Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Hey you, it's good to see you: of fish and family

Picture courtesy of Google images

Lately I seem to be diversifying the blog a bit, well, either that or forgetting to post. Meal planning Monday I'm looking at you. As my fellow Guidery readers will know it's full on camp/ outdoor/ jubilee/ Olympics activities time.
So today I want to talk about two things; fish and family.

A couple of weeks back BBC2 aired the programme The London Markets: Billingsgate which looked at the changing face of the fish market. A fish market I know all too well, albeit not in person. I'm fortunate enough to know it because it houses our family business, and several of my family therein.

Prior to the programme airing I'd had several heads up about it from my mum and cousins reminding me to watch as we knew it featured both the business and specifically one of my cousins.

Truthfully I wanted to watch, not just because of the family connection but also, as a foodie, fish is something I take a real interest in. People are often surprised at my skills and adeptness with a sharp knife and some fish, and my ability to take most seafood in my stride. I tend not to blog to excessively about the fish I eat, but have made a resolution (late, I know) to change that. Some of the fish dishes I make are very simple, easy ways to add a difference to your weekly meals. Many I've grown up eating. And most, are incredibly thrifty. As much as I love moules marineres, prawn dishes and smoked salmon (oh how I adore smoked salmon) I tend to keep those in reserve for special occaisions.

Given our family history it's unsurprising that I'm quite serious when I say I was pretty much weaned on fish, and my disgust at fish fingers at a very early age delighted my lovely Grandad (see below). We've always been lucky to have access to fresh fish. I remember being at a New Years Eve party with several of my cousins (I certainly wasn't more than 5 or 6) as we stood around a bowl deftly shelling prawns - a skill I still possess to this day.

So, the message of this post. Get yourself out of bed bright and early, and get yourself to Billingsgate (but not on Sunday or Monday as it's closed) to Leleu and Morris specifically *cough* try some new fish, and support the oldest of London's markets in this amazing year. There will be fish you've never heard of, fish you can't even imagine and it's best to buy if you're planning on cooking larger quantities as for all the things Billingsgate is, it isn't your local fishmonger (that said, I wouldn't be above smiling sweetly and seeing where it got me - just don't tell my cousins I said that. They will kill me!)

And as much as I wanted to insert one here - I couldn't find a clip on youtube of my cousin Mark - but I completely agree with him about pollock. I know that as fish goes it's one we should be eating,  but I recently pulled a fish curry recipe that I was going to post the other week because quite frankly it tasted foul and ended up in the bin. Definitely the tracksuit wearing, Jeremy Kyle watching, cheeseburger eating fish, and I'm incredibly proud that it's a member of my family that stood up and said it.

I've written and re-written this post numerous times - originally it was tapped out on my phone as an emotional response full of pride to a programme showing people I love doing something that speaks to me just as a member of their family but also as a member of the foodie community. I've tried to make it less gushing, more measured and to have a point to it. Did you miss that? Go, visit, buy fish! And in the meantime, I'll get started on the mackerel and haddock languishing sadly in my freezer. I'll even bribe M to take some photos of me prepping it for any upcoming fishy posts.

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