A new book, For The Love of the Sea, has been published in the hopes of shining a spotlight on the British Fishing Industry, and to celebrate the wonderful men and women that work up and down the UK. While author, Jenny Jefferies, was researching the fishing community, she found many of the fisheries we love on the Northern coast – and two of our favourites have shared a recipe of theirs for us to try at home.
Following the success of her book, For The Love of the Land, in summer last year, which celebrated farmers and their food through a collection of recipes and stories from all over the British Isles, this second cook book showcases our incredible seafood community.
‘I come from an urban background and I want to help bridge the gap between producer and consumer, city and country and hopefully educate and inform in an interesting and accessible way,’ Jenny tells us. 'I have two lovely children who are five and nearly three and I really wanted to leave a little legacy for them as well. I’m really passionate about food and eating with friends and family, and the social connection that food brings. I also really enjoy the history of where food comes from.
‘I really wanted to dive (pardon the pun) into the world of sea and fishing. It’s now happened to come out in a time where it’s quite poignant (and a delicate situation in the political sphere). But my main aim was to highlight all the people within the industry who help put seafood on our tables.’
For The Love of the Sea showcases the hard work and dedication of the men and women who work in the British fishing industry, as well as those who support them, including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Among the businesses and individuals featured are: L. Robson & Sons, producers of the legendary traditional oak-smoked Craster Kippers in Northumberland, and Colman's Fish & Chips of South Shields, and the owners of each of these favourites from our region have shared their thoughts and a delicious recipe.
‘The coast is a rich resource and it was a case of looking at the map and picking the best of the best,’ Jenny says. ‘These are fishermen and women, wholesalers, suppliers, producers, sailors and scientists who are really flying the flag and helping people fall in love with British seafood. It was quite an extensive research and I got in touch with people who I thought would be able to contribute a really lovely story (a whole journey from net to plate). Once word got out about the book, people were actually asking me if they could be included in the book which is incredibly flattering.’
In recent years the brilliant variety of our native species has been overshadowed by imports and exotic fish which we’re finding on our supermarket shelves. But this book aims to encourage everyone to fall back in love with British fish and seafood again, making the most of our rich coastal waters and highlighting the skills and passion of those in the industry. It also champions sustainability, which is ever so important in the industry.
‘Sustainability basically means meeting our own needs without compromising the needs of future generations,’ Jenny says. ‘It’s really important for the public to understand the whole process and the hard work that goes into being sustainable in the fishing industry. Choosing the MSC food label is a great place to start.’
The RNLI are also featured in the book and the chief executive has shared their story showing how they help the industry thrive. 'They’re well known for saving lives at sea and I believe that where there’s an opportunity to earn, there’s an opportunity to give,’ Jenny tells us. ‘So I’m giving 22 percent of my profits from the book to the RNLI. They really fly the flag for helping people and I’m really proud to be a part of that.
‘The recipes in the book are straight forward and accessible. If I can do it, anyone can. For takeaway, I love cod from a fish and chip shop on a Friday night, like I’m sure many families do. I recommend everyone in the North goes to their local fishmonger and asks for advice and for tips. The main thing is to keep shopping local and buying sustainably.’
For The Love of the Sea is a 192 page hardback and is available to purchase from Amazon, all good book stores, mezepublishing.co.uk and jennyjefferies.co.uk