Steamed mussels can be made ready in as little as 10 minutes, and we can think of very few ways to create such a delicacy that involves so little work.

You will need:
1 kilo of mussels
1 leek, julienned
1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
200ml cider
100ml double cream
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Serves 2

Mussels must be alive when cooked, so ideally buy and cook them on the same day but really, provided they are fresh, they should be fine in the fridge for a couple of days
To check they are still alive and safe to eat, give them a tap and watch for movement
They may be dozy and sluggish if they’ve been chilled – so any that don’t react should be given a minute or two to wake up, then tapped again
If they still don’t react, assume they are dead and discard
Next, remove the beards
Rinse the mussels in cold water to wash away any remaining grit or sand
Fry the leeks first until soft, with a little oil and a pinch of salt, with a large pinch of fresh thyme leaves and dijon mustard
Pour in the cider
As soon as it begins to boil, add the mussels and put the lid on
Give them about 5 minutes, until they open again, steaming them in all those wonderful flavours that are inside the pan
Give the pan a good shake, just in case anything has managed to stay hidden from the steam and heat
Any mussels that remain closed should be discarded
Lift the lid and add the double cream and parsley