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  • Fish is the Dish


    Fish is the DishWords Dawn Cromar / Image Fish is the Dish

    It’s got a reputation for being difficult to prepare, but Dawn Cromar caught up with the women who are out to put seafood back on the menu . . .

    We all know that eating fish regularly is good for us; not only are most varieties low in fat, they are also packed with nutrients.

    We are advised to eat oily fish in particular, as it is packed with Omega 3 fatty acids which provide numerous health benefits. But the thought of preparing a fish dish can be daunting, particularly for someone who doesn’t cook often or if you are catering for children.

    This issue is currently being tackled by Seafish, the UK industry authority for seafood. It has enlisted the help of mums to create a website to encourage more people to include seafood in their diets.

    Fish is the Dish, includes simple recipe ideas and videos demonstrating how to prepare seafood dishes. The website, which went live in October 2011, also features an area for readers to share tips and recipes and to enter competitions.

    Marketing executive at Seafish, Jo Dunlop, says the perception that seafood is very difficult to prepare is being quashed as bloggers see the easy tips and recipes available. “There are over 100 species (of fish) on sale in the UK and as a mother, I know it’s easy to get stuck in a rut as to what you know the family will eat,” she said.

    “Fish is the Dish is all about chatting to mums online.  This website is designed to inspire them into cooking something different for the family.”

    Professional chef and mum Jacqueline O’Donnell has made a series of videos to appear on the site that shows how to prepare and cook seafood. She said: “As a chef I know how easy seafood is to cook, but as a mum I also know there are barriers to cooking it regularly for the family. I hope my top tips and recipe ideas will inspire parents across the UK to put seafood on the mealtime menu more often.”

    While many people may think preparing a seafood dish will be time consuming, Jo says there are lots of simple fish dishes. “It’s the ultimate fast food,” she continued. “You can cook it in minutes in the microwave and also cook it from frozen.”

    Jo has received an exceptional response to the Fish is the Dish website and says people are surprised at the number of fish dishes that can be prepared. “We found that when we asked people, it’s not even just that they don’t know how to cook fish, it’s what to serve it with. You can serve seafood with all different kinds of ingredients. When experimenting, have a look at the recipes and tips on our website or ask your fishmonger for advice.”

    Jo also believes seafood can be introduced at a young age; even when weaning babies onto solid food. “There are lots of things you can do; coldwater prawns (the small ones that you might find in a prawn cocktail) for example, make great finger food for wee ones. Also, something like plaice with sweet potato and carrot mash was a favourite in our house. Smoked seafood can be eaten from 18 months; it has a higher salt content.”

    Involving children in the preparation of food can help when trying to get them to eat new dishes, as Jo adds: “My son, at two and a half, can be a little fickle sometimes, saying he doesn’t like dinner time. Pushing the boundaries, but it’s not that he doesn’t like what I’ve put in front of him. However, when he helps – with something like my fish cakes – he makes them into shapes he wants and helps to do the egg wash. He loves it and invariably on these days we will have a clean plate.”

    Check out Fish is the Dish at, which is also on Twitter @Fishisthedish and Facebook.

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