"It might seem like a long time to wait for the cucumber but, trust me, it's worth it," says Turner. "Every spring when the milk is fattiest we make goat's cheese that we serve at Loam. We coat it in dried stinging nettles and mature it over the next 12 months in the cellar. But for this dish you can just use a good-quality firm goat's cheese." At Loam, Turner uses cardamom-ginger leaf instead of dill, but it's difficult to source; plants are available at select nurseries. You'll need to start this recipe at least six days ahead.
- 2 kg mussels, scrubbed, beards removed
- 50 gm caster sugar
- 50 ml rice wine vinegar
- To serve: firm goat’s cheese and baguette
- 6 baby cucumbers
- 60 gm coarse salt
- ½ clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 cups (loosely packed) dill
- 1For fermented cucumbers, place cucumbers in a non-reactive container and set aside. Stir salt and 500ml hot water in a saucepan over low heat until salt dissolves (1-2 minutes), set aside to cool, then add 1.5 litres water, garlic and dill and pour onto cucumbers. Place a small plate on top of cucumbers to keep them submerged, cover with muslin and refrigerate to ferment (6 days; the cucumbers should taste acidic and the liquid should be cloudy). Fermented cucumbers will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.
- 2Heat a large saucepan over high heat, add mussels and 400ml water, cover and shake pan occasionally until mussels just open (3-4 minutes). Remove mussels with tongs, place in a large bowl and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove mussels from shells and place in a sterilised container. Add sugar and vinegar to pan and stir to dissolve, pour onto mussels and refrigerate to lightly pickle (2 hours). Pickled mussels will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.
- 3Serve pickled mussels and fermented cucumbers with goat’s cheese and baguette.
Drink Suggestion: 2012 Dandy in the Clos “Birds, No Boundaries” Chardonnay Verdelho Gewürztraminer Semillon Blend. Drink suggestion by Astrid Turner