Friday 10 August 2012

Did someone say... MUSCLES?

We have a new fishmonger that just opened today (very excited as it is one that buys its stock straight from the boats and the quality is amazing - not a massive choice, but I quite like that -we have been known to drive up to the coast just for fish, for special dinners!)

So, to prepare mussels - a few pointers.  Once you have removed the side beards and thrown those that are opened away, rinse and change the water three times making sure that you move them about so they change their water as if it was a tide.  Let them rest a few minutes each time.  As for the cooking liquid, either cream or wine, reduced by half so as to get a better base flavour and it also allows your herbs and seasoning  to infuse for about 7 to10 minutes on a mid heat.  Keep an eye on the cream though!  The mussel juices will run into the reduction and the marriage will be complete.

One of my loves (yes another one!) is this :

First sent over by my excellent friend Harriet from New York, I always get some when I am in Canada. Amazing stuff, but you can achieve a nice version at home with three bay leaves and some cayenne pepper (not the same but it will have to do!!)

So, prepare the mussels. Into a large saucepan (with the lid nearby!), heat a cup of cream and add your 'Old Bay'  about half a teaspoon or three bay leaves (if fresh roll them around  your fingers to release their oils) and add a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Mussels in on a high heat and cook a few minutes until they are opened.

We had the compulsory baguette to finish the mussel sauce and thrice cooked "frites" (I need a whole post for those!!!)

Lunch on our new deck with a begging pug couldn't have been better!


  1. Wow, shout outs two days in a row! Maybe I should play the lottery? Great idea for mussels, but you know who doesn't eat them. H

  2. Hi Harriet,

    How could I not mention you!! You introduced me to something so good! Next time you are over I will make you some, they were so tender and good, I can make something else for Mr.B-F! Have a good weekend. Love Ivan

  3. Ahhm, moules frites, the best french bistro-by-the-coast lunch ever. Brings back fond memories. I used to watch my Mum eat these on holiday as a child and was always fascinated by the way she used the shells to dig out the meat and eat them. I love them now but hardly ever cook them at home as they are a bit of a faff. But your blog is so inspiring, I need to get out of my cooking for toddlers rut!

  4. I do the same with the second shell - makes them taste better! Happy to bring back a memory of a fun holiday for you! As for inspiring you, makes me happy! Your little ones are still small you will have plenty of time!! Ivan :-)

  5. Hi, this is my 1st visit & I'm having fun poking around your blog! Hope you are having a great vacation! Love mussels, I'll give your recpe a try soon, we have them once a week! Stop by for pie when you have a moment! I love company & new friends are always welcome!


  6. Hello Mary,

    Thank you for joining my blog. I have just joined your wonderful blog and am looking forward to reading more of it, we have many similar interests. My vacation is now over and I am full of energy for all my projects in the fall!



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