Dan The Fish Man

The Devon Food Book - linking the landscape to the food on your plate

Devon produces some of the finest foods in Britain, from meat to fish and shellfish, cheese, clotted cream and vegetables, not to mention top class beers, cider and wines.

The food writer Carol Trewin worked hard to promote local food and drink in Devon. She understood that the quality of food on our plates is intimately connected with how we farm and fish, and with the unique nature of Devon’s landscapes. It’s a tragedy for everyone who cares about food that she died recently after a three-year battle with leukaemia.

What we do have though is her brand new publication ‘The Devon Food Book’. Lavish and colourful, it explores the stories of some of the people who are part of the crusade to promote high quality local foods in our region. I’m delighted and honoured to be included in the book. It makes a fascinating read. We learn how our local food culture and landscapes have evolved together to create a unique and exciting mix of food and drink. Included are delicious recipes from some of the county’s most celebrated chefs.

‘The Devon Food Book’ is a hardback and priced at £25. Buy it at your local bookshop or from me on my stall. It's the perfect Christmas present!

Planned forthcoming events in 2011

An informal celebration of Devon foods at Yeoldon House Hotel, Northam

Yeoldon House’s Brian Steele and I will be cooking up a selection of fine Devon local foods for you to taste and enjoy.We’ll be starting with a selection of delicious local smoked fish. Then for the main course we’ll be creating a mouth-watering dish of mussels in celebration of the local mussel season. There’ll be a fascinating cheese-tasting session, with a brief introduction to fine cheeses by cheesemonger Derek Stratton from Holsworthy.The food will be complemented by an enthralling wine tasting – wine expert Ron Harris of Harbour Vintners will be offering you invaluable insights into how to choose and select wines for different types of food. Details of date and time to follow.

Saturday Fish Lovers’ Lunch Club at the Jack-in-the-Green, near Exeter

I enjoyed a superb meal in this restaurant very recently. I heartedly recommend it for its excellent food and service. Details of date and time to follow.

Saturday Fish Lovers’ Lunch Club at Gidleigh Park

Michael Caines will be welcoming us back for another excellent day out. Details of date and time to follow.


Fish workshops at the Appledore Fish Dock

You won’t want to miss these special events! Starting in the New Year I’ll be holding fish workshops for beginners and experts alike at the new Appledore Fish Dock. Dates to be announced.

Preparing and cooking fish can seem a bit daunting. I’m keen to share with you some of the culinary and fish skills I’ve acquired down the years, and I’m sure you’ll find it’s easier than you thought and highly enjoyable.

Included will be a tour of the excellent new facilities at Appledore for landing local fish; a hands-on workshop in which we’ll prepare a delicious lunch of local fish and seafood together - I'll teach you some of the skills you need to make the most of fish cuisine. You’ll learn filleting and how to deal with shellfish, and you’ll gain insights into fishermen’s paraphernalia including nets and lobsterpots.

The cost is just £45 plus VAT for a four-hour session, which includes lunch and a little wine.

We’re keen to hold more and more community workshops at the Fish Dock and to establish it as a recognised base for Devon fish excellence. So why not come along and join in the fun? Just bring an apron and some enthusiasm! Details of dates and times to follow.

A superb meal and a great day out at Rick Stein’s

I’m delighted that my Saturday Fish Lovers’ Lunch Club events are growing more and more popular. This month around sixty of us made a welcome return to Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant in the picturesque Cornish fishing village of Padstow.

Rick is my fish food hero. His talented head chef is from Brittany, and he created a special menu to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Rick’s famous Padstow seafood restaurant.

I chose tasty red gurnard quenelles (technically a very difficult dish to cook) followed by seafood thermidor. This latter classic dish has stood the test of time and contains sole, monkfish, scallops and prawns, in a creamy sauce and a crust of breadcrumbs and cheese.

I asked Rick Stein’s sommelier to suggest the perfect red wine to go with our Padstow dishes, and he recommended an excellent Pinot Noir. We finished our meal off with some delicious puddings.

And all for a special Lunch Club price of just £29.50. So a grand day was had by all!

Join us at the Rick Stein cookery School

Some of us are returning for a special fish cookery day at the Rick Stein Cookery School on 23rd January. If you’d like to join us, make your booking with Amy at reservations@rickstein.com

Support for me from young Jasmine

I have to show you this lovely little drawing by a Bideford 7-year old, Jasmine Fey. ‘Sorry you can’t stand outside Somerfields’ she says (we now know it’s now a branch of the Co-op). But isn’t it heartening that everyone, from the oldest to the youngest, seems to appreciate how important traditional shopping is to a town?

Let’s make sure that the vital business generated for the local economy by our small shops and traders isn’t encroached on any further!

Co-op u-turn over Mill Street stall

Monday 11/10/10

Bideford supermarket in U-turn decision.

Following an overwhelming show of support by my regular customers and from a large number of Bideford shoppers, I'm delighted that the Co-op have agreed that I can carry on trading from my regular Friday morning pitch outside their Mill Street supermarket.

I’m truly heartened by the staggering level of feeling that this issue has generated over the last few days. I’m grateful, too, to Roger Johnson, Torridge District Council's lead member for tourism, who gave me vital help and support. Roger says: ‘I'm delighted that Dan and I were able to convince the Area Manager of the Co-op of the benefit of having him trading in Mill Street, not just for Bideford but also for the extra trade he brings to their business.’

I’d like to thank the Co-op for thinking again, and reversing their decision to remove me from the pitch I‘ve had for over ten years. I’m looking forward to continuing to serve my customers with top quality locally caught fresh fish. It’s good news for me, and good news for our local fishermen.

So thank-you Bideford!

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