- 2 splashes of olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 1 red onion, halved and cut lengthways into slim wedges
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…
- 2 baby fennel bulbs (or 1 small regular one), finely sliced on the diagonal
Like Marmite, fennel is something that you either love or hate - its strong aniseed flavour…
- a nugget of fresh root ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced
Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…
- 1 stalk of lemongrass, finely sliced on the diagonal
- 2 star anise
Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…
- a small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 600g bag mussels, scrubbed
Once regarded as the poor relation of the shellfish family because of their small size and…
- 140g shelled raw tiger prawns, defrosted if frozen
- about 100ml/3½ fl oz white wine
- about 3-4 tbsp coconut milk
For the parcels
- two 30 x 42cm sheets of non-stick baking parchment (approx A3 size) and string
Preheat the oven to 220C/ gas 7/fan 200C. Heat a splash of oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, spring onions, fennel, ginger, lemongrass, star anise and coriander and toss over a high heat for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
Throw in the garlic and season to taste, then shoot in the mussels and prawns and splash in the wine – just enough to moisten the mussels without drowning them. Cover and cook for 30 seconds -1 minute only, then remove from the heat and check the mussels are open – if they’re not, put the pan back on the heat for a few seconds until they are.
Scoop the mussels and vegetables out into a bowl, using a slotted spoon (leave the juices in the pan). Pour the coconut milk into the pan (use the same quantity as the liquid already there) and boil for about 4 minutes until reduced to a thickish, syrupy jus. Return the mussels and vegetables to the pan, drizzle with a little oil and shake to mix everything together.
Take a sheet of non-stick baking parchment and push it into a deep medium-sized saucepan. Spoon in half the mussels and vegetables and one star anise. Lift the paper out and twist the top to make a money bag. Tie tightly with string then make another bag. 5 Stand the bags in a large baking dish or roasting tin, then give them a quick blast in the oven for 3-4 minutes – just until you can see the crunched tops of the paper start to scorch. Lift the bags out, stand each one on a plate and untie. At the table, open the bags and breathe in the wonderful aroma before tucking in.