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.
Imran Nathoo – Cardiff
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.
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!
- 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
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!
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.
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
Turn down the heat slightly and add the double cream and mussels. Coat the mussels in the whisky and cream mixture then cover.
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.
Transfer the mussels to another bowl with a slotted spoon.
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!
Scatter any remaining chopped parsley on top.
Serve with plenty of bread and get stuck in!
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?