The Howes family returned to Beijing last year after living here from 2009 to 2011. Beijing is where the Howes welcomed their first daughter Evie. After Monica (Australia) and Jonathan (UK) left China they added another daughter, Charlie, to their family. The Howes have since lived in Japan and Dubai. Of all the cities the Howes lived in, Beijing is by far their favorite. “Lots of things have changed since the last time we lived here and getting around town is much easier nowadays, we love it here,” Jonathan said.
Their oldest girl Evie, is now 5 years old and attends the British School of Beijing in Sanlitun (BSB, Sanlitun), while Charlie is two and a half and can’t wait to join Evie on the bus to school. Monica says BSB reminds her of a great community feel she had back in her primary school in Melbourne.
The couple, who has been together for 15 years, first met each other while working at a same hotel in Australia. The pair fancies a date night once a week or fortnightly, depending on Jonathan’s schedule who is executive chef at New World Beijing Hotel. Meanwhile, Monica has been working on a family cookbook along with 12 other members of the parent association at BSB. The charity project lists over 130 family-friendly food and favorite recipes of parents and kids. Proceeds will go to the Migrant Children’s Foundation.
The couple likes to cook together and loves to bring the girls to new restaurants to have new culinary experiences as a family. We had the pleasure of joining them at home to have a taste of their date night. Jonathan made Moules marinière à la crème, a mussel dish which was one of the first recipes the couple cooked together. Jonathan impressed Monica 15 years ago with this shellfish dish as she never had mussels before. Neither did she know till now that shellfish are a natural aphrodisiac. The recipe is easy to cook and different variations can be made. The couple likes it with some crusty baguette and a garden salad. The ingredients are available at Sanyuanli Market.
Mussels in White Wine 蒜香白葡萄酒焖青口（海虹）
½ kg mussels 青口500克
1 onion, chopped finely 洋葱1个（切碎）
1 garlic clove, crushed 大蒜瓣1个（碾碎）
125 ml white wine 白葡萄酒125毫升
Generous splash of cream 大量的白奶油
Bunch of parsley chopped finely 香芹1把（切碎）
- Preparing the Mussels: check if all mussels are closed and there are no broken shells. Shut any opened mussels. If the mussel stays closed, it’s good to use, otherwise discard. Wash, scrub, and remove the beards from the mussels.准备青口：检查青口外壳是否紧闭、完好无破损。用手合起已开口的青口，能合起壳子的可以选择，若外壳张开则舍弃。选好后，用刷子清洗青口外壳，去除表面绒毛。
- In a pot or large skillet, sauté onions for 5 minutes, add garlic, and carry on sweating until transparent.将洗净的青口放入锅中，加入大蒜腌制5分钟，脱水直至透明。
- Turn up heat, add mussels and stir. Cover with lid.开火，将腌好的青口在锅中翻炒后，盖上锅盖。
- When mussels start opening (about two minutes), add wine and stir.待青口外壳打开（约两分钟左右）后，加入白葡萄酒继续翻炒。
- Remove all open mussels from the pot. Shake the pot to open others. If some mussels don’t open, discard them.将青口从锅中盛出，摇晃锅子查看是否所有青口的壳已张开，扔掉未开口的青口。
- Add the cream to the pan and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer. Check seasoning. 在平底锅中加入奶油煮至沸腾，转小火炖煮，调试口味。
- Add the mussels back to the pot and cover with lid. Bring back to a boil and toss around. 将青口放回锅中，摇晃均匀，盖上锅盖重新煮沸。
- Add parsley and serve immediately with crusty baguette, salad, and a chilled glass of white wine.在煮沸后的青口中加入香芹后起锅，搭配沙拉、法棍及一杯冰镇白葡萄酒即可享用
Photos by Uni You
This article originally appeared on page 22-24 of beijingkids 2017 February Issue. Download the digital version here.