In my continuing mission to eat lighter meals I'm going back to an old and trusted favourite: mussels. A joy to behold and a delight when served in this warming soup.


  • 1 kilo of mussels
  • 500 grams of cooked prawns
  • Salt
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 75 grams of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce
  • 15 ml of Spanish brandy
  • 1 litre of fish stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150 ml of single cream
  • Chopped fresh parsley


Scrub and rinse the mussels. Remove any beards from them. Discard any broken or open mussels. Steam the mussels by placing them in a wide flat pan. Add a ladle of water so that they do not burn. Place the pan over a high heat. The intention is to open the mussels quickly, so preserving the juices. Drain and reserve those juices. When they are cool enough to handle, remove mussels from their shells and be sure to throw away any that have not opened. Keep a handful of mussels in their shells to use as a garnish. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion until soft, without browning. Stir in the tomato sauce and add the brandy. Once the brandy has evaporated, add the stock and the reserved juices. Add the bay leaves and salt. Simmer for 20 minutes. Keep the heat low and add the cream, mussels and prawns. Allow the seafood to heat through, but do not boil. Serve sprinkled with parsley and garnished with the reserved mussels.