We had an awfully luxurious dinner today. That is, what I consider to be luxurious. I’m not into haute cuisiny thingies. They can be good and fun to cook, but for me true luxury is to cook simple dishes with fresh and pure ingredients, lots of herbs and spices and ingredients that balance taste.

To begin with, we had mussels…a lot!

We cook ’em in white wine with fresh herbs from the garden (parsley, soup celery, shallot, pepper), veggies like onion, leaks, carrots. Simple, but really yummilicious! They’re awfully nice cooked in bear and sour cream with all the other tasty ingredients too, by the way! Or even better: au papillote! Even more simple than cooking. Just make a HUGE papillote out of aluminium foil, toss in the mussles, wrap it up, but leave it open on top, throw in one or two cups of wine or sherry or beer, add a lot of herbs and spices, close the papillote and put it into a HOT oven (200 degrees) for I don’t exactly know how long…I’d try 20 minutes, but it can also be 30, I”m not sure. You can also put this papillote on the BBQ, just be sure the foil doesn’t tear at the bottom or all the flavour will be gone.

With it we had oven potatoes baked in olive oil, seasoned with sea salt, coarsely ground pepper, paprika powder, garlic and frehs herbs from the garden. Again, icredibly simple, not a lot of work at all, but seriously delicious. Our kids prefer this way over french fries!

I also prepared a salad…with sea veggies…it was composed with salicornia, sea aster, a yellow bell pepper, tomatoes, a little feta and a dressing made of mayonaise, soy cream, white wine vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and a little cream cheese. It was delicious! Before this weekend I”d never eaten salicornia or sea aster as a real veggy before. At the most as garnish on a dish. And I was warned about how difficult it was to prepare nicely. Well, ehrm…no, it wasn’t. At all! The sea aster requires a really careful rinse, and some leaves need tender carresses under the running water, for there can be really fine clay particles on the leaves. But the salicornia required no more than a good cold rinse. Let both drain after rinse and use it raw in salads. Really good the way we had it, but also lovely as one element of a green salad. Really gives a bite!
As you can see, there’s quite some dressing on the salad; that’s because the kids don’t like these sea veggies too “au naturel”…so just added some extra dressing to help solve the problem! And when one bite of salad meant one scoop of mussels, their salads were down before we knew it! hehe