Tag Archives: saturday kitchen

Baked Crab – Sophie Michell

I absolutely love crab. Ive often dreamed that if I was on Saturday Kitchen then crab would be my heaven (beetroot my hell)! Whenever we go on holiday to the coast I live on crab sandwiches, it’s the law. So when watching a hidden away programme on Channel 4 called ‘Meet What You Eat,’ I was blown away by this dish, which was beautifully demonstrated by the rather striking and talented chef Sophie Michell. The ingredients and method below are from the show with small tweaks by me.


Ive included some images of the prep, which included disembowelling said crab and extracting the luscious bounty within. My crab although a fairly decent size (from the wonderful Lanigans in Lytham St Annes) was only 750g so I halved the ingredients listed.


1.5 kg crab, cooked and prepped (to make 250g white crab meat and 100g of brown meat approximately). Like I mentioned In had  750g crab.
1 tbsp of clarified butter
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1tbsp diced red chilli
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp celery salt (I didn’t have any!)
½ tsp of Espelette pepper (I used normal black pepper!)
½ tsp dried oregano
½ smoked paprika
Zest of 2 limes
1 tbsp fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
1 handful of dried breadcrumbs (preferably panko)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of hollandaise
1 tsp jalapeño hot sauce (I just used diced, from a jar)
1 tsp diced jalapeños


Remove the legs off the crab. They simply twist off. With the body upright and the shell towards you, prize the centre of the crab away from its shell with your thumbs. Takes a bit of effort. Remove the ‘dead mans fingers’ from the body. These are the tentacle like protrusions about an inch and half long.

imageKeep the main body shell for presentation purposes. Flick the oven on to 180 deg C.

Scoop out all the meat from inside the shell and place in a bowl. Scrape off the meat from the head you’ve extracted. Then break the claws with the back of a large knife and with a skewer scrape out the chunks of flesh (this is the main bit, don’t throw these away)!. Repeat with the legs (messy but worth doing).


Fry the onions, chilli and garlic in the butter, along with the paprika and oregano for a couple of minutes.

Then add the crab, zest, parsley and seasoning. Give it all a stir. Finally mix in the zest, breadcrumbs and egg yolk and give it another stir.

Spoon all the meat from the pan back into the shell pressing it fully in as you go. I then mixed the hollandaise with the jalapenos and topped the crab with it.

Pop in the oven and bake for 4 minutes. Serve with toasted bread and lime wedges. I served it with a bit of poncey garnish and some lovely, buttered granary bread.


I now have the confidence to dress my own crab. Reckon I will do a cold one with mayo next for those ultimate crab sandwiches……

Thanks to the original recipe here by Sophie Michell.


Freemasons of Wiswell – Lancashire

“I reckon you can fall out of bed and hit your head on an AA rosette in the Ribble valley!”

It is clear there is a plethora of fine eateries in this golden seam of rural Lancashire. The Flame and I chalked another Northern gem off the list last Sunday. This time ‘Freemasons at Wiswell’ to add to ‘The Parkers Arms’, ‘Assheton Arms’, ‘The Three Fishes’ and probably a few others. And once again, as with the others, it is well worth the hours drive.


It was a chance tickle on the old ‘tinterweb’ to see where we could go for lunch when I saw Wiswell on the map. It clicked a few cogs and within seconds the ‘Opentable’ electronic platform confirmed we had indeed bagged a lunch time spot at the Freemasons. The steed sped North, an hour later the young lady in the dashboard led us up a narrow track past the fine, understated, terraced exterior.

We pushed through the cacophony of prizes on the windows. Ribands, rosettes, stars, cups they were all there. We knew we were entering somewhere rather grand. We were warmly welcomed and gently ushered to our upper floor table. A quick glance at the bar confirmed my first beverage would be manufactured by Propsect Brewery, a fine purveyor of light beers.


Our table for two could have sat six. We had plenty of space and time to admire the plush, substantial décor. Pure countrtyside. Tweeds mixed with game, hunting, and racing images backed by crisp yellow ‘paintage’. This is a quality interior. This is where you bring your favourite Gran for a fine birthday feast! Great stuff.

First up, the breads. I concur with many that the quality of bread (and the butter for that matter) sets the tone. What a tone this sets. A platoon of warm, homemade delights festooned a steely slate. Quinelles of butter sprigged with salt lent a hand nearby. The combinations were tremendous. I could have carried on and just lived off this.

The bread, butter, the chips
The bread, butter, the chips

We ordered from the £25 per head, set three course lunch. It’s a sparing but nonetheless triumphant offer. The Flame went for the cod loin, set on charred and pickled melon which was set in a large bowl. The waitress then swamped the said ingredients in a warm pool of iberico ham flavoured broth. The Flame wasn’t initially convinced but soon warmed to the idea. I managed half a fork full of translucent cod, washed in ham. Wonderful. I had heritage tomatoes with English mozzarella salad. Except it wasn’t just that. It also arrived in a huge earthenware bowl. The tomatoes diced, the ice cold mozzarella set as a cream. It was more like a desert. It was crackingly good. A particular revelation being the warm ‘tomato essence’. Coming the day after watching Kenny Atkinson (House of Tides) prepare ‘tomato water’ the day before on Saturday kitchen it was a particular delight.

Cod, heritage tomatoes
Cod, heritage tomatoes

Main courses swept in. The Flame a huge pot of fish pie topped with vegetables and dotted with mash. Still a touch short of her all time favourite at The Church Green, but splendid all the same. She also had to test out the chip competition. A couple of weeks back we had lauded the triple cooked versions by Hawksmoor. These duck fat efforts were equally, if not more tremendous. Perfect cylinders of soft, golden potato. A true delight and an absolute must when you come.


I had arguably the finest Sunday roast Ive ever had. The beef cooked to the prescribed vermillion  allied to a suite of beautifully cooked and remarkably tasty vegetables. A perfect Sunday roast for me. Thoroughly agreeable.

Sweet time. Two simple desserts. The flame a deep chocolate mousse with passion fruit ice cream, while I had ‘Alpine Strawberry’, a disc of mashed berries with creamy cream and vanilla ice cream. Both thoroughly delightful. A very decent coffee ended it all.


We paid the £65 bill and marvelled to each other at the quality of what we had just eaten. We left already formulating plans to return for a special occasion and to go from the normal menu. The accolades are fully deserved, this is indeed a very special place. I’m afraid it’s another recommend from us.

Freemasons at Wiswell
8 Vicarage Fold

t: 01254 822218
e: enquiries@freemasonswiswell.co.uk

Mark Jordan at the Beach – St Aubins Bay, Jersey

“Another restaurant with a ‘celebrity’ chefs name in the title. It must be good? It is…”

Mark Jordan and his duck
Mark Jordan and his duck

The Flame and I set about a short break in the largest Channel Island Jersey. A super little tome called ‘Appetite’ listed and described all the decent grub outlets on said Isle. A quick schufty soon had me planning the food for the week ahead. I’d seen Mark Jordan on Saturday Kitchen one time putting up a decent fist of getting Jersey ingredients on the map. I was bitten.

Told you it's by the beach
Told you it’s by the beach

Amidst a beautiful, four mile beach jaunt from St Aubins harbour to St Helier we stumbled upon the striking deep red exterior of ‘Mark Jordan At The Beach’. Bit of a mouthful, but the branding gets it over with a flourish of signature and contemporary font. It’s smart. I ambled in to book. As I was attired in the standard holiday fayre of tailored shorts, T shirt and Jesus sandals, I enquired on the dress code for a Friday eve. A smart, young Lancastrian called Andy suggested I would be welcome as I was, provided I didn’t add socks with the sandals later. Fine advice I thought. One for the gentlemen readers to take through life. As it happened, the inclemency of the weather on Friday meant that a longer pantaloon was selected with a full leather boot!

My tailoring advisor/front of house expert Andy, was on hand once more to welcome us in for our evening appointment. The room is light, long, narrow and bright. A super view to the sea. ‘Pebbly’, ‘sand duney’ artwork adorns the walls. We are by the beach after all. Tables are light wood with comfortable wicker seating. The option to sit outside beneath the stars was declined. Despite being the end of May it was a little too cold for that. A rather wonderful Innis and Gunn IPA had me purring with delight. Followed up by a splendid bot of ‘Dry River’ Shiraz for a mere £16. Top stuff.

Beer, butter and terrine
Beer, butter and terrine

A flurry of high tech menus came into view. The a la carte menu and the Jersey festival spring menu. It’s a British menu, using top, local ingredients. There’s a strong bias on Jersey fish and seafood, though being ‘crabbed’ out I went for meat tonight. Cheese straws with a flavoursome hummus came in as a pre starter. We munched away. For real starters I went for a cheesy crab risotto (£9.50) whilst The Flame plumbed for the ham hock terrine (£9). Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed my risotto I fear The Flame went 1-0 up. The ham hock was a cylinder of pure meaty joy, particularly when doused with the homemade piccalilli placed alongside.

Cheese straws humous, risotto
Cheese straws humous, risotto

Mains were meat based. The fish looked amazing but we had grazed on the sea all week. The flame had a wonderful medium rare Scottish rib eye (£19.50). Suspended on a trivet of sautéed potatoes and a bed of spinach it was cooked to perfection. The béarnaise sauce alongside adding the piquancy when required. I had the 30 hour cooked, Harmony Farm, short rib of beef (£18.50). It came with a flurry of watercress, pickled carrot and a horseradish mash. I wondered if perhaps the blade of bone was a prop to suspend the succulent meat, such was the ease at which my fork was able to tease the flesh from its setting. The mash was a delight too. I equalised, 1-1.

30 hour short rib,
30 hour short rib,
Rib eye, ham hock demolished, the bill
Rib eye, ham hock demolished, the bill

The flame won the dessert though. A salted chocolate tart with pistachio ice cream (£8.50). Beautifully presented with a swirl. I had the pear tarte tatin (£8.50) which our waitress informed us would be a twenty minute wait. No problem to us. This meant we could finish our wine!

Salted chocolate, pear tatin
Salted chocolate, pear tatin

Coffee arrived with a quirky selection of ‘lollipops’. We shared the fifth (a macaroon). A super end to a wonderful meal. The flame reckoned this was our best on the island, no mean feat after what we had had so far.

Petit fois, pebble art
Petit fois, pebble art

All in all the grub came in at a shade over £50 a head. Well worth it for the quality of food, service and setting that we enjoyed. The restaurant is run by Mark’s wife Magda, whilst he concentrates on his Michelin star effort ‘Ocean’. It’s a fabulous, relaxing place and has a great team. Definitely one to seek out if you visit this rugged little island.

And you can even wear your shorts! But no socks!

Telephone 01534 780180