It’s been a while since my last post mainly due to having had a week’s break from work renovating the garden and a cheeky trip to Goudhurst in Kent for a long weekend.
I had the pleasure of benefiting from my wife’s Christmas present which was a vineyard, orchard and winery tour at the beautify peaceful Hush Heath wine estate followed by a stay at their amazing B&B The Goudhurst Inn.
On top of the tour we were able to try all of their wine, sparkling and ciders all of which I have to say were stunning each in their own way and will shortly also be supplying Tesco’s so keep your eye out on their shelves I know I’ll be grabbing a bottle or 6 when it lands.
It’s not until you visit a winery such as theirs to make you fully appreciate and understand why some wines cost so much to buy, when they work all hours of the seasons making sure all of their grapes are free from frost, pests and diseases and not only that but hand-pick all of their harvests I mean that’s a huge effort right there!
This is where the inspiration for the following recipe came from, wanting to bring together some of the flavours and smells (not the fish) from our weekend away with one of my favourite and cheaper of shellfish the mussel.
It’s quick, easy, super tasty and can feed a crowd for at a small cost so a winner all round.
Feeds 2 and can be doubled for extra guests
Prep time 10-15 mins
Cook time 10 mins
2 kg of mussels ideally fresh from the fish counter or your local fish mongers
½ Bottle of apple cider
300 ml double cream
½ Finely chopped
1 large garlic clove finely chopped
Large handful of parsley finely chopped
4/5 sprigs of fresh thyme
Loaf of fresh crusty white bread
Large knob of butter
Lug of olive oil
Optional side of frites, homemade of oven baked from frozen
Large pot big enough to hold the mussels in and large enough for them to open up when steamed
Sharp knife for cleaning mussels/trimming beard
Chef’s tips: –
Make sure you have loads of bread for mopping up all the amazing left over sauce
Glovers tipple of choice: –
Anything white or rose from France should work perfectly personally a cotes du Provence rose would be heaven if not then a nice ice-cold bottle of prosecco.
Once you have bought your mussels you can prepare them either once you have them home of 5-10 mins before you want to cook them, personally in advance is easier as gives you time to chill for the rest of the day.
If you have never prepared mussels before they are pretty straight forward.
Place them into a sink half full of cold water, remove one at a time using the knife to remove the shells of any detritus and the occasional mollusc that will have gone for a rise on your fellow mussel.
Trim any of the beard which is just remnants of the rope they were living on with the knife and place back into a bowl and when done place back into the fridge until time to cook.
When ready to cook place the butter, olive oil, onion, garlic and thyme into your pan and bring this to heat over a medium flame.
You don’t want to fry and give it any colour, you just want to soften the onion, garlic, thyme and infuse all of the amazing flavours so turn the heat down and place a lid over the pan to keep the steam in place.
This will take around 10 mins our so and when nice and soft pour in the cider and bring it to a quick boil/
Give this a few minutes of boiling, throw in the mussels, turn the heat to a medium flame and put on the top of the pan.
The mussels will slowly start to steam open over the next 5-10 minutes depending on pan size/mussels etc so give them a good stir around every few minutes to coat them in the cider/garlic.
After 10 minutes pretty much all the mussels should have now opened, pour over half ¾ of the cream giving the mussels a good stir half way through this so that you coat them all in the creamy/cider sauce and that the cream can mix with the cider.
Take off the heat, thrown in the parsley and give this another good stir.
Transfer a decent helping of mussels into each bowl and then top with a good helping of the cream sauce.
That’s it, then time to devour and don’t forget a nice big bowl to put all of your empty shells into making sure to discard any mussels that have not opened or refuse to open easily.