Once upon a time I went to a risotto cooking class where the charming Milanese doing the demonstration told us that "making risotto is like making love. You don't look at your watch!"
It's a good mantra to remember, especially if you often feel time is against you in the kitchen. Normally I'm no fan of books that promise 'dinner in five minutes' because I find rushing while cooking is ultimately counterproductive (and I hate sitting down to eat feeling like the stopwatch is still ticking). However, Xanthe Clay's '10 Minutes To Table' might be an exception to the rule. Lots of lovely, fast dinner ideas - including this one for mussels done in a sort of Asian fashion. Just don't look at your watch while you're making it.
Mussels with coriander, chilli and coconut
Locally farmed greenshell mussels are incredibly cheap here and available almost year-round from supermarkets. This treatment makes them plump, sweet, juicy and just right for a relaxed supper for two.
1kg live mussels in the shell
slosh of olive oil
1 bunch spring onions, roughly chopped
thumb-size knob of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 small glass white wine
200ml coconut milk
handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Give the mussels a quick scrub and pull out the beards (the furry bits). Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot (big enough to take the mussels) and add the onions, ginger, chilli and turmeric. Saute for about three minutes over medium heat, then add the wine and let it bubble up. Throw in the mussels and clamp on the lid. Cook for three-four minutes, shaking the pot every now and then. Pour in the coconut milk, replace the lid and cook for another couple of minutes. Take off the heat and divide the mussels between two waiting bowls, discarding any that haven't opened. Pour the coconut liquor over the top and scatter over the coriander. Eat, slowly.