Spicy crab, crayfish and smoked trout linguine with asparagus and fresh herbs


It's been a stressful week. Work is a bit crazy. I'm organising this big medical symposium with lots of really important people coming, at least I hope they are coming. If I mess it up, well, I don't actually want to think about what will happen if I mess it up. But I have been having nightmares that someone else does another event the same evening and everyone goes there and no one comes to my meeting.

In the dream an orthodox Jew called Simon Bieber tells me this. I don't know any orthodox Jews or anyone called Simon Bieber for that matter, so I'm not sure what the meaning of this is. But I hope regardless of this Bieber feller, people will come to my meeting and I'm not left there on my own with mini cottage pies and wild mushroom and tallegio arancini for 65 people. They sound delicious though. I've never had an arancini, so I'm really looking forward to that part of the evening.

Hot crab, crayfish and smoked trout pasta with sour cream, asparagus and tomatoes

Husband is still gallivanting in sunny climes and I am missing him like crazy. In a situation like this his amazing calmness would be really useful. "It'll be alright" he would say and massage my agitated, bony, cold feet with his big warm hands. I remember stressing about our wedding waltz. Neither of us are great natural waltzers and we had practiced very little. He was convinced that it would be alright. And it was. No tens from Craig Revel Horwood, but it was alright.

If I was going to be all Mills and Boon, I would say that with his big, strong arms around me everything is always alright. But since I am a self-sufficient, empowered, emancipated 21st century woman I'm obviously not going to say anything so silly, but will just grit my teeth, jut my jaw and plough on.

But he is my lobster and I have to confess that as well as stressing about stuff more without him, husband's absence also means I have now alarmingly regressed to watching "Say Yes to the dress" of which I managed to wean myself off a long time ago. But this week I found myself sobbing as nurse Katie was choosing her sparkly A-line while teary-eyed Grandma was watching.

I have also started watching X-Factor. Luckily it's final time, so I can sink no further.

And sometimes I don't brush my teeth at night, if I'm really tired.

So I'm glad husband's coming back in two weeks, otherwise I would end up a feral, toothless, reality-TV watching wildling. But clearly less attractive than the fabulous red-haired Downton housemaid in Game of Thrones.

Yes, I did also start my box set of Downton Abbey. I need to get my act together with that one. With two weeks to go haven't even finished series one.

But foodwise Fish Friday is Fish Friday whether husband is around or not, so I decided to make myself a yammy, hot bowl of seafood pasta.

I love pasta. Particularly if it's of the spicy variety. And if it isn't, there's nothing that a generous shake of Tabasco won't cure. Last weekend I made a gorgeous hot puttanesca and this time I went for a spicy crab, crayfish and smoked trout linguine.

Spicy crab, crayfish and smoked trout linguine with asparagus and fresh herbs

Spicy crab, crayfish and smoked trout linguine with asparagus and fresh herbs (serves 4)

400g dried linguine or spaghetti

1 yellow onion, chopped
3 gloves of garlic, chopped
3-4 mild chillies, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
Juice and zest of a lemon
150g asparagus, cut to 1 inch pieces
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
Bunch of fresh basil, chipped
Pasta cooking water
2-3 tbsp sour cream (or cream)
Black pepper
200g crayfish
100g brown crab meat
100g smoked salmon, chopped
40g Parmesan, grated

Bring a pan of water to boil. Add salt and pasta and cook according to the pack instructions, making sure not to overcook the pasta.

Heat a splash of oil in a non-stick pan. Add the onion with a sprinkling of salt and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic and chillies and continue sauteing. Add the white wine, lemon zest and juice, basil and the asparagus and most of the tomatoes leaving some for garnish.

Add some of the pasta cooking water (1/2 - 2/3 cup) and leave to simmer until the asparagus is almost done, but still slightly crisp. Add the crayfish, crab, smoked salmon and most of the parmesan leaving just a couple of spoonful for garnish.

Drain the pasta when it's still al dente reserving some of the cooking liquid and add to sauce. Mix everything and add some pasta cooking water if necessary. Sprinkle some fresh basil, the rest of the tomatoes and parmesan on top.

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