Lee Bye, chef patron at Tuddenham Mill, shares some of his expertise with our readers. His dish this week is Moules Marinière and Luca’s sourdough.

In my 20-plus year cooking career, my favourite dish is still a bowl of plump, seasonal mussels drenched in wine, garden parsley, and a generous pour of cream.

Wisbech Standard: Plump seasonal mussels are a firm favourite for Lee.Plump seasonal mussels are a firm favourite for Lee. (Image: Lee Bye)

We source our mussels direct from Brancaster Staithe on the North Norfolk Coast and cook these in different ways across our menus at Tuddenham Mill.

Mussel chowder (using Sabo’s Little Downham spuds) , Japanese style tempura mussels (the perfect bar snack with a cold pint) or my favourite.. mussels can be so versatile.

Mussels tend to spawn across the summer months enabling availability of mussels when an ‘R’ in the month… I still say the best time is November through to February when the mussels have been able to develop and fill out their ‘exoskeleton’ shells.

It is as simple as can be. Firstly, when buying mussels, the shells should be undamaged and closed.

Open mussels should be given a tap and if they close, they are still alive; if not they are dead and unfit for consumption.

Moreover, before preparing a mussel for cooking, the byssus (which is the beard) should be pulled out and thrown away. Scrub the mussels well under cold running water. Commonly farm-raised mussels (such as Shetland Island mussels) are generally very clean when they are sold, so the work is rather minimal.


Serves two

For a good lunch or supper you will need:

400g mussels

1 x small English onion

2 x bulbs garlic

Small bunch of garden or flat leaf parsley

1 x small glass of white wine (125ml)

1 x sourdough (My pick is Grain Culture)

A generous portion of quality English butter (Fen Farm Dairy is a good choice and available at Grain Culture)

15ml vegetable oil


Clean & de-beard mussels thoroughly under cold running water (store in fridge until cooking stage)

Chop finely English onion

Crush garlic

Chop finely parsley

In a heavy bottomed pot slowly sweat the onion and garlic in a little vegetable oil until soft with no colour.

Once soft, increase the heat of the pan and add the mussels and the glass of white wine.

Place the lid back on immediately to retain the steam. The steam will create pressure increasing the speed of the mussels to cook.

Have a sneak peek under the lid after 1 minute.

Once the mussels are open, they are ready for the cream to be added. Check the pan for any mussels that haven’t opened. Unopened mussels need to be discarded from the pot.

When the cream is of a consistency that coats the back of the spoon, the mussels are nearly ready.

Give the mussels a good mix in the pan and add in the chopped parsley to finish.

Serve centre table with a generous serving of sourdough and a cold glass of Albarino or a chilled glass of Cornish Doom Bar is the perfect pairing.