Happy New Year everybody. I have to assume that you are all experiencing that familiar 2nd January sensation of aching livers and sore eyes. After the traditional excess of Christmas and New Year it is no surprise. And oh how it hurts.
The only way I can tackle any descending darkness at the realisation that the party is over is to throw myself into the kitchen and cook. Your body is now crying out for something fresh and vibrant to pick up your senses and heal your sore organs. Hopefully the nibbles and booze have all been consumed so that you can concentrate on something simple, fresh and body beneficial.
I like to turn to the Indian spices when I am feeling under the weather. The heat along with antioxidant packed foods such as onions, garlic and ginger make me feel alive again and help banish any despondency. Some fresh Northumberland mussels, fat and juicy and packed with flavour, were the perfect addition to a simple spiced potato broth. A great way to start the year. Simple, fresh, packed full of flavour and healthy. I'm looking forward to 2008 and I hope that you are too. All the best.
Spiced Mussel and Potato Broth
1 onion, chopped
1 thumb size of ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
Half tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 large potato, peeled and diced
500g fresh mussels, washed and beards removed, discarding any that do not close after a sharp tap
Salt and pepper
1 - In a large pan, heat up the oil then add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes until softened and slightly coloured then add the ginger, garlic and spices. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
2 - Stir in the potatoes and stir for 1 minute until covered in the spice mixture. Pour in the water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are softened.
3 - Tip in the mussels, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes.
4 - Taste for seasoning. It may not need salt due to the mussels. Remove any mussels that have not fully opened.
5 - Serve in bowls with lots of fresh coriander and a spoonful of fresh yoghurt. A squeeze of lime juice benefits.