Here follows the first of two posts on the theme of French cooking and Paris. I adore Paris, the wide boulevards, the imposing apartment buildings, the impeccable shop fronts and of course the food. I love French bread, French cheese, French patisserie and French desserts. Having said this I find the richness of many of the savoury dishes, laden with fat and very meat heavy, all a bit too much. Moules Mariniere is an exception to the rule however, the creamy, garlicy sauce being the perfect accompaniment to the mussels, and all mopped up with some fresh French bread, the epitome of bistro dining.
On this occasion I decided to stray from the traditional moules mariniere and opted for Nigellas Mouclade, a lightly curried alternative that still encompasses all of the best bits of the Mariniere, the wine and garlic!! Now you may be thinking that sea food does not really fit with my endeavour to eat adventurously and remain on a student budget, but I was able to find a kilogram of mussels for £3, working out at £1.50 per person, and with all the other ingredients the whole dish remained under £3 per person which really isn’t too bad, considering what a treat mussels are, and how good they are for you. I used salad onions and regular medium curry powder, but apart from that followed Nigella to the letter. The recipe can be found here.
Having never cooked mussels before I was a little apprehensive, having heard the horror stories of what a bad mussel can do. I found the BBC Good Food website had a really useful video and checklist for preparing mussels that I suggest you have a look at if you haven’t cooked mussels before, nobody wants food poisoning!!
Below are a few shots of the beautiful shop fronts that can be found around Paris. I stayed in the Canal Saint Martin area of the city, which was crammed full of bustling restaurants and cafes, but the majority of these photos are taken in the Saint Germain area on the Left Bank. Paris is a delight for all the senses!!
Culinary Know How: 2ND YEAR
Budget: UNDER £3
Kitchen Requirements: LARGE SAUCEPAN WITH LID, COLANDER.