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Scallops! (That’s not an offal, you cry!)

4 Apr

I went to see my Mum in Norfolk yesterday and because I am her poor daughter, she gave me half a bag of her supermarket scallops as a treat. What a lovely Mum! On the way home (4 hour journey) I heard ‘Costing the Earth’ on Iplayer. The episode is linked below and looks at how the Southern Ocean around South Georgia has its fish stocks under the tightest supervision and control in the world.

Costing the Earth

As I was cooking tonight, I felt quite uneasy. What if I had through thoughtlessness and excitability, forgotten follow some of the first discoveries I made with this blog (ah, the eel episode)? Where was the packet? Under some DISGUSTING mank in the bin – not going there again. Quickly, I went to get my kindle to check my pdf of the Sustainable Fish Guide. Alas, my kindle broke on Monday and the new one isn’t set up for wireless yet. Now, my scallops are close to being overdone. Oh woe!

Reader, I ate them. With the promise to check about scallops in my engorged post-“Chilli Scallop and Pattypan Squash Pasta” coma. You’ll be glad to know, that the Marine Stewardship Council lists all the fish and seafood products that it lends its label to. The label looks like this.

Keep your eyes peeled for it – if you are at all concerned about whether your fish is sustainably sourced – if you’re not that’s OK too, but I hope you’ll start to notice it more over the coming years. The label means that the fish comes from a Marine Stewardship Council certificated fishery. This means that every fishery that wants the label must be a sustainable one. The guidelines go along the chain of sale, so a producer has to ensure that only MSC sustainable fish ends up, for example, in their fishcakes. I think this is all very interesting. However, one thing to bear in mind is this DOES NOT COVER FARMED FISH. However, I did read somewhere, that a mark of good fish farming practice is being introduced.

I was lucky. My scallops were from a MSC cerificated Tesco packet.

Phew!

The MSC website is very detailed. There is a page dedicated to scallops under the ‘Fish you can eat’ byline. What I am going to look out for now is that scallops I buy come from the Isle of Man. Food miles isn’t something I think about a huge amount (and I know I ought to), but I saw this new blog today from someone who is dedicating themselves to only eating British food for a year (including spices!). As a result I’m going to try and bear things like that more in mind. Eating, if you think about, is very complex!

There are lessons to be learnt from Alice! We should be more like Mother Oyster than the Walrus …

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A condemned woman …

2 Jan

So, my visitation to the world of offal formally began on January 1st. Now I have just another 365 days (stupid leap year) to carry out this life experiment (does that make me sound like an idiot?) to its conclusion.

On New Year’s Eve I had my Last Supper and celebrated the end of regular cuts of meat with a delicious FILLET STEAK at the Stubbing Wharf in Hebden Bridge. Unfortunately I have no photos of this beautiful, succulent piece of desire because Daz and I decided to leave our phones behind to enjoy each other company all the more. That did leave us cameraless. But, imagine if you will, a really juicy rare fillet steak – but not that bland steak you get in the supermarkets – this one was clearly from a real bovine that had been in the outdoors. Lightly peppered it was delicious. A bit of me remembered how much I love steak and then shrank a little at the task ahead.

During the meal (Daz had pink lamb chops) we discussed the offal challenge and quite a lot of questions came up. What about chicken – all parts of game birds are included, but not those of chicken – is any bit of chicken included i.e. only wings? What about sausages? Historically yes, as they used up the offal, but nowadays with these posh sausages they contain proper meat. Shellfish? Fish – you can answer that below:

I guess the main point I am trying to make is about me (and us) as consumers and if we are choosing to eat meat we shouldn’t be squeamish about all the bits we eat. Responsible carnivory, if you will!