I’ve had some surreal experiences whilst writing this blog – from having the most disturbing massage of all time in India, to eating ortolan to cooking in a bathtub. And I can now add my afternoon cooking mussel soup in a coffee pot in Lysekill to the list!
The team who had organised the Mussel Safari had arranged for me and my new Swedish food blogger friends to compete in a live cook off in front of the whole town of Lysekill and on local radio. It was far bigger deal than I was expecting involving a gospel choir and some very groovy dancing to get people in the mood before we took to the stage!
I was very fortuitously paired with Katja who has just been crowned Sweden’s top food blogger for her quirky cooking in a coffee pot! Given my penchant for lateral cooking methods we were a like kindred spirits as we set about cooking mussel and seafood soup in Katja’s very own coffee pot. Given that coffee pot cooking normally involves 3 or 4 hour cooking times, we had our work cut out.
6 lovely Lysekil mussels
One percolator style coffee maker
200g of monkfish
100ml of cream
1 finely chopped onion
1 clove of finely minced garlic
300ml of water
3 glasses of white wine
Salt and pepper
Given the time constraints we had to move very quickly so compromised on frying off the onions properly. If we had more time we would have gently sautéed them in the glass pot on the hot plate. But we concentrated instead on getting the water hot and using that as our cooking method instead.
Place 6 mussels and some dill in the filter compartment and boil the water in the tank so it percolates through the mussels. In the glass pot add the finely chopped onion, garlic and whole langoustines. The water should pass though the dill and mussels in about 4 or 5 minutes and then mingle together into a fishy fug.
Squirt some tomato puree into the pot and then add the lumps of monkfish. Add one glass of wine to yourself and one to the pot and then stand back and watch your coffee pot do the work whilst everyone else is busy chopping, frying, reducing and generally cooking properly.
After 20 minutes strain the contents into another vessel and then return to the glass pot. Discard the onion and garlic pieces. And remove the langoustines and mussel meat from their respective shells. Add them to the glass pot along with a slug of cream, the cooked monkfish pieces and some seasoning and return to the hot plate to heat through.
Serve in a polystyrene cup to rain soaked, highly bemused onlookers and reflect on what a bizarre, but brilliant experience the whole thing has been.
The soup itself was surprisingly good. What it lacked in depth of flavour it more than made up for in terms of personality and flair. The members of the audience and judges certainly enjoyed it.
If you’ve been even remotely as inspired as I have been by this surreal episode then you must check out Katja’s awesome cooking blog. And also have a look at her balloon blog and her boyfriend’s monster drawings. They’re both truly inspirational and I’m looking forward to our next lateral cooking adventure. Thanks you Katja and Dan for a few of the photos as well.