Mussels with bacon, apple cider and cream… and introducing “Matty mis en place”

mussels with bacon, apple cider and cream
Just yesterday I was going to get some mussels and cook them up for dinner. Mussels with bacon, onion, cider and cream, I thought. I’ve really been feeling the mussel lately… wait, I believe even I should re-think the wording of that one…

Anyway, my mouth has been yearning for a dripping hot creamy mussel… dear good lord.

Seriously, I really shouldn’t be attempting to write any kind of story to goes with mussels for dinner. Shit, even that sounds like an all male review… I think I should just move fairly quickly to a recipe.

The thing I was going to say is that events came to pass that prevented the consumption of mussels that evening. My palate/face/head would be relegated to whatever leftovers may be hanging around in the fridge. Lucky for my face, held within the cooling grasp of the refrigerator was the remains of two cracking barbecues that were cooked on previous nights. Those leftovers consisted of smoky brisket, pork ribs, pork sausages, coleslaw, add to that a few chips that were purpose chopped and fried, and home made hot sauce and I do conclude that life does not suck.

After eating our dinner we watched a little River Cottage on the interweb, and it just happened to be a fish episode… and Hugh was cooking mussels… and those mussels were indeed cooked with bacon, spring onions, cider and cream. He was basically pointing at me and laughing in my face that I didn’t have mussels. Seriously, I’m pretty sure he gave me a little “suck shit” glance. He’s lucky I think he’s a bloody nice guy or I might have flicked him off in favour of Gray’s Anatomy, a nice hot chocolate and a couple of Iced VoVos.

Would I bollocks!

Anyway, Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall is a nice guy and I cooked those fricking mussels for dinner tonight.

A worthy mention goes to my brother Matt, who prepared the mis en place. Matt now goes by the moniker of “Matty mis en place”.

Getting geared up for the mussel fest... and not one pair of ass-less chaps in sight
Getting geared up for the mussel fest… and not one pair of ass-less chaps in sight

In with he bacon, onion and garlic
In with he bacon, onion and garlic
Deglaze with the cider
Deglaze with the cider
Get the cream in there... and please stop with the gutter mouth innuendo
Get the cream in there… and please stop with the gutter mouth innuendo

Get the mussels into your face... I need to go now
Get the mussels into your face… I need to go now

MUSSELS with BACON, APPLE CIDER AND CREAM (serves six or more with sides)

2kg live mussels, de-bearded and scrubbed (a lot of mussels will come cleaned up and ready to go these days, which makes for a truly quick and easy dining experience… no reason why we can’t your dinner to match your performance in the bedroom now, is there?)
1 onion (whatever you have), diced
4 rashers bacon, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
300ml apple cider… get a big bottle so there’s some left for you. Actually, just get a few now so you don’t need to drive up to the bottle shop later when you’ve decided another one or two might go well with dinner
300ml cream
‘A handful parsley, chopped
Grated pecorino
Pepper (you shouldn’t need salt because of the saltiness of the mussels and bacon. I hope this isn’t news to you because I have told you before. If this needs to keep happening we are not going to be able to remain friends)
15 minutes
Crusty baguette with aioli and green salad, to serve

• In a large pan that is clearly big enough to fit all of the mussels, you can heat some oil
• Sauté bacon onion and garlic until soft and fragrant
• Add cider and simmer for a minute or two
• Add mussels, cover and simmer for another 3-4 minutes
• Remove lid and gently stir through cream. Simmer for another 2 minutes or until all of the mussels are open (it is common for one or two, or even three or four, to hang on for a little longer than the rest. You can pry these open with a butter knife to get what’s yours)
• Season with a little pepper
• Sprinkle with parsley and a bit of pecorino if you feel the urge
• Serve with a little or a lot of other things

The Sunday Sesh… with my old mate Toodles

This is a little suggestion for your next Sunday roast typed by the hand of my old friend, confidant and peer (Peer? What an ass spank of a word. Who the fuck created that word anyway? It sounds like a word that should be reserved for exclusive use by the royal family… although I guess they wouldn’t have much cause to use it. What, with not having much of a peer group and all), Todd. Or has we know him, Toodles.

I was working in kitchens with this lad when he was a wee pup and very quickly he stepped up and proved he could cock his leg and piss like a big dog, and is now rocking the restaurant scene in Sydney Australia.

I know full well that this is most likely gracing the eyes in your head a little too late to affect anything you may being today, but shit happens and you should try and get over it quickly.



Who says being able to cook good is a bad thing. Probably no one ever, actually. But, any way, I feel like a roast. It’s a Sunday. End of a massive week & I feel like getting this shit started. Enough reason for me.

Personally, I don’t drink cider because I just don’t see the point in drinking cider when there is beer??? So when the Mrs leaves cider in the fridge for 6 months I decide to find it a home.

Apples roasted with muscovado sugar & cider.

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What goes great with a pork roast? More pork of course.

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Roast is almost ready….

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Pork roast, brussels sprouts with bacon, roast pumpkin, onions, truss tomatoes, roasted apples & gravy baby. Sounds terrible, hey?

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Some Turkish delight from my mates at Christopher’s Cake Shop for dessert and I’m done. I’m as happy as a pig in a pile of mud.

Happy Sunday people.


Rabbit stuffed with chorizo and apple braised in cider… just in case it floods…

At even the remotest thought of being flooded in these days we are smart enough to stock up on a few essential items to make our cabin fever ease itself in all gentlemanly like. That will always include a small nations yearly consumption of alcohol, meat of some description and probably not spam and army biscuits.

For this lock-in we have chosen rabbit… And various types of seafarer’s holy water. For a millisecond I did have my eldest son convinced it was cat, but when he queried why I had gone out and killed a cat for our dinner I couldn’t keep the muse up… I am apparently not a total bastard.

bunnies and cider
bunnies and cider
chorizo and apple stuffing
chorizo and apple stuffing
rib cage is out
rib cage is out
stuff rabbit and then truss the bad boy up
stuff the rabbits and then truss those bad boys up
good to go
rubbed down with duck fat and good to go
the full spread - rabbit, roast vegetables, salad, cider gravy, broccoli puree, pauls webber chicken. EFFING AWESOME
the full spread – rabbit, roast vegetables, salad, cider gravy, broccoli puree, pauls webber chicken. EFFING AWESOME

For two little bunnies with some kind of Spanish influence (for 8 people)
2 little bunnies
2 brown onions
2 chorizo sausage
4 cloves of garlic
1 apple
1 cup fresh sourdough breadcrumbs
A big assed bottle of cider (most of it is for you)
Whatever vegetables you want to roast with it. If you can read this I would certainly think you can see what I put in
• To make the stuffing sweat off the onions, garlic and chorizo
• Once they are soft remove from heat and add the apple and bread crumbs
• Season to make sure it tastes delicious
• Take the rib cage out of the rabbit with your ribcage remover. Stuff said rabbits with the delicious chorizo and apple mix
• Tie rabbit up and make love to it like a… no. No! Put it in a roasting dish with some vegetables
• Rub it down with duck fat if you have some, and season with salt and pepper
• Cook the rabbit at 180C for 40 minutes then add whatever is left in that big assed bottle of cider, cover and cook at 160C for another hour. Baste it with pan juices every half hour
• Chop it up with a small axe and eat it like you just don’t care

We also made a pan gravy out of the rabbit and cider juices which you know how to do by now, non?

…and then the neighbours rock up with a chicken smoked in their webber. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Foodtrulyisthebestshitever.