Swansea seafood festival

I was asked to showcase some regional fish dishes at this year’s Swansea seafood festival held inside Swansea market a local produce shoppers paradise.

It’s iconic victoriana building is full of character and inside you will find both the stall holders and shoppers full of character too.

It really is a comforting place to shop and to spend time chatting to people there, some stalls are in their third generation of trading, testament to the passion and commitment to their love of regional fresh food.

My first experience of eating cockles was in Swansea market when my grandparents would shop there in the mid 70s, they would buy fresh cockles and give them to me while I got pushed around the stalls in my buggy I would love them with black pepper and lots of malt vinegar. Roll the clock forward 20 years and I would be doing the same with each of my three children.

Cooking live at Swansea market

Laverbread cob bread

Here are the recipes of the dishes which I made at this years festival.

Cockle chowder with laverbread cob

This is such a comforting one pot dish.

You will need to buy fresh cockles in their shells which have been washed thoroughly.

1kg fresh live washed cockles

2 rashers streaky bacon or pancetta

1 onion chopped

1 small leek

1 Bay leaf

Sprig of thyme

2 sticks celery

2 medium potatoes peeled & chopped

300ml chicken or fish stock

300 ml full cream milk

100ml double cream

100ml white wine

2 tbsp plain flour

4 tbsp single cream

METHOD

Soak the cockles overnight and discard any that are open or cracked.

Place a saucepan over a high heat and cook the cockles in approximately 150mls water with a lid on giving a little shake for 4-5 minutes untill the shells have all opened drain & set aside.

Heat the butter in the pan and fry the bacon until the fat renders down with the onion and celery until softened, add in the bay leaf & thyme, then the flour and potatoes, wine, stock, milk then cook for 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

While the broth is simmering pick out the cockles from their shells, add in the leak & cream and gently simmer for a couple of minutes.

Check for seasoning & add in the cockles and parsley and continue to cook for a minute.

Serve with a couple of the cockles in the shells for decoration and garnish with chopped parsley.

Buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon & dill.

175g buckwheat flour

2 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

300mls milk

Knob of butter

For the topping

Small pack of smoked salmon

1 tub crème fraiche

Bunch of dill

Black pepper

Half lemon

Heat a griddle

Mix together the eggs, flour, milk, baking powder into a bowl until a thick batter forms.

Rub a little butter over the griddle and spoon a teaspoon at a time of the batter, when bubbles form flip over. Set aside.

Dollop a little crème fraiche onto the Blini & tare a little salmon and place on top then grind some black pepper and garnish with a little dill & squeeze of lemon.