Sunday, 8 September 2013


Moules de Mer- Mussels in French Market 

Everywhere we went on our recent trip to France mussels or Moules were on the menu.


Each place offered their own slightly different versions; there were mussels with cream, mussels with curry..not something I tried I have to admit. In St Malo we had delicious mussels with a lovely creamy, fishy, chorizo sauce, sounds awful but they were gorgeous but not great for a vegetarian food blog and of course the traditional moules marinere- the classic mussels with garlic and white wine.

Some were better than others of course.  

Garlic stall at a market in France

One of the best things about the house swap this summer was just having the time and space to stop. It also allowed me the chance to sit and look through my friends cook books. It was interesting looking at French vegetarian recipe books on Mediterranean cooking, which were extolling the virtues of the Mediterranean diet and with its simple vegetable based structure supplemented with small quantities of fish, meat and cheese. Sometimes it is easy to forget that the simple recipes can be the tastiest. You realize we do tend to over complicate food at home sometimes.

Gruissan Plage, France

Not Just For Rabbits has always been about taste and simple economical food. Food that is suitable for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike and that doesn’t take hours to prepare. So here is my simple recipe for Moules Mariniere.

Kilo's of cooked mussels


Serves 4
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes

2 Cloves of garlic
1 Large white onion
A dash of olive oil for frying
A glass of white wine about 8 fl oz or 220 ml  more if you want. A little tip don’t panic if you don’t have any white wine, rose does work as well if you have drunk all the white!
1.5-2 kg of fresh mussels, scrubbed and de bearded!!
Pepper to season.

1.     Chop the onion and garlic into small pieces, put a good slug of olive oil in a deep saucepan with a lid and then fry them gently until they are soft.
2.     Whilst this cooks wash the mussels, pull off all the bits of weed etc that are attached. Discard any broken or open shells at this stage.
3.     When they are all clean and the onions are soft add the wine to the saucepan and stir for a few seconds allowing it to warm, then gently tip in the mussels and cover with a lid for about five to seven minutes.
4.     This allows the mussels to steam open gently in the wine vapour cooking them properly. When they have opened and have changed to a light colour serve them in big bowls spooning over the wine juices to give a soup like liquid, serve with plenty of fresh bread.

Moules Mariniere and crusty bread

This is such an easy economical supper. The fish monger in France reckoned you needed 1kg of mussels per person, but we found ½ kilo more than enough, in England the fishmonger said one pint person was enough. One pint to ½ kilo is good especially if you have other courses –like cheese and crème Catalan. Now that is what I have to have a go at making next I think.

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