PICKWICK has made his views known on crime, immigration, local history, our lost railways, and forgotten heroes. Now, in an attempt to secure a big media deal alongside Jamie, Gordon and Delia, he brings you a series of recipes for wonderful meals, using mostly local products, or at the very least, stuff which can be bought locally for next to nothing.
WISBECH MUSSELS has a very simple starting point. From late September onwards, go to Rout's fish stall on the market and buy a kilo of live mussels. Forget oysters and scallops - these beauties are a third of the price and twice as tasty. A big bag will cost you less than £3.00. If you are very lucky, your dosh will buy you a conversation with Mrs Finnis, the proprietor - she is wickedly funny and has a brilliant sense of humour.
Next, you will need a can of chopped tomatoes, some bitter beer and a bottle of cheap white plonk. If you can get to B&M Bargains, all this will cost you under a fiver.
Pop next door to Morrisons, and buy a few chunks of spicy Chorizo sausage, and a loaf of crusty French bread. If you can get to LIDL, buy some lovely Chinese 'single-bulb' garlic. It comes in a pretty little basket, and although it isn't quite as strong as the usual stuff, it has a sweet taste, and is fifty times easier to prepare. Grab some dried or fresh parsley, and we are ready to roll.
Cube the chorizo, and simmer it gently in some olive oil. Keeping the lid off the pan, add the tomatoes and chopped garlic. When the liquid has reduced, chuck in the parsley and the plonk. You need to have cleaned the mussels in cold water, pulling off the little beards of seaweed, and ditching any open or broken shells.
Tip the cleaned shellfish into the pan, put on the lid, and turn up the heat. In about four minutes, the mussels will be done. Put them into bowls, pour the juice over them, crack open the beer, slice the bread, and you are in Food Heaven, Wisbech style!