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Keep it local, or not – with stock and soup recipes to help you digest the big issues

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In my pile of must read books, which I optimistically keep adding to, are a few titles which might be categorised as ‘ethical eating’. There are intersecting issues to consider and finding a diet that addresses multiple ethical concerns can be a balancing act.

Take local food as an example. It reduces the environmental impact of transporting food however local unseasonal or exotic foods may have high energy needs. Supporting local farmers, food producers and retailers maintains employment in our area and keeps money in the local economy. Whilst farmers and food producers from further away need a market for their food and supporting FairTrade and similar schemes benefits people and communities around the world. If these sort of dilemmas interest you I recommend my current read, Sustainable Diets by Pamela Mason and Tim Lang.

Pamela Mason is one of the founders of the Food Manifesto for Wales, along with Jane Powell (www.foodmanifesto.wales @maniffestobwyd on Facebook and Twitter). They started a conversation which is growing to become a Welsh food network. Everyone with an interest in food is welcome to join. At this time of policy change, with our political departure from Europe imminent, a hub for discussions and debates around food policy and the future of food, farming and how we feed ourselves in Wales is welcome.

These recipes were inspired by a handful of local businesses with a few exotic ingredients to balance it! The free-range chicken I bought was reared by Martin and Danielle in North Pembrokeshire and Andrew Rees’ butcher prepared it for me; into breasts, legs and carcass (a great reason to use local butchers shops, particularly as I’m vegetarian but cook meat dishes for my family of omnivores). Most of the vegetables I bought were grown organically at Ritec Valley in South Pembrokeshire with additional organic ingredients from the Spar and Plum Vanilla Deli, in Narberth and more exotic ingredients from the Spice Box in Haverfordwest.

Chicken Stock

Ingredients

  • Chicken carcass, incl. giblets if you have them (from a roast/uncooked – some butchers will give away/sell chicken carcasses)
  • Vegetables, I usually use 1-2 onions, 1-2 carrots, 1-2 sticks celery
  • Peppercorns and hardy herbs (bay leaf, parsley stalks…)
  • Water

Method

  1. Place the chicken carcass and giblets into a high sided pan, break into pieces to fit in the pan if necessary.
  2. Wash and chop the vegetables into large chunks and add to the pan along with the peppercorns and herbs. Pour over cold water to cover all the ingredients.
  3. Place on a high heat until the water boils then reduce heat so it simmers. Simmer for an hour. Skim off any froth that appears from time to time.
  4. Drain off the stock and you will have a rich chicken stock which you can use for gravy, adding to dishes like soup, risotto and making sauce for a chicken pie. The stock keeps on the fridge for 2-3 days or can be frozen.
  5. You can repeat the process, add fresh water to the pan and simmer again for an hour. The stock will have a milder flavour and still be good for the recipes suggested above.
  6. When you have finished making stock you can pick over the carcass for bits of meat. This meat and the vegetables can be used for the soup recipe below.

Vegetable Stock – follow the recipe above but leave out the chicken, you can add additional vegetables such as mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers…

Chicken noodle soup with burdock noodles, left. Vegetable noodle soup with rice vermicelli, right.
Chicken noodle soup with burdock noodles, left. Vegetable noodle soup with rice vermicelli, right.

Chicken Noodle Soup (for a vegetable variation leave out the chicken and use vegetable stock)

Ingredients (use quantities to satisfy the number of people you’re feeding)

  • Oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic, ginger and chilli – fresh/dried/sauce etc
  • Some fresh vegetables, e.g. carrots, broccoli, peas, peppers, mushrooms, bean sprouts…
  • Vegetables from making stock
  • Cooked chicken meat from making stock/roast leftovers
  • Chicken stock + water
  • Noodles (you could use pasta/rice)
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Prepare your fresh vegetables, peel if necessary and slice into long thin strips. Finely chop/grate the garlic, ginger and chilli (if using fresh).
  2. In a wide pan heat the oil on a medium heat and fry the onions followed by other vegetables. Cook gently so they don’t brown, until they’re slightly softened. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir in.
  3. Slice the vegetables from the stock and chop the cooked chicken into bitesize pieces, add them to the soup pan and stir in.
  4. Add the stock and top up with water so all the ingredients are covered. Bring to the boil them add the noodles, cook for as long as indicated on the noodle packet.

Vegetable Noodle Soup – use vegetable stock and add cashew nuts/tofu/egg instead of chicken.

This article first appeared in Narberth Breeze magazine and Saundersfoot Breeze magazine.

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Community Fridges in Pembrokeshire – a good excuse to make Glamorgan Sausages

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We have a great tradition of community spaces managed locally here in Narberth. With the Queens Hall, Bloomfield Centre, Bus Stop Youth Club and Swimming Pool to name just a few. These community resources are well used and valued. They offer a host of events and activities, save us from travelling elsewhere and encourage others from further away to visit our town. They are great assets in many ways.

Later this year we will be welcoming another community resource, with a community fridge opening at the Bloomfield Centre. Simply, community fridges are a resource for anyone to use. Volunteers collect food from local businesses, and people can donate food too. Chilled food goes in the fridge and ambient food on the shelves. ‘Best before’ dates are taken lightly but ‘use by’ dates strictly observed. Food safety is assured with an EHO food hygiene rating and regular checks are made by fridge monitors. It will be supported by the national charity Hubbub as part of their growing network of community fridges, with funding from The Bluestone Foundation and Arwain Sir Benfro LEADER.

Once the community fridge is up and running there will be a variety of volunteering roles. With people needed to monitor the community fridge, collect food from local businesses, and ensure records are kept up to date. Most important will be people using the community fridge, the food is for everyone to take, eat and value – this food is for eating! If you’d like to find out more, pop into Bloomfield and speak to Vicki, the Community Fridge Coordinator, or email her at: vicki.travers-milne [at] pembrokeshire.gov.uk

From the experience of the community fridge in Fishguard & Goodwick I think we may find that bread will be a common item in our community fridge..! To help you make sure you never waste bread at home here’s a classic Welsh recipe and tasty way to use up surplus bread. Glamorgan sausages are traditionally fried but I bake them as I find it easier and it’s healthier too. You can shape into sausages or smaller ‘bites’.

I sometimes make breadcrumbs from bits of bread we can’t eat in time, then freeze the breadcrumbs to use later. They’re handy to sprinkle on pasta bakes to make it extra crunchy, dry pan fried into crispy crumbs to sprinkle on salads, or to make this recipe. Traditionally these vegetarian sausages are flavoured with leeks but other vegetables can be substituted quite happily. Adding your favourite herbs or spices would be a tasty addition.

Glamorgan bites or sausages

Ingredients

  • 300g stale bread
  • 100g cheese (Caerphilly for authenticity!)
  • 3 eggs + dash of milk/water may be needed
  • 1 small leek (or onion/pepper/courgette/mushrooms…)
  • Seasoning – salt, pepper
  • Optional flavours e.g. 1 tsp mustard, herbs, spices

Method

  1. Wash and thinly slice the leek (or other veg), then lightly fry until softened.
  2. Blitz or grate the bread until it is breadcrumbs. Reserve one third for coating the Glamorgan bites later.
  3. Grate the cheese into a large bowl, beat in 2 eggs, add two thirds of the breadcrumbs and the leeks. Mix all the ingredients so they stick together, add a dash of milk/water if it’s dry or more breadcrumbs of it’s very sticky. Season to taste then form into 6 sausages or 20 bite-sized balls, place on a lined/greased baking tray and refrigerate for 15-30mins.
  4. Crack the remaining egg onto a plate and beat with a fork and a dash of milk/water until combined. Tip the reserved breadcrumbs onto another plate.
  5. Heat oven to 190oc/Gas 5. Remove the Glamorgan bites/sausages from the fridge, roll one at a time in the egg, then into the breadcrumbs and place back on the baking tray. When they’re all coated bake in the oven for 15-20mins until they’re golden brown.
  6. Serves 2 hungry people with side veg/salad, or 4 as a snack served with tomato sauce. Leftovers can be refrigerated/frozen and reheated when needed.
Glamorgan sausages
A traditional Welsh recipe making the most of an oft wasted ingredient.

This article first appeared in Narberth Breeze magazine. Did you spot the April fools if you’re local enough to read the printed issue?!

Reasons To Be Cheerful – Make your own kefir

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If you live in or around Narberth you may have been fortunate enough to join the wonderfully named Cheerful Project at some point over the past few years, if not there’s still time. Run by Span Arts, the Cheerful Project has brought creative activities and events to our corner of Pembrokeshire. Such as, the Queen Bee procession at Narberth Carnival, Pushing Up The Daisies (festival of living and dying) and the spectacular River of Lights lantern parade in Haverfordwest the past three Octobers.

Kefir grains
Kefir grains

Every month they host a Skill Share at Maenclochog Community Hall, on a pay-what-you-can basis. On Wednesday 7th March, 7-9pm, I will be sharing my milk kefir and kombucha making skills – book your place now! It will be an evening of tasting and a chance to have a go at making both drinks. Participants will be able to take home some starter culture for kefir and kombucha, with the knowledge and experience to begin fermenting at home.

The bacteria in kefir offer a number of health benefits – similar to those in ‘pro-biotic’ foods. These include, boosting the immune system in response to some disease microbes, breaking down cholesterol and reducing the formation of some carcinogens. As kefir ferments milk lactose, changing it into lactic acid, some people who can’t tolerate milk due to lactose can drink kefir. Anyone introducing fermented foods into their diet is advised to start with small quantities to test for tolerance and gradually introduce the new bacteria present in fermented foods.

For these recipes you will need some milk kefir ‘grains’, the starter culture for fermenting milk into kefir. Kefir grains grow regularly, and I am happy to share my surplus kefir grains, or you can buy kefir kits from health food shops, try The Ark in Haverfordwest (for Pembrokeshire-folk). In my experience kefir grains are most active in organic whole milk, I use milk from Narberth-based farmers co-operative Calon Wen. However, organic raw milk is ideal, for supplies try Mountain Hall Farm or Caerfai Farm, both in Pembrokeshire. Due to UK food regulations raw milk is only available to buy directly from the farm, visit Raw Milk for farms selling raw milk in England and Wales. Kefir can also be made with goat’s milk and milk alternatives such as coconut or oat milks.

Kefir (for 1-2 people)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon kefir grains

300ml milk

Method

Mix the kefir grains in a glass or ceramic container (not metal or plastic) and cover loosely to stop flies/dust getting in. Leave at room temperature for 24-48 hours until it has thickened to the consistency of yogurt (time will depend on temperature, 20c is ideal).

The kefir grains will rise to the top and should be easy to scoop out with a fork. Then pour the kefir into a glass, pouring through the fork tines to catch any remaining kefir grains. The kefir is ready to drink, it tastes tart/sour and may be a little effervescent. Repeat process and drink regularly to promote healthy gut bacteria.

More kefir-based recipes

Kefir can be quite an, ummmm, acquired taste. To make it more palatable, or just for a change, you can use kefir in other recipes. It can be used in place of yogurt in many recipes and you can make your own soft cheese too. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

Kefir and kefir smoothie
Kefir and kefir smoothie

Kefir Smoothie or Ice-lollies (for 2 people)

Ingredients

300ml kefir (or live/pro-biotic yogurt)

1 ripe banana

A handful of soft fruit (fresh/frozen/canned) e.g. berries, mango, apricot, plum etc

Method

Put all the ingredients into a jug/blender, blitz with a hand blender/food processor until smooth. Pour into glasses to serve. To make ice-lollies – pour smoothie into ice-lolly moulds, freeze until solid then serve.

Kefir cream cheeseKefir cream cheese

Ingredients

2 tablespoons kefir grains

1-2 litres milk

You will need

A large glass or ceramic container (not metal or plastic), something to cover it with, a large glass or ceramic bowl to collect the whey, a muslin cloth/tea towel to drain the curds and whey (sterilised in boiling water, then wrung out when cool enough to handle), a clip or colander/sieve for when draining the curds and whey.

Method

Place kefir grains in the jug, pour over milk and stir. Cover the kefir to keep dust and pests out. Leave it for 2-4 days, let time do the work!

After a day you should see some change in the kefir, it should have coagulated and may begin to separate into curds and whey with the kefir grains floating to the surface.

By days 2-4 the curds and whey should have noticeably separated, with the curds above the whey. The length of time will depend on the room temperature.

Line a bowl with a sterilised muslin cloth, clean tea towel or similar. Remove the kefir grains with a fork or by hand, most will have floated to the surface but some may be in with the curds – use your hand to feel for them and take them all out.

Pour the kefir curds and whey into the cloth lined bowl. Elevate the cloth and curds so the whey drains into the bowl (see photos below) or you could drain through a colander/sieve. Leave for 6-12 hours until it reaches the consistency you want. If the room is warm you may prefer to drain the curds and whey in the fridge.

The cream cheese is ready when it reaches your preferred consistency and is now ready to eat. You can eat it as it is, add salt or sugar to taste or use as an ingredient in another recipe. The whey is also a great addition to soups as a stock, can be used to make smoothies, and to make bread. The cream cheese and whey will keep in the fridge for a week and can also be frozen.

Kefir cream cheese step-by-step recipe

This article first appeared in Narberth Breeze magazine.

Winter picnics with recipes for Peepo Pizzas and Parsnip & Roast Garlic Soup

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Lung chilling air, azure skies, skeletal trees, crunchy grass. With darkness exceeding daylight at this time of year – and rain, going by wet winters past – perfect, crisp, clear days are to be celebrated. We get out when we get the chance, to enjoy the beaches, woods and hills.

For fresh adventures, Colby Woodland Garden has newly accessible paths over the road from the main grounds. There’s a map in the top car park, although the signposts along the paths are a work in progress (tip – take a photo of the map on your phone). This winter we’re planning to get up into the Preseli Hills (covered with a smattering of snow as I type!) as well as down to beaches we didn’t visit this summer. It may be a bit fresh for a sea-dip but winter picnics will be a treat.

Peepo pizza and soup beach picnic
Peepo Pizza and Roast Parsnip soup, Castle Beach, Tenby

A flask of soup to warm the soul and individual ‘peepo pizzas’ should motivate any moaners to get up and out. Peepo pizzas contain the filling better than their flat namesakes, making them easier to eat on the go. If you start these recipes early they can be ready in time for a picnic lunch, pizzas still warm. For anyone who hasn’t made bread or pizza dough before there are step-by-step photos below.

Peepo Pizzas

Ingredients (makes 6)

700g strong bread flour (white, brown or mixed)

1 sachet yeast

1 tsp salt

400g lukewarm water

Toppings, sliced/grated as necessary e.g: creme fraiche, apples, celery, walnuts, blue cheese, or tomato sauce, chorizo, onion, pepper, cheddar

Method (step-by-step photos below)

1 – In a large bowl mix flour, salt and yeast. Make a well in the centre, pour in water, mix until all ingredients are combined.

2 – Tip dough out and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Return dough to bowl, cover and leave for an hour until doubled in size.

3 – Tip dough out and cut into 6 pieces, knead into rounds, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

4 – Prepare topping ingredients. Heat oven to 220c.

5 – Stretch/roll the dough balls into rectangles about A5 size. Spread tomato sauce/crème fraiche along the middle length of the rectangle, add toppings and cheese. Lift the long edges together from either side and pinch together in the middle, top and bottom, sealing these sections together but leaving a couple of ‘peepo’ sections so you can see the toppings.

6 – Lift each peepo pizza onto a lined/greased baking tray, bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the bread is risen and golden and the cheese is melted and bubbling.

7 – To keep warm for your picnic wrap each peepo pizza in kitchen roll, wrap them all in a thick tea-towel &/ pack in an insulated coolbag (without chill packs!)

roasted garlic
Roast garlic cloves

Parsnip and Roast Garlic Soup (makes 1.5L, enough for 4 hungry or 6 less hungry adventurers)

Ingredients

1-2 bulbs of garlic (depending on your love of garlic!)

1 onion, peeled and diced small

1 stick celery, diced small

4 parsnips, peeled and diced small

1 tblsp butter

1 tblsp oil

1 glass white wine (optional)

1-2 stock cube(s) dissolved in 1L of boiling water

1 tsp dried/1 tblsp fresh thyme

Pinch salt & pepper

Method

1 – Separate the garlic bulbs into cloves, cut the base off, but leave skin on, each clove. Place on baking tray, drizzle oil over and roast in the oven at 180c for 10-15 mins until lightly golden and smelling sweet (I roast them as the oven warms up for the peepo pizzas). When they’re ready they should easily slip out of the papery skins.

2 – In a large pan melt the butter with a dash of oil, gently fry the onion and celery for 5 minutes until softening, add the parsnips and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the wine, and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol evaporates off (it will no longer smell boozy).

3 – Add the roasted garlic, thyme, stock, salt and pepper and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer with a lid on for 20-30 minutes until the parsnip is soft.

4 – Blitz smooth with a blender/food processor, add water/milk if too thick.

5 – Transfer to thermos flask(s) for the picnic.

Peepo Pizza step-by-step photo recipe

This article first appeared in Narberth Breeze magazine.

Find the free fruit & nut trees in Narberth

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Anyone who grows their own fruit and veg will know the joy of eating just picked fresh produce. And also the monotony of gluts..! Now is a perfect time of year to hole up in the kitchen for a preserve making session, with your own glut or seasonal produce which is cheap and plentiful.

Apples and cobnuts
Apples and cobnuts from Narberth Community Orchard and the Town Moor

A few years ago teams of volunteers planted an array of fruit and nut trees around Narberth. There are crab apples along the High Street, eating apples, pears, mulberry, sweet chestnut and cobnut trees in other spots like Bloomfield, the swimming pool, primary school, St Andrew’s churchyard and on the Town Moor. This free feast is there for the picking for everyone, for more information about these trees contact Geraldine Leach: 01834 450444 or g42leach [at] gmail.com

Narberth Community Orchard sml
Narberth Community Orchard & allotments on the southern edge of town

At Narberth Community Orchard, next to the allotments, there are around 70 apple trees, including Welsh heritage varieties, eaters, cookers and cider apples alongside pears, cherries, medlars, plums, a mulberry tree and cobnut, walnut and sweet chestnut trees. This stunning community asset will improve as it matures! If you’d like to know more about Narberth Community Orchard you can visit their Facebook page, Friends of Narberth Community Orchard – FONCO, or contact FONCO volunteer Amber Wheeler via email: amberfood [at] icloud.com

Chutney recipe

The sweet, vinegary, spiced tang of chutney sparks up a sandwich and stirred into a stew can really lift the flavours. With whatever fruit and vegetables you have, use a rough ratio of 4:2:1 of fruit&/vegetables: sugar: vinegar.

This recipe reliably makes a preserve that keeps for months – indeed it’s best to mature chutney, allowing the flavours to blend and mellow. Make a batch this month and it’ll be perfect for Christmas (only to be gifted to people who you know will appreciate it, not everyone’s a fan!)

Ingredients

1kg fruit – apples/pears/quince/plums/banana, etc…

500g veg – onions/carrots/marrow/tomatoes, etc…

500g dried fruit – sultanas/figs/dates/apricots, etc…

1kg sugar (brown gives a richer flavour, white just sweetness)

500ml vinegar (cider/white wine are milder, red wine/malt stronger)

1-2 tblsp spices – cinnamon and cloves will add a Christmassy note, or any aromatics you like e.g. mustard seeds/ginger/chilli/cardamom, etc…

1 tsp salt and pepper

You will need 6-8 500g jars, or to equivalent capacity if different size jars. If re-using old jars ensure the lids are vinegar proof inside, i.e. with a plastic coating and seal. Sterilise the jars and lids in a dishwasher OR wash in hot soapy water and dry at a low heat in the oven (120C/Gas 1). Cooked chutney should go into warm, sterilised jars.

Method

1 – Peel any fruit and veg with a tough skin, cut out and discard any bruised bits. Chop fruit and veg into even sized chunks. Small chunks will cook quicker and may break down into a mush, larger chunks are more likely to retain their shape, mix and match to suit your preference. If you are using large dried fruit, chop these into small pieces.

2 – Place the fruit &/ veg into a large, high-sided pan, add the spices, salt, pepper and vinegar and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the fruit and veg softens (a knife/skewer slides in).

3 – Turn the heat down, add the sugar and stir to mix well, stir until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 30mins-1hr until the chutney is thick, stir occasionally to ensure the chutney doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

4 – Use a clean jug or ladle to pour the hot chutney into the warm, sterilised jars and tighten the lid onto each jar. Store the chutney in a cool dark spot for a month or two, up to a year, once opened refrigerate and use in a month-ish.

This article first appeared in Narberth Breeze magazine.

Share the spoils and make your own Fruity Kombucha

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This article is brought to you with the idea of sharing… and asking you to get involved! Regular readers will know I’m keen to make the most of food – it’s what I do at work and try to practise at home. With surplus food and waste a growing concern, Transition Surplus Food Project has started the Pembrokeshire-wide ‘Make a Meal of It’ outreach project.

One solution to surplus food is Community Fridges, which are popping up across the country. A simple concept; food is donated and everyone in the community is welcome to take what they want. Food may come from food businesses, allotments gluts or households. Volunteers monitor the stock daily and ensure it is all fit and safe to eat with any waste being responsibly disposed of.

Inspirational environmental charity Hubbub are supporting a network of Community Fridges, and we could set one up in Narberth. The benefit would be ensuring good food is shared and eaten with the happy side-effect of saving money too. Would you like to volunteer to establish and run a Narberth Community Fridge, or know of a business that could donate food? Please email me if you’re interested: projectstbg [at] gmail.com

Fruity Kombucha

Kombucha is fermented tea, it’s refreshing and can be lightly effervescent, especially if you flavour it. To make your own kombucha you’ll need a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeast), aka a ‘mother’, to ferment the tea.

I’ve been making kombucha for a while and have SCOBY to share as more is created every time a new batch brews. If you’d like some SCOBY to make your own kombucha get in touch through the Olio app or email me (see above)

Kombucha sm web

You will need:

A large jug with lid/tea towel to cover or Kilner-style drinks dispenser (to hold 5 litres)

4 x 750ml bottles with lids/swing tops

Ingredients:

Kombucha SCOBY and about 200ml of the previous batch of kombucha

4 regular tea bags/4 tblsp loose tea

4 tblsp sugar

1 litre boiling water + extra cold water

Optional flavourings: 200g fruit, finely diced/mashed (berries, apples, rhubarb, ginger, etc, you can mix and match) or 4 large elderflowers/rose petals/edible fragrant petals

Method:

– Brew the tea bags and sugar in the boiling water.

– When cool, remove the tea bags/loose tea and pour into your jug/drinks dispenser. Add the SCOBY and kombucha, top up with cold water so your container is about three-quarters full, cover.

– The kombucha will take 3-10 days to ferment, depending on the room temperature and dilution of the tea. A new SCOBY will form on the surface. Taste your kombucha every day until it is to your liking – it starts off quite sweet, becoming more acidic/vinegary over time (and very slightly increasing in alcohol, up to about 1%).

– When it is to your taste siphon the kombucha into bottles, you can drink it as it is, refrigerate to preserve and slow further fermentation.

OR

– Flavour it during a second fermentation. Add 50g fruit to each bottle, or flower petals, and top with kombucha then secure the lid. Leave to steep at room temperature for about 4 days. Refrigerate to preserve and slow further fermentation. Take care when opening as it can be lively (as my kitchen ceiling can attest!)

– Repeat the process with a fresh brew of sweet tea. Share your excess SCOBY or put on a compost heap/plants or dispose of with your food waste.

This article first appeared in Narberth Breeze magazine.

Celebrating a local industry – Narberth Breeze magazine article June-July 2017

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It’s the start of summer which means Pembrokeshire Fish Week is back! Celebrating our fishing industry, it’s a chance to meet some of the people involved and sample the abundance of fish and shellfish landed on our shores. The opening day usually takes place in Milford Haven, although this year it’s relocating. Head to Lawrenny on Saturday 24th June for the big opening event and then on Sunday 25th June Scolton Manor are hosting a nautically themed family fun day, with lots more going on throughout the week.

A highlight for me last year was watching fishermen from Narberth-based Albatross Fisheries expertly descale and fillet their catch. A collective of local fisherman, they specialise in seabass caught using rod and line. This fishing method reduces the impact on seabass stocks and is recognised by the Marine Conservation Society as being a more sustainable method of fishing as it also reduces bycatch of other species.

For our annual Fish Supper at Transition Cafe last year we cooked catch from Fishguard fishermen, using fish they had in abundance, or more unusual bycatch which they found difficult to sell (a shame as they were tasty to eat). We were slightly overwhelmed by the quantity of spider crabs we received – they are a prized delicacy for some but time consuming to prepare with their long spidery legs! We were told that stocks of spider crabs are increasing on our coastline, potentially reducing stocks of other species of crab. Look out for them if you’re a fan of crab meat, their shells are beautiful too.

Pembrokeshire fish cakes

Pairing delicious Pembrokeshire potatoes with locally caught fish. This recipe is a guide and was inspired by a fridge raid, making the most of leftovers (my common theme!) For veggie or meat versions remove fish &/ add cooked meat to the mix. For speed you can also omit the stuffing &/ breadcrumbing, just shape and fry. I served them with a green salad and homemade tomato sauce. Fishcakes can be frozen (cooked/uncooked), when defrosted fry or reheat in the oven.

Fishcakes

Ingredients

Lots – mashed potato

Some – cooked vegetables, chopped small

Some – cooked fish/shellfish, chopped small

1-2 tbsp tartare sauce/mayonnaise

To fill: Cheese &/ chorizo, chopped small

To coat: 3+ tbsp flour, 1-2 eggs, 5+ tbsp breadcrumbs

Oil for frying

Method

Mix together mashed potato, fish, cooked veg, with a spoonful of tartare sauce/mayo. Add more tartare sauce/mayo if mix seems dry, you want it to hold together (add breadcrumbs if it’s too wet).

Flour your hands and spoon a dollop of potato mix onto one hand. Place a bit of cheese &/ chorizo in the centre then cover with a bit more potato mix. Shape into a patty and put on one side. Continue with the rest of the potato mix. Put into the fridge for 30mins if you’ve time so they firm up (not essential).

Get three plates/similar. Onto the first heap a pile of flour. Second plate crack an egg onto and whisk it up with a fork. On the third plate pour breadcrumbs. (Afterwards, any leftover egg can be scrambled and breadcrumbs can be fried and sprinkled over salads/ soup).

Now ‘pane’ your fish cakes. One at a time, coat a fish cake in flour first, then egg, then breadcrumbs, put on one side. Heat a frying pan with a thin slick of oil until hot, reduce heat to medium and fry your fishcakes in batches. As they’re cooked transfer to the oven, 160°C, whilst you fry the rest. They will all benefit from 5mins in the oven to make sure they’re heated through (esp if you’ve made thick fish cakes).

This article first appeared in Narberth Breeze magazine. Apologies for posting it a bit late on here for anyone interested in attending the events (book next year in your diary! It’s usually last weekend in June-early July).