Crab Linguine


My constant mewling about being skint seems to be paying off. The other day Abel and Cole sent me a box of freebies to sample in return for a review. It was only a small box mind you, but it was gratis nonetheless. I would love to be the sort of gluttonous liar that might declare it all to be utterly delicious, thereby ensuring a steady supply of organic goodies from them and indeed other purveyors of fine grub. Unfortunately that sort of back scratching sycophantic nonsense just isn’t for me. Furthermore, I can just picture the look of utter horror on my old BJ (broadcast journalism) lecturer Martin Shaw’s face and I have to kill the thought stone dead in its corrupt little tracks.

I do happen to really like Abel and Cole as they tick all the right ethical boxes with me, so I was mildly excited to receive their surprisingly over-packaged box containing some free hand picked white Cornish crab from the “Seafood and Eat it” company, some Laverstoke Park Farm mozzarella, some black olive hummous and some thin, white maize tortilla chips from Garcia.


This was quite literally a mixed bag, in the sense that half of it was positively manna from above and half of it was quite possibly the worst stuff I’ve ever put in my mouth since that fateful time I was tricked into eating basashi (otherwise known as “horse sushi” –I spat it out as soon as I realised what it was).

The tortillas were far too salty (and I like my salt). They were also vaguely reminiscent of stale Mazola. The hummous was a pot of indistinguishable grey sludge with no discernible flavour whatsoever. It was crying out for garlic or even just salt. I couldn’t work out why anyone would create anything so tasteless, let alone send it for review.

The mozzarella on the other hand was some of the best I’ve ever had. Milky and creamy with a grassy undertone, it was the freshest I’ve sampled on these shores. We had it simply with a twist of pepper, a dribble of avocado oil and some fresh slices of tomato. The crab was also exquisite, but came in quite a titchy portion. I had to stop the fiance from scoffing it all straight from the tub (no easy feat as he is about 6ft tall and I am erm, not).  To stretch it out I added it to a mixture of sautéed onions, garlic, chilli, basil, lemon juice and peas before gently forking it through some fresh linguine and parmesan slivers. It appears my life might not be so Dickensian after all.

According to their website Abel and Cole currently charge the following for these products:

White maize tortilla chips (Garcia)  – £2.45, Laverstoke Park Farm mozzarella – £2.89, Black olive hummous – £2.20, White cornish crab (Seafood and Eat it) – £4.99


  1. Curious mix there Rejji from A&C- salty tortillas, mmm….not good.

    Crab, however, is a thing of beauty. Sounds like a divine recession-busting dish 😉 May do a similar seafoody sort of thing this weekend, once I’ve recovered from the epic luncheon this afternoon at Eastside Inn.

  2. I tried the crab at the Real Food Fest – the white was gorgeous but the brown was really blimming nice.

    I also got loads of Laverstock Park Farm stuff – buffalos rock 🙂

  3. jake

    you never fail to make me hungry juie

    have you ever done a rosti recipe?

  4. Good review and well done on the honesty. Never tried that brand of mozzarella but will keep an eye out. Fun packaging too 🙂

  5. I'm not 6 foot

    I’m at least 6’4″

    You don’t know me at all, do you…?

  6. gastrogeek

    thanks Sig, a slice of your plum cake for afters would have gone down a treat.

    Cheers Meemalee, must try the brown stuff, sounds gorgeous

    Thank you Jake, glad you like my recipes. Rosti is in fact my biggest bête noire – mine are always greasy and gluey.

    And regarding the comment from I’m not 6 foot – you’re never getting your money back.

  7. Dan

    You’ve been ‘got’ by Abel & Cole too Gastrogeek….hahaha my they have been busy. I whored myself out for some free veg last week as well….’that Dan, he’s cheap’. Looks like you got more interesting stuff dammit.

  8. gastrogeek

    And I thought I was special! Pah. Wish I\’d got a bit of veg – looks like they sent you loads!

  9. I just got a box as well! Mine has fruit and vegies though so probably more likely to have broad appeal than your selected products – although would have loved some crab…

  10. gastrogeek

    Blimey they are really doing the rounds with us aren\’t they?! I would have liked some fruit and veg, looking forward to seeing what you cook up with yours!

  11. I\’m feeling left out now 🙂

  12. gastrogeek

    aaaaw Meemalee!! You should get in touch with them and tell them that. I bet they send you a massive box!

  13. I recently bought an Abel and Cole cook book, and I’m loving Mr Abel – seems like a really nice bloke. Wish that they would send me a box to try. Love your blog.

  14. Just seen your lovely comment on my blog. Should point out that all the samosa credit goes to Ambala though!
    I’m guessing (perhaps wrongly) from what I’ve read of your fab blog that you’re from the East side of Bengal? My family are from the West side but they’ve often said that my preference for chole batura over macher jhol means that I harbour an inner Punjabi!

    • gastrogeek

      Thanks Diane, I bet they are lovely folk, I didn’t know they had a cookbook – must check it out. Your blog is great!

      Cheers FI – love Ambala, my nearest one’s on Brick Lane. Mum’s from Kishorganj, Dad’s from Calcutta, and born and bred in (ahem)Harrow. Am definitely with you on Chole bhatura – in fact let’s face it, pretty much all Punjabi cooking is amazing!!

  15. Oh, and back on topic- love crab linguine. Some rocket on the side or stirred through is also an excellent addition!

  16. Mother-in-law-to-be

    Have been thinking of taking a trip to the Laverstoke farm shop for a while now to buy the Mozarella, so once R is home (italian influences in cooking will then increase considerably!) we’ll go and see what other goodies they’ve got, yum !

    Was a bit concerned there for a while when u said my son was 6ft – wondered if you’d swapped him for someone else, glad he put you straight ha ha !

  17. gastrogeek

    thanks MILTB – I think R will love it!! Let me know what their other stuff is like.

  18. A mixed bag indeed. Glad to hear the Laverstoke Park mozzarella ws good though – I have heard only good things about their products & don’t like having my illusions shattered 😉

  19. Wow, they did send you a weird assortment… they started the rest of their blogger posse on fruit/veg boxes! 🙂

  20. Pingback: Boxed in « with knife and fork

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