with Mussels

Merryn's Menu: Chilli Blue Swimmer Crabs cooked with Mussels: One of the advantages of living in a coastal town is buying lovely, fresh local seafood while it is seasonal. When we were children we wo...

Chilli Blue Swimmer Crabs cooked with Mussels


One of the advantages of living in a coastal town is
buying lovely, fresh local seafood while it is seasonal.


When we were children we would catch the haphazard crabs roaming the rocks and cook them in
cans that simmered over an open fire that were filled with salt water.  So simple and yet so delicious.
Little did we realise that we were starting a life long obsession, cooking fresh crabs with delightful flavours.

When we were children, crabs, fish, abalone and oysters were abundant and readily available. 



Now, as an adult, I still adore crabs and also spicy food.  

Chilli, garlic, turmeric and ginger are at the top of my list.

With the onset of June, we know the oysters, crabs and prawns are not as big or plentiful during winter. 
  When I saw these gorgeous local blue swimmer crabs, I couldn't resist having one last seasonal feast.  
These mussels (sourced from south of Sydney) were an added bonus and a welcome addition to our meal.



My recipe is adapted from the many chilli crab recipes available.

Chilli Blue Swimmer Crab with Mussels

8 fresh big blue swimmer crabs
1 kilo fresh black mussels
1/3 cup olive oil
10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 fresh long red cayenne chillies, chopped
3/4 cup tomato passata
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons malt vinegar
1/4 cup shaoxing wine
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped, for garnish

To clean the crabs, lift off the top shell with a knife from the underside then pull off the top shell.  Cut crabs in half, then into quarters,  preferably with a cleaver, and discard the grey soft matter.  Rinse under cold water to clean the crab.  Roughly use the back of the knife to lightly push on and crack the claws.
In a large frying pan heat the olive oil and fry the garlic and chilli for about 1 minute over a medium heat.  Add the crab pieces and give everything a stir to incorporate flavours. 
Add the tomato passata, white sugar, fish sauce, shaoxing wine, malt vinegar and black pepper, stirring to incorporate the flavours.  
Cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and cook for about 8  minutes.  Remove lid and add cleaned and debearded mussles to mixture.  Put lid back on, give it a mild shake and cook for 3 more minutes.
Take off lid and add the chopped coriander leaves, tossing to combine.
Taste for seasoning, adding more pepper and salt to taste.
Serve on a big platter, accompanied by a big loaf of crusty bread and a fresh, clean garden salad.

Buon appetito, enjoy, Merryn.








Monday, 9 June 2014

Slow Cooked Turkey and Bean Soup - my unique creation

Slow Cooked Turkey and Bean Soup


On Sunday I purchased some gorgeous pork spare ribs.  Hubby commented how he adores the pork spare rib pieces one of our local restaurants serves as an entree and I said they would be deep fried.
So I simmered the plump ribs in a mild stock for 45 minutes until they were soft.
Draining them on paper towel my hubby decided he would take over, chopping them into large chunks and heating up 6cm of vegetable oil in the wok.  He delightedly placed about 10 in the wok  acting a bit like a master chef contestant.  
A minute later one of the pieces literally exploded, landing hot oil on his arm, 
then another, he was so lucky it didn't get in his eyes.  


Note that my pasta and bean salads where well and truly ready by this time.

Hot oil was flying through the air, drenching the bench, the floor and everything within a 2 metre radius.
'Put down a towel he said', as he clambered for a lid to try to take the brunt of the flying oil.  (Note too that I don't yet own a splatter screen.)   After another two rounds of the crispy deep fried pork and the oiling of my kitchen, he proudly served up his plate to the table like a maitre'd at a michelin star restaurant.
He mopped the floor before calling the family.   I had to shake my head and said ├Żou are never cooking that again in my kitchen'.   It took another two hot mops to totally eradicate the slippery vegetable oil.

We did however, laugh and laugh together, it was quite an amusing moment and a very funny evening.
We have all had a disaster in the kitchen and these epic moments become fond memories.




Needless to say that on Monday evening I opted for a safe, clean, easy dinner.
I spotted this pack of two huge turkey drumsticks and thought they would be great in a soup, slow cooked.
Note that if you don't have a slow cooker they would be also well cooked on low on your stovetop.


Slow Cooked Turkey and Bean Soup

2 turkey drumsticks
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 cup dried canellini beans, rinsed
1/2 cup soup mix (dried lentils, beans and barley)
1.4 litres chicken stock (home made is best)
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, rinse and pat dry the turkey drumsticks, season with salt and pepper then brown them all over.
Place into your slow cooker.  Fry the onion a few minutes, then add the garlic, carrots and celery. Cook for 3 - 5 minutes until slightly soft and they have absorbed any oil.
Put these on top of the turkey drumsticks with the bay leaves.
Heat up your chicken stock, mine was frozen so I placed the whole block in the pan to heat up.
Meanwhile add the canellini beans and soup mix to the pot and pour the stock over it all.

Cook on low for 7 - 8 hours or on high for 6 hours.
Remove the drumsticks carefully and shred the meat, discarding the bones and skin.
Return meat to soup and heat through.
Check seasoning and serve with a loaf of crusty bread.
Serves 8 people.


Buon appetito, Merryn.