Monday, 6 October 2008

To The Wash

As promised for those who diligently tuned in for this post about mussel picking at The Wash.
Weather was crap when we set out from Cambridge. All I could hope is rain rain please go away, and come back another day. Going mussel picking in the rain would really spoil the fun. However my friend and his daughter ain't bother by the miserable weather.

"What to bring Checklist":
  1. bucket[checked],
  2. rubber boots[checked],
  3. hot tea [checked],
  4. cinnamon roll [checked],
  5. fruits[checked].
All checked and green to go.

It was dull, as it pouring down all the way for the 1hour and 20minutes drive to Hunstanton waterfront. It is a typical British seaside town dotted with "Fish & Chip" takeaways & restaurants. As my friend puts it , the trip to seaside town must be complimented by the traditional fish & chip meal. Takeaway fish & chip is not my favorite as it is laden with greasy oils and high calorie counts. Well after all tradition calls for that....we settled for national dish of Britain. Big chunk of battered cod and soggy chips in salt and vinegar. Disappointment.

At least on the bright side, weather is clearing up and sign of a good weather is just around the corner. After the meal, we decided to buy some fresh mussels from fishing villages along The Wash. To Brancaster we went and bought about 4 kilos of fresh sea farmed mussels[counting that we may not be able to pick any] and lo and behold there's even fresh oysters on sales. We bought 4 fresh oysters. Mussels bought, another half and hour to go before the low tide, so we drove back to Hunstanton beach to do the mussel picking. Yes indeed, there were mussels aplenty, most of them covered with barnicles. My friend's daughter was happily picking away meanwhile I was happily photographing. As it turned out to be clear blue sky against the white chalk cliff of Hunstanton beach, scenic and perfect for photography. Instead of mussel picking I was more keen on posing :-) [partly because I knew that I have enough mussels to last me for a whole week].

As it turned out to be quite an enjoyable trip to the beach despite the earlier downpour. Count one's blessing aye.
After an hour at the beach we decided to head back to Cambridge. I am looking forward to cook mussels at my friend's place. His wife was so surprised that we managed to bring back so many mussels. So be it, continental fare as the French puts it ''Moules Marinières", mussels in white wine, garlic and butter sauce. Simple yet delicious. Next came the technically difficult to crack open the fresh oyster. It requires the right techniques to crack them open, after much difficulty we managed and rewarded with the most succulent fresh oysters.....lovely. It was a simple dish but the freshness of the ingredients lingers on.

Moules Marinières

  • 3 kilograms of fresh mussels
  • 2 glass of white wine
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 50 gm butter
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 1 bunch of finely chopped parsley
  1. Boil a kettle of hot water.
  2. Wash clean and de-beard the mussels. Put them into a pot.
  3. Pour the boiling hot water over the mussels, and boil them.
  4. The shell will start to open and reveal orangy flesh.
  5. Drained the mussels.
  6. In a pot, put in butter, and brown the garlic slightly. Put in the mussels and stir for 2 minutes.
  7. Pour in the white wine & simmer for about 7-10mins. Don't cook for too long as the flesh may turn tough and rubbery. Discard any unopen shell(as they're bad).

Served with french loaf with olive oil as dipping sauce.

Fresh oyster-served with dash of lemon juice and tabasco.
It's been awhile since I last had fresh seafood :-), am so happy.


Algernond said...

You a bit stingy on the wine. Reckon a whole bottle is required!

Perry R. Lim said...

the mussels look so yummy! The best mussels I had was in Boulogne-sur-Mer. That was superb! I'll have to try yours and see if yours is better.

Ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine Toh said...

Algernond, if only you contributed to the priced commodity. :-)

Christine Toh said...

Perry & Fen, the mussels got to be really fresh and don't over cooked them. As long as with butter, garlic, fresh parsley and white will turn out gorgeous. Try try when you have supply of fresh mussels.