Creamy Moules Marinieres Recipe

Creamy moules marinieres picture

Next time, I am trying them with roquefort cheese

If you’re living in Lebanon, you might have noticed that mussels are now less expensive than they were few years ago. You can get 2 kg of mussels for 11-13$ when on promotion – with shells of course! But they’re still not available all year long in regular supermarkets – the fresh ones of course– and that’s a shame!

My dad is a big fan of mussels, and especially, moules marinieres that he used to have in France, so he was my guest for today’s lunch.

I strongly believe that you need to use good quality wine for cooking. The best tip I ever read was “there’s nothing called cooking wine!”.

Today’s mussels were exceptional. I used a French Sauvignon. It was dry and not too strong, just what I needed. Too bad I don’t remember the brand name.

Adding a little cream only also helped. My dad is not a big fan of cream so I only added 2 tbsp. It turned out great.

Some people might add a couple of garlic cloves or some sprigs of thyme to this dish, and it’ll be delicious as well.

Let’s check this month’s second mussels’ recipe after last week’s pasta with mussels in tomato sauce! What about you prepare it for Christmas this year?

 

Creamy Moules Marinieres Recipe

Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg mussels, cleaned
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp cooking cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt flakes to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 small chopped onions

Method:

  1. Melt butter in a pot and add the onions and bay leaves. Stir until soft. Add the mussels, white wine, cream, parsley and salt flakes.
  2. Cover the pot and let the mussels cook for around 10 minutes. Give the pot a good shake from time to time.
  3. Serve hot with crusty bread.

The best of Turkish Street Food!

I might have done a few excellent and good restaurants in Istanbul, but I wanted to experience the best of street food as well.

I had heard a lot about what this country offers for street food lovers in addition to traditional kebab and doner of course, and I just couldn’t miss it.

Below are all the delicious foods I tried and what I thought of each of them!

 

Midye dolmasi – Rice stuffed mussels

Midye dolmasi picture | rice stuffed mussels

Not so traditional mussels!

These little treats are available everywhere on Istiklal Street and Taksim. The mussels are stuffed with rice and seasoned with a blend of herbs including caraway. Once out of the oven, they are ready to savor with just a squeeze of lemon. This is an unusual way of having mussels, and I enjoyed them. For 1 Turkish Lira each, everyone can try them!

 

Midye Tava – Deep fried mussels! 

Midye Tava picture - Deep fried mussels!

The surprise!

The surprise! I was still convinced that this was fried fish fillets until I did the research for this post. In fact, it turned out that these are fried battered mussels! Thread on wooden sticks then deep-fried and served with tarator on a simple paper, we all agreed that they were delicious without being able to tell what they were. Haha

 

Durum

Durum sandwich picture

I’ve had better sandwiches!

Very similar to our shawarma, with both chicken and beef options, durum wraps are found everywhere in Istanbul. Wrapped in what looks more like tortilla bread, I tried the beef sandwich (with onions and tomatoes and fries I guess), and I can’t say I really enjoyed it. It is not bad, but it’s just that our shawarma is way tastier.

 

 Simit

Simit cart picture

These carts can be found everywhere

The Turkish version of our own Abou Arab kaak, but much tastier! And, good news, it’s for 1 Turkish Lira only! Available everywhere and usually enjoyed for breakfast, these fresh sesame rings are delicious with beyaz peynir cheese (Add around 2 Turkish Liras). Yumm!

 

Kumpir

Kumpir | Baked potato picture

Take me there again 😦

For all baked potato lovers, welcome to heaven! Whole potatoes are baked, then emptied and mixed with cheese and butter before being refilled. You can choose different toppings from a real large variety, giving you endless possibilities for combinations: pickled beetroots, hot dogs, corn, pickles, pasta and mayonnaise salad, itch… You can always ask for complementary ketchup and mayo (I didn’t). This 2000-calories treat was definitely my favorite!

 

Lahmacun

Lahmacun picture

The Turkish meat pie

Turkish meat pies that are slightly different from the Lebanese ones: a very thin dough is topped with minced meat, onion and red pepper mixture then baked. Have them with a squeeze of lemon and some Ayran. Delicious!

 

Balik ekmek

Turkish fried fish

The fish stand

We were told that this fish sandwich was the must-try street food in Istanbul, so we just headed to Karakoy under the bridge to enjoy the freshest catch: it’s a good fillet fish sandwich in a baguette, with some mayo and vegetables. But it definitely needed some lemon juice for extra taste!

 

Borek

Spinach borek picture

Spinach borek

I admit that I did not try street borek because of the lack of time, but I did try them in bakeries, and they are delicious. The best were at Simit Seray, where we had cheese borek, spinach borek and meat borek, for very affordable prices. The prices almost doubled in the Airport branch though.

The dough is deliciously crunchy and the filling is generous with a homey feeling. Recommended!

 

Chestnuts & corn on the cob

grilled chestnuts picture

Kestane Kebap

Grilled chestnuts – called Kestane Kebap – carts are available everywhere on the streets, and you can hardly resist their smell! Same for corn on the cob! Yumm.

Pasta with Mussels in Tomato Sauce Recipe

Pasta with mussels and tomato sauce picture

Lip-smacking!

I am a big fan of mussels, and it’s rare to get fresh mussels in Lebanon. Plus, they’re usually sold in big punnets (1 or 2 kg), so it’s not something you can buy when you’re cooking for yourself only.

Last weekend, I spotted some shelled mussels in Carrefour: a small decent portion of 100 g (Around 7,000 LBP). I couldn’t but get them of course, and once home, I started thinking of what I could do with them.

In the end, I decided I wanted to cook them with pasta and tomato sauce. I did some research, combined some recipes, checked what I had in my fridge (of course!) and came up with the following recipe! It was delicious and so easy to prepare. I think it’s perfect for a friends gathering, a romantic dinner or a quick weekend lunch.

It will work with shrimps as well, calamari, scallops or seafood mix. Let’s check it out!

 

Pasta with Mussels in Tomato Sauce Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 200 g spaghetti

To cook the mussels:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g shelled fresh mussels
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove cut in2 lengthwise
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 100 ml white wine

To prepare the tomato sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 small chopped garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper

 

Method:

  1. Start by preparing the tomato sauce: heat oil in a pan on low heat and add the onions, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes. Cook on very low heat for 10 minutes. Onions and garlic shouldn’t brown. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook on medium heat until mixture starts to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Prepare the mussels: heat oil in a pan on low heat and add garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes. Cook on very low heat until flagrant. Increase the heat a little bit, add mussels and cook for 30 seconds, then add white wine and cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Remove mussels and add the liquid from the pan to the tomato sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Mendiants Recipe

Chocoate mendiants picture

Why not prepare your Christmas chocolates this year?

Today was my first successful attempt to prepare chocolate mendiants, a delicious French Christmas dessert.

I tried it once before, using a spoon, and my mendiants were hideous. Today, I used a piping bag, and I think that they’re way better. Not perfect, of course, since I am just a passionate beginner, while working with chocolate requires some techniques and material that I don’t have.

The traditional mendiants use raisins, hazelnuts, dried figs and almonds. But recipes nowadays vary, and all nuts and dried fruits are allowed. You can choose the ones you love most!

Christmas mendiants picture

Yumm

You can also replace dark chocolate with milk chocolate or white chocolate, or do a mix of the 3 and you’ll have a beautifully decorated tray!

I used some Callebault chocolate buttons for the first time, and it was perfect. The buttons melt in no time, and you get a very smooth result. And the taste is excellent, of course. I will be using them again.

Now, let’s check the recipe!

Chocolate mendiant picture

Decorated and ready!

Chocolate Mendiants Recipe

Yields 36 mendiants

Ingredients

  • 300 g dark baking chocolate, chopped (or better, chocolate buttons)
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Dried cherries

 

Method

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt 200 g chocolate chips in a bain-marie (a double boiler). Once melted, add the remaining chocolate, wait for 2 minutes then stir until all chocolate has melted. Fill in a piping bag.
  3. Pipe 6 small 4cm diameter circles onto the parchment paper.
  4. Decorate each circle with the dried fruit and nuts by gently laying them on top of the chocolate.
  5. Repeat process of creating more decorated chocolate circles. Reheat the chocolate if needed.
  6. Allow all the mendiants to set for about 30 minutes before removing from the parchment paper. Store in an airtight container.

Top 10 Salads to Prepare this Christmas Eve!

Did you start planning your Christmas Eve Menu? If you’re still confused about which salad you should be preparing to your guests, here’s a list of the best salads that I made this year, and that I think you can go for! Note: they are perfect for buffets as well, and most of them can be served in individual verrines or jars for some additional mood.For the recipes, just click on the titles.

So, what are you waiting for?

  1. Crab and mango salad
Crab and mango salad picture

The perfect combination of flavors

This salad remains one of my favorites! A bit time consuming though, so I recommend you prepare the crab on the night before and leave it in the fridge in a container. I love the combination of mango and crab, but what makes this salad so special is definitely the sesame oil and mayonnaise dressing!

2. Smoked tuna salad

Smoked Tuna salad picture

A must-try for all sushi lovers!

A 5-ingredient salad (including the dressing!)… You gotta love it! Sushi lovers will be more than happy with it, and for those who are not familiar with smoked tuna, well, why not try it?

3. Pear blue cheese salad

Pears and blue cheese salad Recipe picture

One of my favorite salads!

A refined salad for blue cheese lovers! Your guests will surely appreciate the mixture of flavors: honey, blue cheese, pears and walnuts. You won’t regret trying it! Just make sure whomever will be present is a fan of blue cheese though…

4. Asparagus salmon salad

Asparagus Salmon Salad Picture

Perfect for Christmas 🙂

A delicious salad for smoked salmon lovers! You will certainly love the combination of flavors: salmon, goat cheese, asparagus, avocado and pomelo! A must-try!

5. Russian salad

Russian salad picture | picture of olivier salad

A delicious mixture 🙂

This is surely not the Lebanese way of serving Russian salad! They do add a lot of ingredients you didn’t know about, and that make this salad oh-so-special. Perfect for buffet parties!

6. Caprese salad

Caprese Salad Picture

Yumm!

Very easy to prepare, this salad is perfect if you’re short on time! The dressing will be ready in a minute. All you need to do is to wash your tomatoes and basil! And did you notice its colors? No other salad would fit Christmas better, no?

7. Panache salad

Picture of Panahe Salad

For the most conservative

Meet Lebanese’s favorite salad for Christmas (and all occasions). I do admit that it’s good, and if you’re scared your guests might be too conservative, you might want to prepare it as a safe choice. You can always prepare a funkier salad along with this one for the most daring 😉

8. Ensalada de Gallina

Venezuelan Chicken Salad Recipe Picture – Ensalada de Gallina

Try it!

This salad is usually prepared for Christmas in Venezuela, and I personally think you could give it a try! It’s perfect comfort food, and has a high potential for becoming one of the kids’ favorite dishes!

9. Prosciutto and Nectarine Salad Recipe

Prosciutto and nectarine salad picture

Delicious!

A salad just like the ones I love! Cold meat, fruit and cheese. Could I ask for more? The walnuts add a nice touch and the whole combination is a success. I could have this salad every day…

10. Fig goat cheese salad

Fig and goat cheese salad recipe

A beautiful creation!

This salad is just perfect for any occasion! Replace the figs with dried ones if it’s hard to find fresh figs in this season, and get ready for the compliments 😉