So when a holiday to Knysna presents itself, the first thing we start to plan is which beach to go to to pick mussels! This simple seafood treat is for us, the B-all! For those of you who are kindred Knysna lovers – you will know all about Coney Glen beach on the back of the Eastern Head. Accessible only via the Heads Viewpoint of the lagoon, this is a beach that is not only quiet and relatively private during the town’s busiest season, but it is truly gorgeous AND best of all – is home to some sizey live mussels (what am I doing giving this information away!?).
Needless to say we spent a lot of time on this beach during our Christmas break and one of the most memorable dishes of the holiday was undoubtedly this entirely home-made/ sublimely fresh mussel pasta…
Firstly, upon arrival home from the beach, just as we like to jump in the pool to get the sand off – so too do your mussels like to soak in a bucket of cold water with a few healthy dollops of bicarb for a couple of hours.
Now as my brother was keen to test his new fancy Jamie Oliver pasta machine out, we decided to stick to Jamie and prepared our dough according to his recommendations (sans that fancy flour he likes to use).
- Pile 400g of fine flour with 75g fine semolina into a bowl and create a well in the middle
- Separate 12 free range eggs and add the yolks to the well (don’t throw your whites away – keep calm and make meringues!)
- Add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 4 tablespoons cold water to the well…
- Using a fork, whip up the eggs and slowly work in the flour until it becomes too tough and clean hands are needed to bring together your ball of dough
- Knead on a flour-dusted surface until stretchy, wrap in plastic and let it chill out for 30 minutes.
- Fix your pasta machine to a clean counter top and divide your dough into four (keep all waiting dough covered with a slightly damp tea towel to avoid drying out)
- Flatten your dough slightly before running it through the machine on the thickets setting, then reset the rollers two settings closer before repeating the process with plenty of flour…working it into thinner sheets as you go, which can be hung over a (clean) broomstick to air dry slightly before cooking
- Your kitchen will begin to look like a Chinese laundry but this is part of the fun unless you are obsessive about a clean kitchen, which sounds strangely familiar!
- Once your dough is finished and your pasta sheets are hung at-the-ready bring a large pot of water to the boil with a dash of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt (perhaps I need to remind you here to ensure you have stocked up your pantry with Eat.arts Gourmet Salts of Origin range – 2015 in the kitchen won’t be the same without it!)….once your pasta sheets move through their final setting into ribbons, this pile of pasta goes straight into the pot, where it takes only a few minutes to cook to al dente.
Of course, in the background, the G&T’s have been poured, the fire has been lit – the coals readied and the mussels placed onto a hot grid to open….in preparation of being tossed into that fabulous sauce you are about to prepare for the dish…but for this recipe you’ll have to wait for PART 2 for this I’m afraid…
If you are in the lucky position of still being on holiday in Knysna, and want a “quick fix” to the above – of course you could always place a small heavy-based saucepan on the coals, melting a large dollop of butter to which you have added copious amounts of chopped garlic and a dash of Eat.art Chilli Addict sauce. Now there’s a thought….
Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the eat.art team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the eat.art blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.