For the Love of the Sea ll – I have to confess that I missed the first book by Jenny Jefferies, but it was an award-winning culinary tome, and I strongly suspect its sequel will follow suit. For the Love of the Sea II has recently been published by Meze Publishing and it’s a lovely hardback cookbook that celebrates our British seafood community and its food. The book has been hailed by chefs such as Mitch Tonks of Rockfish as a ‘seafood odyssey’. It certainly is: you, the reader will travel along our shores, discovering stories and recipes from fishmongers to basket weavers. It’s also an ideal guide to finding your next destination restaurant and even includes Scott’s in Richmond (as well as far-flung locations such as The Isle of Mull). A central theme is also advocacy for sustainability and education, such as the ‘Fish in Schools Hero’ programme, run by The Food Teachers Centre, introducing youngsters to the delights of cooking with fish and seafood. Jenny is donating 10 per cent of her net profits from the sales of this book to The Food Teachers Centre, a charity.
Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw says that author Jenny’s “love of the sea is evident in every page” in his endorsement of the book, a love partly expressed through the host of delicious dishes to try at home. Combining familiar flavours with fish and seafood in ways that may be new to many readers, recipes include Cockle and Bacon Chowder; Haddock Scotch Egg; Thai Red Curry Mussels; Stargazy Pie; Whelks in Chilli Garlic Butter; Mediterranean Roasted Whole Sea Bass and many more. For the Love of the Sea II is a true homage to the bounty of Britain’s waters, inviting its readers to celebrate our coastline and the incredible communities who are bound to it. For the Love of the Sea II is a 192-page hardback retailing at £22. It’s available from Amazon, bookshops including Waterstones, and online from www.mezepublishing.co.uk and www.jennyjefferies.co.uk.
Here are a couple of recipes to ‘lure you’ into buying the book…
“There is only one main ingredient that we could use in our dish and that is our Leigh-on-Sea cockles! We’ve paired them with classic ingredients to make a velvety winter-warming chowder, served with beautiful fresh bread. We often serve it inside a hollowed-out cob from our local bakery. “
150g unsmoked bacon lardons, cubed pancetta or chopped streaky bacon.
1 onion, finely chopped.
Sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
35g plain flour
800ml fish stock
150ml double cream
2 medium potatoes, cubed (about 250g)
300g Osborne’s cooked cockles
Salt and black pepper
Heat the butter in a pan and sizzle the bacon for 3-4 minutes until it starts to brown. Stir in the onion, thyme and bay and cook everything gently for 10 minutes until the onion is soft and golden. Scatter over the flour and stir in to make a sandy paste, cook for a further 2 minutes, then gradually stir in the fish stock, followed by the milk and cream.
Add the potatoes, bring everything to a simmer and leave to bubble away gently for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. Use a fork to crush a few of the potato chunks against the side of the pan to help thicken the chowder – you still want lots of defined chunks though.
Stir through the cockle meat and simmer for a minute to reheat. Season with plenty of black pepper and a little salt, if needed.
Serve with a fresh cob loaf, cut into wedges, or if you are feeling indulgent, hollow out a fresh cob loaf (you can use the bread for breadcrumbs at a later point) and use this as your serving bowl.
This recipe originated to use up a leftover lobster or crab from a seafood salad meal for guests, David having brought in more than we needed from the boat. This recipe succeeds either by ‘stretching’ small amounts of shellfish or being rather more generous depending on what you have to hand.
1 lobster, cooked and picked (15 minutes boiling for 750g, 20 minutes for 1kg)