May is the most lovely month in these fair isles. We have all sorts of other goodies to play with, combined with warm, balmy weather and long days. My thoughts always run towards the coast at this time of year and while there is doom and gloom around regarding fish stocks and the state of the seas, some varieties of marine life are doing rather well. Therefore, I am concentrating on shellfish. Not expensive lobster and langoustine, but more prosaic varieties that require a little work for which they reward you in spades.

Clam chowder

Serves 10

200g (7oz) smoked streaky bacon, cubed (buy a chunk and cut it up)

4 large shallots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

50g (2oz) butter

500g (1lb) potatoes, cubed (about ½in)

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tin sweetcorn

4 tins good clams, chopped or whole

1 pint (570ml) milk

1 pint (570ml) double cream

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp chopped parsley

In a heavy-bottomed pan fry the bacon, shallots and chopped garlic together in the butter. Try not to colour them too much, more soften them. After 10 minutes add the potatoes, lemon zest, sweetcorn and clams (juice and all). Pour in the milk and cream and bring up to a simmer. Add the bay leaf and simmer for just over an hour. When the soup is rich and yummy, crush the spuds a little to thicken it and season to taste. Just before serving stir through the parsley.

Our American cousins like to serve this with cream crackers crumbled in at the last minute to thicken things. All I know is that one bowl is never enough.


Other seafood recipes and courses

Lobster soup

Linguini with Brixham crab

Billingsgate Seafood Training School Courses