When I opened my first restaurant at the St Enodoc Hotel, I was sitting on our beautiful terrace looking out across Porthilly to the Rock Shellfish mussel and oyster farm whilst downing a pint of Doom Bar from Sharp’s Brewery just up the road. There and then, this simple dish of mussels and beer was created. Sometimes the inspiration for a dish is right in front of you… Magic!
1kg live mussels
A drizzle of rapeseed or olive oil
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
200ml beer (Doom Bar or other good-quality bitter)
3 tbsp chopped curly parsley
Wash the mussels and pull away the hairy beard
attached to one end of the shell. Discard any
that are open and refuse to close when sharply
tapped, as they will be dead, and any with
Place a large saucepan (one with a tight-fitting
lid) over a high heat. When hot, add a drizzle of
oil and the butter, quickly followed by the onion
and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the
mussels. Count to 10 and then pour in the beer
and cover with the lid. Cook for 2 minutes.
Remove the lid to check if the mussels are open.
If they are not, put the lid back on and continue
to cook, checking every 30 seconds until all, or
most of them, are open.
When the mussels are cooked, add the chopped
parsley, toss to mix and divide between warm
bowls or tip into a large bowl to share. Serve
with chips or bread… and more beer.
This recipe is taken from Fish Kitchen by Nathan Outlaw (Quadrille, £20)
Photography by David Loftus
If there were two words to make me giggle they would have to be ‘cheesy peas’. Silly sounding, yes, but such a fine accompaniment to a lamb chop that I’m willing to risk sounding like a children’s TV presenter in order to dish them up. The name raises a smile but the taste delivers a satisfied silence.
1 tbsp groundnut or
1 small onion, peeled and
1 tsp garam masala (bought or
homemade, see page 219)
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 lamb chops
Thumbnail-sized piece of fresh
ginger (about 2cm), peeled
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp ground cayenne
3 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
(bottled is fine)
200g frozen peas
A few coriander leaves,
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the
onions and fry until they are starting to brown at the edges.
Add the garam masala and cumin seeds and fry for 1 minute
before adding the lamb chops. Leave to brown on one side
for 3 minutes before turning and repeating on the other.
Mix together the ginger, garlic, tomato purée, cayenne,
cream cheese and lemon juice and pour over the chops and
into the pan. Turn the heat down to low and leave to bubble
for 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water and the peas,
stir and turn the heat up to high for 3 minutes before serving
sprinkled with coriander leaves. Serve with rice, roti, naan
or a chopped salad.
This recipe is taken from Recipes from a Normal Mum by Holly Bell (Quadrille, £20)
Photography by David Loftus
The fishcakes of my memories are leaden pucks of leftover mashed potato and flaked fish, often served with a limpid salad as an afterthought. This version is not only lighter, but breezier. The potato is replaced with white beans, which not only offer extra protein, but a nutty taste. The other flavours borrow heavily from the Provençal landscape of a Niçoise salad. Anchovies, capers, olives and lemon all make cameos. I like to serve these fishcakes with a salad of green beans, olives and blushingly ripe tomatoes drizzled with olive oil. If you feel like being slavishly devoted to the place of inspiration and can’t find some nautical stripes to eat your dinner in, a soft-cooked egg relaxing over the top will help complete the picture.
Makes 8–10 fishcakes, or serves 4
(and leftovers freeze well)
2 x 400-g tins of white beans, rinsed
2 marinated anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 x 185-g tins of solid-packed tuna, drained and flaked
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp capers, diced
10 black olives, pitted and finely chopped
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp chickpea (besan or gram) flour
For dusting and frying
115 g chickpea (besan or gram) flour
sunflower or olive oil
a salad of steamed green beans, olives, chopped cherry
tomatoes and fresh basil leaves
Blitz the white beans, anchovies, lemon zest and
juice together until smooth, using a stick blender
or a food processor.
Add the tuna, beaten egg, capers, olives, pepper and the
3 tablespoons chickpea flour to the mixture and stir to
combine. Cover it and refrigerate for 1 hour if you have
time – this will help the fishcakes to hold their shape.
When the mixture is ready to come out of the fridge,
preheat the oven to 150˚C/300˚F/Gas 2.
Pour the 115 g dusting flour onto a plate. Parcel out
3 tablespoons of the tuna mixture and shape between
your hands to a disc about 8 cm across and 2 cm high.
Pat it in the flour until it’s evenly coated all over. Repeat
to form more patties with the remaining tuna mixture.
Pour enough oil in a large frying pan to make a depth
of 1–2 mm. Set it over medium heat and when the oil
begins to shimmer, add the fishcakes in batches of 3
and fry them for 1–2 minutes on each side, or until
crispy and golden. Keep the fishcakes hot in the oven
while you fry the remaining batches.
Serve the fishcakes hot with a salad of green beans,
olives, cherry tomatoes and basil, and lemon wedges
to squeeze over.
Recipe taken from Cut The Carbs! by Tori Haschka (Quadrille, £20)
Photography by Chris Chen