Nov 23 2011

Living Leaner. Mussels Diavolo Recipe.

Posted by     25 Comments    Posted under: Kitchen


Initially, when the chef & I started this challenge, we were aiming to make dinner every day for ten euros. I thought it would be manageable and we have, so far, come up with a few nice and healthy options and 80% of our consumables are organic. If you want to see a few of the other recipes you can see them right here and from my friend Simones website right here!

We have noticed that our own eating habits have changed a lot of the last three weeks. Mostly because we are watching the prices of food a lot more closely but also because quite a few people felt that they could manage to feed their family on ten euros per day. For everything. This is not something we would be able to do. Even on a good day with just cereal and milk as opposed to eggs and toast for breakfast, or sandwiches as opposed to leftovers for lunch, the cost of feeding a family of six in our house would be at least €15 or more. If you can feed your family for less than ten euros per day, please send me a copy of your meal plan and purchases and I will happily share it with our readers. In the meantime, lets have dinner, shall we?


Cool clean clams

You get home from work, you are tired. All that is in the fridge is a bag of mussels and a half dead bulb of garlic in the veg box. No need to worry, you have the makings of a great supper all ready to go. A few sprinkles of dried chili flakes and a splash of white wine later, a loaf in the oven and the fire is blazing in the hearth.


You need a lot of garlic


Dinner is prepped and ready to go in ten sweet and short minutes. And you will be licking your fingers for the rest of the night. Trust me, it is that good.



Magnificent Mussels


Start off by cleaning your shell fish. Scrub them with a potato brush and make sure you de-beard the mussels and knock off any loose barnacles that might be growing on their shells. Pour a little olive oil into a large pot and add in a few shakes of dried chili flakes and a whole bulb of garlic, crushed. The garlic is vital. Do not gloss over this ingredient.



Make sure you clean and de-beard the mussels.


Add in your shellfish (clams and mussels) and pour in a half wine glass full of white wine. Use the white wine sparingly when cooking,  you will need to be drinking the rest of it later with your supper.


In the pot ready for action


Now, put the lif on the pot and wait for a few minutes until the shellfish steam themselves open. Add in a half a tin of crushed tomatoes. Mix well with a nice large wooden spoon and finish with a small knob of butter and some fresh flat leaf parsley. If you have a few prawns, (our luxury item this time) then throw them in at the last minute. Do not let them overcook. They need only two or three minutes in the pot to cook and will be lovely and moist and tender when you eat them if you treat them right.


A few loaves of bread cooling on a cloth


Insist that the bread be eaten warm right out of the oven. Who wants it when it is cold?


Bean salad


Throw your leftover beans from last nights supper into a little vinaigrette with some shopped tomatoes. Now, you have a salad too.


Shellfish Diavolo….. Spicy as all get out and good good good


The succulent shellfish and sauce will have you licking your plate for the whole evening. Use the bread sparingly to mop up all the left over sauce. Or, freeze the sauce for emergencies. There will always be an emergency that can be fixed with this sauce.

Eek … slightly over the limit on this one

Ok, so tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US. Our friends have just arrived to spend an Irish Thanksgiving with us and due to scheduling etc. we are celebrating on Friday. Stay tuned for a few photos and recipes from our Wise Irish Thanksgiving.

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,



Like this post? Subscribe for free by email to get notified of new posts.

25 Comments + Add Comment

  • You are so lucky to live on the coast! We must be due a trip to Galway to restock on seafood!


    • I know we are lucky to live coastal xx
      Come for fish – stay for the night! SOON!
      xx Rotten here in Galway but having fun with our visitors.

  • My husband loves mussels and this recipe is pretty close to one we use. I’m always amazed at the number he can devour in one sitting!

    Have a wonderful celebration and visit with your friends, as I’m sure you all will 🙂

    P.S. That bread is gorgeous.

    • Hi Paula,
      You know, we are going to do a book on bread. He is a baker first and chef second and his breads are works of art, kinda like your cookies
      except without all the bling you put into yours! Very simple rustic loafs. I love them too.
      We are having a ball with our friends and will celebrate with a Turkey tomorrow. Tonight we are hitting the town!

  • Love the looks of these mussels Mona. Although truth be told it is highly unlikely that I will ever find myself with a bag of mussels in the fridge…lol… Not a big mussels fan I have to confess but as with anything this is part of childhood “fears” so maybe it is time to overcome those as well.. And well done on the budget! I don’t think I would be able to manage on 10 euro a day even if we are only with two, but then again I never really tried. I think I possibly could if the need would arise, as we have eaten for less then 5 euro a couple of times already since starting this challenge so it can definitely be done!

    • Hey Simone,
      I think you nailed it. The hard part is being consistent. Niether of us has found it easy at all. Some evenings are easy easier than others.
      The mussels are an excellent shell fish. When you come here you will conquer your fears and then be back home craving them :0)
      I hope all is well with you and Tom and you are looking forward to the Christmas season.

  • Eating on a budget sometimes take creativity and it looks like you have mastered the art. The homemade bread looks delicious. We use a beadmaker frequently.

    A local bakery, however, is currently baking a specialty bread through the end of the year. It is called “Crane Bread” in honor of the local “Crane Festival”. We live in an agragrian area with wild bird wetlands in a Delta area leading out to the Pacific Ocean. The cranes migrate to the vicinity and the bakery is producing a bread made from local ingredients the cranes eat. Bread consists of wheat, barley, rye, rice, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds. The outside of the round loaf is decorated with a flour sillouette of crane head. It is a novel idea and very tasty.

    Looking forward to your Thanksgiving gathering photos on an upcoming post.

    • Good morning Bernadine!
      What a cool tidbit of information about the cranes. My sister lives in Alsace, France (wine country too!) and the have a family of Cranes that
      next in the church steeples. They follow and eat the must that comes off of the wine making.
      It is barely 8am here and the kids are readying themselves for school and we are preparing our Thanksgiving feast.
      I am hoping for sunshine today to take a few good shots but it is a bit gloomy just yet!
      Thanks for the visit Bernadine. I hope your Thanksgiving was lovely.

  • I love mussels but clams are almost impossible to find here in south London. Lucky you! Another delicious meal, I wonder why more don’t eat mussels. So cheap and so much slurpy flavour.

    • When we were land locked in Ohio we used to ship in New England clams and scallops and our mussels came from Prince Edwards Island in Canada.
      No ‘local’ fish at all in the midwest and jee-sus was it ever expensive. Now that I am home, it is like a game to see where we can find it for free (in Clarinbridge)
      or for really really cheap of the boats. You are right Ailbhe, it is the soppable slurpable part I love too!

  • I love mussels and this recipe looks absolutely fab, I’ll definitely be giving it a go next time I buy a bag. I’ll never understand why the Irish don’t eat more seafood, not only because we’re an island nation, but because it’s cheap and is the ultimate fast food, ready in less time than it would take to eat a frozen pizza. Do your kids like spicy food? I have to admit that mine don’t – but that just means more for me! 😉

    • Hi Kristen,
      Welcome home from France!
      My kids do like spicy food. The chef just makes on meal at dinner time :0) We began giving them spicy foods when they were
      babies so they are well used to it. With the foster kids we have weaned them onto the spicy stuff. As long as it tastes good they
      adapt pretty fast ;0) If you are trying to get them to eat spicy foods – do a spice tasting with them so they understand all the different heat levels
      Etc. like Tobasco, Wasabi, dried chili flakes, curry, etc. This is a great thing to do because they know it is going to be hot but are
      willing to learn!

  • If I came home and found a bag of mussels and a garlic in my fridge I would have to call the Guards and report the theft of the rest of my food. We always pick up a bag from Galway Bay Seafoods when we are passing – can’t argue with those prices! I am a boring white wine and shallot person when it comes to cooking them so I must try them this way – it sounds delish! and again the bread envy… any chance you could hire him out?

    • I hear you Amee. The tomato sauce is very tasty and you it takes no longer than your way (which I love!) with the wine and shallots.
      I think, with regard to your envy, I would be quite happy to loan him out on a trial basis. He is very needy and high maintenance but I think you
      are equipped to learn him a thing or two with your fancy stove. T’would be a lesson well spent for you both :0)
      We will plan a bread ‘class’ after Christmas, no?

  • Hi Mona!
    Aaahh…bean salad looks good:)
    Hope you blog about what an ‘Irish Thanksgiving’ consist of.
    Enjoy your company.

    • Hey Robert,
      Our friends just left this morning to head back to the states. We have had a great time with them
      and I will be blogging all about it. Our Thanksgiving was wonderful and very ‘american’ in a way because they
      brought a packet of Jiffy corn muffin mix and French’s onion rings :0)
      Thanks for the comment, and stay tuned!

  • I am loving this challenge. Great seafood dish – sure you could nearly gather the mussels yourself! Aren’t they the ultimate fast food!

    • Thanks Hester.
      When you come to vist me in Galway we can go forage for some mussels, some (galway native) oysters and if we are lucky a few clams too.
      A royal seafood feast to be had for sure! Thanks for stopping by for a (virtual) visit!

  • Have to agree with Ailbhe – don’t know why but it is bloody hard to find clams in London unless you live near a swanky fishmonger 🙁 LOVE the simplicity and the speed of this sauce – I can imagine Clan Wise licking their fingers all night long 😉

    • It is a house favourite for sure. Clams are so cheap (or forage free) here and yes, there is a lot of finger licking going on!

  • Hello Mona. I am new here. Thanks for your Christmas wishes. The news made me exausted!..So much going on!.. What a lovely family!

    As I live in Barcelona, you can imagine I eat your recipe all the time!!……….We call it “mejillones y almejas a la marinera”….Yep, good crusty bread and slurp away. Not suitable for eating in a restaurant…LOL .

    Will now get into yoyur other recipes and contact you.


    • Hi Maureen,
      Thanks! Sorry about wearing you out :0) Imagine how we feel with them all every day!
      Thanks for making contact. And yes, kind of a messy meal but no one here seems to complain about that!
      It just started snowing here . . . I imagine it is not so cold in Barcelona just yet :0)

  • The way you use wine in cooking is similar to the way I use beer – always make sure there’s enough left for the cook!

    • But of course Caroline….. and truth be told, we use beer in the exact same way :0)
      Hope you are well. Thanks for the visit!

  • […] a piece of smoked fish from The Burren Smokehouse or sometimes we have shellfish, like a big bowl of mussels. We all hang out in the kitchen and we listen to the kids natter on about their week and we usually […]

Leave a comment to bernadine

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
  • Contact Mona
Ron Wise About the Chef
You can't find the Chef here.
You might as well just come visit.
He prefers face to face communication.

From The Kitchen

Sound Bath
Taco's Taqueria Galway
Papa Rich
Galway Shopping Christmas
Cava Wine Galway Wine Trail Campo Viejo

Buy the Book

The Chef and I


Click Here to Purchase

Best Food & Wine Blog (2012) Best Photo Blog (2012) Best Blog of a Journalist (2012) and Best OVERALL Blog (2012)

blog awards ireland

Top Food Blog

Top Food Blogs


Sound Cloud