French Style Mussels Oh là là!

19/01/2013 § Leave a comment


The doom and gloom of winter is creeping up on me. It is cold outside, dark when I get to work and dark when I leave. There is snow everywhere, which in turn changes to ice, and I don’t like ice! So I thought what better way to take my mind off things, than to make one of my favourite meals to have whenever I go abroad. French style mussels!

To be honest, this is the first time I have used natural mussels (not the farmed ones). These little beauties have a beard that you have to remove which does take a while, but the flavour of these things is incredible and fresh. Try to get these whenever you are cooking mussels. Anyway, let me give you guys the recipe.


  • 1kg live mussels (preferably de l’océan)
  • 25g butter
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • handful rough chopped parsley
  1. First things first, you need to clean the mussels. Empty the bag into a bowl, run each mussel under a cold tap and remove the beard. This is the small collection of hairs usually on one side of the mussel, remove it with a side to side motion, carefully does it! If any of the mussels are open, run them under the cold tap for a few seconds and put them on the side, if they close they are good to eat, any that do not close, through them away!
  2. After the long task of cleaning and de bearding the mussels, chop the shallot and garlic into fine slices and gently cook for 4 minutes in the butter.
  3. When they become slightly transparent, turn the heat up, add the mussels and the white wine and cover. Steam for 3-8 minutes, until they have opened. Any that have not opened, do not eat them! Whilst they steam, why not pour yourself a glass of wine? Well, it is a french dish right!
  4. Serve in a nice big bowl and top with the chopped parsley and dig in, remember the extra bowl for the shells.

Perfect on their own with some crusty bread. I added spring onion and a little chili to mine, what did you add? Would be great to hear from you in the comments below! au revoir


Wild Mushroom Soup

09/01/2013 § Leave a comment


January, the month of detox for me. After spending Christmas stuffing my face with chocolates and too much cider glazed ham, it is time to start riding the Christmas pounds. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring, this recipe combines all the deep flavours of autumn and winter with a little spicy twist to wake you up during the gloom!

Wild mushrooms have a rich earthy taste to them and whilst they are very cheap, they have an almost meaty taste to them, which will easily satisfy a carnivore any day! This recipe has no cream in so you can treat yourself to a good portion on a cold winter day. So… let’s get started.


  • 500g wild mushrooms, chopped into quarters (I used a mixture of oyster, shatiki and forestiere, but use your favourites)
  • 75g butter
  • 80g shallots (about 1 and a half echalion shallots)
  • 500ml water
  • 250ml chicken stock (replace with water if veggie)
  • handful chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped lemon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  1. In a large frying pan or stock pot, fry your shallots with 25g butter until slightly blonde.
  2. After shallots have browned, add 400g of your chopped mushrooms and fry until they slightly blonde too. Make sure to have a high heat so they don’t stew, as they will go rubbery.
  3. When the mushrooms are browned slightly, add the lemon thyme, hot water and hot chicken stock, bring to a boil then simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Now add the mixture to a liquidiser and blitz until smooth (use a hand blender if you want), after it has been blitzed return to the pan and keep warm.
  5. Fry the remaining mushrooms and hazelnuts in a frying pan along with the paprika, this will give them a beautiful orange colour.
  6. Place the soup in a bowl and top with the sautéed mushrooms and hazelnuts.

It is as easy and tasty as that! As always, would be great to hear from you, what mushrooms did you use?


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