The latest stories, straight to your inbox

The latest stories, straight to your inbox

Be inspired every day with Living North

Subscribe today and get every issue delivered direct to your door
Subscribe Now
Be inspired every day with Living North
James Martin Islands to Highlands
April 2020
Reading time 8 minutes
When I visited the Northumberland Seafood Centre on the fabulous East Coast, I was fascinated to see the lobster hatchery and it gave me the idea for my favourite lobster and crab dish of all time. The wildlife around here shows you how rich the seas are, as I found out on a quick trip to Coquet Island to see the puffins. Next time you are in the area, I urge you to go and see it for yourself.
  • 200ml vegetable oil
  • 2 whole garlic bulbs, cloves separated, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 2 green chillies, sliced
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, chopped
  • 10-cm piece fresh root ginger, diced
  • 400ml tomato ketchup
  • 100ml sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 50ml fish sauce
  • 100ml soy sauce
  • 100ml hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked sea salt
  • 16 cooked brown crab claws, shells cracked
  • 2 cooked whole crabs, dead man’s fingers removed, cutinto 3 pieces
  • 1 lobster, cooked, shell removed and cut into 6 pieces
  • small bunch of coriander, chopped
  • To Serve:
  • small bunch of mint, chopped
  • bunch of spring onions, sliced
  • 1 large stottie cake or ciabatta loaf, toasted and torn into chunks

I cooked the dish on the beach next to Bamburgh Castle and somehow the Singapore-style chilli sauce didn’t seem out of place, mainly because no one else was there, which is crazy when you see how beautiful the coastline is. The local stottie cake loaf was great to mop up the leftover sauce. 

1. If using, light your BBQ. When the coals are silvery in colour, it’s ready to cook on. Line a large plate with kitchen paper.

2. Heat half of the vegetable oil in a small heavy saucepan placed over a medium heat or on the BBQ grill (use a flameproof pan if cooking on the BBQ) to 170C/340F or until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into the oil. 

3. Fry the garlic in the hot oil for one to two minutes until golden and crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon to drain on the kitchen paper.

4. Put a large flameproof roasting tin over a medium heat on the hob, or onto the BBQ, and pour in the remaining oil. When the oil is hot, add the chillies, spring onions, lemongrass and ginger and fry for one to two minutes. Stir in the ketchup, sweet chilli sauce, caster sugar, fish sauce, soy and hoisin, season with the smoked sea salt and cook for a further four minutes.

5. Add all the crab and lobster to the roasting tin and stir through, making sure all the pieces are coated in the sauce. Cook for a further four minutes until heated through, then stir in the chopped coriander. To serve, sprinkle over the mint, spring onions and crispy garlic and enjoy with chunks of toasted stottie cake or ciabatta to mop up the sauce.

JAMES MARTIN’S ISLANDS TO HIGHLANDS (Quadrille, £25) Photography: Peter Cassidy


This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Please read our Cookie policy.