Tag Archives: mussels

Mussels with white wine and cream

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I’ve spent a lot of time around mussels. Serving them, clearing them, tasting them, seeing them be cooked, seeing them be cleaned. Obviously not in that order, but you get what I mean. Working in a Belgian Beer Cafe you see a lot of mussels. Yet, I’m not quite sick of them. I used to think they were pretty gross looking but really, who doesn’t?

I first started to appreciate them in Western Australia when my parents would buy them cold from the supermarket cooked and marinated in a simple olive oil and herb mixture. I had them again in Quebec, Canada covered in garlic and cream and bacon and thought I had died and gone to heaven. And when I started living in Sydney one of my best friends told me I just had to try out this Belgian Beer Cafe where they served blue cheese mussels. Even as a red-blooded American who loves her blue cheese, I was pretty skeptical. But I tagged along- had an amazingly rich and creamy bowl of mussels and funnily enough also landed myself a trial at the restaurant that would become a big part of my life for the next two years. So yeah, mussels and I have had a pretty emotional journey.

Though we’ve been on such great adventures together, I’ve never really cooked mussels at home before. My dad’s played around with them in the kitchen once or twice but I’ve never done it myself. A few months ago Ciaran and I found ourselves at the Taste of Sydney festival and decided to bring home a packet of Spring Bay mussels. We picked up a little recipe card at the same stand and decided to go the simple route and just follow that. It’s a great weeknight meal because it’s quick, simple and low-fuss. Just pair your dish with some fresh, crusty bread and a nice bottle of wine.

Mussels with white wine & cream (Moules mariniere)

Serves: 2 as a main or 3-4 as a starter
Recipe from Spring Bay

Ingredients

  • 1kg packet Spring Bay Mussels
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 2 (30g) purple eschallots or ½ a red onion, very finely diced
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • a sprig of thyme
  • a bay leaf
  • 100ml white wine
  • 150ml thickened or whipping cream
  • ¼ cup rough chopped continental parsley

Method

  1. Heat a large heavy based pot with a tight fitting lid over a low heat.
  2. Add the butter, when it’s melted add the eschallots, garlic and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the eschallots are clear and soft.
  3. Increase the heat to high, add the thyme, bay leaf, cream and wine and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by 1/3 in volume.
  4. Open the packet of mussels and pour into a colander, give them a light rinse.
  5. Pour the mussels into the boiling wine mixture, give them a stir and then quickly put on the lid. Cook for 3 minutes or until the mussels open. Sprinkle over the parsley and serve with the cooking liquid, some crusty bread and salad.

Note

  • The mussels will open as they cook, if there are any unopened mussels, remove the open mussels from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl. Replace the lid and cook the rest for 1 minute longer.

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The Fish Shop

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Being an East Coast girl, when I heard Potts Point had a new restaurant that was claiming to be a Cape Cod/Hamptons style fish shop, I had to go check it out.

I’ve never had better fish and chips than the ones I’ve had in Australia, so a restaurant that was trying to create American fish and chips sounded a little fishy.

But it turned out to be pretty good.

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I’d read a review in the SMH saying the decor and theme had gone a little too far and was even entering the land of tacky.

And not just because there were too many tackle boxes.

Couldn’t help myself.

But when I ventured over to Potts Point to check out the quaint little fish shack, I was pleasantly surprised. The place was packed but very inviting and very friendly. The hostess was honestly one of the nicest I have come across and continually checked up on us while we were waiting in the bar for a table. The place is incredibly decked out with fish and fishing gear and oceany puns galore. Even the bathrooms are labelled “Buoys” and “Gulls.” Ingenious.

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It was very lively inside, the waiters are dressed in pirate-esque striped shirts and the food was delicious.

They’ve got a rotating list of specials each night and from my own experience and everything that I’ve heard, you should usually try at least one of them out.

We opted for the mussels, which were bathed in a delicious white wine sauce with roasted tomatoes, a bit of chilli and topped with a few slices of crusty bread.

For our main we split the Fisherman’s Basket which was very good. Honestly, it doesn’t quite compare to some of the fish and chips I’ve had here, one of my favourite places is a little shack in Perth where it’s wrapped up in the day’s newspaper and you can sit right by the water enjoying the fresh, amazing taste as the oil seeps through the paper and you make a mess of yourself trying to finish every last crumb.

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But it was still very good. The basket came with pieces of blue eyed cod, cuttlefish, oysters and crispy chips. We were full after the two courses but the meals at The Fish Shop aren’t as big as your local chicken shop. The prices are cheap but the portions are small.

The cocktails looked like they were on the tiny side as well so we stayed away from those and had our meal with some crisp sauvignon blanc. Maybe they’re incredibly tasty, but I couldn’t justify the price for the size.

All in all, I was very satisfied with this little slice of the American East Coast nestled in Potts Point, they do their fish well and they show you a good time. Highly recommended.

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The Fish Shop

Monday – Saturday
Kitchen, 12pm – 11pm
Bar, 12pm – late
Sunday
Kitchen, 12pm – 9pm
Bar, 12pm – 10pm

22 Challis Avenue
Potts Point, 2011

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