Muscles and mussels

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We can certainly keep only one of these patterns that have been revealed when we removed a kitchen cupboard in the house where we used to spend our holidays before we lived here all the time. It’s been let for a few years and now that it’s empty Lo Jardinièr and our son have been busy beginning a complete renovation – knocking down walls and an old chimney, removing the existing tiny shower room and preparing to build a new bathroom on the first floor. We knew the lovely old floor tiles were there underneath the more modern lino tiles because some had been left on the stairs and now we’re looking forward to restoring the whole floor. I don’t think we’ll be keeping this wallpaper, though! It’s odd to peel away the layers of modernisation in a very old house such as this and to think that some of the additions must have seemed wonderful in their day.

We’re still eating well in our own house, of course, while the renovations are going on in the other one. After a few hours’ hard work this supper of moules farcies followed by risotto was very restorative.

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Mussels cooked until they open in a glass of white wine, then with breadcrumbs, chopped garlic and herbs, a little olive oil and 5 minutes under a hot grill before serving.

Lo Jardinièr is the risotto expert in our house and luckily he still had enough energy left after demolishing part of an old chimney to make this one with green pepper and onions. He sautéed half the sliced green pepper with a sliced onion in a mix of olive oil and butter then added rice, white wine, salt, and water gradually, allowing the rice to cook while it was frequently stirred until cooked. Then he stirred in grated cheese and served the risotto garnished with the rest of the sliced pepper sautéed at the last moment and sliced cured ham.

risotto