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Is it Springtime yet?

21 Mar, 2013

Well it’s a long time coming – Spring, that is! Every morning I eagerly look for little bulbs to emerge or a sprinkling of delicate blossom. But Winter is clinging on, long overstaying its welcome in my view. Just this week I’ve seen more flurries of snow. The perfect food for this weather – when [...]

Well it’s a long time coming – Spring, that is! Every morning I eagerly look for little bulbs to emerge or a sprinkling of delicate blossom. But Winter is clinging on, long overstaying its welcome in my view. Just this week I’ve seen more flurries of snow. The perfect food for this weather – when you are longing for fresh Spring flavours but still need some warmth and comfort – is a big pot of mussels, steamed with wine, garlic, fresh green herbs and a dash of cream. And some crusty bread of course! What do you think?

Mussel shells are so beautiful, aren’t they? That inky blackness and the sparkling reflections on the wet shells. Makes you dream of the sea.

Mussels are very quick and easy to cook. The only slighty troublesome bit is taking the time to clean the mussels and pull off the little seaweed like beards. But this is a contemplative task, an opportunity to sit at the kitchen table or stand at the sink and reflect on your day while you work. It is also a great task to dish out if someone asks what they can do to help!

So this is how I like to cook mussels. You will need:

1kg mussels

2-3 shallots, or a small red onion, finely chopped

a knob of butter, about 25g

a large glassful of white wine, about a quarter of a bottle

a generous spoonful, or three, of double cream (you can leave this out – it’s still nice, just not as deliciously decadent)

a handful of fresh herbs, parsley is especially nice

Rinse the mussels under cold water. Give them a little scrub if necessary, and pull out the little beards. Discard any broken mussels

In a large heavy pot, gently soften the shallots or onions in the butter. Add the wine and let it bubble away and reduce down for about 5 minutes. Dump the mussels into the pot, cover tightly with a lid and allow to steam for about 3 minutes. Check and see if the mussels are all open and just cooked. If so, take  the pot off the heat – 0therwise continue steaming for a minute or so longer. Pour over the cream and sprinkle on the herbs and stir together. That’s it! Your mussels are ready to enjoy with lots of crusty bread to soak up the lovely sauce. I often make some chips to go with the mussels too – the classic match made in heaven.

And look! I did find a few sprigs of blossom!

I’ve been working on some interesting projects over the past couple of months – hope to share more about that soon.

Hope you are all well – drop me a comment and let me know!

Pascale x

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