Spiced up mussels, another variation

We’ve a house “Open Day” tomorrow, hence the paucity of food blogs, we daren’t use the kitchen! But tonight the mussels were demanding something a bit more seasonally warming than just, say white wine and cream. So a spiced broth in which to steam them:
a glug of oil, two finely chopped small onions, a large splash each of fish sauce, white wine vinegar, lime juice, dry sherry: some larger than others depending on the result you want. A chunk of ginger, a whole but deseeded green chilli and a big handful of parsley and some lemon thyme add the spicy flavours.
Cook for 15-20 minutes and then leave to cool. Pick out all the stalky things before adding the mussels to steam. Serve with lots of finely chopped parsley (coriander would be even better methinks) and a splosh of sweet chilli sauce: maybe that’s a glug too far, but this is November guys!

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The shame of food miles


From last week’s bargain shop a frozen half kilo box of prepared mussels for £1.25, all ready to reheat in their shells. The only problem – they were from New Zealand, half way round the world. And of course we have perfectly good mussels from just down the road in west Wales. So what price guilt?
In this case the only answer seems to be that we’ll go on eating them until they are priced in a way that makes us conscious of the real cost. There’s no way anyone can grow and prepare, package and ship these mussels 12,000 miles, and sell them at a profit for that price. £2.50, not likely; £4.50 maybe, but that would then make them competitive with local products so we might not buy them. In the meantime we just eat them.
I adapted an idea on the box: melted a large chunk of butter, added a couple of tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce, the juice of half a lemon, a finely chopped chilli, and a teaspoon of ready chopped garlic.
The mussels were placed in a single layer and the sauce spooned into each one. Under the hot grill for about eight minutes and ready to eat with a large salad and lots of bread to mop up the really delicious juices.
And the guilt?