Tag Archives: white wine

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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Chicken Chimichangas and Sangria

When I was younger I always thought sangria was the liquid that was made when grown-ups gathered together all the alcohol in the house and poured it into a bowl, put an orange in it, and drank it.

I have no idea why I thought so, but it wasn’t until my teenage years when my parents had sangria in a restaurant and I smelled it and thought ‘Wow, who knew that a sloppy mix of leftover alcohol could smell so good.’ Somehow I finally figured out that sangria is mostly wine and there is actually a formula to it.

I think this theory may have arisen when I was quite young and asked my dad what was in sangria. He replied, “Well, hmm, there’s red wine, sometimes white wine, brandy, liqueur, triple sec…”

And being young, I naturally assumed that that was basically all the alcohol in the world. Luckily, making this batch, I did not just run around the house like a crazy alco making some kind of punch that would have knocked me out in one sip.

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Chicken Chimichangas:
Makes 6 Servings
From BlogChef.net

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
½ cup red enchilada sauce
1 ½ onion (diced, divided)
6 (12 inch) flour tortillas
4 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 pound Tasty cheese (shredded)
4 cups refried beans
¼ cup vegetable oil
Avocado topping-
3 avocados (peeled and pitted)
½ cup cilantro (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 green onions (diced)
¼ cup jalapeno chile peppers
1 tomato (diced)
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

(I just topped the Chimichangas with a regular old guacamole with avocado, lemon, red onion and salt and pepper. Cause I’m lazy and it was way easier)

Step 1: In a medium saucepan combine chicken broth, rice, enchilada sauce, and diced onion. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Stir in shredded cooked chicken and mix well.
Step 2: Heat refried beans in a saucepan over low heat until they stir easily. Heat tortillas in a large skillet or in the microwave so that they fold easily.
Step 3: Spoon equal amounts of refried beans onto each tortillas followed by equal amounts of the chicken/rice mixture and cheese. Roll up the tortillas¸while tucking in the sides. Secure the wrapped tortillas with a toothpick.
Step 4: Heat oil in a large skillet and fry the filled tortillas, turning once, until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
Step 5: To make guacamole- in a medium bowl mash together avocados and lemon juice. Stir in cilantro, green onions, jalapeño peppers, and tomatoes. Top chimichangas with cheddar cheese, guacamole and sour cream.

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Sangria:

1 (750ml) bottle of dry red wine
1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup lemonade (the American kind not the Sprite kind)
1/2 cup triple sec
1/4 cup brandy
1 green apple, sliced into rounds
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1 lemon, sliced into rounds

Combine all the liquid ingredients, then let the fruit float on top. Mix together and then let sit in the refrigerator for at least twenty minutes. Overnight is better but, when there’s sangria around, who’s really gonna wait that long. Serves….well depends on how thirsty you are.

 

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