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Moules marinières à la créole

Moules marinières à la créole

I was told once, that the best recipes often come from mistakes or lack of ingredients, Tarte Tatin is one of them. "Moules marinières à la créole" is most definitely one of those too. I know what you're thinking, how can "moules marinières" be creole? Well, let me tell you how. I love mussels. I tend to cook them the same way we cook fish in Reunion Island, i.e in a rich tomato sauce flavoured with thyme, ginger, lost of garlic and turmeric. So, here I am in the kitchen prepping everything for my creole mussels. The pan is on the stove, I add the oil, fry my onions, then go and look for the tin of tomato, and I haven't got one! Damn it! I had everything prepped for it, what do I do now? Plan B, what do I have in my fridge that I could accommodate with those ingredients? A bottle of white wine and a little bit of tomato puree... So, my onions are now cooked so let's rustle up something new then...

Picture of mussels cooked and opened in the pot, you can learn how to make this dish on the blog of the cookery school Gourmandises Academie, Cambridge



1 kg of fresh mussels 

Ginger, the size of a TBSP

5 cloves of garlic

Half bottle of white wine

Fresh thyme

A little bit of turmeric

A TBSP of tomato puree

Double cream

One onion

Three TBSP of vegetable oil

You will need a deep pan for this.



First thing first, clean your mussels. I plunge them in cold water and scrub off the barnacles and hairy beard that are on the shells. Discard of the ones that are open still. In a pan, add your vegetable oil and onions and fry until the onions are translucent. Crush your garlic and ginger into a paste and add to the pan, stir and cook for a minute, add a little bit of turmeric at this point, not too much, less than a 1/4 of a tsp. Then add your white wine, the fresh thyme and the tomato puree. Stir everything and let your sauce simmer for about 15 minutes. Add your mussels and a little bit of double cream, lid on and let them cook for a good five minutes until they’re all opened. Et voilà! I didn’t think that turmeric, ginger and garlic would work with white wine, but it absolutely does! I hope you give it a go, well worth it!

Bon appétit!


If you enjoy shell fish you might like to try “Lobster tail in a rich tomato and turmeric sauce”. 


Braised cabbage with turmeric, ginger and belly pork

Braised cabbage with turmeric, ginger and belly pork

This is a family favourite at this time of year and a little different from the traditional recipes using cabbage. The recipe itself is from Reunion Island, and one that my mum used to cook a lot in winter. The fat from the belly pork mixed with the ginger and turmeric, turns the simple, humble cabbage into a culinary delight. It's not too difficult to make either, so I do hope you give it a go.

Image with a pot containing belly pork cooked with cabbage leaves, recipe can be found on the blog of cooking school Gourmandises Academie, Cambridge



500 g of pork belly cut into cubes 

One cabbage, best to use savoy/green leaves cabbage

Half tsp of turmeric

8 to 10 cloves of garlic

Ginger (the size of a TBSP)

3 fresh tomatoes 

You will need either a heavy base saucepan or a non stick pan to cook this



Cut your cabbage into small quarters, it doesn’t have to be finely chopped. Crush your garlic and ginger into a paste. In a pan, add one tbsp of vegetable oil (you don’t want to use olive oil here at all), once the oil is hot add your diced belly pork salt and pepper to season and fry until golden brown. You’re looking for those brownie bits at the bottom of the pan, they will give flavour to the dish. Then add your turmeric, garlic and ginger paste and stir for a minute or so. Add your cabbage, stir and then add your tomatoes. Pour a small glass of hot water  over the top, stir, bring the heat down and let it simmer for 40/45 minutes, until you have a lovely velvety sauce at the bottom. In Reunion we serve it with rice or polenta, mash potatoes would work great too. 

Bon appétit!


You can watch the step by step video on YouTube.

If you enjoy flavoursome autumnal dishes you might want to have a go at my “baked cauliflower with turmeric”

Supper club

Le Bistrot Clandestin: The food of Reunion Island, saveurs indiennes

Le Bistrot Clandestin: The food of Reunion Island, saveurs indiennes

Last Saturday, I hosted my third Bistrot. The focus this time, was on the amazing heritage the first Hindus of the Pondichery region left on Reunion Island food and its culture. 16 guests, locals of the Cambridge area and some as far as Surrey and Yorkshire, gathered around my table for this very special culinary experience.


The Bistrot so far, has been focusing on my culinary background with the cuisine of Reunion Island, where I was born. The island is not very well known here in the UK, nor is its food. Nestled in the middle of the Indian Ocean, near Mauritius, Reunion island food is a melting pot of Chinese, African, Indian, French and creole.

A little bit of history:

On Saturday, my guests were treated to yet another beautiful meal with a focus on the Indian influence “saveurs indiennes”. The Hindus of Reunion arrived on the island in the 17th century. They came as slaves. The Governor at the time, was particularly interested in their carpentry and building skills. After the abolition of slavery, they stayed on the island and built very prolific businesses. Today they are just an integral part of who we are as Reunionnais. We don’t think of them as people from India nor do they. But, the influence they left on our food is immense. Saturday was a celebration of this.

Apéritif créole:

Every meal in Reunion, like in France starts with a little nibble, “apéritif”. Typically, it is a glass of “rhum arrangé” (Rhum flavoured with local fruits) and savoury nibbles. Guests were welcomed with a glass of rhum flavoured with coconut water and grape fruit. They also enjoyed a “samoussa cari poulet” . The samossa was filled with the traditional reunionnais chicken cari, pieces of chicken slowly cooked in turmeric.

Let’s start:

For Starter, I served a street food favourite “achards de légumes”. If you go to Reunion these would be served in baguettes in street food vans or as a side dish. This one is definitely packed with Indian flavours. A mix of fresh vegetables, green beans, white cabbage and carrots, cooked with turmeric and ginger. It was served on a shortcrust pastry base called croustade.

Le plat de résistance:

As main, I wanted my guests to experience a traditional Reunionnais curry, and surprise them with how different it would taste, “looks like a curry but doesn’t taste like what I know at all” kind of thing. I did exactly that with my “agneau massalé” , a slow cooked lamb in massala spices (but not the massala served here, a very special creole blend), served with rice, beans and a tomatoe rougail. In Reunion, this dish is actually made with goat, but I didn’t know how adventurous my guests would be, so kept it safe. When I told them, they all asked to have it served at my next Bistrot.

The star of the show:

Dessert was not quite what you’d see in Reunion, but the flavours were: an entremet with a mango and chocolate mousse on a coconut biscuits, served with a fresh mango coulis.


Go on, say it, that was a meal and a half! But oh! no, of course it didn’t finish there. Each time, I like to finish the meal with either coffee or tea and a little treat. This time to keep-up with the Indian theme, there were cardamon and mint truffles.



I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I can say my guests did too.

If you’d like to attend the next supper club, just email me and I will add you to my mailing list.

You can find more information about Reunion Island food here.