Chilli, Crab & Garlic Linguine
I love cooking. I really do. I know that’s stating the obvious, but it was this love that led me to give up a career in law, and totally turn my life around to train as a chef.
That’s what I call true love!
This whole chef lark can be pretty hard graft: long (and often antisocial) hours, high levels of stress, lots of organisation, and seemingly endless hours standing on your feet.
It’s all totally worth it if you love creating beautiful food and the process of cooking, but if you don’t, you’ll be pretty darn miserable every day you are working!
If I’m totally honest, I didn’t love being a chef in a restaurant; the stress and the lifestyle just wasn’t the right fit for me. I went into it knowing I wasn’t going to love it, but knowing it would be incredible for my cooking; which it was.
And that’s okay, life is about trying different things and figuring out what you don’t love as much as it’s about figuring out the things that really light you up.
And y’know what? Those things can change over time, or even day-to-day. You may not love something you loved last week, and that’s okay too.
I think the internet has left us in a tricky position when it comes to our evolving interests and career. It’s so easy to get pigeonholed into a specific niche, and the things we share, say, and think seem cast in stone, just because that’s what we’ve been doing at any given time.
But it’s important to recognise that we’re all constantly evolving, and this doesn’t necessarily marry up with what is expected of us. It can be incredibly hard to break out of what you are known for into other areas.
This is something I’ve been doing more and more, and it has been so exciting to take some time to explore new passions, and see where my career has taken me over the last year. I’m loving doing my podcast (Desert Island Dishes), meeting incredible people and talking about food. It’s inspiring, interesting and fun and people are enjoying listening which is the icing on the proverbial cake.
I’m doing this alongside my cooking, and I am absolutely loving it! I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time, but it felt scary when I started. I was often reminded that I was a chef, and there was an expectation put upon me by others that I should stay in the kitchen.
The truth is, in the modern world many of us wear different hats. Work is varied and made up of all kinds of different things, and that’s okay! I think once you move away from obsessively labelling what you do, everything becomes much better anyway.
I have the same approach when it comes to my cooking. Some days, I love nothing more than spending hours in the kitchen, slaving over something that my boyfriend then inhales in 30 seconds flat. On others, I’m knackered, in a rush, or uninspired, and I just want something quick and faff-free.
There are days when I want something nourishing and healthy, others when I crave something rich and hearty, and then there are those days when only pure, luxurious indulgence will do.
What never changes for me, and remains constant over every day and every meal, is that I always always need to eat something delicious. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes beans on toast with melted cheese is the perfect kind of delicious.
This chilli, crab, and lemon linguine is quick, easy, and definitely meets the delicious requirement. It’s satisfying and filling, yet fresh and summery all at the same time.
You can serve it as a crowd-pleaser at a dinner party, but it’s also simple enough to make just for yourself on a week night. A rare beast, but a crucial one to have up your sleeve!
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 – 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
100g white crab meat, cooked (frozen works great, just defrost it first)
Juice 1 lemon
Splash of white wine
Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Cook the linguine according to the packet instructions. Drain and cover, reserving a little of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the garlic and chilli, and fry gently for 1 minute. Add a splash of white wine, and cook for another minute until it has evaporated
Add the crab meat, stir well to combine and heat through. Once the crab is hot, fold through the lemon juice.
Add the drained linguine to the crab together with enough of the reserved cooking water to loosen (this is an important tip: typically add about about 2–3 tbsp of the liquid to crate a smooth and glossy sauce and to avoid sticky spaghetti that lumps together).
Add the parsley and toss through until the pasta is evenly coated in the sauce.
Scoop into bowls and enjoy.
Crusty bread and green salad on the side are optional.