Easter 2019 marked the third year of mine and my Dad’s ‘mussels and vino’ cook-off. It all started one Good Friday, when of course the long-held tradition is to avoid meat in favour of fish. Sure, battered cod and chips was our common go-to dish for years, but with our new love of mussels and red wine, we decided to make this a yearly tradition.
I have to admit that I’d never ordered anything at a fish mongers until a couple of years ago. I somewhat anxiously headed to the stall at Morrisons unsure of what ‘weights’ I had to specify in order to get a bowl full of mussels that were enough for two people. I was pretty impressed when I came away with a net full at only £3 something.
Our first attempt at cooking a mussel dish went well. We’d copied a recipe that we’d had only a few months prior at a pub, containing bacon, onion and a white wine sauce. This year though, me and my Dad whipped up a bowl full of meaty mussels with a delicious creamy sauce, in what we described as a ‘best ever,’ AKA, in our family that means we’ve hit the next level in the cooking delicious meals category.
If I’m honest, I completely made this recipe up based on a photo I’d seen on Instagram of something similar, but boy was it good! Like me, you have to keep sampling the sauce and adding more ingredients to suit your own taste buds. Whatever you do, make sure you have a nice crusty cob to mop up the sauce and a large glass of vino to wash it down with. Bon Appétit!
- 5 shallots
- 3 garlic cloves
- Alpro soya cream
- Hot chilli powder
- White wine
- Salt & pepper
- Crusty baguette (I used the BFree Demi Baguette)
- Dairy free butter
- Chop the shallots into quarters and peel the garlic cloves
- Melt a good dollop of butter in the pan and add the shallots. Fry until soft and golden
- Add a generous sprinkle of paprika and stir
- Press the garlic cloves into the mix and stir
- Add a good glug of white wine and stir
- Add three quarters of the soya cream to the pan and mix in
- Add more paprika until the sauce turns a golden colour
- Add a touch of chilli powder if needed. Add more wine to taste
I don’t know about you, but I find the typical dry ham sandwich with soggy lettuce boring each day at work. In fact, if I had my way each workplace would be kitted out with a mini oven so that each day during my lunch break, I could go into the kitchen and cook up a feast – it would certainly make getting through a long afternoon that much easier. So, when the weekend finally creeps up on me I like to go to town with my sandwiches, and I’m talking about getting out the frying pan, throwing in some peppers and onions and giving it a good old mix up before dolloping on some old fashioned mayo and basil pesto to really get your taste buds tingling. I know that as a nation of sandwich lovers we can often get stuck in our ways when it comes to fillings, but allow me to let you in on my secret ingredients for a killer sandwich and you’ll never want to go back to your old, quick-fix ways again.
Beginning with sandwich filling number one!
The main ingredient here is basil pesto and a nice crusty cob. Too much of it can ruin any dish, but a fine overlay of it on your meat can really get it fired up. Follow the steps below for a truly delicious combination of herbs, salad and sauces.
- Meat of your choice (I used ham)
- Dairy free cheese (I used VioLife Pizza Mozzarella)
- Yellow pepper
- 2 cherry tomatoes halved
- Half red onion
- Basil pesto (Sacla)
- Gluten free bread (I used Newburn Bakehouse Artisan loaf)
- Olive oil
- Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and thrown in half a red onion and pepper, turning until the pepper is soft and the onion is getting crispy
- Spread a generous tea spoon of basil pesto onto the base of your bread
- Add the ham and spoon on another generous helping of pesto, before layering on a teaspoon of mayonnaise
- Cover the base with cheese and a sprinkling of chives before putting under the grill and allowing to melt
- Once the cheese is done, spoon up the onion and pepper and layer on top
- Chop up the cherry tomatoes and place on top of the mix
- Finish off with a nice handful of fresh lettuce leaves
Now to wrap, grab and get stuck in with filling number two!
Here, the quinoa and buckwheat rice really gives the sandwich a crunchy texture. Mixed in with classic, full fat Hellmans mayonnaise and roasted red peppers, you really can’t go wrong with this one. Make sure to fold the pitta in half so that all the ingredients mingle together and don’t worry about getting your hands messy in the process, it adds to the enjoyment.
- Quinoa and buckwheat rice (I purchased from Waitrose)
- Meat of your choice (I used gammon)
- Red pepper
- Half red onion
- Gluten free pitta breads
- Olive oil
1. Cook the rice according to packet instructionHeat up some olive oil and throw in the onion and pepper, cooking until soft
2. Warm the pitta bread up in the microwave for 20 seconds
3. Once the rice is cooked, put it in a bowl and add a tablespoon of mayonnaise before mixing well
4. Add your meat topping and then spoon on the onion and pepper
5. Add a handful of lettuce and then fold the pitta in half before tucking in