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Sunday, 6 May 2018

A touch of Todiwala magic.



Following in the footsteps of the great the late, great Keith Floyd and getting right back to where the ingredients for the meal on your plate come from...



London based chef Cyrus Todiwala prepares to head out to sea...


with his skipper for the day, fisherman Andrew Stevens aka @Cornish-Lobster...


seen here showing a forty year old male lobster to Pervin Todiwala ...



and talking through why (these days) 'berried' female lobsters are landed and handed over to the local lobster hatchery in the harbour...



but today's quarry are not the lobsters for which Andrew provides Newlyn fish-fans Sue and Duncan Lewis in their Camberley Fish Shop, but the relatively unknown and certainly under-valued spider crab...



so it's time for son and cameraman Homer to step aboard the good ship Benediction...



while the rest of the crew and including Pervin and SAGB guru, Mike Warner...



 take to the Flowing Tide out to accompany the Benediction and film from...



just as well they will not be hauling gear too far from the shore...



with such a heavy bank of fog rolling across the bay...



though the sun soon makes a breakthrough and visibility improves...



as the outbound netter Britannia IV passes by...



for the sake of getting close up shots of the hauling process..



the camera crew on board the Flowing Tide get up close to the action...



not so far from the old Penlee lifeboat house...



and by the time the nets have been hauled the sun has burnt off most of the cloud...



and a promising start to the day is looking good...



after his groundbreaking 1985 BBC TV series Floyd on Fish Sir Keith published a cook book with the same title and in the crab section of the book said;"if you ever come across spider crabs snap them up... they are full of succulent meat"...



once all hands had helped set up the temporary kitchen on the quay the...



cameras could start to roll...



starting with a brief intro from Cyrus extolling the virtues of fresh, live produce straight from the sea like spider crab...



one of which was about to go in a large pot of boiling seawater (after being humainly despatched)...



interestingly, shellfish guru Mike learned from Cyrus that back in Mumbai (where Cyrus while cheffing with Taj Hotels first met his now wife Pervin) shellfish are never boiled but chopped and added to dishes raw - which he demonstrates later...



the whole spider was ready to crack open for its meat...



while Mike behind one camera...



and Homer behind the other focused in on the action...



as the preparation of vegetables, rice and spices continued...



which by now had attracted a few admirers including marine artist Tim Hall and renowned portrait artist, Henrietta Graham...



who has painted Cyrus as part of her stunning body of work on Great British Chefs...



as the spices were added...



the harbour began to fill with the delicate aromas of Parsi cooking which Cyrus brought over to England from his native Mumbai and pioneered with his renowned CafĂ© Spice NamastĂ© restaurant and has received so much critical acclaim...



"keep it simple and fresh for fish"...



and add the ingredients slowly and one at a time...



by now, fisherman Andrew's patience is wearing thin, not only does he have to return the nets to sea but also to haul is lobster pots but as a great fan of freshly cooked fish is being tortured by the sight and smells of the kitchen set up to cook his spiders...



more fresh ingredients like coriander are prepared along with many anecdotal stories as to the health benefits of many spice and herb ingredients used in Indian cooking...



that wry smile appears again...



as Andrew is teased once more, this time by the spiced butter crab dish being prepped...



before the two key players discuss the merits...



of using fresh crab...



body and legs removed...



and cleaned...



the basic masala...



cooked at just the right temperature...



before the pieces of raw crab are added...



tossed...



then it's on to the next dish using freshly chopped (careful with that £120 chopper Mike)...



and added to the pan mix...



you can feel the passion for the fresh local produce in waves on the quayside...



from a chef who is totally in touch with his ingredients, especially those lesser known like spider crab...



music to the ears of Shellfish Association of Great Britain, Mike Warner charged with championing this under-utilised (in the UK) fish...



at last all four dishes are set up on the single al-fresco table dining room of Chez Stevens Net Loft quayside restaurant...



with a look of triumph on Mike's face...



expectant smiles from the artists and others...



all waiting to try the magical results of a masterclass conjured up by Cyrus using the basic ingredients and simple facilities on the quay...



before being treated to a more traditional form of magic from artist Tim Hall in his studio, with all hands still wondering where that coin went from beneath the glass!