Monday, January 28, 2008

15 beautiful miles

This Sunday was 15 miles. What a beautiful run…for the first 10, that is! I ran along the river from Bristol towards Bath with two (rather fast) running chums. It was early on Sunday morning, the sun was shining, there was little wind, the rowers and dragon boats were out training which gave us something to look at. It was only when we got to the clay-like mud that the footpath became rather hard work, making the last few miles pretty heavy-going. Stoked up the night before on some delicious fresh prawns, fried in butter, garlic, a little finely chopped fresh red chilli and parsley with plenty of fresh bread to mop up the juices, followed by spaghetti with mussels. Sorry, I forgot to take a photo, so I’ll have to make it again! I wouldn’t eat mussels, or any type of seafood for that matter, before a race, but I love them so much, I am prepared to take a risk otherwise. Also, I feel much more confident about eating seafood if I have bought and prepared it myself.

I usually buy my fish from a chap who delivers the freshest of fish at a pretty reasonable price to my door. His fish tends to be fresher than buying it in a shop, as the middleman is cut out. His mussels were from Cornwall. Otherwise, I buy from Fishworks in Bristol.

This dish is equally good with clams, which, along with mussels, are great for boosting iron levels - very important for us female runners.

Spaghetti with mussels.
Serves 4- 6, depending on hunger

500g spaghetti
1.5 kilos mussels, scrubbed and prepared. (?)
1 dried chilli chopped small, or to taste
2 big cloves of garlic, crushed
good splash of white wine
big bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
big dollop of crème fraiche
extra virgin olive oil
loads of black pepper
salt to taste

  1. Prepare the mussels.
  2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil for the spaghetti.
  3. Place the mussels in a large pan, with the wine, ½ the parsley, garlic, chilli and pepper and cook on a high heat, with the lid tightly on. Shake them or stir them so that the mussels at the top get the chance to cook in the juice at the bottom.
  4. After about 5 minutes, when the mussels are cooked (they will have opened and will start to look plump), turn off the heat. If you can be bothered, take about half of them out of their shells (I never do this…far too much like hard work).
  5. Cook the spaghetti. Drain and then pop it back into the pan, with a little of the cooking liquid. Keep on a very low heat, add the crème fraiche, the mussels and all their juice (you may want to check that there is no grit in the mussel juice – if there is, you may want to strain it). Taste and season.
  6. Throw in the rest of the parsley and then a really decent glug of nice extra virgin olive oil.
    Present in a large dish and serve up at the table. Some may like a little extra chilli to sprinkle on top

1 comment:

John Hardy said...

I see many runners in my clinic that want to run but who are suffering from gout of joints or tendons and therefore, have to be careful with diet. I advise reduced consumption of meat that has a high purine content, such as beef, pork and lamb, as do offal (liver, kidney, and brain yuk!) along with gravy enriched with meat extracts. Most runners are not unhappy to reduce units of alcohol (bitter beer, fortified wines) which increase the risk of joint damage. Other foods that affect runners with gout include seafoods that contribute to high uric acid levels like mussels, scallops herrings, anchovies, cod, sardines, haddock, and fish eggs (caviar yum!). Unfortunately, one also has to reduce things like mushrooms, peas, beans and lentils, and oddly vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and asparagus.
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