Sunday, 12 April 2009

Mussel Power

Good Friday is, I think, the last but one day of Lent. I don't observe Lent, but if I did I'd probably abstain from alcohol, a pretty tough call for a cidermaker but probably a good one for assorted vital organs. Unfortunately, the 'Spit not Swallow' method of sampling doesn't come easy to me, and extensive sampling is obligatory at this time of year...

Good Friday is also traditionally Fish Friday, something I do like to observe, though circumstances (a poorly hen, an absent Karen) meant this had to be re-scheduled to Mollusc Saturday. I was celebrating anyway, a fully recovered hen, and a dramatic last-minute victory by the mighty Leicester Tigers in the Heineken Cup quarter finals. A vintage Bath - Leicester match, ie. two evenly matched teams knocking lumps out of each other. It took a bit of Gallic flair from Julien Dupuy in the last few minutes to decide the game. Excellent result.

Mussels are a real treat for me, Karen doesn't like them so I usually indulge when I'm 'Home-Alone'. It was therefore very thoughtful of Karen to bring a few kilos back from Cheltenham, along with a couple of fishcakes for herself. I cooked them very simply, just finely chopped Shallot, Garlic, seasoning and a generous slosh of Dry Cider.

The cider I used was not our own, but a bottle of JW's Dry Fen Cider, a recent discovery from a trip to Spalding in Lincolnshire. The cider is made by John Walker of Charterhouse Wines, Pinchbeck, where you can buy the cider in very attractive swing-top bottles. John makes his cider from local dessert and culinary apples, some of which come from a small orchard adjacent to the wine merchants. The cider is dry, but not too sharp, and very drinkable.

The cider went very well with the Mussels, the broth was tasty, aromatic, and deserving of a good dunk with crusty bread. Roll-on the next 'Mollusc Saturday'.

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