I don't think there can be any better way to enjoy mussels, with a steaming creamy broth to dunk a piece of fresh bred in and a glass of muscadet wine, this is the ubiquitous French brasserie classic.
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
400ml dry white wine
200g crème fraîche
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper
Wash and scrape the mussels, discarding any broken ones. Sweat the onion, celery and garlic in the butter in a large tall saucepan. Pour in the wine and bring to a rapid boil. Add the mussels and cover.
After about 3 minutes shake the pan and stir the mussels. Cover again and continue to cook for about 7- 8 minutes or until the mussels have opened.
Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon and put them in a large tureen or individual deep bowls. Continue to boil the liquid in the pan. Add the crème fraîche, chopped parsley and seasoning, and as soon as the liquid has come back to the boil, pour it over the mussels. Serve at once.
Fried Bananas and Rum
A fast and delicious dessert that everyone likes. We often make these on the spur of the moment to satisfy the craving for a sweet end to an informal family meal. Emily uses less butter and rum than I do, but the important thing is not to burn the caramel.
1 tablespoon butter
3 bananas, skinned
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Melt the butter in a large, non-stick pan. When it's frothy, add the skinned bananas. Turn them when they have started to take on a brown colour.
Now sprinkle on the caster sugar and gently swirl the pan to help the sugar mix and melt. Turn the bananas once more and lower the heat. The caramel and bananas should now be golden brown.
Add a squeeze of lemon and a very generous splash of good dark rum. Flambé and bring to the table immediately. These are best served with some good quality ice cream - from a tub of course!
Braised shoulder of spring lamb
2 shoulders of baby lamb
24 button onions
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 chilli, cut in half lengthways, seeds removed
3 plumb tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
Generous pinch of saffron strands
200ml fresh orange juice
500ml chicken stock
Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Take a flameproof casserole with plenty of room to hold the two shoulders laid flat, place over a high heat and add a generous amount of olive oil. Brown the lamb well on both sides.
Lower the heat to moderate and add the peeled button onions and a little sea salt; shake the pan from time to time so that the onions start to get a good colour. After about 5 minutes add the garlic, cumin seeds, chilli and tomatoes, stir well and increase the heat to high. Poor in the Madeira and the saffron, and when they come to the boil add the orange juice and chicken stock. Bring back to the boil, then partially cover the pan and place in the oven for 1 hour. Stir and turn the meat occasionally.
Leave to cool completely, then remove the lamb and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Using a heavy knife or cleaver, cut the shoulder into 3 joints.
To serve: Reheat the meat in a non-stick pan with a little olive oil until caramelized. Remove the chilli from the sauce, then reheat the sauce until piping hot. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve with couscous.
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