Balmain Bugs with Chilli & Tomato Pasta

I started this blog so that I wouldn’t forget recipes that we enjoyed. I have a terrible memory and tend to make recipes up as I go so it’s difficult to remember a dish. My husband regularly say “write this down, exactly what you did”. I’d write it down and then lose where I wrote it. So that’s why I decided a blog was a great way to safe keep recipes.

But then I got caught up in it, I started following other people’s blogs and saw how amazing they looked, then I felt I needed to take great photos, style shots and write content as well.

I’m rarely home early enough to cook and take photos in daylight and my photos come out crappy, so then I wouldn’t post it. I felt pressured and overwhelmed and eventually just stopped posting altogether.

I’ve realised the pressure was purely my own doing. If I just want to post a recipe I can, it’s my website. So from now on, I’m posting as is, it might have a badly lit or basic photo or be just a recipe, but the food tastes bloody good. And I will have my recipe memory bank back so I don’t forget what I made.

Balmain Bugs are an Australian shellfish, you can also use other shellfish like Moreton bay bugs, prawns, scampi, etc. Balmain bugs are my favourite.

suitable for: gluten, egg, nut & soy free. Dairy free if replacing butter with olive oil.


  • 6-7 Balmain Bugs, I buy already cooked and halved ones
  • 12 Cherry tomatoes
  • Sea salt
  • Spaghetti or fettuccini pasta. I used san Remo gluten free fettuccini
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced. Keep one seperate from the rest. I love garlic so reduce if you like less.
  • 2 long red chillies, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 3 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 100ml white wine
  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • Olive oil
  • Butter (if dairy free just use more oil instead and leave the butter out)
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Lemon, to squeeze over
  • Ground pepper


1. Put the cherry tomatoes, with a good sprinkle of sea salt, in the oven at about 170c until they start to split. About 10 mins

2. Put the pasta on to cook

3. Take 3 of the Balmain bugs and remove the meat from the tails. Keep aside whole. With the remaining bugs, remove the meat and roughly chop.

3. In a fry pan, heat a good glug of olive oil with a knob of butter over a medium heat. Add the 2-3 chopped garlic cloves, capers, chilli & anchovies. Stir for a minute or two. Then add the stock & wine and reduce until syrupy. Add more olive oil and butter to make a sauce. Add the cooked, drained pasta and stir through to coat.

4. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and slice in half. Add to the pasta with the chopped Balmain bug meat and stir to coat and heat through the bugs.

5. In a small saucepan, add the big knob of butter and the remaining garlic clove, heat until the butter melts and starts to bubble. Add the unchopped to bug meat, and stir for 2 mins.

6. To serve, top the pasta with the cooked bugs, grind over black pepper, sprinkle with parsley & squeeze over lemon