Recipe with: Stephen Cansell at The County Hotel, Chelmsford

THE County Hotel has undergone a Swan-like transformation since general manager Graham McGregor joined the team 11 months ago. He and his dedicated staff have worked tirelessly to change both the style and service offered. For overnight guests the premier rooms, which opened in December 07, each have air conditioning, beautiful Italian fabrics, unbelievably deep, soft mattresses, wooden floors with Moroccan rugs plus fresh coffee and handmade shortbread.All the public rooms have enjoyed a substantial makeover too with the conference and banqueting facilities now as good as, if not better, than you might expect to find in the City, Graham explains.The restaurant, run by new head chef Stephen Cansell, aims to be the best in the county with all pastries, breads and cakes freshly made on the premises and 70% of produce sourced locally to ensure its freshness. The County Hotel's refurbishment when complete will have cost �650,000, so go see for yourself and be very, very surprised. Here is a little taster.Thai-style mussels

Ingredients 1 inch of fresh ginger3 cloves of garlicbunch of coriander1 lime leaf1 red chilli 1 stick of lemon grass500ml coconut milk50g caster sugarFresh Shetland mussels

Method 1 For the sauce, blend all the ingredients in a liquidiser (not including the mussels and only half of the coriander) then place in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse all ingredients. Allow this to cool.2 Put the mussels in a thick-bottomed pan, and cover a third of the way up with the sauce3 Cook over a high heat with a lid on until all the mussels are open4 Serve immediately and top with freshly-chopped coriander