Sunday, 10 March 2013

moules marinieres - a tea time treat



... for a while back in our childhood my father had a terrible fear of flying... he says it came on gradually but by the early 80's it was so bad that he stopped flying altogether which meant that we did a heck of a lot of driving to mainland Europe (or simply 'the continent' as it was known back then) for our summer family holidays... not such a bad thing you may cry and no, in our very own middle-class way it was rather lovely, although try telling that to two teenage kids stuffed into the bench seat of a mercedes sports and driven all the way to southern Italy...

... what this meant for me however was a lot of holidays in beautiful France and the discovery of moules et frites or mussels and chips as we referred to them in our perfectly neglected un-spoken french... and I can tell you as a young boy, thinking he has eaten pretty much everything there was to be eaten, this was a revelation... ahhh the classic, clean sea-salt taste of the moules, bathed in their creamy herb-infused sauce... learning to be patient with the eating process and carefully using the shell of one, tweezer-like, to pluck the fleshy meat from the other and then finally to slurp up any left-over liquor with the perfectly crisp, golden french fries... and the aroma of those little restaurants as we sat on the side of a cobbled street or at the edge of a fishing port... I am quite literally dribbling over my keyboard at the memories...

the good folk at Fish is the Dish are keen to get us eating more fish... we all know that it's healthy for us, or in the words of my grandma Syliva 'if it swims, it slims'... but it's particularly the Omega 3 in fish that is of such benefit to our heart... studies by clever people in white coats have shown that by simply eating two portions of fish per week we can dramatically reduce the risk of cardiovascular incidents whilst the fatty oil that is Omega 3, higher is some fish such as makeral and salmon, can also help give us healthier skin and hair and even help with muscle repair... so we'll all be swishing our locks and smiling more with just a little more fish in our lives... I'll be adding a lot more fish to my reportoire over the next six weeks with some yummy recipes but it's also good to know that even the humble tinned fish such as tuna or salmon is also packed with goodness, so really there's no excuse not to be healthier...


moules marinieres
this is an absolute French classic and there's simply no point messing with it... so i've gone straight the the source itself with this wonderfully simple and very fast recipe from the master himself Raymond Blanc... and because it's French i'm also entering it into this month's excellent tea time treats blogger challenge hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Baked

8oz mussels
4fl oz dry white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion - very finely chopped
4 fresh bay leaves
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

wash the mussels under cold running water and remove any beards or barnacles... discard any mussels that float or don't shut when tapped on the side of the sink

boil the wine is a small saucepan for a few seconds to remove the bitter alcohol taste and set aside

melt the butter with a little olive oil in a large lidded pan then add the onion, bay leaves and thyme, stir for 10 seconds then add the wine and bring to a boil

add the mussels, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mussels open, remembering to discard any mussels that don't open

add the whipping cream and parsley and stir well

if, like me, you're lazy and can't be bothered to make the frites simply get giant chunks of french bread to sop up all that glorious liquor...

eat and of course, enjoy!


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