1. Wash the mussels well under cold running water.
2. Pull away any fibrous ‘beards’(pieces of rope that the mussels have grown on )and scrape off any barnacles that you may find on the shells of the mussels.
3. Throw away any mussels that are open and stay open when tapped with your knife or on your board.
4. Rewash and leave in a colander.
5. Pick the leaves off the parsley.
6. Wash, dry and roughly chop the parsley.
7. Save the stalks for the bouquet garni.
8. Wash the bay leaf and sprig of thyme and tie together with the parsley stalks to make the bouquet garni.
9. Peel and finely chop the shallots into fine dice.
10. Measure the cream and white wine.
11. Peel, bruise the garlic and rub the inside of the pan you are going to use and then throw it away.
12. Heat a large pan that has a tight-fitting lid over a high heat on the hob.
13. When the pan is hot, carefully put in the mussels, pour in the wine and add the shallots and bouquet garni.
14. Place on the lid, shake the pan well and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, giving the pan a shake from time to time.
15. By now, the mussels should be cooked and fully opened.
16. Remove the lid and drain into a colander saving the liquid.
17. Throw away the herbs as their job is done.
18. Very importantly throw away any mussels that have not opened.
19. Keep the mussels warm.
20. Return the liquid to the hob, bring to the boil and leave to reduce by about a third.
21. Turn down the heat and whisk in the butter.
22. Add the cream and chopped parsley.
23. Season to taste.
24. Divide the mussels between large warmed soup plates.
25. Spoon over some of the sauce, garnish with a few lengths of chives and serve at once.