Islands in a Common Sea

Islands in a Common Sea

Islands in a Common Sea – I was lucky enough to meet Jenny Jefferies, the author of this fabulous book recently, as we were judging The Great Taste Awards together.  Just published by Meze Publishing, Islands in a Common Sea raises awareness of the ingenuity, dedication, and sheer effort that goes into the production of food worldwide. Despite its global scale, the book’s based on Jenny’s belief that there’s more in the world to unite us than divide us, and the power of this unity in overcoming the challenges that currently face us all.

Islands in a Common Sea

Stunning photography of land and seascapes alongside captivating portraiture makes this large hardback (£35) a lovely coffee table book, while the first-hand stories of men and women across the globe provide depth and insight not often available to a UK audience. Each chapter has been written from the heart about the contributor’s farming or fishing livelihood, what they produce, their challenges and solutions, passions and dreams, along with recipes showcasing the food they grow or catch as well as the cuisine of their country.

From rural Bhutan to central Singapore, the wilds of Western Australia to paddy fields in Japan, and Argentine vineyards to Nigerian aquaculture, Islands in a Common Sea takes a deep dive into the everyday lives of 25 pioneering individuals who nurture their environment in the hopes of a regenerative, productive, and positive future.

Jenny Jefferies describes her new book as “a beautiful keepsake dedicated to the next generation of farmers and fishermen” and has collaborated with the United Nations World Food Programme to help make a difference in the shorter term too, with £2 from every copy sold to be donated to their award-winning ShareTheMealcampaign. Those donations not only provide life-saving food in emergencies, but also facilitate school feeding, nutrition support, cash transfers and resilience programmes all over the world helping eradicate world hunger. Jenny is an award-winning author, food writer, farmer’s wife, and mother of two girls based in South Cambridgeshire. It really is a stunning book – here are a couple of recipes to persuade you to buy a copy. (available from bookshops and Amazon too)

Islands in a Common Sea

Marinated Yellowfin Tuna Steaks


“This recipe is so simple. All you need to do is whip up a quick marinade, throw in your Greenfish yellowfin tuna steaks (which are already perfectly prepped and ready to go), let them marinate for an hour or two and then, with a quick toss on the braai, dinner is served!”

2 Greenfish yellowfin tuna steaks

Japanese seven spice (or Chinese five spice)

Salt and pepper

85ml teriyaki sauce

85ml soy sauce

3 tbsp olive oil (or sesame oil)

2 tbsp lemon juice (or half a squeezed lemon)

Sprinkle the tuna steaks with a small dash of the seven spice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Do not use too much of the seven spice, as it has some heat to it!

In a glass dish, create the marinade by combining the teriyaki, soy sauce, olive oil and lemon juice.

Place the seasoned tuna steaks into the marinade, cover the bowl with cling film and pop into the fridge. Marinate for at least half an hour before turning the steaks over and marinating again on the other side. Leave the steaks to marinate for an hour or two in total.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and braai over medium hot coals with the grid on the middle setting for about 1-2 minutes each side. Discard the marinade and do not pour it over the steaks, as excess marinade will burn and become bitter.

Remember that tuna steaks can be rare to well done, depending on how you like your fish served. The cooking times above are based on a medium steak, so you can alter them accordingly to suit your preferences. Once the tuna steaks are cooked to your liking, serve immediately.

Islands in a Common Sea

Swiss Walnut Cake.  Bündner Nusstorte) PREP: 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES | COOKING: 1 HOUR | SERVES 8

“The Bündner walnut cake is the most famous dessert in the canton (region) of Graubünden and consists of a pastry case with a sweet, creamy filling. Most of the walnuts come from abroad because there are only a few places in Graubünden where they grow. I mostly get my walnuts from my parents who don’t live in the mountains. You will also need a 24cm springform cake tin.”

 For the dough

150g butter, chilled

300g white flour

A pinch of salt

150g sugar

1 egg, beaten.

 For the filling

300g sugar

50ml water

250g walnuts

200ml cream

1 tbsp honey

 For the dough – Quickly grate the chilled butter into the flour and stir briefly to combine. Add the salt and sugar, then mix in the beaten egg until just combined. Do not knead. Chill the dough in the fridge for 1 hour.

Press two thirds of the chilled dough into the 24cm springform tin and leave a rim about 3cm high. Roll out the remaining dough to make a lid and place this on a baking sheet. Place back in the fridge.

For the filling – Caramelise the sugar and water in a wide pan over a medium heat until light brown.

Meanwhile, chop the walnuts with a sharp knife. Deglaze the pan of caramelised sugar with the cream, add the chopped walnuts and simmer until you get a creamy mixture. Add the honey and stir well.

Prick the chilled pastry base several times with a fork, then spread the walnut filling on top. Put the lid on and press down on the edges with a fork to seal. Finally, pierce the lid several times with a fork.

Bake in a preheated oven at 220°c for 10 minutes, then bake for another 30 minutes at 180°c until light brown. Take the cake out the oven and let it cool before removing the tin, slicing and serving.

The Seasoned Gastronome

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