Grill Hills: Do you have a recipe for mussels in garlic cream sauce?
Stewing over a recipe? Baffled by an ingredient? Hilary Biller answers your food questions. Send your queries to email@example.com or post them to PO Box 1742, Saxonwold, 2132
Q I have had mussels at the Ocean Basket on quite a few occasions, which are cooked in a "garlic cream (and I think wine) sauce". Could you source a recipe that comes close to this delicious dish? I would be using the frozen half-shell mussels, as it is not always easy to find fresh ones. - Yvonne Hastie
A The Ocean Basket will not part with the recipe but I believe this one, from Fine Dining in South Africa by Anne Klarie and Lannice Snyman, is excellent - and close to what you are after. I've been making it for years and have adapted the original recipe. It is described as a black mussel soup but by adding a little more flour, halving the milk and adding extra cream you will achieve the consistency you require. Served with lots of French bread to mop up the juices, it's a treat.
RECIPE: BLACK MUSSEL SOUP
36 half-shell mussels, defrosted
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
30ml chopped parsley
50ml flour (for a thicker sauce make it 75ml)
250ml fish stock (could use a light chicken or vegetable stock)
500ml milk (use half milk, half cream for a thicker sauce)
125ml dry white wine
5-10ml chopped fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, sauté onion, garlic and parsley in butter. When onion is transparent but not browned, remove from heat and blend in flour, then pour in fish stock, adding slowly to make sure there are no lumps. Return pan to heat and immediately add milk and wine stirring all the while until soup begins to thicken. Add oregano, bay leaf and seasoning. Cover and simmer on lowest heat for 10 minutes. Just before serving, add mussels to soup and heat through. Add cream and heat through without boiling.
A BOBOTIE BOOBOO
Q Please help me with bobotie. When I put the dish in the oven, the meat juices bubble up and turn the nice yellow egg/milk mix a sort of purplish-grey. How do you keep the egg mix as an attractive topping? - Heather Howard, Port Alfred
A The problem could be that you're not browning the mince first before adding the spices and spooning into an oven dish. The egg custard is only poured over the mince once it's halfway cooked through and not poured over from the start.
Try it out again using this good recipe.
1 thick slice white bread, remove crusts
3 onions, finely sliced
30ml curry powder
1kg lamb mince (can use beef)
15ml brown sugar
3 extra-large eggs
30ml fresh lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
A handful of raisins
6-8 lemon leaves
2,5ml ground nutmeg
Soak the bread in 100ml milk. Fry the onions in 30ml of the oil till soft. Add the curry powder and fry for a minute or two. Remove from the pan. Add remaining oil to pan and brown the meat over a high heat. Add sugar and onions to mince. Remove from heat and add one egg with sherry and lemon juice. Season generously and stir in broken-up, soaked bread. Add raisins and place mixture in buttered baking dish. Push lemon leaves into mixture. Cover and bake at 180°C for 25 minutes. Whisk remaining two eggs with nutmeg, remaining milk and 100ml warm water and season. Pour custard over meat and bake uncovered for a further 20-25 minutes at 150°C. Serve with rice and chutney.