1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon salt
zest & juice of 1 lemon
60ml olive oil
4 medium potatoes, sliced into 1cm slices
200ml dry white wine
200ml vegetable stock
1kg mussels, scrubbed and debearded
4 tablespoons crème fraîche
2 large or 4 small-medium carrots
1 whole celery
1 large leek
crusty bread, to serve

This is not a chowder, but I have based it on those classic flavours with lots of creamy sauce to mop up with bread. You can replace the mussels with 600g fish fillet if you prefer – simply bring the liquid to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer and poach the fish until only just done, then remove and set aside and carry on with the remaining recipe, adding the fish back in the last 5 minutes.


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1.Crush the fennel seeds with the salt in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until ground.
2.Mix with the lemon zest and olive oil and potatoes, set aside.
3.Heat the oven to 200℃ fan bake.
4.You will need a large metal roasting dish and something large enough to cover it (I use a flat baking sheet or large piece of foil).
5.Pour the wine and stock into the roasting dish, place over a high heat and bring to the boil.
6.Add the prepared mussels, cover and cook for 4 minutes.
7.Remove any opened mussels to a bowl, keeping them in the shell, then cover and cook the remainder for another one or two minutes until all have opened.
8.Take the dish off the heat and pour off 250ml of the juices.
9.Whisk the crème fraîche into this while it’s still hot and set aside.
10.Cut the carrots in half crosswise and then again lengthwise (if you have large carrots, cut them into quarters lengthwise).
11.Cut the tops off the celery about 18cm from the base (save the tops for other uses) and carefully cut the base piece into four quarters. You can use a vegetable peeler to peel off any outer strings, which makes eating the celery nicer but is not critical.
12.Cut the dark green end off the leek and cut the light part in half crosswise and then again lengthwise to get four equal pieces.
13.Add the carrot, celery and leek to the roasting dish, turning carefully to coat with the juices remaining in the dish (be especially gentle with the leek as you want to try and keep the pieces together).
14.Arrange the potato slices standing up among the other vegetables so you get some crispy edges, and drizzle over any remaining fennel oil.
15.Roast for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender and browning.
16.Remove from the oven, nestle the opened mussels among the veges and pour over the mussel crème fraîche liquid.
17.Put back in the oven for 5 minutes to heat through.
18.Serve in shallow bowls with a squeeze of lemon juice and crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Recipes & food styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles