One important rule of thumb junior chefs are always taught is that the best time to eat shellfish is in months with an ‘r’ in them. The farming of mussels and oysters has meant these shellfish are available almost all year round these days. But the summer months are the traditional breeding season, when meats are not at their absolute best. The onset of autumn and colder waters produce mussels and oysters, especially native oysters, in fantastic condition. As September begins, now’s the time to start enjoying them fully. Look in your local fishmongers for oysters and mussels in the coming weeks. A platter of raw oysters make a fine feast for those who have acquired the taste. Cleaned, tightly closed mussels are quickly cooked by steaming in a little white wine and shallots, until the shells open. Throw in some chopped parsley and you have a feast to savour!