Get in the mood with local mussel delicacy

Simply Novelli
Simply Novelli

Recipes being cooked by Jean-Christophe at the {|Outcook Cookery School|Click here to find out what’s cooking during the food festival.} events during Alnwick Food Festival this weekend come from his latest recipe book, Simply Novelli, published by Morpeth-based Relish Publications.

The book features more than 100 ‘quick and easy’ French recipes which are simple to follow and have received rave reviews on Amazon and other websites.

Here is one of the dishes he will be creating, and teaching, in his cookery sessions.

Mouclade Des Boucholeurs


1.5kg local mussels (if in season, normal live rope mussels can be used)

100g oats

3 shallots (finely sliced)

1 large portobello mushroom (soaked in a bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes before using)

1 bulb garlic (halved width-ways with peel on)

250ml Muscadet/dry white wine

250ml crème fraîche

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

1 sprig tarragon

1 tsp mild curry powder

½ nutmeg (grated)

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tbsp honey

2 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil

Crushed black pepper to taste


In a large bowl, place all the mussels and oats and cover them completely with cold water for at least three hours. This will clean the mussels and reduce the chance of having gritty mussels. After three hours, remove the mussels and strain through a colander, rinsing under cold water.

Remove the mushroom from the water, squeeze lightly and dice.

Using a large deep pan with a tight-fitting lid (large enough for the mussels and ingredients) heat on a high heat, add the rapeseed oil, sliced shallots, thyme, garlic halves, honey, bay leaf, nutmeg, turmeric, diced mushrooms and curry powder. Stir for about five minutes. Then add the mussels, cover with the lid and cook for another five minutes or until the mussels just start to open. Once they start opening, only cook for a further 30 seconds.

Using a colander placed over a bowl, strain the mussels and all the ingredients and cover the colander with cling-film.

Preparing the sauce

Replace the strained liquid into the original pan used to cook the mussels and on a high heat, bring the liquid to a boil and reduce until it has a thick consistency. Then add the wine, crème fraîche and tarragon, taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to suit. Remove from the heat and cover.

Now, pick out half of the mussels that look good (large and juicy) and place to one side to help with your presentation. The rest of the mussels need to be removed from their shells and put into the warm sauce.

To serve

Take one side of the saved mussels’ shells off and place them around your serving bowl, then ladle the remaining mussels and sauce into the bowl, decorate with any chopped green herbs and serve immediately with fresh warm crusty bread.