Mussels with Blue Cheese and Sundried Tomato Fettuccine

Who likes mussels? I am a big fan myself and often forget how ridiculously cheap they are to buy. At Pak’n’Save you will find them for less than NZ$3 per kg. I bought some for our dinner last night without really knowing how I was going to cook them. After consulting my fridge, pantry and Google, I found a recipe that sounded so delicious I knew I needed to try it. Although the mussels were cheap you will see that this particular recipe’s ingredients aren’t so economical. In the end I made quite a few changes to the recipe to make it into a main meal and to make use of the ingredients I had at hand. It went from being a mussel dish to a fettuccine with mussels dish. I served it alongside some homemade garlic bread, which was a good way of soaking up some of the yummy sauce. We loved the dish and if you are a fan of both mussels and blue cheese then I strongly recommend that you give it a whirl.

Mussels with Blue Cheese and Sundried Tomato Fettuccine

Mussels with Blue Cheese and Sundried Tomato Fettuccine (Serves 4)
30 Mussels, cleaned and de-bearded (give or take amount to your liking – you can see there are 7 served on the single plated dish)
2T Olive Oil
1T Butter
1 Onion, finely diced
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
2T Parsley, chopped
1/4 cup of White wine
1 cup of Cream
4T Sundried Tomato Pesto
300-400g of Fettuccine (This is approximate, but just measure out a suitable serving for 4 people)
100g Blue Cheese, diced
1t Black Pepper
2T Parsley, chopped (for garnishing)
Heat a large pot of water ready for the fettuccine to cook in once it has come to the boil. In another large pot (big enough to fit all your mussels) heat the oil and butter together. Add onion, garlic and parsley to hot oil and butter, cooking for 5 minutes until onion softens. Season with salt and then add wine, cream and sundried tomato pesto. At this point, put your fettuccine in the other pot of boiling water and cook for around 10 minutes (or as per packet instructions). When your creamy sauce has come to a boil add your mussels on top, immersing as many as possible in the liquid. Place a lid on the pot and let the mussels cook for 5-10minutes until all of the mussels have opened. You will need to shake the pot every now and then so that the mussels move around in the sauce (keep the lid on as the steam will be helping to cook them). Half way through remove the lid just the once to rotate the top mussels to the bottom, replacing lid immediately. Once all of the mussels have opened, remove them from the sauce and put into a large dish in a warming draw or oven set to low temperature. If any mussels did not open, throw them away. Once your fettuccine has cooked, drain out all of the water and add to the creamy sauce along with the blue cheese and pepper, simmering for 5 minutes. Serve fettuccine in bowls and then arrange mussels on top. Sprinkle parlsey on top and serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Metro recipe for Blue Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes


Grape Jam

Recently I was given a very large amount of grapes from my in-laws. They have an abundance growing in their backyard and kindly gave us a whole bucket full. My husband was heading away on a work trip so there was no way Israel and I were going to get through them quick enough so I decided to try use them to make Jam. I am not sure what kind of grapes they were, but they look very much like Concord Grapes which I have seen many jam recipes for. I decided to follow the step by step photograph instructions given by Chef In You. As a newbie to jam, I have discovered it is quite easy to make but very time consuming to separate the skins from the insides of the grape. It took me a good half an hour or so to do this properly – making sure there were no seeds getting caught up with the skins. Check out the recipe below.

Grape Jam

Grape Jam
1.5kg of Concord Grapes (or similar)
3 cups of sugar
Thoroughly wash grapes. Separate the skins from the insides of the grape, squeezing the insides into a large saucepan and placing the skins in a different large bowl. Put saucepan with grape insides on a stove on a medium heat, bringing to the boil and then cooking for around 5 minutes until they are all mushy. Place a sieve over the bowl with the skins, and push the insides through the sieve using a spoon. Discard the seeds in the sieve. Tip grape mixture back into your saucepan and bring to the boil. While bringing to boil, heat sugar in the oven on a tray. After grape mixture has boiled for a couple of minutes, gradually add sugar a little at a time, stirring after each addition. Get the mixture boiling rapidly, stirring constantly, until thickened. Check it is ready by putting a clean metal spoon in the mixture and watching that when the mixture runs off the spoon it is more clumpy than syrup-like. Also coat your spoon in the mixture, put the spoon aside on a plate and within a couple of minutes you will see if the mixture thickened up as it cooled down. When you run your finger through the spoon, the jam should hold it’s place, rather than run together. Pour jam into hot sterilised jars (by heating in the oven) and once cooled a little put the lids on.

Recipe based on Concord Grapes Jam by Chef In You.