Tag Archives: sustainable fish

The RNLI Fish Supper at Moelfre lifeboat station

Next month see’s the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Fish Supper launch a new fundraising event created to raise money and awareness of the work the RNLI, but also to encourage individual’s to eat more fish!

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Between the 9th and 11th October individual’s can host their own Fish Supper, inviting family and friends to share the meal while collecting donations and raising money for the RNLI charity. It doesn’t matter if you are an accomplished chef, cook or total amateur it’s about sharing and supporting our hard-working primarily volunteer, lifeboat crews who are on call 24 hours a day. Over 8,000 RNLI volunteer crew members look after our coastal waters across the UK and Ireland regularly missing their evening meals, so get your friends together and eat in their honour!

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As I live close to the sea and act as a firm advocate for local seafood I was lucky enough to get the chance to attend the inaugural fish supper held at Moelfre Lifeboat station on Anglesey. Around 30 guests including lifeboat men and women, fishermen, seafood suppliers and restauranteurs gathered to sample canapes, made with locally supplied seafood followed by traditional fish and chips supplied by Moelfre’s Coastal cafe and Fish Bar.

Cywain Pysgod (which means fish in Welsh) supported the event. They are a project run by local business support company Menter a Busnes, and co-ordinated by Caroline Dawson, a passionate supporter of local seafood. Their aim is to create a more profitable and sustainable Welsh Fisheries sector by increasing the value of the catch through identifying new markets and developing new products.

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So, go on… get involved! Anyone can host a fish supper. There is a special page on the website where you can register. You will be sent a free party pack which includes recipe inspiration, party game ideas and place-name cards. The Fish Supper doesn’t have to be held between 9–11 October, it’s quite flexible although the RNLI asks that all Fish Supper donations are received by 7 November.

Our evening finished spectacularly with the launch of the lifeboat, a rare opportunity for me as it’s about half an hours drive from where I live, but it was a clear beautiful evening, with stunning views over the Irish sea and all in all it was quite exciting!

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Japanese fish two ways: sticky sesame and deep fried with panko

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I love fish, but I don’t eat enough of it for my liking. The main reason being that the teen hates it (in the same way she hates most things that are good for her; with a passion) and so I always end up cooking family friendly meals that everyone will eat and enjoy (while saving myself extra work cooking several different things). Fish is, as you can imagine, generally off the menu!

This weekend was different. No teen. Lots of fish.

I made both of these dishes to go with the noodles in smoky broth I made a few weeks ago (see post here). The first was inspired by a group of Korean families I met crabbing at the beach. They’d travelled over from Birmingham for the day bringing calor gas stoves, pots pans and lots of ingredients, hoards of kids and crab catching apparatus made from bread baskets and old kitchen sink drainers. Our kids looked on fascinated, not quite believing they were going to cook up shore crabs to eat! My kids friend, who knows stuff about the seashore because her parents are ecologists, stated categorically and rather disparagingly that “you can only eat EDIBLE crabs you know” . She had to eat her words later.

As the family cooked up the spoils of their fishing trip they tucked in to kimchi, rice and tiny sweet, salty and slightly sticky fried whitebait. They invited us to join them and taste the crab stock with noodles giving us handfuls of these tiny fish while we waited. The kid (who likes fish) couldn’t get enough of them, and I also found the sweet-salty sesame flavour totally addictive, and so decided to recreate them.

I had a little search around and found a recipe that looked promising on Meemalee’s Burmese food blog. She used scallops and something called Shichimi togarashi. Off I went in search of said Japanese spice in my local Asian supermarket. I wandered aimlessly looking at incomprehensible letters, pots and jars. I found the Japanese section but nothing labelled Shichimi, eventually I gave up and asked the shop keeper. He wasn’t sure either so searched on his computer. Together we discovered it has several names, but is commonly known as Japanese seven spice.

For my fish dish I used Cornish Sardines which I meticulously filleted with a very sharp knife leaving small thin pieces and not whitebait which is currently off the sustainable list. Sardines are a good alternative as are anchovies, herrings or sprats.

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Sticky sesame Sardines:

250g small fish, either eaten whole or filleted to make small strips

A knob of butter

dessertspoonful  of sunflower oil

a handful of black sesame seeds

a sprinkle of Japanese seven spice

a drop of soy sauce

a teaspoon sugar

Heat the butter, oil and soy sauce in a large non-stick pan. When hot and bubbling add the fish giving the pan a good shake after a couple of minutes. Be careful not to break the fish when turning and moving about. Add the sesame seeds, seven spice and sugar and keep moving about the pan until cooked, slightly crispy and a lovely brown colour.

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My other dish was an immediate kid favourite. Monkfish tail (another sustainable option), dipped in Japanese seven spice seasoned flour, beaten egg and panko  breadcrumbs, then deep-fried in sunflower oil until golden and crispy. What could be simpler?

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Filed under Asian cookery, family budget cooking, home cooking, Recipes, Seafood recipes

Fishy Friday

Choosing fish is a tricky business these days with so many endangered species and unethical fishing methods its hard to keep up! According to Hugh’ s fish fight (to which I am fully signed up) “half of the worlds fish stocks are fully exploited and another quarter over-fished” which means we need to be a bit more picky about what we choose and a bit more adventurous. This is  no mean feat when your nearest fish monger is a 20 mile drive away and I often only have the supermarket to rely on. Take last week for example; I’d gone off in the hope of purchasing some Pollack (line caught) for tea and having trawled (excuse the pun) all of my local supermarkets (Tesco, Waitrose and Morrison) was totally out of luck.

The MCS Pocket Good Fish Guide gives an idea to what fish are sustainable and acceptable. Somewhat disappointed at the lack of British sustainable fish in my local supermarket, I opted instead for a fair pollack substitute; line caught, farmed Tilapia. OK it’s not British (although I do know someone who rears Tilapia locally) but it is a lovely, light, firm fleshed white fish perfect for any dish which requires white fish!

So, in the absence of the vegetarian, fish hating, teen we filled our boots with a lovely Raymond Blanc meets High Fearnley-Whittingstall inspired dinner of crispy coated Tilapia grenobloise with potato puree and steamed and buttered spring cabbage.

Coat your fish fillets (skin removed) with seasoned flour, egg and breadcrumbs mixed with some fresh chopped thyme leaves. For the sauce I used about 50ml water with a little fish sock added, half a lemon segmented and roughly chopped (saving the juices), I dessertspoonful capers, half a small shallot finely chopped and a handful of parsley chopped. I simmered all of this together seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper. Ideally its made in the pan in which the fish was cooked,  but I was unable to do this as I fried the fish in breadcrumbs (as requested by the smallest member of the household). 1kg of desiree potatos were cooked, pushed through a mouli then mixed with 170ml warm milk, 60g butter, salt and pepper until a creamy puree is created. I then shredded and steamed some spring greens, which were finished with a some salt and pepper and a little knob of butter. Our fish was delicious with the sharp acidic sauce (while the little one had his with ketchup, oh well can’t keep everyone happy!)

 

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Filed under British food, family budget cooking, home cooking, local produce, sustainable fish