Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A special recipe for Valentine's Day...

We’re lucky to have a really good restaurant right on our doorstep here in Chagford, 22 Mill Street. There's a dynamic new team in place - Karla and Ashley - with fresh ideas, new menus and lots of themed evenings in the pipeline to delight locals and holidaymakers alike.

As a treat, they’ve given us a delicious recipe to share with you for Valentine’s Day. Find out for yourself if mussels are an aphrodisiac...

Sea Bass with Mussels and Watercress


1 small sea bass, filleted, or 1 large sole fillet, cut into two
1 glass (275ml) white wine
300g mussels
2 baking potatoes
1 egg yolk
40g plain flour
1 fennel
1 bunch of watercress, stalks picked off
200ml double cream
Salt & black pepper


Put potatoes on to bake for approximately 1 hour until soft.

Meanwhile, clean mussels and put a large saucepan on the heat until hot. Add the mussels and the white wine. Put a lid on the saucepan and steam the mussels. Once the mussels have opened, take off the heat and pour liquor into a jug for later. Remove mussels from shells and set aside.

Slice fennel as fine as you can, season with salt and pepper. Get a frying pan red hot, with a little oil, and colour the fennel. Once coloured, set aside.

Take your reserved mussel and wine liquor and place into a clean saucepan, add the double cream and bring to the boil. Then add the watercress, cook for 1 minute and then blend until smooth, return to the saucepan, and then set aside.

Cut the baked potatoes in half and remove the flesh. Mash/rice the baked potato flesh as finely as you can. Mix with the flour and egg yolk and season, roll into an even sized log and cut with the back of a knife creating inch long pillows. Add these to rapidly boiling water. When they float, remove from the water, plunge into cold water, drain and set aside.

Heat a non-stick frying pan, add oil and place your sea bass skin side down, reducing the heat to low. Put your fennel in the oven/grill to reheat. Put watercress sauce on and add the mussels to heat through. Add you gnocchi (pillows) to the fish pan to gain a golden colour.

Arrange the fennel in the centre of the plates, putting your fish on top. Place gnocchi around the base of the fennels and then add your watercress sauce.

If you prefer to dine out, 22 Mill Street has a delicious Valentine's menu to tempt you too - and there's a 5% discount for Helpful Holidays' customers.

The team uses the best of local, quality produce in their regional and seasonal dishes, so you'll be in for a treat at any time of year.

View all of our holiday cottages available for Valentine's Day or view our holiday cottages in Chagford.