Barbecued provencal mussels



There’s nothing more I like that cooking outdoors. Wherever I can do it, I will. Yesterday was in my lovely little garden which is great as I can pick whatever herbs, fruit and vegetables I want. I get really bored of typical bbq food, i.e. burgers, hot dogs, sausages etc…that a lot of us Brits do. So if you are like me and want to cook something easy but a little more adventurous then this recipe will be for you. Especially if you like seafood!


The only thing I would stress is that cooking outdoors, some bbq’s, fire pits, outdoor ovens with have different strengths to how hot they are and how quick things will cook. It also will change in time to how much other ingredients you put in there along with the mussels.



( Serves two as a main course portion )

  • A 1kg bag of fresh Mussels ( Mine were Scottish )
  • half an onion diced finely
  • 1 small courgette diced finely
  • A good handful of tomatoes. Sliced in half. I used my own homegrown ones which were golden ones and some piccolo red ones.
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • A few slices of a funnel bulb diced finely and also a few fronds
  • A handful of parsley ripped roughly
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • A good splash of white wine. I used Sauvignon blanc. Plus a good splash for yourself!
  • 2 knobs of unsalted butter
  • Also I used a branch of bay, thyme and Rosemary to smoke underneath the embers. The smell is amazing!





  • De-beard and clean your mussels including taking off any barnacles. Rinse them under cold water.
  • Make a bag/parcel with foil and place in your Mussels plus all other vegetables and herbs. Add your wine and place the butter over everything.
  • Close up your foil parcel and place onto your bbq.
  • This will Cook for roughly 12-15 minutes ( Times may vary ) If you are cooking with just the mussels, it will take less time.
  • After half way through take off and check how far it is cooking. Stir will a spoon and place back on the bbq.
  • When everything is cooked through, take off, pour into large bowls and serve with some crusty buttered bread.




Shepherds Pie

Nowadays we use mince in our shepherds pies, however back in Victorian times they would always use up their leftover roast meat as a frugal way of living. It must have been some treat back then as it still has a certain endurance about it every time I eat it. The same with a cottage pie also, which if some of you aren’t aware, that is used with beef mince or in this case would have been leftover from your roast the previous day.
 I love doing this and creating different recipes with the leftover meat than just putting it cold into a sandwich for lunch the next day. 
  This way definitely gives more flavour I feel to the dish, a deeper earthier taste. Plus it brings a coarse texture that can be more appealing to others also. Plus it’s less fatty. 
This meat was taken from just a fore leg of Lamb, a bit like a large shank that I managed to buy and I got two huge parts of the leg for only £8! Down from £21! What a bargain!
  So you see my readers, not always is a roast an expensive dinner, it’s looking for that bargain first and it’s also what you manage to get out of it. 

Shepherds pie

(Using leftover Roast Lamb)

Ingredients: (Serves 4 approximately )
  • Roughly 6 floury potatoes such as Maris piper, wilma or marfona peeled and cut into even size chunks.
  • 100 ml double cream 
  • a good size knob of unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to season
Meat mixture:
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • approximately 400g leftover Roast Lamb meat coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1/2 leek sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 1/2 celery stick finely chopped 
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • a small sprig of thyme
  • Any gravy/juices/stock saved from the joint, use for a sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • a good splash of red wine such as a cabernet sauvignon/merlot or Cotes du Rhone
  • a few splashes of Worcester sauce
  • a few grinds of cracked black pepper
  • Salt if needed or if too strong tasting, use a pinch of caster sugar to even out.

 * Boil potatoes in a pan of boiling water until tender. Drain and mash the potatoes adding the ingredients to it. Set aside.
  • preheat oven to 190c 
  • In a hot frying pan pop in your rapeseed oil and fry off your onion for about 2-3 minutes. Then add your celery and carrot and fry off for another minute.
  • Add in your leeks to the mixture, fry of for a further minute and then add in your garlic and thyme.
  • Add your chopped meat, gravy/juices,tomato puree, Worcester sauce, wine, pepper stir and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Taste as you go along and you can add more wine or water as you wish if it becomes dry.
  • When the mixture is reduced down to a gravy like sauce and the meat is tender again pop into a pie dish, top with your mash and roughen the mash with a fork.
  • Then place into the oven for another 20 minutes or when the topping is golden brown and bubbling at the edges. 

*  Serve on its own or with some green vegetables and a glass of red. 


French Onion Soup (East meets West) style

When I was given the details for this Development Project for Lee Kum Kee, I thought of this recipe first, not sure how? Just I suppose I think that way and wanted to start with something fairly simple.  I believe I thought of a way in which the earthiness of the Oyster sauce and soy would work together well in which a traditional French soup has that strong  flavour.  I wanted this to be Sweet, yet powerful. 
   I would like to add that this Soup may look like you can eat tonnes of it, but do believe me, with all the flavours and Croutons, it is very filling!  This is why I feel this recipe goes to 4 people. 
  I imagine coming home from a cold hard day, need to use up an old, slightly crusty baguette and a bit of cheese in the fridge…Get that bubbling away while you’re in the bath and Bloody great stuff!  You’ve got yourself a filling, slightly different soup/meal.

French Onion Soup with Giant Garlic Cheese Croutons:


(Serves 4) 


–  3 onions sliced
–  1 Tbsp of Rapeseed or Olive oil
–  A good Knob of Unsalted Butter (40g)
–  Pinch of Caster Sugar
–  1 Heaped Tbsp of Plain Flour
–  150 ml of dry white wine
–  0.75 litres of Beef stock (1 1/2 cubes)
–  1 Bay Leaf
–  A very Small Sprig of Fresh Thyme
–  Cracked Black Pepper
–  2 heaped Tbsp of Lee Kum Kee Oyster sauce 
–  1 Tbsp of Lee Kum Kee Double deluxe Soy Sauce
–  Fresh Parsley chopped to serve

Giant Croutons:

–  A day old Baguette
–  2 Garlic Cloves
–  Grated Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese Or Gruyere 


–  In a Large Saucepan, (Heavy bottomed if possible) fry off the sliced onions in butter 
and add the glug of oil to Soften over a low to medium heat.

–  Once the Onions have softened, Add the Sugar to help the onions Caramelise.

–  When the Onions are more Sticky and golden in colour then add your flour and coat.

–  Then add the White Wine, Beef Stock, Bay Leaf, Sprig of Thyme and some Cracked Black Pepper. Partially Cover and Simmer for about 20 minutes. Checking in between if you need to top up with a little extra water.

–  After 20 minutes add the Oyster Sauce and Soy sauce and repeat for a further 20 minutes.

– Just before the Soup is ready, preheat your Oven to 180c. Place some sliced Baguettes into the hot oven for about 3 minutes. Take out. Rub some fresh garlic clove onto the bread. Cover with grated cheese and cook for a further 3 mins or until melted.

– Serve the soup with chopped fresh parsley and the Giant Croutons.

*Note* –  This Soup should Taste Sweet yet Earthy and deep from the Oyster sauce, beef stock and Soy sauce.  If it needs Salt, add extra Soy sauce. You can always add a little more   sugar also if you want it sweeter.


Roast Vegetable, Chilli and Parmesan quiche with wholemeal Spelt Pastry:

One Afternoon, sometime last week, I decided to drag out all the bits and bobs that needed to be used up in the fridge, as you do.  Well, I always do as I save everything! I cannot begin to throw anything away, even if it is a 1/4 of an onion as it all links with another Recipe!
  Anyway… I had numerous vegetables, cheese, milk, all sorts to use up so I decided to do a quiche but with Wholemeal Spelt Flour.  It turned out great! I loved it, My partner loved it, in fact both of us said that the aubergines in this recipe tasted brilliant and adding that red chilli, really gave it some “Pizzazz” to it. 

  I was amazed how much interest I had for this recipe. People made some really nice comments and have been asking me to put it up on my site.  So this delights me to say, By Popular demand, here is my recipe for…

Roast Vegetable, Chilli and Parmesan quiche with wholemeal Spelt Pastry:

* My Tin was approximately 9 inch wide by 2 inch deep. 
I cannot state this recipe as vegetarian as it has Parmesan in it. But you could substitute for another cheese or simply none at all! *


(Pastry *I froze half down)

–  250g Wholemeal Spelt pastry, (Sieved half as I wanted some “crunch/depth” to it)
–  150g Unsalted Butter cubed and softened
–  Pinch of Caster sugar
–  Pinch of Sea Salt
–  1 Egg
–  1 tbsp of cold Whole Milk


–  3 Medium Free Range Eggs
–  100 ml   Double Cream
–  100 ml  Whole Milk
–  Sprinkle of Ground Nutmeg
–  100g Parmesan Cheese 
–  Half and Aubergine Diced roughly
–  1 medium Onion Diced
–  6-8 small red and yellow tomatoes halved or quartered
–  1/4 green Pepper Diced
–  1/4 Red Chilli diced finely
–  3 leaves of fresh basil finely sliced
–  1/2 small green courgette finley sliced
–  Splash of Olive oil
–  Few dried herbs
–  Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper


*  Preheat Oven to 190c

*  Pop ingredients for your Pastry into a food processor and mix until dough forms a ball. Or if you prefer, you can do this by hand.

*  Place Pastry onto floured surface, knead slightly together, Cover with Cling Film and place in fridge until you want to use.

*  Roast all vegetables in oven with olive oil and dry Herbs.

*  Roll out Pastry to about 1/2 cm thick or if you can, slightly thinner.

*  Blind Bake Pastry for approximately 12- 15 minutes

*  Once Vegetables are cooked and Pastry is blind Baked, Pop your grated Parmesan into the pastry case, then vegetables, Everything else all in and bake in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes as different Ovens and Tins can make a big difference.

*  When your Quiche is cooked, allow to cool first before slicing into.

This is a great Quiche eaten Warm or cold. Ideal for a picnic and can be served with many different things.