Because Life’s Too F***ing Short Crab Pasta

“Obviously I’ve spent most of my working life with men and they have this way of operating which seems a bit alien to me.”

-Janet Street-Porter, Life’s Too F***ing Short



Janet Street-Porter is a bit like Marmite. You either love her or you hate her. I like strong tastes, so I am a great fan of her no-nonsense, strictly frank, approach to life. In 2000, she was nominated for the “Mae West Award for the Most Outspoken Woman in the Industry” – and frankly, I don’t know why she didn’t win it.

A few years ago she wrote a self-help book entitled Life’s Too F***ing Short in which she advises,

“Create your own small repertoire, Eat well. But above all, make it simple.”

She gives a couple of recipes out of her own repertoire, and this is one I have tried and adapted, and incorporated into my own repertoire, very successfully.


Because Life’s Too F***ing Short Crab Pasta

Serves about 2


  • 100g/4 oz mixed brown and white crab meat
  • 1 handful flat-leaved parsley
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt
  • 250g/8 oz pasta – spaghetti or fettucine (100g helping for ladies; 150g helping for men)
  • 80ml/⅓ cup dry vermouth (Noilly Prat for choice)
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or paprika
  • butter for frying
  • Indonesian long pepper
  • 80ml/⅓ cup crème fraîche


  1. Put a large saucepan of water on to boil with some salt and olive oil in it.
  2. Put a couple of generous knobs of butter in the bottom of a small saucepan.
  3. Using kitchen scissors (a brilliant tip from Janet Street-Porter this) chop the spring onions directly into the saucepan (including a couple of cm/1” of the green), and add the crushed garlic.
  4. Snip in the parsley into the saucepan as well.
  5. When the spring onion starts to go a little soft, add the crab meat.
  6. Add the dry vermouth and the Aleppo pepper and the ordinary pepper.
  7. Cook for about five minutes, then keep warm.
  8. Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions.
  9. Serve, topped with the crab sauce and the crème fraîche.


Dead simple crab pasta
Dead simple crab pasta



Music to listen to as you cook

Spaghetti, Pollo, Insalatina…. by Fred Bongusto.

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