Food Safari

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Sunday, 11 April 2010

At sea with Catch and Cook

As morning dawned on 10 April Tim headed off to Walberswick for Food Safari's first Catch and Cook day. Here's his report:

"I'd been pretty excited about a day's fishing with skipper Mark Felton who keeps Panther, his 30' angling boat at Walberswick, for nearly a year when we'd met at a party and cooked up the idea of a catch and cook date off the Suffolk coast. On the most glorious April morning I drove up to Walberswick knowing that we had near perfect conditions for a bit of sea fishing.

Suffolk has a rich fishing tradition and Lowestoft was a once-great fishing port but sadly the glory days of the fishing industry are long past. However, for those who are interested in getting their hands on the freshest imaginable fish need look no further than a few miles off the Suffolk coast where, in 70 feet of water, we caught some whopping big cod. Mark runs a successful charter business and is booked solid a year in advance but the idea of combining fishing with some on board sashimi preparation and eating appealed to us both. Then we got talking to our friends Madalene and Ross of the British Larder the idea was complete, a kind of: catch, eat, cook (back on dry land) and eat some more.

Nine of us set off out of Walberswick harbour three miles off
shore hoping for a good catch. It was a mixed ability group with several (including me) who had either fished just once or twice, or not at all. While it's important to remember that the sea is not a theme-park and even the most experienced fisherman can come away from a day's fishing empty handed, we had good luck landing cod ranging from 7 to 9lbs.

It's hard to imagine a better breakfast than the freshest sashimi with the Suffolk coast as a backdrop. Armed simply with a sharp knife and some pre-prepared sauces in jars (a wasabi vinaigrette and a ginger and soy dipping sauce) Ross rustled up one of the most delicious fish dishes I've eaten.

After a quiet spell with nothing biting and just five minutes before turning back into harbour one of our party got a tell-tale twitch on his line and after a few minutes landed an absolute beauty.

Back on dry land we had a great team lunch at the Anchor in Walberswick (featuring a Mexican influenced Huss with black beans and coriander) followed by a cookery demonstration from Madalene which featured both cod and herring. Maddy used some bold flavourings inspired by southern indian cuisine which matched the sweet, succulent fish without masking its flavour. Next time you're having a dinner party or want to give your family a twist on plain grilled or roasted fish check out Madalene's recipe for Keralan cod which she cooked 'en papilotte' or in a paper bag with an incredibly quick and delicious marinade. Just 8 minutes at 180c and you have a great dish for sharing.

A good learning point of the day was that cod does need at least 48 hours in the fridge from being caught to 'set' sufficiently in order to develop those firm flakes we all love. Cooked too fresh and it will collapse - although if you did find yourself in possession of a fish caught that day and if you have both a sharp knife and a love of raw fish I can't recommend Ross's sashmi highly enough."

Places are available on the next Catch and Cook day on 31 July,

Beer Safari report

Check out this excellent report on our recent Beer Safari a beer-in-a-day Suffolk tour written by Sarah Groves, marketing manager at Adnams.

Sarah joined us for this inaugural journey into beer featuring a morning of tutored learning and malt tasting at the Anchor in Walberswick, a lunch that matched beer with food, a trip to a malting barley farm and real ale specialist shop before heading over to Southwold for a private tour of Adnams' state-of-the-art brewhouse in the gifted hands of head brewer Fergus Fitzgerald and tasting of 14 (yes fourteen) different Adnams' beers from the zingy, grapefruity Explorer to the rich winter warmer Tally Ho, bottled for the first time in many years this winter.

The next Beer Safari will be talking place on 30 July.