Squid ink Spaghetti with mussels

I’m always tempted by the black squid ink spaghetti you can always find in the deli section of TK Maxx but have resisted until now. To use it I adapted a recipe from Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite by Gizzi Erskine. Gizzi is a well-known chef in the UK who used to do this great TV series where they took people’s favourite take-away dishes and made them healthier and easy to make at home. Her recipe here uses clams and N’Duja. Clams are a pain to find except at the fishmonger so I got mussels instead. N’juda is a spicy sausage so I replaced this with chorizo shroomdogs. These are stuffed with paprika and are perfect for any recipe where chorizo is used to flavour the meal. As I learnt this weekend, there are many rules when it comes to using mussels, discard any broken mussels, any mussels that are open that don’t close with gentle pressure, and any mussels that haven’t opened after cooking.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 400g squid ink spaghetti
  • 1kg mussels
  • tbsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 4 chorizo shroomdog sausages (or vegetarian sausages + paprika)
  • 300ml wine white
  • 1 lemon
  • bunch parsley
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Prepare the mussels, wash off any sand, discard any with broken shells or that won’t close after a tap.

2.) Boil some water, place the spaghetti in a pan and pour over the water, cook until soft.

3.) Peel and finely chop the garlic, slice the lemon in half, cut the sausages into slices. Dice up the parsley.

4.) In a frying pan, heat up the oil then add the garlic and chilli and fry gently for a minute.

5.) Add the sausages and fry until cooked.

6.) Add the wine and reduce to half.

7.) Add the mussels and cook for 2-3 minutes until they open.

8.) Drain the spaghetti, retaining one tbsp of water. Tip the spaghetti into the frying pan and stir.

9.) Garnish with parsley.

Simple Fish Stew

I’ve gotta write this up quickly as the first game of the European football championship is coming up – so exciting! I managed to escape to Lisbon for six days before our prime minister decided to change the regulations on travelling to Portugal. It’s a really wonderful city and a great one for fish lovers. Every restaurant serves a wide variety of fish. This visit, I had mostly grilled fish but when I visited the Algarve many years ago, I had a Portuguese fish stew which they call a ‘Cataplanas’ and wanting to carry on the feeling of being in Portugal when I arrived back in Manchester, I decided to make a fish stew. The problem is that we don’t really have an abundance of fish, or fishmongers here. Therefore, I thought I would see what could be done from a supermarket shop and therefore have on a weeknight and considering that, this was pretty damn good. I used Jamie Oliver’s website to find the fish stew recipe ‘Summer fish stew’. Note this is best served with aioli but as the only mussels I could get were in a garlic sauce I thought maybe it could end up being too much garlic. Actually I don’t think this is possible. It serves four but there were only two of us but I thought it best to eat the mussels and the langoustines fresh. Therefore I added an extra potato for the other 2 servings.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • one onion
  • one clove garlic
  • one stick celery
  • two potatoes
  • 30g parsley
  • olive oil
  • 150ml white wine
  • 680ml passata
  • 2 fillets sea bream (I used sea bass as bream wasn’t available)
  • 4 langoustines (they had frozen ones at the supermarket)
  • 400g mussels (mine were frozen with a sauce but I tipped the sauce out)

Method

1.) Peel and finely chop the onion, celery and garlic. Peel and chop the potatoes into small cubes.

2.) Heat some oil in a casserole dish and add the vegetables. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes until soft.

3.) In the meantime, de-skin the sea-bream/bass and measure out the wine.

4.) Pour the wine into the casserole dish and cook off

5.) Add the passata and a cup of water to the dish

6.) Add the langoustines and sea-bream (I added the langoustines for a few minutes more a little earlier as they were frozen) and cook for 10 minutes

7.) Add the mussels and put the lid on the casserole dish and cook for 2 minutes and check they’re all open (I did about 4 minutes as the mussels were frozen)

8.) Serve with bread and some aioli and dream of being in Portugal