Mourne Mussel Feast

If you’re squeemish, mussels may not be the meal for you. As my grandma has always said, (and look away if you’ve got as weak appetite!) mussels look like snatters – and that’s bogeys to you non-Northern-Irish English speakers. Personally, I reckon it’d be pretty worrying if I was blowing fluorescent globs of orange out my nose; I suppose I see where she’s coming from but I’m not sure I agree. While there’s not much escaping the visceral when you’re eating meat, seafood is definitely less cute-and-relate-able than lambies.


Mussels have grown naturally in Dundrum Bay off the East coast of N.I. for hundreds of years, and my family own a rustic, weather-beaten cottage in the Mourne Mountains (no running water; no electricity; not many female visitors), the drive to which passes the bay. We’ve made it tradition to now and then stop off at a small mussel farm, the back door of which is tucked between new-built, luridly pastel seaside flats on a road pot-holed with concrete dust soupy puddles. We’re served through a gritty back-trap (between machinery that would look great on the set of a horror movie) 3kg of mussels for £5 – take that for local sourcing. I may never eat mussels in a restaurant again…

On a less bodily note, this ‘recipe’ can barely be called such, it’s so simple. We can get you from tub to table in less than 30 minutes!



White Wine – 500ml
Mussels – 3kg
Garlic – 4 Cloves, crushed
White Onions – 2, Cubed to inch sq


1. Give the mussels a good wash and scrape seaweed/grit off with a blunt knife (your local fishmonger may have already done this for you).

2. Golden the onion pieces so they separate and add crushed garlic cloves.

3. Bring a 250ml of water to boil in a pot and add onion, garlic and pepper and bring back to boil.

4. Add the mussels and seal lid for 12 minutes.

5. After 7 minutes, check the pot – some mussels will never open because these are already dead before cooking (live mussels open in the heat and cook) so under no circumstances eat unopened or not sufficiently opened mussels – keep cooking  until nearly all of the mussels have opened

6. Plate and serve with white wine and thick-cut bread with butter to mop up the sauce!

Open fire to Open Bowl: Guest Chef Dad!


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Bon appetit all!




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