We¹ve got a regular who reckons he spent 30 years at sea, although I¹m not sure that a couple of rude tattoos and a voice like Popeye¹s is proof enough. He keeps asking me to give him a hand splicing the mainbrace, whatever that is. Still, nothing ventured but I need to sort out my fish and seafood specials for the summer first, there¹s only so many ways you can serve scampi.
Brakes Lightly Dusted Squid
I¹m not sure I¹d want to annoy a squid by lightly dusting it with savoury flour, but the fearless tentacle-wranglers at Brakes have managed it. The coating gives the squid rings and tentacles a unique flavour and visual appeal it goes well in a tapas menu, apparently, but I think we¹ll just try it as a starter. I don¹t think our regulars are ready for tapas just yet they¹re not quite over the paella incident of '87.
Brakes: 0845 606 9090, www.brake.co.uk
Young's Natural Range
I know I want to add a bit of a variety, but it may be a bit of a leap to go straight from prawn cocktail as a starter to Patagonian scallops. It¹s one of the new fresh fish lines in the Young¹s Natural Range, which also includes yellowfin tuna steaks, Cornish sardines, and hake fillets. The scallops are sourced from the sandy sea beds of the Marine Stewardship Council-approved fishery in Antarctic Bay, caught frozen within 30 minutes of leaving the water, and cook beautifully from the freezer. I¹ll be on more familiar ground with the hake fillets just as good with chips as cod, and also from an MSC-certified sustainable fishery.
Authentic Food Company
I blame Easyjet. Customers swan off for a fortnight, and suddenly my fish pie¹s not good enough for them. Thankfully, the Authentic Food Company has developed a selection of seafood starters and main courses in its Mediterranean and Oriental ranges. The Mediterranean seafood dishes include salmon in a chardonnay sauce which sounds just the thing for our more sophisticated lunchtime crowd. The Oriental dishes include classic Dim Sum such as prawn sesame toast, royal Thai seafood spring rolls and Chinese breaded fish balls. It might even keep them out of the Peking Palace down the road.
Authentic Food Company: www.theauthenticfoodcompany.com
Lyons Seafoods Ready to Cook range
I don¹t mind the odd shortcut Lyons Seafoods has launched its new Ready to Cook range with king prawn & mussel marinière and the salmon & king prawn Florentine, both of which are likely to be regulars on our specials board.
The king prawn & mussel marinière is made with easy-peel farmed warm-water king prawns and Irish rope-grown mussels in a classic creamy sauce featuring garlic, onion, and dry white wine flavours. Salmon Florentine can be served with potatoes dauphinoise and French beans, or even served on a bed of freshly made tagliatelle for an Italian touch and why not? I wonder how my sailor boy feels about that.
Lyons Seafoods: 01985 224312, www.lyons-seafoods.com
Brakes Chip Shop Battered range
The fancy stuff is all very well, but sometimes people just want the old favourites. Brakes has added chip shop-battered cod and chip shop- battered haddock skinless, boneless fillets wrapped in a crisp chip shop style batter, available frozen. Frying tonight!
Brakes 0845 606 9090, www.brake.co.uk