Welsh Mussels and Whisky | Eat Like A Local | Cardiff

In the eighth post in my Eat Like a Local guest post series, fellow Cardiff food blogger, Imran Nathoo of Kitchen Clonc shares his recipe for Welsh mussels and whisky. An indulgent concoction of fresh, locally sourced mussels with Welsh whisky, double cream and leeks, this dish is best served with hunks of fresh bread to dunk into the moreish sauce.

If you’re local to Cardiff and fancy trying out some more of Imran’s cooking, consider going along to one of his supper clubs or pop-ups – keep an eye on his website for further details. Read on to discover more about Imran and his Welsh mussels and whisky recipe.

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Imran Nathoo – Cardiff

Imran Nathoo of KitchenClonc food blog and supper clubs, and Masterchef 2017 Quarter Finalist

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name’s Imran and I live in the beautiful and vibrant city of Cardiff. After moving about a bit when I was younger, I’ve spent time in both Nairobi, Kenya, where I was born and Bristol, England where I was raised. I moved to Cardiff in 2000 to study. Cardiff is now very much home and has been for the last 18 years! I am a dad to two superstar boys, a husband to my wife, Carys, a cook, a food blogger and a dentist (no, really!)

When did you begin blogging, and why did you decide to start a blog?

I started to blog as I was finding my day job in dentistry very stressful and wanted to do something outside work that was completely different. My friend, who is a journalist, suggested I start blogging as a hobby to take my mind off work, and suggested that my blog should be about something I like. Hence my food blog, Kitchen Clonc was born. Clonc is colloquial Welsh for chat, so essentially ‘kitchen chat’. I love food and I love to talk, so the name suited very well! Five years on, and the blog fuelled my passion for food so much that I entered MasterChef UK!

What is the best experience you’ve had as a blogger?

My highlight has to be blogging about my time before, during and after MasterChef. It was a bonkers time – and still is, to some extent. I loved being able to express what was going on at such a significant point in my life. 

Another fun highlight was to be name-checked in a cook book by people I admire in the food industry and whom I have blogged about in the past. Those people are the formidable Sam (pictured below) and Shauna of Hangfire Southern Kitchen.

Imran Nathoo with Sam from Hangfire Southern Kitchen

What advice would you give to new bloggers who are just starting out? 

Be regular in your blogging. Post regularly to improve your writing skills and figure out your style. Be honest and open and most importantly, try and enjoy it, or you’ll soon find that it becomes a chore.

Welsh mussels with whisky 

Mussels are one of the most sustainable types of seafood and we should all be embracing this beautiful product. Not only are mussels good for the environment (as they clean the water around them as they grow), but they taste bloody delicious too!

Wales produces some of the best mussels around and I highly recommend picking them up from a reputable fishmonger. I use Ashton’s in Cardiff’s historic indoor market, who happen to be one of the longest-standing traders there.

Welsh Mussels with Whisky

This dish, paired with leek (the Welsh national emblem) and cream, is rich and truly moreish. The Welsh whisky is distilled near the picture-perfect Brecon Beacons, just under an hour away from Cardiff. The smoky warmth of the whisky coming though makes this a cracking dish as winter approaches. Enjoy!

Course Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Seafood, Welsh
Keyword mussels, welsh, whiskey
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Author Imran Nathoo

Ingredients

  • 1 kg fresh mussels
  • 1 leek halved and sliced
  • 1 stick celery sliced
  • 1 knob butter
  • 1 glug olive oil
  • 50 ml Penderyn Welsh whisky see notes below
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • pinch fine sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 loaf good quality bread to serve

Instructions

  1. Wash and clean the mussels of any debris and beards present (this is the stingy bit that sticks out of the shell) and get rid of any opened or cracked ones. Search on YouTube for a video on preparing mussels if you are in any doubt! 

  2. Place a wide and deep pan or pot over a medium heat, and add the olive oil and knob of butter. Sauté the leeks and celery until soft. 

  3. Turn up the heat and add the whisky, allowing the alcohol to cook off. It should bubble rapidly for around 1-2 minutes, but don't let all the liquid evaporate away! - 1-2 mins cooking

  4. Turn down the heat slightly and add the double cream and mussels. Coat the mussels in the whisky and cream mixture then cover.

  5. Simmer for 3-4 mins or until all the shells have opened, revealing the meat in side! Discard any unopened mussels. Mix through the chopped parsley. 

  6. Transfer the mussels to another bowl with a slotted spoon.

  7. Reduce the liquid remaining in the pan and season with salt and pepper. Once thickened, pour over the mussels in the bowl. It will smell amazing!

  8. Scatter any remaining chopped parsley on top.

  9. Serve with plenty of bread and get stuck in!

Recipe Notes

When choosing the whisky, opt for a non-peated, light variety. I use Penderyn Myth or a Scottish whisky called Talisker Strom. 

What’s your favourite Welsh food? Will you be trying out Imran’s Welsh mussels and whisky recipe?

Love Welsh food and drink recipes? You'll adore these Welsh mussels with Welsh Penderyn whisky from MasterChef 2017 QuarterFinalist and food blogger, Imran Nathoo of Kitchen Clonc. #welshmussels #whisky #mussels #eatlikealocalWelsh Mussels and Whisky

 

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19 Comments

  1. October 15, 2018 / 4:20 pm

    I have been trying for YEARS to make myself like Mussels and it hasn’t worked yet. These look delicious though so maybe it’s a worth another try? A nice change to the general garlic butter they come served in, I imagine.

    • October 16, 2018 / 11:45 am

      Aww, I was always so unwilling to try them but I finally gave them a go a couple of years ago and I fell in love with them.

  2. October 15, 2018 / 5:37 pm

    Well these sound delicious! I love mussels so will give this recipe a whirl soon!

    • October 16, 2018 / 11:44 am

      Me too, I’m intrigued to discover what they taste like with whiskey as I usually have them with white wine.

  3. October 15, 2018 / 8:50 pm

    What an awesome interview! I have to admit I don’t think I’ve ever had mussels full stop! Perhaps I need to change that and give them a whirl some time!

    • October 16, 2018 / 11:41 am

      I only got into them a few years ago but now I love them – they have to be cleaned thoroughly though – I had some once which were full of sand – yuck!

  4. October 15, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    What a smashing interview with a very talented and skilled operator,a dentist AND food blogger…one of the better interviews I have read as of late!

    • October 16, 2018 / 11:41 am

      I thought so too. Imran is a great person and a good friend, I have a lot of respect for him!

      • October 16, 2018 / 5:11 pm

        I think after reading your fine interview,so will everyone else have that same respect.

  5. bavariansojourn
    October 15, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    That sounds absolutely delicious! Mussels were quite hard to find when we lived in Bavaria, so I can’t eat enough of them now! 😀

    • October 16, 2018 / 11:40 am

      Oh wow. I haven’t been to Bavaria before, what’s the food like there?

  6. October 16, 2018 / 8:45 am

    The idea of why he started blogging is something I think a lot of people can relate to, having an escape outside of your full time job x

    • October 16, 2018 / 11:40 am

      Me too. I began blogging to get my writing noticed after graduating with a degree in journalism, but when I was working full-time it was nice to have a platform upon which to express my passion for food and travel.

  7. October 16, 2018 / 12:24 pm

    What a great interview. This is right up my partners street, as he loves seafood and mussels xx

    • October 16, 2018 / 12:33 pm

      That’s great to hear. Let me know how it goes if you decide to try out the recipe.

  8. October 17, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    Can’t say I’ve ever wanted to try mussels before but this does look kind of appealing! x

    • October 21, 2018 / 5:33 pm

      I only got into mussels in the last two years and now I’m hooked on them; as long as they’re cooked right and cleaned thoroughly, they can be delicious!

  9. October 17, 2018 / 11:03 pm

    I like the Welsh cakes the most. Unfortunately, I don’t consume mussels or alcohol, so won’t be able to try the recipe but maybe I could try any one of yours recipes that you’ve shared earlier 🙂

    • October 21, 2018 / 5:32 pm

      Welsh cakes are a great choice. It’s a shame you won’t be able to try out this recipe but I definitely recommend having a look through the other posts in this guest post series to see what other dishes might take your fancy 🙂

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