Creamy Mussels with Garlic and Bacon

Delicious!

It was another day for Fish Man to visit and I bought a kilo of mussels.  Such a bargain food, so easy to prepare, and such a wonderful taste.

I have been inspired by some of the recipes posted by Olives and Artichokes here and here and often make a tomato based soup version, as you can see here.

Today, I decided to use up some of my bacon from the UK, although I could have used lardons or jamon instead.

Time for a wash and brush up...

After cleaning my mussels, I lightly fried in olive oil two cloves of crushed garlic, one onion fairly finely chopped and 4 rashers of chopped bacon.

When these had all softened I added a glass of white wine and simmered for about 5 minutes before adding the mussels and a couple of tablespoons of chopped parsley and putting the lid on.

A few minutes later the mussels had all opened, so I took the pot off the heat, stirred in 100ml of single or pouring cream and that was it.

I served it in big bowls with spoons and crusty bread to soak up all the garlicky, creamy juices.  ¡Muy rico!

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Kid (or lamb) with rosemary and garlic

Simple and tasty

We´re very lucky here to be able to get hold of the freshest, free range goat and lamb. I know that most lamb is free range anyway as it needs to graze, but I guess we can never be too sure if there have been chemical sprayed on what they eat or if they are getting food supplements. When I first arrived in Spain my only experience of eating goat was in a plate of curried goat at an ethnic restaurant in London.  It was alright, I suppose, but apart from a delicious sauce, the meat was rather tough and greasy.

I read somewhere that more goat is consumed per person in the world than lamb, and I guess it makes sense.  They are hardy creatures, can survive in very rough terrain and can climb to what we would consider inaccessible heights to reach their food.   Once I had tasted good kid (or young goat) out here, I realised that taste wise, it´s very, very similar to young milk fed lamb.

When you see the flocks of goats going past your house daily, you know they´re well fed and looked after.  We buy direct from the goatherd who slaughters for you and then you have to prepare it for the freezer.  I´m sorry if this all sounds a bit gruesome to anyone who either doesn´t eat meat or is a bit squeamish, but it´s what has to happen if you choose to eat meat.  And I do, and luckily I am able to eat the freshest most organic, free range meat possible.  Whew! Hope that didn´t sound like I was on my little soap box.

Anyway, one of the cuts of meat you get is neck of kid -and I know that in the UK at least, you can buy neck of lamb. It used to be one of those cheap cuts, but has now become trendy. It´s cooked in the oven simply and then depending on the weather I serve with salad or vegetables and plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juices.  It´s best picked up and eaten with your fingers!

It´s an incredibly quick and simple dish to prepare if the meat is young and tender and lamb can be substituted for goat.  If it´s a little older, just add more liquid and cook for about 30 minutes longer. You´ll need the following:

  • Neck of lamb for 2 people (I think mine was about 800g)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • A large spring of rosemary
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A glass of white wine
  • A glass of water
  • Half a lemon

Rub the lamb with seasoning and roughly chop the rosemary and mix it in with the lamb.  Peel and half the garlic cloves and add them in.  Pour over the wine and if you have time to leave it for a couple of hours, so much the better.

Leave for a while if you can

Put into an oven dish where it will fit quite snugly and put into a high oven for 10 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium, cover with foil and cook for a further 45 minutes approximately.  After about 20 minutes check the liquid – you don´t want to casserole it but you want some at the bottom of the bowl to cause a slight steam effect under the tent of foil.  If necessary add more water.

When it´s done (you can check by prodding with a skewer to see if the juice run clear), remove and leave it to sit for 10 minutes still under the foil.  Squeeze over a little lemon juice, then serve and enjoy!

PS. Sorry for blurry photos, they were taken with my old camera which was on its last legs!