Skip to main content

Soused Islay Mackerel & Cockles

I recently spent a fantastic 3 days on Islay, Scotland, courtesy of
Bruichladdich & The Botanist Gin, as part of their International Foragers Summit.
This gathering brought foragers from afar including; South Africa, Germany, US & the UK. We foraged, explored, drank, laughed, cooked, ate, discussed, felt and sensed this beautiful isle as much as we could in the time allocated - we did pretty well too!
Here's a dish I created using mackerel caught by us all literally hours before, the cockles were foraged the previous day and the dish, as with everything else that wee, was shared by all that evening as we got merrily blotted. Dehydrated Velvet Horn accompanied this - imagine the most amazing 'wotsit' you've ever tasted yet oceanic flavoured....

Ingredients:
Fresh Mackerel (filleted/de-boned)
Fresh Cockles (cooked/shells removed), 5 mins in a hot pan will cook them.

Pickling Liquor:
Apple Cider Vinegar,
Onion,
Sweet Cicely,
Ground Ivy,
Carrageen,
Elderflower,
Lemon Peel,
Alexander Seed,
Peppercorns,
Wild Garlic Seed,
Honey,
Sugar,
Salt

Method:
1) Lay the Mackerel fillets skin-side up in a flat bottomed vessel/bowl & add the cockles.

2) Place the pickling liquor  ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring to ensure honey/sugar dissolves. Once brought to boil, remove from heat and allow to cool and infuse.

3) Once cooled, bring back to required temperature (60/70/80/90/100 degrees. This range of temperatures will provide different results, if unsure opt for boiling and tweak next time) and pour over the Mackerel, leave to cool. Once cooled serve.

These were served with bread/butter/oatcakes and de-hydrated Oyster Thief (courtesy of Mark Williams). Great as a social, mid-drinks evening snack, or however you prefer :) Sousing is basically a quick hot pickling technique, the fish should be partially not fully cooked by the heat of the liquor and there are a variety of ways of flavouring the pickling liquor.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Magnolia

This not so wild, exotic, exuberant flower seems to have made itself quite at home in suburban gardens around the UK.
Aside from it's stunning, colourful appearance, it's edible.

Its flavour is somewhat exotic too, deeply floral and perfumed, with notes of peppery, ginger warmth, bitter chicory and a sort of creaminess to boot.

Magnolia is from an ancient lineage of plants, apparently hanging loose prior to the appearance of bees and it's thought the flowers evolved to be pollinated by beetles. With over 200 species among it's ranks, it has a large ancestry. From what I can gather, all species are edible and I've read/heard nothing to counter this.

The flowers usually develop and open in mid spring (I've mostly gathered them previously in the month May) but the unseasonably warm winter weather, particularly the mercury scorching 20 degree temperatures we experienced toward the end of February (2019), led to an early flowering of this beautiful plant.

The seaso…

Japanese Knotweed: The Terribly Terrific Tasty Terrestrial Triffid

It really is one of those 'love, hate' relationships, depending on which side of the proverbial fence
you find yourself.

Personally, I love Japanese Knotweed. I love it's potential as a diverse food & drink resource, I'll delve deeper into that arena later, and I actually find it to be a striking and handsome plant.

I've read some very interesting academic and scientific literature, both mainstream and non, which raised many a question regarding Japanese Knotweed; how it's perceived professionally, and thus culturally, and how this determines and affects it's subsequent treatment by humans. I heartily recommend the book 'The New Wild' by Fred Pearce - a book all conservationists and environmentalists should read.

Like so many of us, I too was previously led to believe that Fallopia japonica was a botanical nightmare; especially in relation to its negative impacts on our countryside, wildlife and urban dwellings, and eradication seemed the only a…

Fermented Japanese Quince Pickle

I love lime pickle but I love my Japanese Quince pickle even more! Lime pickle is great, it smacks your taste buds all over the place and I like that, it's salty, sour, tart, citrusy and then those spices come in to play with that amazing heat toward to the end. So after last years Japanese Quince harvest (end October, early November) an idea struck me, why not make a pickle akin to lime pickle, quince are tart and have that sour, citrus appeal but with a more delicious attitude, so I set about making one. After chopping and removing the seeds, I salted the quince to start a short fermentation process, I later added a range of spices and have left it alone ever since (well, not quite true, I have had a few sneak previews to taste how it's been getting along, who wouldn't and besides, I'm making it :) ). The initially hard quince have softened nicely and they have become beautifully infused with the spices while retaining that distinctive quince flavour and aroma. Ferme…