Kitchen Heroes

Kitchen Heroes: Fresh Mussels

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Ready to steam..

An absolute shoe-in to the kitchen heroes archive this week – fresh mussels.  Cooking them is simple and look after them with a damp cloth in the fridge to keep them alive as long as you possibly can.

These sustainable creatures are one of the most environmentally sound types of seafood, super cheap and healthy yet with the slightest amount of care and attention can taste like an absolute delicacy.  Ready in minutes, here are my top 3 ways to serve fresh mussels:-

3. Pan fried with garlic butter

Create some steam in a pan with a touch of water on a high heat before adding your fresh mussels and closing the lid.  Shake the pan after 90 seconds, steaming for a further 90 seconds before draining the pan.  Pick the mussels and let them steam dry ready for frying.  Pan fry shallots and garlic in a pan with a knob of butter until soft, before throwing in your mussel meat and seasoning lightly with sea salt but plenty of black pepper.  Finish with chopped parsley and spoon over your favourite toasted ciabatta or roll.

2. Paella

Add your fresh mussels to the paella pan for the final few minutes of cooking until they are all open.

1. Steamed with smoky bacon, cider and chilli

Fry smoked bacon lardons, celery, garlic, spring onions, fresh thyme and chilli in a heavy based pan until glossy, seasoning well.  Stir in your mussels before covering and steam for a few minutes.  As the mussels open, pour in 200ml cider. Reduce down before finishing with creme fraiche and fresh tarragon.  Great with straw fries or crusty bread.

 

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Kitchen Heroes: Cornish Sea Salt

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A cut above the rest..

Cornish Sea Salt takes its rightful place in the kitchen heroes archive this week.

Harvested fresh from Cornish waters, the Cornish Sea Salt company has found a unique spot on the supermarket shelves and is a regular addition to my shopping trolley.  It has a rich, intense flavour that transforms steaks, sauces, cocktails, poached eggs and homemade pastry.  It may cost that bit more than table salt or cheaper sea salt alternatives, but the difference is striking and for an ingredient we all use every single day, I really do recommend swapping up for this smashing salt – even if you just do so for seasoning your meat, fish and vegetables.

The original crystals pictured that I use daily are moist, chunky and stay crunchy for longer than the competition.  The chemically bitterness of regular salt is blown away by an almost zesty mineral flavour.

Keep your standard table salt for salting water for pasta and spuds but it why not have a browse of the Cornish Sea Salt selection of crystals, flakes, flavours, peppers, pinch pots and more:-

https://www.cornishseasalt.co.uk/

Kitchen Heroes: Celeriac

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A nice sharp santoku ready to slice and dice..

Second into the kitchen heroes hall of fame is celeriac.  A root vegetable with a wonderfully mellow celery-esque taste with all the texture qualities of turnip or swede.  It is naturally creamy, sweet and takes on powerful flavours with ease.

Celeriac is a kitchen hero for me because of its versatility.  It is absolutely superb roasted, mashed, steamed, boiled, braised or turned into a delicious soup.  Once you have topped and tailed the root, simply peel the rough skin away before working quickly with your chopping as it will discolour like an aubergine or parsnip.

Here is some inspiration as my current favourite – braised celeriac in white wine with onion, celery, rosemary, chilli and garlic.

Fry off all these ingredients in a saute pan with a matching lid.  When you get a bit of colour on the veg, stir in a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of dijon mustard, some chopped pickled chilli and a glass of wine.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes and finish with a swirl of honey, lemon juice and fresh parsley.  Serve as a side with pork tenderloin or your favourite grilled meat.

Celeriac makes it in to our weekly shop more often than not these days, and with it being packed full of vitamin k – great for healing wounds and healthy bones, there is every excuse to give it a go in your shop next week.

Kitchen Heroes: Rapeseed Oil

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A finishing touch..

An exciting new series begins this week, with the first of ‘kitchen heroes’.  Adding to my best kept secrets, recipes and restaurant reviews, ‘kitchen heroes’ will highlight every day ingredients that can make the world of difference to your cooking in some of the simplest ways.

There is no better place to start for me than rapeseed oil.  A mellow flavoured, yet sunset yellow oil that can finish off a soup or sauce wonderfully with a splash or swirl.  It is becoming quite the trend, with infused varieties from garlic, chilli and even smoked.  A few drops of smoked rapeseed oil in your favourite mashed spuds is next level stuff, trust me.

Any readers that exclusively watch TV celebrity chefs as their inspiration for cooking would be forgiven for thinking that there is any other cooking oil than the olive variety.  And as smashing as olive oil is, for dressing a salad or kicking off a risotto alongside a knob of butter – it has a relatively low burning point.  That means you are never going to get anywhere near crispy enough potato wedges, or roasted vegetables.  It allows roasting tray ‘on the hob’ cooking before transferring to an oven and is wonderfully light and low in saturated fat.

So grab yourself some cold pressed rapeseed oil and toss generously with par boiled potatoes cut into wedges – throw into a pre-heated roasting tray with some fresh rosemary and garlic.  Crank up and roast at 210c and you will not be disappointed with the results.

Have a browse of the Stainswick Farm site and see if there are any that take your fancy:-

http://www.stainswickfarm.co.uk/index.asp?m=1&t=Home

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