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Stuffing in the shells

Being  6 years old means there’s a whole world of things that I haven’t tried yet.

Trying out new food can be a bit scary because you don’t know what it is going to taste like or feel like in your mouth. Is it going to be squishy or hard or crunchy? Will it be sweet or sour? Do I need to chew it or will it just slip straight down my throat?

When I saw the picture of stuffed mussels in the recipe book, Essential Mediterranean, I told mum that I wanted to make them. I thought it was time for me to try something that involved seafood because I had never had seafood before, except fish.

I thought that I wasn’t the right age, but now I think that any age is the right age to try something new. Kayi says that when you try something new it fires neurons in your brain and adds to your experiences and then things are not so difficult in the future but you have to keep doing it to make a strong neuron.

I think I still need to try seafood some more to make my neurons stronger. My dad loved them though so maybe he has really strong seafood neurons. He said they were very juicy and tasty.

By Zara

You’re right Zara, trying out new things can be a bit scary at first but after you’ve done things a few times they lose their scariness and you wonder why you were worried. I’m not ready for you to go bungy jumping yet but I’m happy to help you build strong ‘flavour neurons’!  Love Mummy xx

The recipe for Stuffed Mussels

  • at least 20 mussels
  • 2 tspns olive oil
  • 2 spring onions – finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic – crushed
  • 1 tblspn tomato paste
  • 2 tspns lemon juice
  • 3 tblspns chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 35gms breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • vegetable oil for deep frying

White sauce

  • 40 gms butter
  • 30 gms plain white flour
  • 80mls milk


1.   Scrub the mussels clean and remove beards.  Don’t use open or damaged mussels.  Bring 250 ml water to the boil, add mussels, cover and cook to 3 to 4 mins, shaking the pan occasionally, until the mussels have just opened.  Remove them as soon as they open or they will be tough.  Strain the liquid into a bowl until you have 80 mls. Remove the open mussels from their shells and keep one half of their shells. Throw the other half away. Finely chop the mussel meat and set aside.

2.   Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the spring onion and cook for one minute. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in the mussel meat,  tomato  paste, 2 tblspns of the parsley, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.

3   To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, or until pale and foaming. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the reserved mussel liquid, milk and some pepper. Return to the heat and boil, stirring for one minute, or until the sauce thickens. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4   Heap the mussel mixture into the reserved half shells. Top each with some of the white sauce and smooth the surface. Combine the breadcrumbs and remaining parsley. Dip the mussels in the egg then press  them into the crumbs to cover the top.

5   Fill a deep heavy based pan about one third full of oil and heat to 180°C. Cook the mussels in batches for 2 mins each batch. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and keep warm. Serve the mussels hot with lemon wedges.